Answers to commonly asked SEO questions

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in SEO | Comments Off on Answers to commonly asked SEO questions

Answers to commonly asked SEO questions

Many businesses out there with an online presence find SEO and all its intricacies very confusing and either outsource it completely, or ignore it. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can really ignore, not if you want to succeed in the digital world. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions, which might help to get your head around the importance of optimizing your website and content to get maximum returns. Should I outsource SEO or do it myself? It really depends on the size of your business and how much time you have available. Larger businesses could potentially afford to hire someone to take care of the SEO as part of a bigger portfolio, but smaller businesses may want to outsource it to a trustworthy digital marketing company who has more experience. If the business is a start-up and the owner has the time to learn about the basics of SEO and do it in-house, the experience and understanding of SEO practices will help with monitoring later on if it ever gets outsourced. Why is blogging such a big deal for SEO? Google loves fresh content and websites that continually post, so blogging is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. In addition, your blogs posts will hopefully inspire other people and encourage them to share your blogs, which helps to stretch its reach. Blogging regularly helps to establish you as an expert in your field, increase exposure and establish trust with your customers. But quality far outweighs quantity, so concentrating on blogs that provide relevant, interesting and engaging content is more likely to be read, shared and improve your reputation. What’s the most important thing I could do right now to improve my SEO? Do some research into what keywords your customers and potential customers are using in their searches. Also, ensure that your website has no technical issues. Fantastic content is wasted if there is a miscoded file that stops Google from crawling your site. Go into your Google Webmaster Tools account to see what HTML improvements they recommend for your site. Make sure you have an XML sitemap submitted too. How much time should I be spending on SEO? This depends on your type of business – a product based website with many products would need more time than a service based business. You should dedicate a couple of hours to SEO per week, but only once you have a clear understanding of who your audience is and how you plan to target them. For small businesses focusing on blogs, an hour a week should be sufficient, but this includes commenting on other platforms, guest posting and doing interviews or podcasts. Just how important are keywords? Google’s search algorithm will constantly update and change, but keywords will always remain a very important part of SEO. The numbers of keywords and how they are used may change from time to time, but at the core, they are what SEO is all about. Keywords form the basis of every search, so understanding what your audience is searching for can help you optimize your website and content, so they can find you more easily. For more on SEO, getting an SEO audit or if you’re interested in chatting to us about the many aspects of search engine optimization,...

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Creating an awesome “About Us” page

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Content Marketing | Comments Off on Creating an awesome “About Us” page

Creating an awesome “About Us” page

Whether you are building your website for the first time, rebranding it or just revamping, it’s a good idea to spend significant time on your About Us page. This is one of the most frequently visited pages of a company website, where your visitors find out about you, your business and why they should engage with you. It’s often the first impression you leave on a potential customer or employee, so don’t miss the opportunity to make it a great one. Here are some guidelines when you’re thinking about this section, which will assist in designing an informative and engaging page. Firstly, make sure you answer the Who, What, Why, Where and When questions. Who’s in charge, who founded the company, whose vision led to its inception? What kind of people form your team? What makes them special? What do you do? What are you passionate about? Why should I be giving you attention? Why do you deserve my patronage? Where are your offices/stores? When did you start this business? Using the five Ws can help you cover pretty much everything that’s needed – a bit of history, an insight into the kind of people behind the brand, what they believe in, etc. A growing trend is using a short video to convey the information – well scripted and filmed, it can resonate well with the “instant gratification” audience of today. The form and function of your About Us page is another important factor. It needs to be attractive, with a good balance of images and content. Keep it in line with your brand and if there’s a lot of information to convey, consider using sub-pages, so your page isn’t too long. It’s worth using a professional photographer for shots of your team – pictures taken at different times with varying resolutions look cheap. If your brand is quirky, use the opportunity to create fun and amusing pictures, to reveal a different side of your business’ personality. The most important aspect to remember is to keep it real. This is the page that shows the heart of your business. Prospective employees will be sure to give it close scrutiny, so it should be charming, but not fiction. If your website needs a boost, or if you’re designing one for the first time, why not let us have a go? With many years of experience in creating websites that reflect the brand, we’re just the people to...

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Using hashtags to increase your content reach

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Content Marketing | Comments Off on Using hashtags to increase your content reach

Using hashtags to increase your content reach

Hashtags are funny little things, previously the domain of Twitter, but now realised as an effective tool in content marketing. Largely used on social media, hashtags make it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.  They are a great way to promote your brand, create conversations, generate feedback and follow trends. Here’s how you can use hashtags to increase your content marketing reach. Amplify your content People use hashtags to search for information on social channels, so tagging your content appropriately will make it easier for an audience to find you. There is so much online content that the competition for anyone trying to grow an online audience has become very steep. Amplify your content to make sure it stands out by using hashtags. Pick the right hashtags Hashtags are essentially a promise of more to come, so it’s vital to use relevant hashtags with your content, so you don’t run the risk of disappointing your audience. Using inappropriate hashtags can make your content look spammy, which could damage your content marketing strategy in the long run. There are free tools to help you find the right hashtags, like Hastagify.me, that show their popularity. Once you have identified some hashtags, think about how to use them – the ones with the highest popularity will mean there is a lot of competition for attention. It might be worth using a less popular hashtag with less crowding. Use trending hashtags Identifying existing hashtags that relate to your content can help you piggy back on a trend. You can use these hashtags to join a conversation, to draw attention to your content. Look for hashtags that are trending or gaining popularity. Create hashtags carefully When making your own hashtags, check your spelling, check slang dictionaries and check how it looks with different capitalisations. A quick search for hashtag fails will show you some funny and some very damaging results from inappropriate hashtag creation and usage. When and where to tag Different social media platforms use hashtags in a variety of ways – Facebook posts with hashtags by publishers like CNN show more interaction than those without, but the general feeling is that Facebook is a more private network for friends and family, so using hashtags is unnecessary. Instagram, however, relies on hashtags to make their images more findable. Hashtags on Twitter do produce more interaction, but any more than two or three starts to look desperate. Hashtags are a valuable tool in promoting your content and increasing its reach, but they should be used carefully to avoid embarrassing mistakes or backlash. For more on social media services and content marketing, contact us...

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4 metrics to streamline your keyword research

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in SEO | Comments Off on 4 metrics to streamline your keyword research

4 metrics to streamline your keyword research

Brainstorming different keywords can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you start researching and filtering and discover that there are so many different options to choose from. When it comes to choosing the keywords that you are going to target, which metrics should you use to narrow down your scope? Here are a few important ones to consider: Search volume Google’s free keyword tool (which is used for AdWords) will show you how many times a specific keyword gets typed into Google each month. This is one of the most important metrics that digital marketers use when narrowing down search term options. If you are only targeting specific countries or locations, make sure to specify these regions so that you get a clear picture of the search volume that represents your potential customers. AdWords competition  Paid Google advertising metrics aren’t always an accurate reflection of Google’s ranking algorithm, so a competitive keyword phrase shouldn’t be mistaken for something that would necessarily require a lot of SEO effort. AdWords competition can, however, show you what types of keywords your competitors are bidding on. Available spots in search results  When researching your keyword options, pay attention to the type of content that comes up in Google’s search results. You may notice that some search queries yield news items while others yield video content. Organic SERP real estate can show you which keyword phrases are worth pursuing and it will also give you a clearer idea of the type of content you need to create to compete in this space. Google Display Planner demographics Google Display Planner will show you the key demographics of the keyword phrases that you are researching. This information can show you whether your ideal customers are the people behind the search terms and it can serve as a guide to point you in the right direction. For more information and advice from WSI OMS, please contact...

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Use the improved Google Maps local search ads to promote your business

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Website Content | Comments Off on Use the improved Google Maps local search ads to promote your business

Use the improved Google Maps local search ads to promote your business

If you use local search ads on Google maps to attract customers in your area, there have been some improvements to this service that you should know about. Appearing on both desktops and mobile devices, the adverts you place on Google maps are a very powerful way to increase your exposure, making it easy for people to find you, contact you and make their way to your premises. The “new generation” Google maps ads are set to improve by introducing new ad formats and features, that will hopefully direct more traffic to your physical location. These include Promoted Pins, customizable business pages and in-store promotions. The aim is to make the ads more visible to the user, but without becoming intrusive. New local search ads will appear in the Google Maps app, on Google Maps mobile, desktop and tablet sites, as well as on google.com expanded map results. In the recent Google Performance Summit, some mobile statistics were revealed that should make you sit up and realise why people need to be able to find your business easily, both online and physically: Around 90% of all global sales happen in stores, not online. Three out of four people that use their mobile devices to search locally, end up visiting the store within a day, with 28% of those searches result in a purchase. Nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location. 84% of consumers conduct local searches. Over a billion people use Google Maps. Promoted Pins, or branded pins, will help your business stand out on a map. Your logo will appear on the map search result, instead of the usual red dot. Below your business details and address, you can feature an in-store promotion, which could be the pull the user needs to select your business. So how does Google know which store listings to show, when there could be many in the area? Using a variety of signals, including search history, interests, time of day, demographics and query context, Google will show results that are relevant to the user, similar to what they’re doing on the Google Display Network. Local pages are set for an upgrade – when someone taps on a local search ad, they will be taken to a page that will include store hours, phone numbers, website address, directions and even a photo of the storefront. These changes are set to roll-out in the next few months, so in the meantime, you can make sure that you enable local extensions – only ads with location extensions enabled will be eligible to show. Check that all your information in Google My Business is up to date and accurate. The world of digital marketing is galloping along at quite a pace – to make sure your business is reaping the benefits of the latest trends and tools, contact us...

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Why great Instagram captions are worth the effort

Posted by on Aug 10, 2016 in Digital Media Marketing, Social Networking | Comments Off on Why great Instagram captions are worth the effort

Why great Instagram captions are worth the effort

Gaining followers on Instagram isn’t only about taking the photograph and editing it to perfection. The quality of your photos and captions can be the difference between getting a few more followers, or getting more followers interested in your brand and the human side of your business. Captions are an opportunity to explain a bit about the picture, or say something humorous, not just an afterthought. When composing your Instagram caption, think about the following: Write down a few versions of your caption and think about them for a while before posting. While Instagram might be about documenting your images in real time, the level of engagement your posts receive matters more than the chronology. Put the important stuff in at the start of your caption – the character limit on Instagram (2 200 characters) doesn’t really matter, it’s more about the cut-off after three or four lines of text in your user feed. Put any CTAs or important content at the start and save the hashtags and links for the end. Use Call To Actions in your caption – this can be a question to spark a conversation, a directive to click on a link in your bio, or an invitation for your followers to tag their friends. Using verbs in your caption increases the likelihood of sharing. Don’t use more than 4 hashtags. Like Twitter and Facebook, a hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream, so as long as your account is public, anyone searching under a certain hashtag will find your Instagram post. Too many starts to look spammy, so don’t be tempted to use a string of searchable hashtags. Use a lighter tone than you would on other social media platforms – keep it light-hearted and fun, to show off the more personable side of your business. Puns work well, showing cleverness with a twist of humour. Use emoji’s to add some personality. They are undisputedly successful with smartphone users, so they resonate well. They also take up less space, allowing you to ‘say’ more in your first few lines. Your caption might need to be long, like if you’re posting an entire recipe with your image, but if you’re unsure, keep your caption brief. Let your visual do the talking. For more on social networking and using platforms, like Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to give your business a voice, contact us. There’s a mine of information out there, and we’d love to assist in crafting a digital marketing strategy that works for your...

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Are you up to speed on the latest Twitter features?

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Social Networking, Twitter | Comments Off on Are you up to speed on the latest Twitter features?

Are you up to speed on the latest Twitter features?

Twitter is one of the most widely used social media platforms and like all online apps or tools, is constantly evolving to keep up with the fast pace of change. They have made a number of small and big changes in the last six months or so, to drive user engagement and improve the overall experience, so here’s a summary of the top 5 features: Getting round the 140-character count While some see the character limit as the fastest way to communicate and an essential part of Twitter’s identity, others argue that removing the 140-character cap would open it up for a new range of content. Media links on your tweet can take up around 16% of your character allotment, though tweets with images get a lot more retweets and click throughs. Twitter announced that media attachments to tweets (images, polls, videos) would no longer form part of your 140-character count. This also applies to the @handle when replying to a tweet. Connect tab In order to really reap the value of Twitter, users need to follow a lot of users, but since some find it difficult to identify who to follow, Twitter has now released a Connect tab, which allows you to scan your contacts for people to follow. It also comes with custom recommendations based on your activity, location, existing follower profile and interests. By increasing the user base, Twitter hopes to increase the activity on timelines. ‘Go Live” for Periscope Starting with Android phones, Twitter have added a “Go Live” button, which allows users to connect to Periscope while composing a tweet and broadcast directly through Twitter. Using live streaming to compile and publish longer thoughts and responses will reduce the need for complicated Twitter Q&A, while reducing the clutter on Twitter feeds. Focusing on the “live” aspect of Twitter, live video format will bring more engagement and a more compelling format to breaking news and every day topics alike. GIF search feature In 2015, over 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter, which is fairly impressive considering how long it took to load one. Now with Twitter’s new GIF search feature, searching for images is a quick and painless process – no more laborious hunts on search engines, saving images, returning to Twitter, composing a tweet, uploading your image. GIFs are set to become a whole lot more popular. Uncropped photos While Twitter started as a text-based platform, it soon realised the power that images have, leading to some of its top engagement. To embrace this, Twitter have adjusted their image size requirements, allowing for more visually engaging images that are not cropped to death. They have also introduced a new view for multi-photo displays, which is great for collages. In addition to these new great features, Twitter have also responded to the complaints about harassment on the network. Threatening tweets have been allowed to spread, causing people to delete their accounts. Twitter have formed a clearer definition of abusive behaviour in their terms of service, as well as increasing their functionality for blocking, muting and reporting abuse. Unlike most businesses who merely try to keep up with their competitors’ development, these improvements have been largely aimed at improving the user experience. Are you using Twitter to keep abreast of news, developments and ideas for...

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Your guide to Google content penalties

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Content Marketing | Comments Off on Your guide to Google content penalties

Your guide to Google content penalties

Google’s content algorithms are always evolving. If you have suddenly realised that your website traffic has dropped significantly, then it is possible that the content on your site has been penalised. Doing business online means that you have to proactively manage your website traffic and a part of this is staying updated with the algorithmic penalties that Google enforces. Here’s an overview of some of the most significant penalties: Panda The initial Panda algorithm was launched in 2011 and the goal of this algorithm is to penalise websites with poor content. The algorithm has been updated since the initial launch and Google continues to run it a few times each year, which means that even if your website is affected and you fix the issues on your site, you might have to wait a few months before your website traffic will be restored to normal. According to the Panda algorithm, weak content can mean anything from content that is duplicated and redundant to sloppy, hastily produced content. This can seem a bit arbitrary, so you might have to do a stock take of all the pages and articles on your site to pinpoint poor content. Penguin The Penguin algorithm was released in 2012 and it was created to identify spammy links on websites. Around 3% of all websites on the internet were affected when it was launched and Google has continued to improvise this algorithm and make it more sophisticated. Unnatural link building practices include links that are sourced from low authority sites or links from only one or two sources. Mobilegeddon In 2015, Google announced that they would be penalising websites that aren’t mobile friendly. If your website isn’t adapted for cell phone screens and other mobile devices, then you are losing out on sales and For more information and advice about content marketing from WSI OMS, please contact...

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The many faces of email marketing

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in E-mail Marketing | Comments Off on The many faces of email marketing

The many faces of email marketing

With email marketing, we all know how important it is to get the email right – the right sort of design, personalised content, prominent call-to-actions etc. These not only apply to your initial campaign emails, but also to your other emails – a practise that can be neglected. Think about the other types of emails you can use in your campaign and how applying the basics to all of these types of messages can be the trick to more conversions. Let’s look at some of the different types: Content announcement These emails usually announce a sale, a new eBook, coupon, discount – a single specific offer, with a CTA that takes the reader to a targeted landing page. Remember to keep your copy short but descriptive, with the CTA visible and obvious. Product updates While not as exciting as a special offer or discount, product emails should not be sent too often and should be simple and straightforward. A bi-monthly or monthly collection of new products should have clear headlines, visuals and minimal content; rather link products to a custom page to make it easy for recipients to learn more about it. Event invitation In these types of emails, you need to convey to the reader why the event will be beneficial for them to attend. Great visuals and limited copy work well, with teasers about guest speakers or competitions happening at the event. Newsletters Even if you have a business blog or run a digital magazine, you may want to send a weekly or monthly roundup of popular stories or articles, shared in a visually appealing way. Using a simple format of headlines, strong images and the first few lines or summary of the article, with a link back to the original article, is a great way to keep readers engaged, without sending them a very long email. Co-marketing communication Two or more complementary companies may partner on an event or promotion, with the specific goal of leveraging the audience of another company to increase your reach. Using email to make the announcement, featuring both company logos and sending to the combined email list of both companies, can be a very effective tool. Social media messages Using social groups on LinkedIn or Google+ allows you to send messages to the social groups’ inboxes, but remember you don’t have the option of using email software to add images or customise the layout. Use the white space well by keeping paragraphs short and your thoughts clear. Use bullet points to make your message easy to read and understand. Don’t overuse these types of emails, or you may alienate those in the group. Confirmation email These should be simple emails confirming information that the readers need to know, such as a booked flight, or payment receipt for something bought online. The aim is to give peace of mind, not sell additional products. Kickback message This is an automated email that is sent in response to an opt-in or purchase. This type of thank you message shows that you have fulfilled a promise to your user, or contains relevant information, like reference numbers or links to download an eBook or similar. Like confirmations emails, these should be simple and clear, without the burden of additional marketing material. Welcome email An opportunity to provide more...

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Using mobile user behaviour to shape your marketing strategy

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Digital Media Marketing, E-mail Marketing | Comments Off on Using mobile user behaviour to shape your marketing strategy

Using mobile user behaviour to shape your marketing strategy

Mobile phones continue to dominate as the main source of device for viewing and interacting online, so it makes a lot of sense to align your digital marketing efforts to optimise the mobile experience. It’s not merely about having a great landing page that renders well on smartphones and tablets, it’s about thinking of the user behind the device – their behaviours, goals and preferences. Here are some behaviours about mobile users that you can use to adapt your mobile marketing strategy, to get more leads. Mobile users tend to sort through their emails to read later. It’s estimated that 65% of emails get opened on a mobile device before a desktop, so your email marketing needs to stand out so it makes the cut to be read later. You need to optimise your emails for people who skim read – keep emails short and to the point, with relevant headlines breaking it up into sections. Keep the design simple, so they don’t distract or look too busy. Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive, with a clear message and thumb-friendly Call to Action button. People use mobile for research The search for a product or solution generally begins as a more informal action on a mobile device – with people more likely to switch to a desktop to make the actual purchase. But even though they may not purchase from a mobile device, you can still design your mobile marketing to make this research phase easier. Using click-to-call buttons that go directly through to the users’ phone dialler makes it quick and simple for interested parties to get more information via a phone call. Mobile users don’t mind scrolling Once your users have clicked on a CTA and arrive at your landing page, they need to have a positive experience. Your landing page needs to be mobile responsive and offer easy to find and use tabs and buttons. The length of the landing page is also worth looking at – while the obvious thought may be to keep the content short, mobile users actually don’t mind scrolling, as long as the information you are providing is relevant and what they want to see. Using opt-in buttons or Back to Top tabs give your reader the option of a quick way out, if they’ve read enough, while prominent Call to Action buttons are useful in persuading the user to the next part of the purchasing process. The opt-in should be quick and easy If your main goal is to get users to opt in online, rather than using a click-to-call, you need a mobile responsive landing page with a very obvious opt-in button. But then, the opt-in form is critical – mobile users want quick and simple procedures. By streamlining your form, you can get the minimum information which you can follow up with an email or phone call. People are hesitant to type too much on their mobiles, so reducing the amount of information required can lead to a higher conversion rate. Another simple shortcut is to make sure your different input fields automatically switch the mobile keyboards to alphabetical versus numerical, depending whether it’s a name (alphabetical), phone number (numerical), email address (alphabetical), postal code (numerical), etc. It’s worth finding out a bit more about your target mobile audience and using...

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