Marketing Moxie Blog

The Power of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 @ 14:08 PM

Search Engine Optimization is something a lot of people know about but do not understand. SEO is time-consuming to implement and if not done the correct way, can have poor results. Don't expect to have a page with just a bunch of keywords and wait for traffic to be directed to it by search engines. Big and small businesses alike need to properly create and adapt their search engine optimization strategies to get the most out of their website.

What is SEO?

SEO Question

Let’s start from the beginning: what is search engine optimization? In a nutshell, SEO is changing a web page to get it to the top of the list when someone hits enter on a relevant Google or Yahoo search. This is everything from putting keywords in the pages itself to having the right meta tags. There are many facets to search engine optimization, and businesses with large websites often have an entire team devoted to this task.

Basically one should get inside the mind of a visitor to their site. How did they get there and what are they looking for? If no SEO tactics were used, it is assured that a visitor didn’t get there from a Google search? So it must be advertising, either in the form of free links to the site or paid advertising links. The amount of traffic generated from these links is drastically lower than what can be generated by being on the first page of a search results list.

Implementing this Approach

The problem with implementing SEO and inbound links for a website is that it takes a lot of time —firstly to learn about SEO, and secondly to actually optimize the content. It is easy to see this as something that doesn’t need to be dealt with right now and there are other parts of the business which need time devoted to them. However, in 99% of cases, this is incorrect. Correctly used, optimizing a site for search engines will increase the inbound traffic hundreds, if not thousands of times. Added to that, the people that are on the site are actually looking for the service provided by the site. Instead of having three or four customers making purchases from a site each day, there would be thousands. There is literally no faster way to grow a business.

This doesn’t mean that the other tasks around the business are getting done, and how can a business owner be sure that the SEO implementation has gone according to plan? This is why it is often better for small businesses to outsource this task to a professional. Search engine optimization is basically web marketing. In an age where people turn to the internet to search for everything, it is viable to spend more money on web promotion than more traditional forms of marketing —using radio or television.

The best way to increase inbound traffic is to maximize the number of ways people are entering the site.  From blog posts and gaining a foothold in social media to optimizing landing pages and forms, they all play a role in getting your site to a number #1 Google ranking and increase traffic flow to a business exponentially.

We've put together a free ebook for you, whether you've already invested in an SEO strategy or are just getting started, this guide will help you gain a stronger understanding of all aspects of the SEO process. 

Download Now!

 

Tags: evaluating media efforts, online marketing, search engine marketing

Pay per Click Budget Growing?

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

CPC (Cost per Click) advertising, such as Google Adwords, offers businesses an amazing opportunity to reach targeted groups of prospects and customers.  I love Google Adwords—when it’s done right, the potential to target and evaluate results is impressive. 

Having fallen in love with Google Adwords many years ago, I decided to master Google Adwords so I could use it to its full potential for my clients.  After taking several advanced Google Analytics and Google Adwords courses I put Google Adwords to work.  True to Google – there were always changes and enhancements to Google Adwords – more targeting options – enhanced ads and more. 

The other constant with my Google Adwords campaigns was the increasing budget!!  The more you spend on Google Adwords the more you can drive up the cost per click.  In my experience, when I would help a client with a Google Adword campaign they may lead their category in the short term, but it never took long before the competition followed suite.  

While it may be challenging to do Google Adwords well, it isn’t challenging to simply have a presence on Google Adwords.  Let me clarify—it is VERY easy to spend too much on Google Adwords.  If you aren’t targeting your ads, using custom landing pages and negative keywords (to name only a few spending traps) then you are probably spending too much on Google Adwords.  

Even if you are being very strategic with Google Adwords, chances are that your budget is likely to perpetually increase and there is a small chance that your conversion rate increases. 

If you are in a competitive industry (as  most of my clients are) you may lead in this space for a while, but as soon as a competitor jumps in and starts to bid on the same keywords the cost go up for both of you and the only winner is Google! 

There is a better way! 

What you spend on Google Adwords today is of no benefit tomorrow.  But if you focus your efforts on search engine optimization and simply enhancing your website for humans, the work you do is of benefit today, tomorrow and the next day.

Could your marketing efforts benefit from a free inbound marketing assessment?

Connect with Me!

 

Tags: inbound marketing, evaluating marketing, search engine marketing, online marketing

Why I don’t do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) anymore...

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, May 26, 2014 @ 07:05 AM

 

I am a strong believer in online and specifically inbound marketing, yet I don’t do SEO (Searchwhy I don't do seo Engine Optimization) anymore. 

There was a time when I spent a great deal of my efforts on optimizing sites for search optimization. I used all the expected tactics – meta tags, alt tags for images, inbound links, registering the site, keyword work on the site and in the backend too.  SEO was once the starting point with a new client and it represented a significant portion of the work I did. 

I recently took a call about doing SEO work for a new business.  I chose not to take on this project, despite having capacity, because I’ve decided not to do SEO anymore—not as a stand-alone job, anyhow – because SEO does not and cannot stand-alone.  Sure a new website should be well optimized by the developer and marketing strategist but that is only the beginning.  As Google continuously evolves the way they serve results SEO must be an ongoing focus of any business. 

Google’s most recent changes to the algorithm for search again placed an even stronger focus on user centric content.  That’s great news, as marketers we should be focusing our efforts on writing for the humans that interact with our site and deliver helpful, relevant, engaging content.  Your site simply cannot optimize for search and then move on.  You must continually enhance your website content for users and Google will reward you.  Blog regularly with keyword rich content, build inbound links, update your content and back end with relevant keywords and finally give users a place to contribute on your site.

Why not enhance your site today with a blog?  Did you know that sites with a blog generate 70% more leads?  Download my free Ebook Steps to Grow and Scale your Business Blog 

Click here to download the eBook!

 

 

 

Tags: evaluating marketing, search engine marketing, website marketing, keyword strategy

Understanding Google's Algorithm

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

In a typical search engine query, there are thousands, even millions, of web pages containing helpful information. The algorithms that provide these results are the computer formulas and processes that takes users’ questions and converts them into answers. Today's Google algorithms depend on over 200 unique signals or clues that allow it to guess what users are searching for. These signals

A September 2012 presentation from the Google Engage Conference in Vancouver showed that 4.8 billion Canadian Google searches are performed each month alone.

In the beginning

The earliest days of Google weren't that long ago either, only stemming back to the late 1990s to 2000s. Google and its search engine counterparts mainly worked as machines that matched keywords and counted links. Back then, a website could receive a high ranking by a simple Google and SEO two-step process that went like this:

  • Include keywords or keyword phrases into every web page or website as many times as possible
  • Get as many inbound links as humanly possible

The beat goes on

However, the "fun" wouldn't last as Google discovered weaknesses that required attention, and when addressed would provide higher quality results for its users. In 2003, the search engine began introducing various changes to its algorithms, some quite minor, but others with major changes. With the past earthshaking algorithms like Panda and Penguin, Google was responsible for considerable crackdowns in practices such as keyword stuffing, content farms, thin content, high ad-to-content ratios, and numerous other black hat tactics. These algorithms also had a direct effect on greatly reducing search engine rankings for article directories, and gaming and porn websites.

The next step

Then, with the February 2013 introduction of the highly overhauled "Hummingbird" algorithm, Google and SEO practices have provided users with dramatically increased. Google began to recognize full question queries with high emphasis on quality content. Hummingbird is thought to have affected around 90 percent of all queries, not to mention change how Google processes its user requests. It does still maintain the traditional factors like PageRank but includes more complex methods to reach its results.

For example, someone may search for "Where can you buy vintage Michael Jordan sneakers?" The updated Hummingbird algorithm will present the user with results that direct them to e-commerce sites that carry the sneakers, shops that carry vintage sporting goods, or other places that would carry the item. The search engine should hopefully understand the query and provide the various results rather than the previous keywords of only "buy sneakers."

The infographic below provides the full Google algorithm changes history:

Visual History of Google Algorithm Changes

Mobile searches

Among the new improvements in Hummingbird is the mobile search. According to the Vancouver Google conference, it was shown that mobile searches have local Canadian attention. Smartphone usage is growing based on the proximity of the searcher to e-commerce places. For example, overall Canadian usage shows that:

  • 60-70 percent of Canadians are on mobile
  • 80 percent are on a smartphone
  • 83 percent use mobile on the go
  • 72 percent use mobile in restaurants
  • 77 percent use mobile in stores
  • 86 percent of smartphone users notice mobile ads

How does this relate to marketing?

The latest Google algorithm also strongly encourages:

  • keeping a close eye on link profiles
  • maintaing good content strategies through regular, helpful content targeted at the targeted audience
  • staying active on social media related to one's industry

As today's businesses move into the latest Google algorithm, the most successful ones will gather their Google and SEO data by providing their audiences with pure information as well as differentiating their products or services from their competitors. This in turn will give consumers greater choices.

While it is important to design and write websites for Google.  It is still most important to write your website for your customers.  Your website is mostly likely going to be a prospects first interaction with your company. 

Is your website as hard working as you are?  If you think your website could be doing more for you consider a strategic Inbound Marketing program to convert more site visitors to paying customers, learn more here...

Free Inbound  Marketing Assessment

 

Tags: selling online, marketing roi, evaluating marketing, inbound marketing, search engine marketing, website marketing, lead generation, online marketing, hubspot

Build your website not somebody else's

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 10:04 AM

With Google introducing Panda and Penguin, it has become even more important to focus onbuild website right your online marketing strategy, and SEO should be a part of these strategies. Many small- and medium-sized business owners are under the impression SEO is no longer an important part of digital marketing. On the contrary, it is. So, don’t be fooled by SEO service providers who promise you the world, but cannot guarantee results.

No, SEO is Better than Terrible SEO

There are some companies that have flawed SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, but sell it quite promisingly as a part of their online marketing services. For instance, they promise impressive SEO, but what you get is a small site that is search engine optimized and it operates concurrently to your actual business website. If you opt for such a solution, you will be paying the service provider to drive traffic to their small website and not yours. Is that what you want?

Then there are sites that promise SEO through listings. This is another example of terrible SEO. Here, the so-called SEO is done on a customized page or your listing. The optimization does not occur on your website. So the whole exercise is futile, as your business website does not rise in search engine rankings nor will prospective customers find it in search engine result pages (SERPs).

What’s more is you can confuse prospects and customers with both of the mini site creation and listing solution.  If these solutions are well optimized as the provider promises, you can have a prospect or customer landing on these pages one day and your website another day.  They’ll find different visual presentation, and navigation; the experience will be less than optimal and may even turn off a prospective customer. 

Effectively with both these solutions you are helping others to build their site because the mini site and listing site live on the providers URL not your own. 

What Option Do You Have?

When you are running a business you need a comprehensive online marketing strategy. It is not just about optimizing your website for search engines, but also about using a multi-pronged approach that drives targeted traffic to your website and also improves your website’s search engine ranking. This multi-pronged approach will help build your online brand and make your website reputable and reliable in the eyes of prospective customers. Basically, you need a customized and tailor made strategic marketing plan.

That is why you need to partner with More In Store for your digital marketing needs. Located in Halifax, More In Store can assist your business carve a niche for itself by using clear-cut and extremely effective online marketing strategy.

Contact me today  for a free, no-obligation inbound marketing assessment. This will give you a clear picture on your digital marketing strategies and also provide you a roadmap for remedial measures, so that you can develop a customized online marketing strategy. As the name suggests, More In Store has a lot to offer your business, so why not make use of this expertise?

Free Inbound  Marketing Assessment

Tags: evaluating marketing, search engine marketing, website marketing, keyword strategy

Google Keyword Tool to help your SEO

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Keywords play a crucial role for the effective seo marketing campaigns. This is not news to anyonekeyword even remotely considering an seo marketing strategy and it’s certainly something the long-time marketers track regularly. Finding the right keywords and putting them to work for your business is not always easy, but there’s help. 


Since keywords are so important, it only makes sense to figure them out at the source — Google.

What exactly is the Google Keyword Tool?
It is a tool that helps identify the number of searches for specific words or phrases. It then offers traffic estimates, competition and much more associated with the keyword. Users can find keyword ideas based on a specific keyword, a URL or a keyword category. Using this knowledge gives marketers the ability to optimize their site, blog or mobile apps by including the right keywords in their content.

Using the Google Keywords tool effectively
It may be somewhat confusing when paying a visit to the keyword tool for the first time because it is designed for pay-per-click and not everyone is using the tool to spend money on ads. It sounds simple, but some exploration is needed to appreciate the benefits.

Searching phrases like content marketing, internet marketing and online marketing will bring results about those phrases and many more related terms. Starting with “content marketing” we see that 74,000 monthly searches take place globally, but should anyone trust that number? Don’t forget to check the filters used in the search.

Look in the left column under “Match Types.” It probably defaulted to “Broad” and that means the results include the number of searches that include the phrase. Click “Exact” to watch the keyword numbers reflect a more realistic search volume. “Content marketing” now shows 14,800 searches. That’s not too bad, but it will make a user think twice before diving into a complete seo marketing campaign using that keyword.

The “Match Types” section also includes an option for “Phrase.” This includes keywords where the term is used with other words within a phrase. Using the “Phrase” filter for “content marketing” would count searches in the results like “best content marketing” or “creative content marketing.”

What to look for in a keyword
Finding a relevant keyword can be tricky. Especially when so many results and ideas that are generated really don’t hit the mark. To keep it simple, watch the numbers under “Local Searches” and take note of the “Competition.” That’s the ideal situation particularly for a service-oriented business targeting a specific area.

A little planning before the keyword hunt
Sometimes it’s a good idea to go low-tech and write words and phrases that matter out on a piece of paper. It’s also effective to gather your staff for their input and simply listen to words customers use when they place an order. With a solid list of keywords in hand, the Google Keyword Tool is the perfect place to put those phrases to the test before you commit.

If seo marketing is too overwhelming and you would rather focus on the work you’re passionate about, hire a Marketing Ally to do the heavy lifting.

Connect with Me!

 

Tags: inbound marketing, search engine marketing, website marketing, keyword strategy

Creating and Enhancing Your Marketing Castle

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:02 AM

Consider a website an asset—something you invest in and build to serve your marketing and communication needs today and well into the future.  A website is your marketing castle—and just like you’d build a castle with a vision, you should do the same for your website. 

Chances are your website will be a new customer’s first interaction with your brand.  When you hear about a new service or product, chances are your next step is to look it up in Google and your potential customers are likely to do the same, right?

If you believe this to be true, what are you doing to build and enhance your marketing castle?  Do you like the structure and flow of your website?  If not, start dreaming and planning a website that really represents who you are and what your clients need to know about you in order to do business with you. 

Once your website (or marketing castle) is built, you will need to continue to enhance and maintain your website as your business evolves and changes.  A website is certainly more dynamic and easier to enhance than a castle.

Chances are you’ll get lots of offers to help you enhance your website.  Companies will offer to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) promising that you’ll come up number one in Google for certain keywords.  Perhaps, they will offer linking strategies that make your site come up higher in the search bar.  If these strategies or proposals sound too good to be true, they probably are—like the swamp water land you could buy in Florida, not the ideal place to build a castle! 

Marketing CastleSometimes these offers to ‘fix’ or ‘enhance’ your website or SEO placement are a bit more polished and slick and perhaps you’ve even been tempted to give these offers a try.  After all, you are juggling a gazillion things and quite frankly, it would be nice to tick marketing or website enhancements off the list.

When you are evaluating the merit and value of these pitches here are a couple of indicators that you should stay away from and a tip to help you evaluate the vendors to see if they will really deliver on what they promise. 

Only Invest in Your Own Castle – don’t pay rent at somebody else’s place 

I hear a lot of companies offering to build profiles or to create pages on their site for your company, promising to maximize its presence. 

If the provider is talking about giving you a profile on their site it isn’t going to help you nearly as much as if you enhance your own site.  Quite often these companies promise profiles that are ‘mini-sites’ loaded with features but your content is of most value, for both search optimization and user experience, if it lives on your own website. 

Web visitors may be confused if they see info on a ‘profile’ and then different content on your ‘website’. Many of these providers try to create a mini site that mimics your site. The visitor may not, in fact, know they aren’t on your site. This leads confusion if they see a different web presence each time they search for you. 

Rather sophisticated companies are taking this approach of creating mini-sites and profiles for companies. Yellow Pages and Roger’s Outrank are taking this approach. Invest in your own site, not a profile on another company’s site no matter how smooth and polished a presentation.  Your presence on their website is actually helping their site far more than it is helping you.  It is kind of like paying them rent – helping them to pay the mortgage on their castle and doing very little for your own castle.

Build ONE castle – not a house with many add-ons and out buildings.

Have you found yourself at a cross road of knowing whether you need one site or several sites.  Perhaps you have multiple service locations—do you give them all their own sites?  I have pondered this question and asked many web experts opinions.  Perhaps their answer will be obvious to you!  You want to build one marketing castle, not a house with lots of outbuildings. 

A website will come up higher in search results based on many factors but the volume of relevant content, number of incoming links and age of the website all contribute to your placement in search.  You can actually be penalized for duplicate content on sites.  It takes less time to build one quality site and serves you far better in the long run than maintaining many sites. 

Often companies have several URLs (or web addresses) and that is the reason that they build or keep many websites, but you can easily redirect web users from other URLs to your marketing site – the user won’t even realize they are being redirected and you’ll be building one strong marketing castle. 

You Can’t Build a Castle Overnight

Coming up high in search engines takes time.  Some of the top results in Google are pieces of content that were posted sometime ago. Just like you can’t build a castle over night you can’t get to be number one in Google overnight.  If somebody has promised you overnight success it is probably too good to be true.  Buying Google Adwords can get you to the top practically overnight, but you are going to pay per click (this can be a good plan if it fits your strategy).  While Google Adwords can put you on top overnight, many people choose organic results over the ads. Investing in true SEO doesn’t cost you per click.

Considering a Provider?

If you’re considering a provider to help you with website enhancement or SEO, ask who they’ve helped before – get client names and see how those companies perform in search for keywords you’d use for those services.  Let the work these companies have done for other companies speak for them. 

Looking to see how your website or SEO measures up? Contact me for a free Inbound Marketing Assessment.

Free Inbound  Marketing Assessment

Tags: evaluating marketing, inbound marketing, search engine marketing, internet marketing

The Social Media Tune-Up: Process for Effective Social Media

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Jan 07, 2013 @ 15:01 PM

When I first started training on Social Media, I used to dedicate considerable time to showing the business value of a social media.  Today most business owners get that social media is (or should be) an integral part of any marketing mix.  With current training sessions on social media, the stumbling blocks are often more about how to be effective on social media. Participants are unsure of:

  • The best social media tools for their business
  • How often to post
  • What to post
  • Reasonable expectations from social media
  • Tips to really rock in social media
  • How to conduct a social media tune up
social media tune up

A successful social media strategy will look different for different businesses.  While the top social media tools may be the same, a strategy for a business to business company will be quite different to a consumer marketing company. 

Some tips to realize social media success are broad reaching and apply to most businesses.  There are several social media tools worth considering including the obvious 5: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest, but be cautious on how much you take on.  You are better off to have a strong and effective presence in a few social media platforms than to be spread too thin in many social platforms.  Perhaps, the only thing worse than not having a social media presence, is to have a dated profile that no one is monitoring and customer comments are left unattended.  Start with the basics and add other tools only once you are comfortable with your existing profiles.

Are the social media platforms that you are using the right ones for your target audience?  Ask customers what tools they use and what they look for from business on the various social media platforms.  Use your web analytics (Google Analytics or other tools) to determine which social platforms drive the most traffic to your site.  I worked with a client who was about to abort his Facebook Strategy—but Google Analytics revealed that Facebook was the second biggest driver of traffic to the company site.  Chances are you have concrete information on whether Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is sending you any valuable web traffic. 

Once you’ve selected the social media platforms that are a right fit for your audience, dig deep into that tool.  If Facebook is on your list, use Facebook Insights to get a better understanding of how your fans use your facebook page.  Facebook Insights provides demographic information, click through information and much more.  You’ll be able to see which posts had the most impact on your audience.  Have you tried different types of posts – questions, images, videos, promotional information, and educational information?  Use Facebook Insights to see which post type (and time) generates the most click throughs. 

What about Twitter?  Whether you’ve been there for a while or just jumping in, chances are you could use a tune up.  Do you promote events on Twitter, how many times a day is best for your audience?

Before your next post, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and review your social media strategy and tactics.  Perhaps it’s time for a tune up.  Download this free guide to The Social Media Tune-Up:  3 Steps Process to Effective Social Media Accounts.

Download Now

Tags: social media marketing, social media tips, search engine marketing, facebook marketing tips, twitter tips