Getting your online marketing strategy right is an ongoing challenge for most businesses regardless of size. So we asked website expert Mark Tull, Owner at Website Essentials TM a few key questions about what to think about when building an online marketing campaign.
1. What are some of the key components in making sure your website is built properly so it will be included in any relevant Google searches
Whether it’s a new site or you are rebuilding or relaunching your existing website there’s lots of things to think about.
Google feeds on information and making sure the information on your website is presented in a way that will get you picked up in Google searches is something borne out of experience. So hire a website builder and a website marketer. They are generally not the same person and they need to work together to get the best result for your site.
A website builder can make sure your site is built the way you want it to LOOK for a budget you can afford, but typically they don't optimise for Google. You need to make sure the pages on your site are structured in a people friendly way, but also in a way that promotes traffic to your site.
A website builder can also help you do the ground work so that your website is picked up by search engines, using tools to let Google know your website exists, if they know how to do this and have quoted on doing it. It’s not automatic.
If you are relaunching your website don’t start from scratch, look after your historic content because it will still form part of your identity to Google. Aside from the effort of rewriting content Google reacts badly to relaunched websites when previously indexed content suddenly disappears.
2. What are some key considerations when developing an online strategy to promote a business?
There are a couple of considerations when developing your digital strategy. First and foremost is budget. You need to allocate your budget so you get the biggest bang for your dollar.
The second is what you want to achieve with your advertising.
If money is no object, then opt for Google AdWords, although increasingly expensive it is a potentially wider reaching advertising strategy.
If the budget is tight and you are more specifically looking to raise brand awareness rather than drive traffic then run display ads in the Google display network. It’s more cost effective since you pay for ads per click through and there is a lower click through rate with display ads.
You can also target your display ads more narrowly because unlike AdWords they are not always keyword based.
Display campaign options include remarketing where previous visitors to your site see it when they visit other sites or placement where you decide which sites your ad appears in.
If you are a word of mouth business and your reputation is built on trust and recommendation, then you should spend less on digital marketing and more time and money building your reputation in the real world
3. At what stage in a website’s development is SEO important and why?
SEO is important at every stage of a websites development. It starts at the beginning, with domain name registration, how the website is built, what platform it is built on, and then continues with content, page names, page structure and layout.
Once the website has gone live keep refreshing your site with SEO content and making refinements to your website. But remember to keep your content unique. If you include content that you have copied from another website that website will get indexed because the content was there first.
Google and other search engines are information monsters and for an effective online advertising strategy you need to keep feeding the monster.
But Google has a selective appetite and if you don’t feed it what it likes it will spit you out. If you don’t follow the rules you end up making costly decisions like building a new website instead of getting it right with the one you’ve got.
Google is smart so for effective SEO keep it relevant. Don’t try to sell everything on your website; Google won’t be able to put you in the right niche, use high quality content with keywords and good links that contribute a great user experience.
4. What is the science behind keywords and why are the best key words not always obvious?
Keywords fall into two categories, high volume and high performance (or low volume).
High volume keywords are those that generate a lot of search engine queries – like ‘cheap flights’.
High performance keywords are generally low volume – i.e. less people are querying them – and more targeted such as ‘cheap flights to Bali’.
High volume keywords might generate a lot of traffic but conversion rate and repeat visitors will be lower because that search query will bring up many more relevant websites for a potential customer to click through to than a more targeted search query.
Keywords that include location are important for reaching local markets, but jargon and industry specific or technical terms might not be part of the search query your potential customer types into Google so there’s no point having them.
Regardless of whether you use a high volume or a high performance strategy you still need to do more work to convert site visits into sales.
5. Why is it important to make on going minor changes to your website, test it and refine?
Any change is good because if you have done your SEO and your search engine registration well Google will pick it up.
Structural website changes don’t matter unless they impact on the URLs, page addresses or image names and links to your site, although it’s still worth remembering they impact on customer experience which impacts on traffic so indirectly they will impact on your Google ranking.
Use in-page analytics and Google analytics to understand what pages and parts of pages visitors to your site click on, no point updating the content on a page that no one ever goes to.
Trends change so updating old content is worthwhile as it will be indexed by Google.
Make one change every month and track it and measure it so you can fully understand the impact.
[seo image] 6. What are campaign pages and how should they be used?
Campaign pages are a useful way of targeting advertising to specific segments of your market or target based on anticipated search terms, without risking alienating existing customers or other visitors to your website.
Generally they are hidden from public view and are only visible if the specific search criteria are met.
As with all options for digital marketing it comes back to budget and when you are building your campaign pages you still need to do your research and make them SEO friendly.
7. What are some of the best measures of a websites performance and why?
All digital marketing has a conversion outcome, whether it’s more Facebook likes, higher website traffic or bigger sales.
Once you know what you’re conversion outcome is then you know what tools you need to measure it. To understand your website performance in terms of visitor traffic then Google Analytics is the best tool because it will tell you exactly how your customers are engaging with your website and you can revise and refine your site accordingly.
You also need benchmarks. The best websites we see convert a visitor into a viable quote or booking customer at a rate of 50%. The nearer you get to 50% the better. So make sure you track conversions to turn one time visitors into multiple visitors and buyers. If you have 5 different conversion methods, sign up for the newsletter, buy, ask us a question, join the club, get a discount voucher, etc, that are all different, and if they all perform at 10% you are doing well...
The best websites find a customer once and sell them loads of stuff over time.
8. What’s the best way to approach Google advertising?
Approach it cautiously, and with a low budget. Build it slowly based upon known successes. As you improve your success rate grow the budget, and build from there.
9. How long before you should see results?
The world’s best brand new website can expect to appear on Google within an hour.
If your new website has been up and running for a week, and you are still not showing up on relevant searches then there’s a good chance something is amiss.
You still have to have something people want, and you need to find the geographic and the demographic that want to buy your product so bear that in mind when you are designing your website and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
10. What should you look out for when choosing an SEO / AdWords specialist?
Ignore anybody that says they will get you ‘front page of Google’ it’s a sales pitch. Look for someone who will give you a full assessment of your existing website and what’s right or wrong with it before they start telling you what they would change.
You don’t want a provider you want a partner, someone you can grow with and trust. If in doubt get a recommendation from a marketing agency. Use the experts that fit your needs for your business and base your choice on fact not promises.
Do your research.
At Sustainable Marketing we are very fussy about strategic partners and we get the best outcomes for our clients because we have built a team of specialists with expertise in branding, marketing, public relations and digital marketing.
We have been collaborating with Mark Tull from Website Essentials for over 5 years and he is an important part of the successes we achieve for our clients.
From clients who come to us with websites that simply aren’t performing, to consulting on new websites that will speak to Google, or setting up the SEO for new clients and driving their online performance, Mark Tull and his team at Website Essentials are an integral part of our digital strategy and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.
Maria Anderson, Managing Director, Sustainable Marketing