How SEO Works: Simplified

How SEO Works: Simplified

The three letters: SEO, are known only too well by anyone working in digital marketing, but it often remains the domain of technical specialists and so not well understood by others. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is indeed a technical practice, but one that should be understood (if only on the simplest level) by business owners who are looking to pay or already pay for this service.

Understanding how SEO works at a basic level (when explained properly) can be hugely beneficial to the working in many business areas: so here we drill it down to its foundations and take it step by step.

What is SEO?

SEO is the practice of optimising content on a website so that the machine learning algorithms search engines run on, are able to identify their relevance and present them high up on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). When looking at how SEO works, those in marketing primarily work to make their content relevant for Google – as it holds by far the majority market share, and so it naturally drives more visitors to websites than others.

When a User Searches

Digital marketing departments need to link in their SEO actions to meet with each point of the search process for the ultimate efficiency.

First, a user performs a search by typing their query into a search engine. They are then presented with results that the algorithm deems appropriate and relevant to that search. In order to rank highly amongst search results relevant to the business, there are two main factors taken into consideration:

  1. Relevance – the search engine must be able to scan through the content on the page and judge it to be appropriate to the users search terms.
  2. Authority – the search engine must be able to judge how trustworthy the page is.

Demonstrating Relevance and Authority

Firstly, a business’ web content must demonstrate its relevancy and authority in order to rank on search engine results for appropriate user searches.

To demonstrate relevance, a website must clearly demonstrate its topic and niche in its content. This means that the search engine must be able to determine through its words, content, keywords and meta tags what it is about and who it would be relevant for. This can be implemented through the usage of keywords and key phrases, and can occur even in less considered places such as image names.

To demonstrate authority, a website must appear genuine and trustworthy. This is most commonly demonstrated through links from other sites to it, as well as from it to other sites. If other websites deem it relevant and honourable enough to link to, a search engine will take that as a positive reference.

The Two Main Types

As perhaps you may have ascertained from the two points above, there are two main types of SEO activity: that carried out on-page (on a webpage, created and curated by the business) and off-site (on other websites linking back to it).

On-page SEO is the most natural place to start work, but off-site should also be focused on once the on-page basics have been fixed. Off-site SEO can be a myriad of activity – from PR and social media campaigns to news stories, industry articles, referrals and basic links. The latter is really what builds a website’s credibility with a search engine. Whilst a high quantity of links is good (because it shows that lots of other sites deem it relevant), quality links also play a huge role. ‘High authority’ websites such as big brand names, news agencies and high-ranking websites give greater eminence than links from smaller, lesser-known and lesser-visited websites do.

Judging SEO Success

Websites each have a DA (Domain Authority); a score given to them from 1-100 that ranks how likely they are to show up highly on search engine results pages. What is considered a ‘high’ DA score depends on how competitive sites are within the niche it resides in, but anything above 25 to 30 is considered good.

Whilst many assume that typing search queries into a search engine and seeing where the site ranks is an accurate measure of SEO success, it is not – because there are so many factors at play when it comes to displaying what the search engine deems relevant (such as location, sites previously visited, etc) that what it shows for one person, it may not show for another.

Digital marketing specialists use DA checker services to judge their score and can analyse how much traffic to the site is ‘organic’ (not achieved through paid-for advertising) to best understand their current SEO performance.

Check out our SEO packages for smaller businesses

Calling In The Experts

While it’s true that most digital marketing professionals will have a base knowledge of SEO, there too are specialists working in the field that do nothing but SEO all day every day.

As Google and other search engines continually improve their machine learning and the algorithm gets smarter, it is better able to judge what is relevant and what users want, and expect, to see. This means that the ways SEO can be worked into a web page and its content is always changing. For example, the most recent Google announcement confirmed that accessibility, increased safety parameters, loading times and the responsiveness of websites to different devices will all have an enhanced focus on search moving forward – but there are announcements of such changes every few months, and tweaks ‘behind the scenes’ just about every day!

Businesses are able to implement certain levels of SEO improvements themselves, but we would always recommend having the support of an SEO expert. Woya Digital have an experienced and enthusiastic team of digital marketing and SEO professionals who can tackle any search-related challenge, and now also provide comprehensive Whitelabel SEO Content and SEO reseller packages.

 

The Value of Good Marketing Content 

The Value of Good Marketing Content 

The marketing sphere is changing and evolving all the time in line with new technologies, and now more than ever, with consumer expectations and appetites.

Amongst the buzzwords and terms we all hear banded about online, two words in particular are front and centre right now: content marketing. Also known as marketing content. Or just content!

Yet ‘content’ now seems to be such a popular word that it’s being used in industries outside of traditional marketing and even by those you may not consider to be ‘businesses’. But what does it really mean and why is it so important for marketing? Let Woya Digital reveal all…

What Do We Mean By The Word ‘Content’, In A Marketing Context?

The word ‘content’ in the relevant context means literally “substantive information or creative material”. It is this that those discussing the word in a digital marketing lexicon refer to, and in particular, material online that can be used as part of a marketing strategy to draw attention to the relevant brand and its products, services or experiences.

This includes, but is by no means limited to, written articles and blogs, videos, infographics, e-books, online events, webinars, podcasts, case studies, how-to guides and e-mail newsletters.

Content isn’t just used by traditional businesses for digital marketing practices, but also makes up the base strategy for social media influencers. Essentially, everything they produce is content, to promote both themselves as a brand and to promote the products or services of brands who have employed them. The word is probably the most prevalent in this sector and so the public who follow social media accounts of this type are more aware of it than most.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a specific digital marketing practice that focuses on the creation, publishing and distribution of content in order to attract, retain and sustain a targeted audience.

Online, this works primarily to attract audiences and generate leads through customer base expansion. The content shared through content marketing is usually accessed for free, although when the brand has built its reputation sufficiently, paid-for options offering further value are often added as additional income generation streams.

In order for content to be used as ‘marketing content’, each piece of it needs to be created in line with the brand appropriate guidelines so that it is instantly recognisable, consistent, fits the right look and feel for the business and is targeted to be considered of value for the audience. Content marketing should always begin by identifying a customer want or need, and providing content to fit it.

Why Is Content Important for Marketers?

Content marketing is of increasing benefit to businesses online for several reasons.

As far as marketing specialities go, content marketing is very time-consuming; but the benefits far outweigh the investment.

Content is an evergreen asset.

Once created, content never goes away and can be reused and repurposed time and time again to remain current and up-to-date. It’s a digital marketing asset and can form part of a larger suite of marketing materials to be used as and when required.

Content can prompt customers through the sales journey.

Like all marketing materials, content should always come with a call to action. If created sufficiently to fit a customer knowledge gap, want or need, content can position a brand as experts in their field and give added perceived value to any purchase made with them.

Marketing content acts, therefore, as a prompt to move along the sales process in a subtle manner – unlike more direct sales tactics that are often disliked by consumers.

Content boosts SEO efforts.

Everything produce digitally for a brand should be created with search in mind.

When marketing content is published and shared online, it works to build digital presence, establishes authenticity as an industry thought leader, builds reader/user trust and helps to attract, educate and nurture leads – all of which give a boost to a business’ SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). In turn, brands with good quality content being shared can expect to attract more organic traffic to their digital presence; be that a website, social media profile or other content channel.

Content can be shared widely.

Searchable content is key for message amplification, and consumers love it – after all, what could be more authentic than something someone believes in or enjoys enough to share onward with others?

When third parties and other consumers share a brand’s content, it widens the audience and directs more people to the business as well as increasing the reputation as an industry or topic expert. One of Google’s key measures as to how credible a source is, is to crawl those linking to it and sharing its content, so this too gives another angle of SEO benefit.

Marketing content is much more likely to be shared onward than traditional advertisements, as it contains a perceived value to the consumer and so in turn, the shares expand the marketing effort onward.

How Does My Business Get Started In Producing Content for Marketing?

To get started in content marketing, first identify customer needs, wants or information gaps. Do your potential customers misunderstand a related business topic? Do potential customers know the risks of not using a certain product or service? If a brand is able to explain in easy-to-understand terms aspects and topics of their industry to consumers, content can be created around it and this can be published and shared.

Content does of course, need to fit the overall marketing strategy and business goals, amplify the existing marketing messaging – and should also be presented in a manner that suits the target audience.

If you’re looking to make a start on creating and publishing marketing content, or would like support with content strategy and creation, the Woya Digital team are here to help. Sitting at the forefront of content creation, we’re able to utilise our experience across various industries and disciplines to produce content that attracts, converts, and better yet – delights!

Google Reviews And Your Local Business

Google Reviews And Your Local Business

Google is a big beast – the most visited search engine in the world, it processes 3.5 billion searches every day and is increasing by about 10% year-on-year. You may think your small, locally-focused business can’t really benefit from Google, but the truth is, it really can: Google’s facilities for local businesses are some of the most important online marketing tools you could ever hope to utilise, and best of all – they’re free!

One of the greatest tools available for local businesses online is Google Reviews; yet these are often feared by small enterprises. We’ve all read news articles of small businesses going ‘rogue’ on Google Reviews and writing witty, harsh or firm responses, but this aside, there’s real business benefit to be gained from using the service correctly.

Here, we uncover the ins, outs and optimisation potential of Google Reviews to identify how best they can contribute to your online marketing efforts.

What Are Google Reviews?

Google Reviews form part of  Google My Business functionality online. Alongside the business information lodged with Google for search users to find, (such as your name, address, business information, opening hours, directions and website details) users can leave a review on how they found their experience with your company.

All of this information combined reassures Google that your business is real, does what it says, and that it is in fact located where you say it is. Google will feature your local business alongside others on Google Maps, and rank businesses in order of what the algorithm determines to be most relevant to each users search criteria.

Google Reviews are (should be!) honest and unbiased customer experiences documented as part of your Google My Business online presence. They’re similar to TripAdvisor type reviews; written by individuals, but within Google and not hosted on a third-party website.

How Do Google Reviews Work?

Google Reviews are written by customers who choose to take the time to write them. When a Google user is on a Google My Business listed, they’ll see the option to ‘Write A Review’. They can then go on to complete a form with a 1 to 5 star rating, and share their thoughts, feelings and experiences on their interactions with your company. This review will then be posted alongside any others on your Google My Business listing.

Local businesses aren’t able to write reviews on themselves, but they do have the option to respond. Businesses should (must!) respond to all reviews – positive, neutral or negative! In some cases, if you suspect a Google Review to be unfair or fake, a request can be submitted for it to be removed.

How Do Google Reviews Impact Search Rankings?

Google Reviews may seem like just another part of the many online marketing priorities small businesses have to juggle, but in fact, they’re very important!

Google Reviews add a great degree of authenticity to your Google My Business listing and increase the algorithm’s judgement of ‘trustworthiness’ from your brand. Local businesses with reviews will rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Page Results) than those without reviews, and will feature a snippet of a positive review (if there is one) in the shortened version of the listing. Googles search algorithm changes all the time, but at present, Google Reviews are only second behind otherwise organic search ranking in their SEO priorities. This means that a local business’ first priority should be basic SEO; and their second, Google Reviews.

Google likes reviews because they confirm the credibility of your business as well as provide a good indication of how well you’re thought of in the local area, and the quality of your products or services.

Why Do Google Reviews Matter?

When customers (both potential and existing) search for local products or services, they know that what they’re seeing is primarily a marketing presence – after all, we all understand that it’s 2020 and we need to present ourselves well online when we’re talking business.

This means that more than ever, people value genuine, personal experiences shared; it’s the digital version of the typical word-of-mouth recommendations that business have thrived on for years! Google’s algorithm agrees and embraces third-party independent news and views on your company and its products and services. Without Google Reviews, everything on your Google My Business is technically just marketing.

How Can I Encourage Customers To Leave Google Reviews?

Of course, the success of your Google Reviews is dependent on actually having them, and it’s an important for you to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave you a review. There are lots of ways to encourage your customers to leave you one, and these include (but are not limited to):

  • Set up a bespoke link for your business’ Google Reviews so that it’s as easy as possible for Google users to access the ‘write a review’ page (this is easily done through your Google My Business suite)
  • Email customers after their purchase/visit, share with them the link to leave a review, and ask if they would’t mind
  • Include a link to leave a Google Review on your regular email newsletters
  • Post a link to leave a Google Review on your social media channels
  • Showcase the best reviews and share them to social media channels – people are often more likely to leave one if they think you may share their words onwards
  • Take onboard any constructive feedback given in reviews and respond to them stating how you intend to enact any changes. People love to feel as though they’ve contributed positively!

How Else Can I Utilise Google Reviews Of My Business?

Shout about your reviews! Your website designer will be able to channel recent reviews directly from Google to your website so that any visitors will be able to view them. Also share your 5 star rated reviews on your social media channels to increase their visibility.

Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re a local business owner looking to increase your business visibility, check us out and get in touch!

Why SEO is Critical for Your Online Business Growth

Why SEO is Critical for Your Online Business Growth

Small business marketing is often a case of having to pick and choose which strategies to implement and campaigns to operate within a tight budget and without a great deal of resource. Yet the real investment to be made in online marketing and business development is often a technical one – and that is, SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation to refer to it by its full name).

SEO can make or break a website, but what is it, how does it work, who ‘does’ it and how can you manage it? Read on for the full lowdown and to answer the most common questions that we get asked …

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation is the intensification of a website’s content for it to become as noticeable as possible to the automated algorithms of search engines – preferably boosting its profile to the top of search engine results pages (or SERPs, for short). With search engines bringing up hundreds of thousands of results for most words and phrases searched, identifying relevant information for users is key.

SEO is a marketing practice in its own right and should absolutely form part of any company’s digital marketing strategy.

Why is SEO SO Important?

The world ‘google’ is as much a verb now as it is a name, and society is increasingly dependent on the search engines they can access through their smartphones and other tech devices to find information quickly and efficiently.

Businesses should view search engines as a marketing channel. Any person looking for a product, service or industry relevant to them should be able to easily access information on their brand; so that they can gain awareness of the brand and its products/services, and ideally, eventually, make a purchase.

SEO is important for businesses because as society moves more and more online, so do their buying habits. There are very few industries not yet with any online presence at all; and for those that do have some, businesses without any SEO will find that their brand is ranked below the search engine results displaying information on their competitors.

SEO is imperative amongst small business marketing as it is something that can deliver an inordinate amount of results for a relatively small outlay of finance and resource.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works by tapping into the automated programming within search engines that determines where to rank what in terms of the results individuals using the search see. This is achieved by ensuring that the algorithm recognises a website as relevant, appropriate, genuine and an expert in a specific niche. It should be able to judge the who, what, where, when, how and why about a brand… just from a millisecond automated scan of the content on its website!

Put simply: search engines are library catalogues. The programs that manage them are the librarians.

The exact ways SEO works change all the time as algorithms and programming develop and grow. The technology involved in search engine operation is always improving and so SEO is never just a job to be done once and never again – businesses serious about it should aim to continuously advance and enhance their efforts toward it.

What Benefit Does Good SEO Give a Business Over Poor SEO?

Good SEO increases a brand’s visibility in search rankings, so when done better than a competitor, gives competitive advantage.

Being top of the search rankings for a relevant search to your business isn’t just important – it’s damn near imperative!

Think of your own search engine behaviours. Do you scroll through pages and pages of results to find the info you want or do you just click through to the first few? Your business needs to be where people will see it, otherwise it will lose out to those who are.

What do SEO Services Include?

Some marketers have training in SEO and can implement it and optimise a website and its content, however this training needs to be taken in a continuous cycle and the content updated with it. If you are going to invest in SEO services, we highly recommend working with an SEO expert.

SEO experts are consultants who stay up to date with the near daily changes and are able to use this knowledge to implement SEO into a site on an ongoing basis, for best results.

Being an SEO specialist is a full-time job. SEO consultants have to ensure every part of a website fits with the current search engine algorithms. That includes, but is by no means limited to: ensuring all written content is optimised, ensuring the website page layouts are optimised and work across different devices, building backlinks (OutreachMama has released a very comprehensive 2020 Link Building Strategy guide, make sure to check it out) to and from other websites to build authority, ensuring every page on a website is tagged and categorised correctly, ensuring every image on a website is tagged and categories correctly, and ensuring that all the ‘backend’ data of a website is optimised.

How Long Does SEO Implementation Take?

The development of good SEO isn’t just a job that can be done once and then not re-visited. The nature of the internet and search engine technology is that it changes all of the time, so it needs to be a continual focus for businesses who want to remain at the top of their game online (and at the top of the search engines!).

It’s impossible to say how long an initial review and ‘go over’ of a brand’s website would take, as it depends on two factors: how bad the website’s SEO currently is, and how much content is on the site. However, an SEO specialist will be able to advise on the initial work required and then recommend an ongoing plan to keep on top of the situation.

SEO specialists are worth their weight in gold, and seeking one out is one of the most effective marketing strategies a small business can invest in. Ranking ahead of the competition in a marketing method where people are already seeking out relevant information? It’s a win-win!

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency focussed on your business growth! Our SEO packages are paid monthly with no upfront investment making our service affordable for any size business! Get your FREE SEO Website Audit Report NOW!

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

‘Googling’ has become a world-renowned verb and for brands, it’s an imperative one – if your business can’t be found on Google, your customers (existing and potential) can’t find you. Your business ranking can be a key factor to success and your marketing strategy should always include SEO (search engine optimisation). In particular for businesses serving local areas or communities, featuring in Google’s Local Pack is important so those searching in a certain geographic location are able to find you quickly and easily.

What is Google’s Local Pack?

Google’s Local Pack (also known as the Google Map Pack or Google Snack Pack) is a selection of chosen search results related to a business search in a certain geographic area. Whenever a query made in Google has local intent (i.e. a search for ‘pizza in Leicester’ or ‘locksmith in Deptford’), the search engine curates results that it thinks most appropriate.

Why does your Google Map ranking matter?

Ranking locally on Google Snack Pack often delivers solid purchase outcomes – according to ThinkWithGoogle, 50% of those who searched for a local store on Google Maps using their smartphone visited one of the given results within 24hrs, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within that time period! What’s more, search queries with “near me” in the search text have increased 34x since 2011, with the majority of these searches coming from mobile devices. Further evidence of the effectiveness of the Map Pack on Google comes from a case study by Moz. They found that 44% of people clicked within Google’s Local Pack results, 29% clicked on the organic listings and 8% chose to load more listings. Ranking above your competitors means that users searching are more likely to click on your business’ result rather than them! Google Local SEO

How to Increase Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

In order to rank as high as possible in Google Map Pack, there are several ways you can signal to Google that your business is relevant to the local map results:

  • Make sure you have claimed and optimised your Google My Business listing. Ensure all of the information in Google My Business is as up-to-date and complete as possible (Google MB signals)
  • Ensure that all social media profiles are branded consistently and lead back to the same site (social signals)
  • Your website itself should mention specific local areas that correspond correctly with your business’ listed address (on-page signals), and links to and from reputed local businesses and/or press (link signals) will help, too.
  • Where you can, be sure to claim online listings and directories pages for your business (citation signals – see our Local Citation blog) as these provide a valuable boost.
  • Encourage happy customers to write public reviews (share your Google review link), and respond to every review – this indicates to Google that you have a healthy customer base and that you genuinely care about serving them.

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Businesses (especially smaller ones) have to do whatever they can to get their name heard, and with the internet providing everyone the opportunity to carve out their own little space online, it can often be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

When targeting customers or potential customers in a specific geographic area, local citations can be key to a business ranking highly on Google maps. A small focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can boost your profile on Google and help you feature higher than your competitors.

What is a Local Citation

A ‘local citation’ isn’t a Google term, but instead refers to a really basic form of marketing on the internet. It is simply an instance of your business’ NAP (that is: business Name, Address and Phone number) appearing online – be that on your website or on others. This may be in business directories, press articles, advertiser sites or reviews of your firm.

How does a Local Citation benefit a Local Business

Aside from it being a small ad boost, every time someone sees your information; a local citation helps reiterate to Google (and therefore Google Maps) that you are a leader in your area and that you are a genuine business. Google’s algorithms are well developed to identify spam and disingenuous entries and so good, organic reach through local citations is an easy way for it to understand proper local businesses.

What are the Elements of a Local Citation

The three main elements of a local citation are your NAP: business Name, Address and Phone number. The key is to keep them entirely consistent throughout all citations online – any differentiator will break the link between the citation and it relating directly to your business. It may be worth considering therefore if you have a ‘Ltd’ in your name or a space/unusual capitalisation/sub-brands, that you instead revert to one shorter name for your public-facing communications to avoid any confusion.

Other elements that may be included in citations (but aren’t imperative) include e-mail addresses and links to social media profiles. Where you can, keep the names of such profiles consistent and ensure you refer to yourself in the same way across all of your marketing.

Why Local Citations Matter

Local citations are the best way for Google’s automated algorithms to understand who you are and where you are; and that you’re genuine! The internet is full of bots and false entries, and citations are genuine reviews to show you’re not one of them. Citations alone are responsible for about 10% of Google’s decision in who to rank where on Maps, and with 76% of visitors accessing local results and then visiting one of the businesses featured within 24hrs, it’s a no-brainer that it’s an area of your online presence worth investing in!

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!