The challenge for any business in 2015 is how to maximise return on investment by deploying the available budget in the most effective way.
Regardless of what product or service you are offering, the constant need for new customers, fresh leads and more traffic is the same for all online businesses – whether you are just starting out or have already established a foothold in your market.
So whether you are B2B or B2C we take a look at three of the fundamental marketing tools for 2015 – SEO, Content Marketing and PPC.
SEO in 2015 is a lot different from SEO a few years ago. The focus for 2015 is definitely all about putting the user experience first and the SEO second. That is the way Google wants it…therefore that is the way it should be! If you keep that in mind when you are thinking about implementing a new tactic or strategy then you can’t go much wrong in 2015.
How do we know this to be true? A few months ago, Googles latest “Quality Raters Guidelines” document was leaked. It’s a 160 page document that is prepared for Googles internal quality raters. Essentially, the document is a set of guidelines that these internal raters follow as they evaluate different websites and use it to determine “is this something we want to have ranking highly in the organic search results or is it something that we want to bury quite deeply?”
Google comes up with hypothesis on how a good quality website should look and then uses the quality raters to try and identify certain websites that exhibit the same criteria. If Google decide “this is something we want to make as a core part of the algorithm” then it gets built in to an update such as panda or penguin.
On site SEO
This is the technical part of ensuring that your website has all the correct Meta tags, descriptions, titles etc. This is a very important task and once done it will only need tweaking over time. This should be done by your web design company when the site is first developed. If it is has not been done then it is imperative you fix it according to the Google guidelines.
For those of you following along the guidelines set out in Panda, this means ensuring that amongst other things your website is responsive, it loads quickly, it has a site map and canonicalization is all set up.
This is arguably the most challenging part of SEO in 2015, and understanding how this is done by the company you select to do it is make or break for your business. With the insurgence of SEO companies springing up all over the place, the fact that you probably get 10 calls a week from Indian call centres telling you they will “get you to page one on Google” and even Lord Sugar going in to business with Mark Wright to setup a new SEO agency in 2014 The Apprentice – off site SEO is big business.
Off-site SEO is all about building links back to your website. Those links come from other websites, blogs, social media shares and anywhere else you think of. It used to be the case that “links couldn’t hurt you” and as a result, the old school of off-site SEO was to simply get as many links from as many places to your website as possible.
There has never been a time when link quality matters so much. If you are considering buying links to your site in the hope that it will push your site up the rankings then THINK VERY CAREFULLY before you do. The biggest thing about link building is to keep it natural looking.
It’s not natural to have all your links coming from one place, or have all your links coming with the same anchor text. Likewise, it is not natural to have all your links pointing to a specific page on your website, certainly don’t send links direct to your homepage. Dig deep and mix things up.
Anything that looks engineered or contrived is what Google is trying to weed out.
The chances are that those links are going to have a negative effect on your business and therefore result in you dropping down the rankings in the SERPS (Search Engines Results Page)
Equally, you need to monitor your backlinks because there is now such a thing as negative SEO – in the cutthroat world of business; your competitors could be employing low quality link builders to build links to your website and push you down the search engine rankings.
Google came out recently with a very important principle which they call “EAT”. It is an acronym which stands for “Expert, Authoritative and Trust”. These three areas that are going to be critical in getting your website ranking well.
The “EAT” hasn’t been fully automated yet in to the Google algorithm BUT it is pretty much a given that it will be implemented in 2015. So the sooner you can start focussing on building up your position as an authority figure in your marketplace the better.
Content is such an important component of marketing and SEO these days that the two go hand in hand. If you don’t have a content component to your SEO and marketing strategy then you should definitely implement one for 2015.
The process can be broken down in the the three P’s – Present, Product and Promote.
Present as you would imagine is all about creating the content in the first place. This is really about getting as much done in one sitting as you can. So set aside a day, hire out a studio if need be and record all of your content in one go. You will reduce the overall cost of the content creation because you are bashing it all out in one go. Imagine how much it would help you if you had three months’ worth of content to work with. This is the ideal situation to be in, create enough to always be ahead of yourself.
Product – this is where you then take the finished content and utilize it. For some companies in the service sector, this might involve actually selling that content as a digital product. It helps to put a price on the content and also with positioning yourself as an authority to know that people are willing to buy what you have to sell.
For many businesses, selling an information product is not what they are about. If this is the case then place the content in an educational training area of your website in order to give something back to the community.
The final stage is to promote and this can be done via as many social channels as possible. If you have created a 30 minute instructional video, chop it up so that you have little pieces to repurpose the content. You can create teasers for the main content that can be released on youtube or isolate the audio and then upload to itunes.
Your content will then become a foundation of your SEO strategy, as every piece of content is being fully optimised for targeting different keywords and therefore driving traffic back to your site from high value links.
Now more than ever, this has enabled the small business to compete with the larger enterprises.
PPC advertising allows you to place an advertisement and decide how much you want to pay per click. Let’s say that you are an online store and you do not rank well organically for the keywords you would really like to.
With a combination of product listing ads and pay per click ads, you can appear at the top of the search results page alongside even the largest of competitors.
This does two things
1 – It levels the playing field for smaller businesses who are trying to establish themselves as authorities in their area but don’t yet have the organic search results of their competitors
2 – It indicates to searchers that your brand is legitimate and dramatically increases your chances of getting clicks and conversions
PPC can be expensive, as you are paying for each click – some keywords can be as much as £20 per click! So it is imperative that you find an SEO company who can do the right research for you and optimise your ads for maximum return on investment.
Set yourself a budget but be realistic. If you are thinking that you don’t want to spend more than £50-£100 per week on advertising then it is probably not worth investing in PPC yet.
Talk through the options with your PPC campaign manager and be aware of the cost implications upfront. PPC advertising can be expensive, but with a clever strategy and knowledge of your industry’s digital landscape – you can reap the benefits and compete with the major players in the industry.
Do discover how TR8 Media can help with all your marketing needs, from SEO, Content Creation and PPC campaign management contact us today