Entries Tagged 'search engine optimisation' ↓

Why Conversion is More Important Than Traffic

My office faces one of the busiest roads in Suffolk. Traffic constantly roars back and forth as people make their way between Suffolk and Norfolk. SEO and copywriting

Drinking my coffee this morning, wracking my brain for an idea to write about, it suddenly struck me. Traffic.

You, and every other online business, is obsessed by traffic.

Religiously, day in day out, you’re checking your analytics to see how many visitors your website is getting and where they are coming from.

You smile smugly as you see your visitor numbers increase; you are invincible because you are brining in 10 times the traffic of your competitors.

So what?

If you’re that amazing, why are your competitors making more money than you?

What’s happening to your traffic?

Running a business is tough. There’s so much to think about and only a finite amount of money to reinvest.

You probably started out with an ‘OK’ website that you got cheap and filled with content yourself. With a bit of help from your SEO guy (or girl) you’ve got traffic heading your way in droves, but something strange is happening.

When you look at your sales (i.e. conversions), they aren’t reflective of the number of visitors you’re getting.

Why?

Because your website and its content isn’t up to scratch.

Look at it this way, if you have a High Street store with a stunning window display, potential customers will flock through your doors. When they get inside, if your products are haphazardly strewn here and there and your sales team are loitering in corners discussing what they’re going to be doing at the weekend, ignoring them, the chances are they’ll turn round and find a different shop that’s more welcoming.

Well, that’s what’s going on with your website.

Your SEO guy/girl has done an amazing job luring people to your website, but because you’ve got a dreary site with awful content, they’re leaving straightaway.

Yes, SEO is important to get people to your website, but it’s the design and, more importantly, the content that will get them to stay and buy.

Convincing people to stay and buy

Your website copywriting must:

  • Address the reader directly
  • Sell the benefits of your products and services
  • Convince them to buy

One of the most common mistakes is to write about your company. This comes across as very inward facing and ignores the needs of your customers.

When they reach your website they want to instantly see what it is you offer, how it will help them and why they should buy it.

If you write in the second person (i.e. using ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ – just like this blog post) you are instantly creating a relationship with the reader. It’s as if you are talking to them – it’s the written equivalent of eye contact.

Using this technique, show them the benefits of your product. That doesn’t mean the colour, size, technical spec etc., all that comes later in the product description. They will want to know how it will make their life easier.

SEO and content go hand in hand

If you want to succeed online, you must invest in good search engine optimisation and great web content.

Find a copywriter who really understands the concept of search marketing and who can create content that fulfils the needs of both Google and your customers. It’s a fine line to tread, but one that will bring incredible results when done well.

A good SEO and copywriter is a dream team – when you find yours hold on to them and don’t let them go.

 

Author: Sally Ormond – Briar Copywriting Ltd

The Hummingbird Cometh – Google Strikes Again

The end of September saw yet another Google algorithm update – the Hummingbird. Hummingbird update

At the heart of this little bird is the difference between what people are looking for and why they are looking for it.

Search engines have always delivered ranked results by matching the keywords typed in the search box to the keywords on a web page.

The problem with that is that words can have different meanings, as illustrated by Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal when talking about the Taj Mahal: “Was the search about the monument in India, the musician, or a local curry house? What was the intent behind the search?”

Hummingbird’s semantic search capabilities are an attempt to clarify the context of queries. In other words, it tries to understand how we use language and how the meaning of words varies depending on context.

Hummingbird and search marketing

With all the Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds in the world, it’s hardly surprising that the face of search marketing is constantly changing.

In fact it was only recently that Google announced it would no longer be providing webmasters with data about which keywords were driving traffic from search results to their websites.

Google’s explicit message being that webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share. In other words, engaging website content.

Hummingbird and website content

It’s important you understand how to make sure your website copywriting and content align with Hummingbird’s aim.

What does your customer need?

It’s important to think about why customers want or need your product or service. For example, if you have a travel site, do you offer information about travelling to the destination, what there is to see, local customs, restaurants, galleries or where the best beaches are?

Analytics

Look at your analytics to discover what people are searching for when they’ve reached your site, but can’t find immediately. This will help you understand what they are looking for and optimise your website content accordingly.

Blogs aren’t the be all and end all

Think about varying your content. Great information doesn’t only come in the form of a blog post; it could also be video, graphics, an eBook, report or white paper.

Just make sure its form and function match.

Language

Don’t just go for an exact keyword match when describing what you do/offer. Use synonyms too, which will provide alternative phrases that people may use when searching for what you offer.

Make sure the language you use isn’t dry and dull. Show your personality through your writing so it informs and inspires.

Social

Make sure all your content is easy to share.

Above all, make sure the content on your website complements your sales strategy by being relevant to your products and services.

A well written website should already have all those features, but it’s worth checking yours out to see if it can be improved in any way.

It may, at times, seem as though Google is playing God with your business, but all these changes are there to make the search experience more rewarding and relevant. Provided you abide by Google’s rules and aren’t tempted to take any short cuts, you should be able to weather these changes with minimum fuss.

 

 Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos

Are META Descriptions Still Important?

Is it really worth adding a META Description to your blog posts and other web content?

These tags are chunks of information about a web page that the search engines use to suss out what the page is about. There’s a lot of conflicting information about these, so this post will make the current situation clear.

These tags are not used by search engines to rank a web page. That said they are still a very important element that should be included on every blog post and page.

Why?

The search engines always show a description of the page in the search results, so why not make sure it’s something relevant?

If left blank, the search engines will pick something based on the search term used. But you always include well-written descriptions Google (and the other search engines) should use them.

Think about your own search habits.  When faced with a list of websites you automatically read the tags to see which result is the most relevant to you. So if you want your web page to get the click, make sure you write a stonking tag.

How to write a good description

The following tips will help you create great descriptions:

  • Write for your readers, not the search engines. Although it’s important to include keywords, don’t stuff them.
  • You’re limited to about 150 characters so think carefully about what you want to say.
  • If you use WordPress, use one of their SEO plugins to help you.

Think of the META Description as your 60 sales pitch. Use it to tell your reader what the page is about and how it will help them.

A well-written tag will dramatically increase your chances of getting that all-important click. So next time you write a blog post or create a new web page, think carefully about how it will help your reader and tell them in the tag.

Remember, the META Description won’t affect your ranking, but it will help drive search traffic your way.

 

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Don’t Blame Google – Diversify Your Traffic

Google has a tendency to play God – or at least that what some online marketers believe.  Don't put all your seo eggs in one basket

A quick tweak of their algorithms can make your traffic plummet over night, but it’s not always down to the big bad search engines.

Panda and Penguin caused pandemonium for many website owners. Forums were filled with rants about how these updates were killing their businesses because their traffic vanished.

But was it really down to these little fellas?

Not necessarily.

Granted, a lot of websites took a hit when the updates happened, but not all the traffic dips can be attributed to these algorithmic changes.

Understanding if you’ve been hit by Penguin and Panda

No one wants to see his or her traffic reduce or vanish.

When this apparent dip coincides with a Google update it seems logical to point the finger in their direction. But they may not be the cause.

If you notice a dip in traffic the first place you should look is your analytics. Take a look at your traffic sources. If they have dipped across the board (i.e. Google, Yahoo and Bing), the chances are it has nothing to do with Google.

So what’s causing it?

It’s more likely to be your search engine optimisation strategy.

Sitting back isn’t an option

When you started out, you probably had a rigorous SEO strategy in place. But, as time moved on and you got busy, the strategy probably took a bit of a slide.

But you were still getting traffic and business, so all was good.

The problem with sitting back and resting on your laurels is that, every day, a new kid will appear on the block. This fresh website will be working hard on its SEO and so will stand a good chance of ranking higher that you.

As soon as your traffic starts to dip, it’s a warning sign that you need to up your game.

But relying 100% on the search engines for your traffic is a disaster waiting to happen. Which is why it’s essential to diversify your traffic.

How to diversify your traffic

If you put all your eggs into your SEO basket, things will go wrong at some point.

That’s why it’s important to spread your traffic by using:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Blogs
  • Pay Per Click
  • Email marketing
  • Newsletters

All of these will help you drive traffic to your website without relying on the likes of Google, Yahoo or Bing.

If you want a successful online marketing strategy, make sure you diversify.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos

How to Boost The Value of Your Content

Organic search and search engine optimisation are a huge part of your marketing strategy.  outward links

But how can you increase the perceived value of the content you’re producing for your readers?

Before we answer that, answer this question:

Why do you produce content?

Your answer is probably to create and attract links to your website.

Granted, that’s a big part of content generation, but do you also link away from your blog?

Before you recoil in horror, visualising your page rank slowly diminishing, outward links are important and this is why.

Useful resource

Outward links will help your readers’ understanding.

If you’re writing about a complex topic, linking out to another source that elaborates on what you’ve said will enhance your reader’s experience. Showing you are aware of the presence of other research will also enhance your reputation – you win, they win, everyone wins.

Top 10

Readers love top 10 (or how ever many examples you can come up with) resource or product lists.

It offers them a comparison of products/information that they haven’t had to research, saving them a lot of time. But on top of that, they are a great way to support your content and a solid relationship-builder with other bloggers and websites.

Crediting other research

Whatever you write, it’s important to back it up with facts and research. This will add weight and authority to your own work, increasing its value to the readers.

Plus, it shows you have read around the subject adding credibility to you as a writer.

Quotes and interviews

Extra kudos can be gained from using quotes and interviews with subject matter experts within your writing.

Using a well-known name within a particular industry will not only boost credibility, it will also attract readers, especially those that follow the expert. Plus, they may want to link to your article, so whilst you’re linking out to them, they may well link back to you.

Graphics

A lot of companies are investing in colourful infographics and other graphical elements to illustrate complex subjects.

Linking out to these will boost the understanding of your readers and present them with new and exciting information formats.

Of course, if you use another company’s work in this way it’s essential you credit the original source.

Good for SEO

You’ve probably guessed by now that all of this outward linking is good for your SEO.

Granted, inward links are still more valuable, but linking out to quality sources of information will enhance your own standing.

SEO isn’t just about attracting links to your website. All the content you produce has to be written for the user in mind. Therefore, it should always enhance their experience and ‘go that extra mile’.

By linking out to other sources, you’re not only showing your depth of knowledge, you’re also enhancing the impact you have on your reader. So don’t be afraid to link out.

 

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos
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