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Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush

What’s new in SEO? 5 actions to do today

Last week I got the latest research on SEO from trusted brand SEM Rush.  You can download and read their report Ranking Factors 2017 in SEO.

Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush

Ranking Factors 2017 report from SEMRush

Creative Agency Secrets has read the whole report and below are 5 SEO tasks you can initiate immediately for your own website or ecommerce store.

The report has a number of chapters each of which is followed by “What this means to you as a marketer”  Read these pages for the SEMRush interpretation of their research findings.

5 SEO actions for 2017

  1. Check you have a secure (https) website.  Get a SSL Certificate installed if your url begins http://. See Secure websites below
  2. Find websites which can link back to you.  Clients, Suppliers, News / Magazines, Directories.  See Referring Domains below
  3. Get ideas for your SEO and your content creation from Answer the Public research tool
  4. Use more keywords on your “cornerstone” content pages.  See Keywords below.
  5. Plan the visitor pathway through your site especially with a view to reducing bounce rate.

The Detailed insights

Note these are paraphrased from the SEMRush report including some verbatim quotes.  All the ACTION FOR YOU tasks are recommendations by us for your website or ecommerce store. The page numbers are the actual page number in the report NOT the number top RHS.

If you want help, Creative Agency Secrets offers 2 services – we can do it for you; we can teach you how to do it yourself.

  1. Secure websites – page 6.  The higher the page position in search, the higher the keyword search volume most sites are secure https domains.  We interpret this that websites with SSL are trusted and are gaining over plain www and http sites.
  2. Referring domains – page 10. The pages that rank higher have more backlinks from unique domains. Websites that appear on SERPs for high-volume keywords have significantly more backlinks than ones that appear for low-volume keywords — almost 10 times more.  ACTION FOR YOU the competition for high-volume keywords is vicious, and those websites are invincible. But for low-volume keywords the competition is not so tough, so some link building could bring tremendous results.
  3. Content length – page 18. What we saw first was that there is generally more content on the pages that rank higher for all search volume intervals.  There is more content on the pages with long-tail keywords than on those with short-head keywords. ACTION FOR YOU  pick your “cornerstone” content pages and work them HARD for SEO goodness.  Content length is important for your page’s success as long as it is valuable, well-written, and optimised, especially if you target high volume keywords.
  4. Keywords – page 23.  In the high volume keyword group. the majority of the pages add a keyword to their title, meta and body copy but the occurrence of the keyword in the meta description does not influence the page rankings. Pages that rank for long-tail keywords repeat those keywords less often than pages that rank for short-head keywords. The pages on the first positions (for both longtails and short-heads) have noticeably more keywords than all other pages. ACTION FOR YOU If you plan to rank by long tail keywords, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not crucial. In fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it.  The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so we came to the conclusion that video itself is not a silver bullet. However, in certain niches clients expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands, and if they include visual support, use video.
  5. Volume of visitors – page 33.  Not a strong correlation to page rank here especially if your search phrases are low(er) volume searches. For the low-volume keyword group, the trend is flat, indicating that a page’s position does not strongly correlate with its number of total monthly visits. For high-volume popular keywords, the number of page visits gets noticeably smaller for sites that rank below the 12th position. ACTION FOR YOU this means organic search is not the only thing you should be concentrating on. Drive a strong traffic from direct and social media linked visits by pushing brand awareness on these platforms and also through newsletters.
  6. Bounce Rate – page 37.  The higher a page’s position is, the lower its bounce rate.  The user navigates through three to three-and-a-half pages per website, per visit. As your site moves towards the top of the SERP, there are more pages per session for every domain. ACTION FOR YOU firstly ensure you have strong internal page linking.  Think about what you want the visitor to do next on every page.  Connect with Cornerstone content discussed above.  Also analyse your rivals (How to compare my site to a competitor’s) Inside Google Analytics, check your queries performance and lastly, find low ranking pages for Bounce and improve them to reduce bounce rate and page rank.

 

Marketing offer, SEMRush, creative agency secrets,

SEMRush custom offer at the end of the report

And a cunning end-point which is a marketing “trick” I’ve used a lot for clients – on the very, very last page is an offer.  A really good one.  SEMRush will do a niche study for your industry if you write to ask.  We did (for a client) and they said they’d been overwhelmed and would put it on the list…. but still.  This is a fabulous reward for the people who do read all the way to the end.  #TopTip

Ready to rock with some improvements on your business SEO?  Let’s get started together!

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Announcing the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Creative Agency Secrets is proud to be collaborating with Audience Industries for the second year running! Together with founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin we’ll be running an 8 date tour, making stops in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, learning how to drive online business success.

Learn how to grow revenue with your best tool: YOUR website!

Find out how to build new revenue streams and grow audience engagement with your website with the leading edge of best practice with these two leading practitioners. Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you when you attend Audience Industries:

  • Audience engagement with community marketing
  • Persuasion and action techniques
  • How to tell a story (that people WANT to read)
  • Using data dashboards to improve conversions
  • The copywriting words that create engagement
  • How to use custom sidebars to optimise your adverts
  • A YouTube strategy to keep viewers on your videos

Get past using buzz phrases and marketing hype! You’ll learn practical solutions that you can use immediately.

Want to find out more?

Read all 4 curriculum options in detail!

We know these techniques work, and you will learn the practical solutions directly from expert, knowledgeable technicians. Don’t believe us? Look at just a couple of the testimonials we captured from last year’s attendees:

Rachel and Dan have a really lovely style and they have ‘been there and done that’ so they are talking from experience.  They’re constantly tweaking their own approach and there is an emphasis on practical application. I found them very generous with their information. No holding back.

They were genuinely concerned about the group getting the information and being able to use it.  They wanted everyone to succeed and it’s unusual to find that in presenters.

They want the whole sector to grow.  Very personable, nice and the information was extremely useful and It was easy into put into practice.  

Jayne Richardson, @jreltd, Auckland attendee 2015

Book your ticket now

  • Auckland – April 29th – Escape Velocity Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 1st – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin, May 3rd half day – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin May 4th half day – Circles Curriculum
  • Wellington – May 5th – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Wellington May 6th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 9th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 10th – Clusters Curriculum

Get details on the detailed curriculum of what you will learn at each event.

We’re offering single-day tickets, or get a SPECIAL for two dates in one city.

Don’t miss out on the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour! Dan and Rachel will teach you the tools so you will become the CEO of your website.

 

Creative Agency Mastermind Lightbulb

Creative Agency Mastermind Group for Australasia

Occasionally I read an article that stops me in my tracks, it’s so compelling and aligned with my own thinking that I stumble, double-take and yell Hooray!

This is one of those articles.

Before you read it, I’d like you to indulge me and hear my anecdote.

My search for a Business Peer Support Group

Creative Agency Mastermind Lightbulb

Creative Agency Mastermind. Image credit: TheNextWeb

Last year I joined a business owners group run locally which met monthly to “advance” your business.  We sat in a conference room filling out forms about our business stats for the month, how we were progressing and then tabled issues for group discussion.  In between times, we had weekly accountability partner calls.  Having done 5 months of this, I realised that the process was really useful and 100% what I needed.

The other attendees were not right.

I want a group full of business innovators, folks who take action and connect with others, who find what’s new and how their business can take advantage – leading from the front.

And so I set out to find a better group to collaborate with.  But I didn’t find one.

I read, I asked others and found that the market for peer-to-peer support for business owners remains under-served.  There are some paid-for groups, there are industry groups, there are business groups.  None seems to fit the bill perfectly.

And so I’m setting up my own Mastermind Group.

The Creative Agency Mastermind Group

The aim:  To advance our businesses.

How:  Meet once every month to learn, share, collaborate and problem solve.  Mutual accountability.  Brainstorming.

Goal:  To grow, sell or exit our businesses while staying at the leading edge of innovation for good business practice.

First meeting 23rd March 2016.

Want to join us?  Get in touch

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

When you’re new, or growing, and need social proof to prove your worth to the world

So, you’re starting out your business and you know you’ve got a good thing going. But something you don’t have yet from your clients: their endorsement of you and your brand or your product. Sure, they’ve told you they liked working with you and, of course, that made you feel good on the inside. But, with the interwebs, you need to have hard proof that says someone used your services and liked it enough to write it down in a social internet space. Like Google Reviews. Or Facebook. Or even just in an email and with your clients’ blessing. Okay, so, how do you do it?

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, or deduced from the title of this blog post, we’re talking about testimonials. Or reviews. Either or, they can be one in the same, if they contain ratings and words as friendly companions in whatever social app you’re using. There are multiple ways to get those testimonials so that, when a new possible client happens to Google you, lo and behold, they see other people like you and have used you and have provided their friendly feedback. Well, we rolled out with a fun and ‘give-back sort’ of way to request from our clients and those that have worked with us in the past. I think you’ll like it.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Before the holidays, our Chief in Command, Rebecca, came across a non-profit organization called StarJam. Briefly, I just want to let you know that what they do is amazing. Through music and performing arts, StarJam lifts kids with disabilities up, helps them to learn new skills, and gives them confidence. Just take a look at the photos they have on their website, every time I do I just want to be a part of that! Anyway, back to the story. Rebecca wanted Creative Agency Secrets to be able to give to StarJam. We also, you guessed it, wanted to get testimonials. Testimonials in one hand, giving to a good cause in the other… hmm. There’s got to be a good way to put these two together.

And SMASH!

It’s the holidays, right? We can send out a good will email to our clients! WE will donate money in your name to StarJam if you can write a few words on Google about your time with Creative Agency Secrets. So, we reached out to StarJam to get their permission, find out if they felt comfortable with our plan, requested a few images to use and then started crafting an email.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Key items we made sure to have in our email

  1. Make your headline engaging
  2. Make your text interesting to read
  3. Tell the reader what you’re doing or what you’re asking them to do

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials4. Hyperlink to wherever they need to go or whatever you’re referring to

5. Use images

The main thing we wanted to make sure to do was inform our followers HOW to submit a review. Some people don’t have Gmail. I know, crazy world, but we had to come up with a foolproof way to say ‘This is easy! Here, we’ll show you’.

Be Innovative with How You Get TestimonialsVoila! We created this easy to read image with everything needed to tell our audience how to do what we were asking them to do.

Then what? Well, we could wait around with baited breath. But, by this time, it was Christmas and we decided we’d come back to it in the New Year with fresh eyes and suntans.

And when we did… no reviews! We could have been sad and wallowed a bit but that’s now how you get good reviews. So we sent a follow-up email. Sort of a, “Hey, we know you were busy over the holidays, but…” reminder. Good idea, right? Of course.

But when you’ve asked the same way twice and you still get no response

You try another tactic. This time, we called, or in some cases walked over to, those who had worked with us in the past to ask them, oh so kindly, to provide us with a review while we donated to a good cause in their name. Sometimes it just takes the glimmer in your eye, the inflection in your voice, or just good ole human contact to make the connection you need.

And now we’re on the MAP!

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Tips to those using Google reviews!

  1. For one, you need 5 reviews to be able to see your star rating.
  2. For two… even if you have 5 star ratings for all 5 of your Google reviews… somehow you still only rate 4.8 stars

Number two will remain a bit of a mystery.

I hope this helps any startup businesses out there looking to get on the map as well with testimonials and reviews. As they say, right now, the BEST way to get business is by word of mouth. And online rating systems like Google, Facebook, and others are the next best things with the worldwide web!

decision tree for creative agency services

Can you help us test our new “decision tree”?

We’ve changed our website home page.  It’s now got a new graphic of an apple and orange there.

Behind this is a cunning “decision tree”.

What happens next?

Please help us test it out by visiting our home page and clicking on the image (or by clicking on the image below) and see what you discover.

Please send us your feedback! It’s a new technology we’re trying and want to hear your thoughts.

Thank you

decision tree for creative agency services

Could you use a similar device on  your website to help guide your prospective customers through your services and products?

 

This is the second one we’ve done – the first was for FeedBlitz – they use it to help readers understand the FeedBlitz services for RSS delivery for email, feeds, podcasts as an alternative to FeedBurner.

FeedBlitz leaves FeedBurner standing

Leave FeedBurner

Marketing agency structures and business models

There are many different ways to organise your creative agency.  Reading in the news from the Guardian where Lorraine Ruckstuhl thinks small agencies are getting the advantageover larger networks with many service offerings.

Creative daydreaming

Creative daydreaming (Photo credit: HikingArtist.com)

This has to be balanced against what clients and brands want to get from their agency: New research from Avidan gives an assessment of what clients want from agencies – although there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of solutions – but do read the comments at the end where Bob Sanders has some good points.

  • agency roster sizes being reduced
  • agency tenure shortening
  • client demands for ‘agency accountability’

Avi later writes about agency compensation in another article where he links the incentive to come up with a big idea to how we get paid for our work.

This is a topic that will run and run – but for many smaller agencies, the opportunity to get new revenue streams exists from new product development [apologies it’s firewalled for subscribers].

What do you do?  Have you got new income streams from non-traditional work?  Or are your clients still happy to pay percentage media fees?

 

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5 Questions to ask a creative agency at your pitch

Interviewing the brand and being interviewed as the agency are core skills for pitching.

Getting to “the close” for new business and a signature on the contract requires a clear purchase decision from a brand decision maker.  If you are pitching to a brand – prepare for these questions that they should be asking you.

When you get invited to pitch there are 2 reasons you are in the room

  1. Your track record indicates you should be good enough to do the job
  2. Your future WILL deliver an excellent job
The questions are designed to reassure the brand marketing team that you will be in their future – collaborating, partnering.

Chief Marketing Officer pitch questions to agency

So how can you tell what the future of this agency will be?  the same old, same old competent delivery of past campaigns or new and exciting incremental creativity that will accelerate your brand in front of consumers?

First question: Vision

What do you, the agency, think is the future of marketing/advertising?

You want to know whether they are aware of new technologies, brands moving to new social platforms and integrating mobile solutions into their campaigns.

Second question: New Hires

Tell us about the new team members who have joined this past year.

What are the characteristics of these people and why did they join the team?  Are they crazy future-ologists, or competent deliverers.  Will they bring new expertise to the team (see answer to question 1 above) and can you see your brand leveraging their knowledge to advantage?

Third question: Team Structure

What is your creative team structure and composition?

Listen hard to how many ‘traditional’ job titles are described.  Find out about the digital specialists – are they in a separate group who get brought in to assist or are they part of the core delivery group.  What about outsourcing production and expert tool creation – how honest is the agency about areas in which they are not expert and are buying in talent.

Fourth question: Modern Marketing Communications

Tell us about recent campaigns that were not advertising-led

How many message delivery tools have they used that were not print or TV advertising, direct mail/email or public relations.  Look for innovation and incorporation of ‘gamification’, apps, integration with social media (leading edge at the time of writing is Pinterest, G+), brand collaborations and joint ventures.

Fifth question: The Delivery Team

Who will be working on our account and why?

The individual attributes of the core account team matter.  This will help you get round the agency that pitches with one team and delivers with another.  Why does the agency pick each individual and what are their skills – you’ve got to work with these people.  Go and check them all out on Linked In and Facebook.

The Agency’s reply 6 questions

We found this post from W+K London in which they tried to give the reciprocal questions the agency should ask the client.

  1. Who are the decision makers on the pitch and on the agency’s work?
  2. What are your criteria for judging the success of your agency’s work?
  3. Is your inclination to aim high and do something extraordinary, or to settle for the ordinary and avoid the risk of failure?
  4. What made you consider us for this pitch?
  5. How many agencies are pitching and who are they?
  6. Will you pay a pitch fee?

Go forth and pitch.  But be careful!

Thanks to Edward Boches for the original inspiration for this article

Read more articles on 3 New Business Pipeline and 6 Creating Opportunities from our archive.