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17 Jul 2019
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Firstly, what does SEO stand for? ‘Stressful Embarrassing Ordeal’ Not quite. To many people, the acronym SEO conjures thoughts of some mystical language that only serious ‘computer nerds’ understand. In life, there is so much we need to understand in terms of improving our business online marketing and social media presence. We also need to know about how to optimise our website’s search ranking on Google. It is called Search Engine Optimisation. This is because it is a measure of how close to the top of the first page your website is displayed when a potential customer is searching for related goods or services. Being high in Google’s search results for many companies has been achieved by hard work and considerable investment. There are various marketing companies that will offer to assist you for a fee. In addition, there are numerous articles and videos on the fundamentals of SEO to be found online. I have listed a few favourites throughout this article.
These are some questions that need answering before you do proceed with SEO.
Another good question to ask yourself is how fast is your website, and it is mobile friendly? Mobile users are on the rise. Mobile traffic was responsible for 52.2 per cent of Internet traffic in 2018 — compared to 50.3 per cent from 2017.1 Ensure your website pages are mobile friendly, load fast, are easy to navigate, include social media share buttons, uniform text font and include your phone number and contact information on the home page. Also, include internal links, such as linking relevant pages in your website or from one blog to another with relevant information on a topic.
Find a few keywords that are relevant to your product and service and focus on representing these keywords, in meaningful ways, throughout your website. For example, when I type in ‘swim school’ into one of my keyword search plugins, it brings up the following keyword combinations - ‘swimming pool near me’, ‘swim school prices’, ‘swimming lessons near me for babies’, ‘private swimming lessons’, ‘baby swimming lessons’, swimming lessons for adults’, and ‘free swimming lessons’. These keyword combinations are potentially what your customers are searching for. Therefore, targeting popular, relevant keywords in your website’s content will potentially raise your website’s Google ranking and make your website more attractive to people looking for a business like yours. To find your own keywords for your service you could use the Chrome plugin ‘Keywords Everywhere’, it is free and provides you with a list of relevant keywords and what they could cost if you wanted to pay for them on Google Adwords.
Backlinks are incoming links to a website, webpage or web directory. If a lot of other websites are linking back to your website, then your website will generally rate higher on Google. To increase backlinks to your website you can register your products or services on other websites, such as directory websites. There are a growing number of state and country-based service directories focusing on various industries. To find a directory related to your business just search for your industry and the word directory, and the most popular ones will appear. Establish a business profile on as many of these directories as you can afford, as some do charge a fee to register a business. Other ways to increase backlinks include always linking your posts on social media back to your website and sharing any newly developed blog posts on as many forums as possible.
Write a regular blog about topics that will interest parents. Some great blogging ideas could be about your products, health topics relevant to your industry, achievements of your organisation and your clients. For example, showcasing student achievements on a monthly basis. Another good idea is to display ‘then and now’ pics of a student at the beginning of their journey with your organisation and a current one, including some of their achievements over the years and the level they have made it to. Remember to shamelessly promote the blog through as many social media channels as possible. Also, update old blogs as this will refresh their online presence and re-affirm that content for Google searches.
Video can be used to strengthen brand awareness and trust around your product or service. Much of YouTube’s appeal over the years has been due to the number of self-help videos and ‘how to’ guides available, which are essentially audio-visual blogs. There are so many options for creating useful videos to attract people to your brand. This could include a helpful video on a topic related to your products or service. E.g. ‘How to dance the tango’; ‘What to look for when buying ballet shoes’; ‘How to buy goggles’; or ‘What to look for when buying a tennis racket’. Videos can be created with minimal equipment, i.e. smartphone, tripod, an attached speaker and away you go. Just remember to link back to your website in your video and make sure your website blog has a link to your YouTube channel. There are so many possibilities for the development of helpful videos to stimulate recognition and interest in your brand.
Your customers are one of your most powerful marketing tools. Tap into this by inviting customers to write testimonials for your website and supplying a photo. Consumers make decisions about purchasing products and services after reading testimonials/reviews. Dimensional Research reported that 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions.2
Another growing area is video testimonials, although this medium is a little harder to gather. If you make this opportunity worth your customers’ time by giving them a discount or creating a competition then you will certainly create some interest. Always remember to obtain written consent for your customer’s material in any written, video or pictorial format to be used for media or website.
High quality copywriting takes talent, a lot of research and a genuine love of writing. If you choose to write your own website content, then ensure it is targeted at your customers’ interests, visually pleasing, entertaining where possible, personal (use a story), and is rich in information about your products and services. If copywriting is not your strength then outsourcing this activity might be a better option. There are plenty of competent copywriters with all the necessary capabilities to create high-quality content for your brand. The website ‘Fiverr’ is a directory of freelance services for businesses. They have hundreds of copywriters for you to try. To find the best fit for your needs, it is best to try someone out with a small job and then if you like them keep using them for all your copywriting needs.
Use your website for more than just telling the world about your business. Your website should be a function of your business. Gear it so that your website attracts new clients and encourages your current customers to use it to register for your services and buy your products. Invest in an online portal and gain more web traffic all around.
If you are serious about increasing your web presence, then investigate the following resources on SEO.
Marketing & Sales – ThinkSmart Software