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Search Marketing

The Whiteclick SEO blog aims to keep you up to date with the latest in the search engine optimisation and marketing industry and the company.

12 Digital Marketing New Years resolutions for 2012

Jessica Graham - Monday, January 09, 2012

1. Do: Share links pointing to content on your website!

It's concerning how many businesses share links over social networks that direct potential visitors to other sites instead of their own! Your primary social media objective should always be to engage with your target audience, lure them back to your website using great content, and then convert to leads or sales.

2. Do: Finally get around to setting up your business blog

Speaking of great content - a blog is one of the most effective pages to drive traffic to your site! Companies which blog have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links. For non-SEO nerds, in English this means that investing time and money into a business blog will:

  • Establish your brand as a market leader and influencer
  • Impact positively on your optimisation efforts and increase your search rankings
3. Do: Optimise your blog posts with keywords/phrases

Closely aligning your blogging efforts with your SEO strategy to incorporate keywords and phrases will maximise your content 'life' and visibility in search results.

4. Do: Post blogs regularly

Commit to generating 1 to 2 articles a month at minimum. There is nothing worse than visiting a business blog page only to find that their latest article dates back to the time when Nokia's 3310 was still the most widely used mobile phone device!

5. Do: Analyse what content engages best with your audience

Take notice of what is working. Assess your most popular blogs by views per month; your social media updates that garner the most 'likes', 'comments' or 'shares' etc. Use this data as a guide for future posts. It seems like common sense but you'd be surprised at how many businesses fail to identify what makes their audience tick.

6: Do: Set measurable Social Media goals

A big trend for 2012 embraces higher levels of social media monitoring and metrics - but how can you measure your digital marketing success unless you first set goals that are realistic and achievable? Here are a few simple ones to start with:

  • I want to increase my Facebook Fan base to x amount of followers by x date
  • I want to increase my Twitter followers to x amount of followers by x date etc.
  • I want to post x amount of blog articles a month

7: Don't: Ignore Google+

A huge development in 2011 was the emergence of Google's answer to Facebook: Google+. Early membership numbers broke every record in the book, and in late November the search heavyweight announced the provision of Business Pages for brands. While Google was quick to deny any relational effects to SEO and PPC, early data suggests otherwise. Don't be left behind, build your business presence on this network now.

8. Don't: Be tempted to cut costs by attempting DIY pay-per-click

While DIY PPC management may provide initial budget relief in an economic downturn, it often ends up costing much more than you save. The keyword selection process is far more involved than just knowing what your customers are searching for. Targeting the wrong keywords drains advertising spend without providing any ROI. It's a no brainer: Employ an expert to make sure that you're getting the best keywords at the lowest possible price point.

9. Don't: Forget the power of customer testimonials

It is estimated that by 2014, 53% of total retail sales (online and offline) will be affected by consumers who use the Internet to research products before purchasing. Social Media is the new 'word of mouth'. Populate your product/services LinkedIn page so happy customers can endorse you, and encourage influencers to write online reviews or recommend your brand on Facebook.

10. Don't: Be oblivious to what is being said about your business online

Use free web services such as socialmention.com and wotnews.com or even by conducting a simple name search on Twitter to find out how your brand is perceived by the public. Appease customers with complaints and nurture brand ambassadors. Social media is not just for promotions, it is also an invaluable market research tool.

11. Don't: Lose potential business by having an outdated, user un-friendly website

Your website is often the first experience a potential customer has with your company brand. Just like in a job interview, you need to make those first impressions count! Does your homepage load up quickly? Is your content optimized for search? Do you provide eCommerce facilities for users to buy your products online? Or is 'Lets do the time warp again' ringing in your visitors ears when they view your page design?!

12. Don't: Optimise your website for mobile and tablet devices at your own peril!

Sales of iPhones, Androids, iPads and other tablet devices are on the rise and expected to outstrip laptops and traditional computers as the home hardware of choice by 2015. Don't give potential customers an excuse to buy from your competitors - make sure your website can be viewed and utilized in any format.

What are your digital marketing resolutions for 2012?

The 5 Unbreakable Laws for Making Websites That Create Sales

Justin Daniel - Thursday, October 20, 2011

After many years guiding businesses on how to retool their web sites into effective marketing machines, we've uncovered 5 unbreakable laws for building web sites that sell. Read on to gain precious insights for multiplying the return on your marketing dollar. 

1. Do looks really matter? 76% of web site visitors judge the credibility of a business from the appearance of the web site alone—not the content. Many people know professional looking designs increase credibility in the eyes of your web site visitors, but few consider the damage shoddy advertising does to a business. Your web site must look professional otherwise you literally risk damaging your brand.

2. Drive targeted traffic to your business. It's no secret the vast majority of customers now use online search to find local businesses. Many businesses have realised there is little or no benefit in building a web site that no one visits and are getting better and better at finding customers online. Target these customers with online marketing, or somebody else will.

3. Engage your web site visitors. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, 'You cannot bore people into buying' and his advice still rings true today. Consumers have never been so informed, discerning and impatient.

Looking for a powerful way to motivate customers to pick up the phone and call your business? The easiest way is to do a bit of online market research and post a compelling offer unlike anything offered by your competitors and post it on your web site. This is a deceptively simple—yet staggeringly effective—way to differentiate your brand from the competition.

4. Make it easy for your customers. The customer of the 21st century is overwhelmed with information and easily frustrated. Usability and clear information design are vital for a successful business web site. Does your home page look like a christmas-tree by cramming everything but the kitchen sink into one page? Or does it present a simple selection of options-just enough for your web site visitors to know how to easily get to the information they're looking for?

Make it easy for your customers…. Or they will go elsewhere.

5. Use your best resource for more sales. Your existing client base have already developed trust and familiarity with your business and will readily buy from you again. And a well constructed web site is the most economical and effective tool to communicate with your customers. Mailing lists, blogs and social media sites all rely upon your web site as the nerve centre for communicating with your customers and new prospects. Have you been using your web site to re-engage your customers?

Are there more approaches than these to make web sites that sell? Sure. But this is the best place to start.

Remember —a well built web site is an investment, not an expense. Poorly constructed web sites almost always come with high maintenance fees and are inevitably scrapped and replaced by better ones as a business grows.

You wouldn't trust just anyone to be the face of your business-and the first time a person visits a business web site is the very first sales meeting that takes place between the customer and your brand. Invest wisely.

Developing a killer digital marketing strategy...

Jessica Graham - Friday, August 26, 2011

...aka Why PPC, SEO & Social Media make the perfect Ménage à trois!

Humor me for a moment. Lets play a game.

Step outside your body and imagine inhabiting the brain of your perfect customer. You (as the customer) have just sat down in front of your laptop. After updating Facebook, maybe sending an email or two, you've now just remembered that 'thing' you've been meaning to research for a few weeks.

Lets call that 'thing' X.

You flick open Google and type in 'Buy X'… Click into a few sites… Decide to refine your search to 'Buy pink X'… Still no dice... What about 'Buy cheap pink X'... Getting closer… 'Buy cheap pink X in Sydney'

...BINGO!

Now step back from that potential customer. They just bought said pink X from your competitor.

What the hell happened???!

The perfect digital marketing strategy involves a mixture of PPC, SEO & Social Media marketing, and unfortunately you were missing an element.

  • Was it SEO ? Let's go back to that Google page. You sell pink X too but when that customer typed it in, your website didn't even come up in the first page of search results! Optimising the copy on your website is super, super important - it allows search engines (and customers) to understand how relevant your site is to what's being searched for. Including the right keywords in your website content is only a small part of effective SEO but it's an important one. If Google knows your site contains what's being searched, you can bet that your potential customer will know soon too.
  • Was it PPC? Again lets go back to pink X. This time your SEO is sorted out (you took our advice above! Yay!) and your website appears in the top 5 rankings of the search query. But GUESS WHAT - that customer just bypassed them completely! To the top and right hand side of the organic search results, Google displays paid advertisements, and one just caught that darn customers eye! AdWords is a highly effective marketing strategy to use in conjunction with your SEO to catch those customers with ADHD! The best part is, you only pay for the customers who actually click into your page (Pay per click or PPC).
  • Was it Social Media? But wait, there's more! Remember that same customer… before they even Googled what were they doing?! Messing about on Facebook that's what. Unfortunately for you, one of their friends commented on your competitor's fan page touting them as the best seller of 'Pink X'. This comment had appeared in their news feed - The very thing that had triggered the Google search in the first place! It's essential to build your business presence in social media channels to give your brand a voice, and a personality - Not to mention the huge value of personal recommendations.

The common problem with many digital marketing strategy's is that they are generally strong in one area yet fail to grasp the importance of covering all bases.

Social mentions are becoming integral to determining the ranking of your web site in search engines, the quality of your website (i.e. keyword relevance) effects where your ppc ad displays in Google, and you can even optimise your social network status updates to drive traffic straight to your site. It is essential to know how each affects the other, and how to use this to your advantage by creating a comprehensive marketing plan including all 3 elements.

How does your e-marketing strategy compare? Do you buy PPC Ads? Have you had success with SEO? Do people regularly recommend you on Twitter?

5 common business web site mistakes

Justin Daniel - Tuesday, July 05, 2011

After a rush of new clients asking us on how to improve the performance of their sites, we've identified a few common mistakes preventing businesses from achieving their goals. 

Want to ensure a high return on investment from your marketing spend? Read on to ensure your business web site doesn't make these same mistakes.

1. Inadequate web site performance tracking.

Without effective web site statistics software installed on your site how else will you know if your web site is achieving your online goals?

Our preferred analytics software, Google Analytics, is entirely free and allows you to monitor the amount of web site traffic your web site receives, where your web site visitors come from and what they do when they arrive at your site.

You can take web analytics to the next level by setting up goal tracking, which is a great way to monitor how many of your web site visitors convert to clients. This gives you the power to make informed decisions on improving your site over time to increase sales conversions.

2. Lack of web site traffic.

The majority of customers are now seeking their information online. Most business leaders know this but many are left wondering how do I attract more traffic to my site?

Focusing on acquiring targeted web site traffic through an informed search engine optimisation strategy is the key to acquiring Internet users who are looking for your business online.

This is achieved by optimising the web site content for the keywords Internet users are using to find your service offering, a competitive link building strategy to notify search engines your web site is an authority in the field & a social media strategy to drive targeted traffic to your site.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Recent updates to Google's search algorithm has slammed many web sites for acquiring a suspicious amount of links from spammy web sites, resulting in many web sites losing their search engine rankings and web site traffic.

3. Targeting the wrong search terms.

Many businesses have achieved number one rankings for a long list of search terms, but are these the same terms customers are using to find the business?

You must ensure the search terms your business ranks for are in fact the same terms customers are using to find your business.

Keyword research is the most vital and consistently overlooked process for optimising a site to achieve search engine rankings and ultimately web site traffic. Without adequate keyword research a web site doesn't have a fighting chance for finding customers online.

4. Damaging web site development.

Many web sites have little hope of achieving search engine rankings and web traffic as a result of being developed without search engines in mind. Common errors in the code of many sites prevent the site from being indexed and in extreme cases risk the site being banned from search engines.

This includes excessive usage of Flash and Javascript, making search engines unable to crawl and recognise the content of the page. Also, hosting multiple web sites on the same account for the one business with duplicate content.

Shady tactics like these usually inform the search engines the site is trying to game the system and is a prime target for being excluded.

5. Poor usability and design.

Contrary to common belief, design is not subjective. Did you know that 76% of web site visitors determine the credibility of a business from the visual appearance of a web site alone?

A study by Stanford University revealed the common visual cues web site visitors use to judge the credibility of a business. Clean and uncluttered web design, relevant content, restrained use of colours, industry certifications and customer recommendations are just some of the visual signifiers visitors use to make this assessment. 

And this happens within a fraction of a second before your web site visitors make up their mind and close the window to move on to the next site.

Is this all we know?

It has become increasingly difficult for businesses to increase their web site traffic. This knowledge applies to most businesses. But not all.

Whiteclick have developed a separate and specialised body of knowledge on what makes for success in growing targeted traffic to web sites for the ecommerce sector, retail, business to business and many other industries. But this special information is only revealed to Whiteclick clients. 

If you would like to have an informal and confidential discussion on the effective strategies available for finding new customers online, or a receive a free web site health check, feel free to get in touch.

Google's Social Search Update

Giles White - Monday, February 21, 2011

Keyword Research for Global Organisations

Grant Hilton - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Another new nifty tool from Google has just been released called the “Global Market Finder”.  The tool allows you to find the geographic distribution of a keyword and is very handy for multi-national companies selling products.

Why is this so?

It provides business owners and online marketers to see the difference in popularity of products in different global markets. For example “Product X” may be popular in the USA and receive thousands of searches per month but that doesn’t mean “Product X” is popular in “Japan” or even neighbouring “Canada”. Therefore the new “Global Market Finder” tool can be used as a marketing tool to identify which products will be popular by country or alternatively identify relevant keywords to a product that are more popular to a specific country.


Google Global Market Finder

There are a number of other useful tools that can be used for keyword research and they include the following:


Now the latest SEO keyword tool to add to the list is the Global Market Finder!

Adapting To SEO Changes

Grant Hilton - Thursday, September 23, 2010

Search engine optimisation is a great industry to be in because it’s constantly evolving with search engines changing algorithms to enhance the quality of their results regularly and clients requiring constant monitoring and adjustment to maximise and respond to these changes. That is the joy and challenge of SEO and I’m sure there are plenty of SEO’s out there that would agree that it shouldn’t be any other way.

Surely I can’t be the only one that finds it strange that people seem to panic when something new is introduced to the industry such as Google Instant. Before that it was panic about Google and behavioural search or personalisation search or Google introducing more blended results (video, images, news, blogs, etc) into search but still the industry remains strong and quickly adapts. Working hard to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in SEO and improving your client’s organic traffic still remains the focus as was before these changes were introduced. So why the big alarm for concern now? Are people afraid of adapting their strategies for the benefits of their clients and if this wasn’t an option beforehand perhaps your SEO strategy is too narrow focused or ancient?

Since the release of Google Instant there has been mixed reactions from SEO’s worldwide. Some cringe at this news similarly to watching Tony Abbott appearing in the news in his speedo’s but others that have been around (not that kind of been around) know that this is merely another challenge to SEO and should be viewed positively rather than the doom and gloom of search engine optimisation. Personally I am a big fan of Google Instant and don’t see it as a threat to SEO but there is a case for it distracting searchers to other topics whilst typing what they originally intended to search for and lack of relevancy of results based on what’s popular at that time. For example, if somebody searches for “sydney hotels” only goes as far as the first 3 characters (“syd”) the following results appear:

These results would be great if searching for information about Sydney but if you specifically wanted “Sydney hotels” not so much in the organic search results. These results favour the Adwords sponsored links because they appear to be far more relevant to the searchers intent. The question that is a concern for SEO’s is does the searcher continue typing more of the keyword or will they be distracted enough to click on the top Instant results or sponsored links? This is difficult to determine without further study and analysis especially when it roles out in Google Australia but my personal opinion is that the common Internet user is generally quite savvy and are quick to realise what is relevant to them and what is not.

Therefore if more of the keywords were typed such as “sydney h” would this provide more organic search results?

 

Unfortunately the answer here is “no” for both organic and sponsored links but at least “sydney hotels” does appear in the suggestions box this time. Whilst this is not the case for every query it is pretty clear that for more than one keyword the full query is often required or selected from the suggestion box, thus no change to prior Google Instant.

As with any new changes in the industry the primary objective remains and that is how to achieve great traffic and results for our clients and not to fear changes but to embrace it.

Addicted To Google Caffeine

Grant Hilton - Friday, June 11, 2010

Drink that cup of coffee really fast because its official Google Caffeine has been released! So what's this Caffeine stuff all about?

Well the latest update has nothing to do with consuming coffee, tea, soft drinks or energy drinks but just as caffeine is a stimulant to our central nervous system, Google Caffeine boosts Google’s previous index by providing “50 percent fresher results for web searches” and has provided Google with the ability to add to it’s already large index. Google claims that their latest index is "the largest collection of web content we've offered". More information on this release can be found at the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

So what does this mean for us? It simply means that Google is capable of indexing new content such as news releases, twitter posts, blogs, etc much faster and this provides more relevant and fresher content for us users. For searchers this is great news and very beneficial but what about business owners who pride themselves on their high search engine rankings and are concerned that a fresher index may affect their site traffic?

Photo via Creative Commons

In the search engine optimisation business there are constant changes to search engine's ranking algorithms and this latest update from Google should be viewed no differently. Change should not be looked upon negatively but rather embraced and adapted to. In the SEO world, change is a good thing and nothing new. The best advice for business owners is to stay on the path of creating good user content, making sure that it is optimised effectively, and keep your efforts focused on a good user experience. Sure the possibility exists for some rankings to be lost but in the long term your informative and useful content on your products or services will out rank new content that has just been added to the index. It also means that blogs, twitter posts and news releases should be continually updated with new content (if it’s worthy of being updated, releasing content for the hell of it is not recommended) to keep your content fresh and because Google loves indexing new fresh content it can be indexed and found by users quicker.

Therefore this latest update is great news from Google and business owners should continue to optimise their content as before but with an increased effort in keeping content informative and useful to site visitors whilst also new and refreshing.

Why only one search marketing conference is required in Australia

Grant Hilton - Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Recently I had the pleasure of attending SMX Sydney 2010 and was especially excited to hear that the conference was going to focus on a more unique advanced track this year. The number of search marketing conferences in Australia are relatively still limited, so they often contain information targeted at beginners or people in business that are seeking a better understanding of what search engine optimisation is and how it can help their business. In my opinion conferences such as SMX, Search Engine Room, ad:tech and CEBIT, despite being very professional and well organised, have become stagnant and far too similar rather than advancing with the industry and representing the current state of search engine marketing in Australia. It has been a known fact for the last few years that Australia trails the USA and the UK in the search world and until there are conferences that can advance our knowledge and experience with the latest developments overseas this will continue to remain so. Therefore the prospect of experiencing more advanced content from speakers at SMX had increased my expectations or had it?

It’s true, the content at SMX Sydney in 2010 was more advanced but this was only evident in the sessions involving the international speakers and was not reflected by many of the Australian speakers. I’m not sure how the selection of Australian speakers takes place but I really hope they took the time to watch the presentation and speaking skills of their international counterparts. They also failed to back up their data/statistics with enough factual evidence by simply stating claims such as, “they have done internal tests that support this”. Anybody can do an internal test but where is the data to back this claim? Has this been tested externally? If so, what were the results? Australia is not going to advance on the USA and UK if we continue down this path.

This is why Australia really needs only one search engine marketing conference (for the time being) that is not held once a year but quarterly in different cities of Australia (ie Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth). We need one brand of search engine marketing conference to attract the best search industry experts to them, which will subsequently produce more knowledge and more sharing of information. These conferences need to start focusing more on learning and the education of the local search industry rather than the networking aspects and the scrumptious food in the breaks.

It’s definitely a positive that SMX has distinguished itself from the other conferences by taking the unique direction of featuring more advanced SEO topics but the Australian speakers also need to be at a similar level of the content and this unfortunately was not apparent. The industry in Australia continues to grow but the only way we can advance further is with more experts leading the way and this can only be done for the time being by attracting more quality international speakers and one conference brand that is more frequent in different cities throughout the year (like in the USA).


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