Do you know how to market your business online?
The key, as we keep saying, is to be visible. Here are the 3 steps to gaining and improving online visibility for your business.
1. COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
Why do this?
Do you know who your online competitors are? Often they are not the same as your offline ones. It’s really important to know who you are competing against for traffic (site visitors), as this will give you a very strong steer on the types of marketing activities you should be doing. For example, if one of your direct competitors is Amazon, then you will need to devise a strategy that does not involve you trying to compete head on with them for the very popular search terms (keywords) as they have a mega-budget and you don’t!
Take heart – it is possible to get a slice of their traffic – but you have to be savvy to do it.
How to do it
There are good online tools that enable you to analyse who your competitors are, and what they are up to. You can see the search terms they show up for on page one of Google, how much they are spending on ad campaigns and whether they use video or shopping ads.
2. KEYWORD RESEARCH
Why do this?
It’s really important to understand what people are actually searching for when they start looking for your type of product or service. It can be very surprising! There are very important things knowing this information enables you to do including:
- ensure that all your content contains the words that people are actually searching for – this means your stuff will be found when people search for it (this is called ‘organic’ traffic)
- enable you to build paid-for advertising campaigns with ads that will show when people are searching for your type of product or service
- compete effectively against bigger players by enabling you to find ‘long tail’ keywords. These are longer phrases that people type into Google when they are looking for your type of product or service. They are important because they tend to have less ‘competition’ i.e. the big players don’t bother with them. If you’re a small business then you’re probably not going after the thousands of searches the big guys want as you probably aren’t set up to handle them. If you get a few hundred people on your site every month that you manage to convert into customers, we’re sure you’ll be happy. These ‘long tail’ keywords also tend to be much cheaper if you’re running advertising campaigns (AdWords pay-per-click)
- If you want your content to be seen on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) you will need to research hashtags – which are basically the same idea for social platforms
How to do it
There are all sorts of online tools which can help with this – some of which are free. See our Guide.
3. WEBSITE ANALYSIS
Why do this?
Google are really keen that their users get a great experience so getting to Page 1 of their search results revolves around scoring well on key factors they believe delivers this. You need to make sure that your website is up to scratch before you put a lot of effort into other online marketing activities.
You’ll also want to make sure that your customers and potential customers have a great experience, so it’s not just about the Search Engines!
How to do it
The key factors Google scores and ranks on are:
- Relevance – how closely does the content of your site match what the searcher is looking for.
- Trust – how well connected is your website? Have other good quality websites linked to it? Google makes this mean that you are a credible source of information if other people link to you.
- Authority – is your website regarded as a ‘must go to’ destination for certain types of information. How many people have visited your site to find this information and how long have they stayed? Google has a complex algorithm to monitor this and looks not only for volume but repeat visits.
- Bounce Rate – Google rewards sites that engage with visitors and give them valuable information. If people are clicking on your site from a search result, but don’t stay (bounce), Google will downgrade your site as being irrelevant.This is measured by how long people stay on your site.
- Citation – this is a mention, usually a listing in an online directory (e.g. Yell.com, Thompson Local, Yelp etc.) Every citation you get strengthens your position as a reliable source of information and Google uses this to help rank your site.
- Reviews – What people say about you really matters so it’s important to get a healthy number of strong reviews – Set this up on your Google+ page.
- Spelling & Grammar – with the advent of ‘artificial intelligence’, Google can now discern whether a piece has been generated by a human and rewards well spelled and grammatically correct content.
- Usability – Google also measures how fast your site loads, and also penalises broken links. So it’s essential that you get the basics right and make sure your website works as expected.
You need to review your site for these factors. There are also online tools available that can automate this for you. See our Guide.