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3 Takeaway Tips: Building an SEO strategy for Living Goodness

Anyone should know that to establish a good online brand presence, you need a good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Keywords are a main part of that strategy – they’re more than just using the right tags to find relevant blog posts – they help boost your business’ search results so your website gets more traffic.

Last year, we helped Living Goodness develop an SEO strategy that saw them appear on the front page! And to top off the cake, it was also the first time that Living Goodness ranked higher than a competitor.

living goodness rankings

Seventh place! Not too shabby.

In this blog article, I’ll show you three key skills that we utilised for their SEO strategy, and show you how you can put them to work on your own business.

1. Identify which keywords you need

The keywords that you choose for your SEO strategy should fall into three categories:

  • Keywords you’re currently ranking for
  • Keywords you wish to rank for
  • Other relevant keywords you should also consider

For example, Living Goodness were ranking for “fermented foods nz” (though they appeared on the second page of search results). They wanted to rank higher for this search term, and also wished to show up for “sauerkraut nz”.

ranking for sauerkraut nz

Which we achieved, by the way.

We went on to conduct our own research to find relevant keywords that would complement these. A handy tool that we turned to is called Answer the Public.

This allowed us to see what users were also searching for alongside the terms “fermented foods nz” and “sauerkraut nz”. We picked up key phrases and words such as “probiotics”, “raw”, “organic” and “kimchi” alongside many more. This also gave us a good starting point for blog article ideas.

2. Incorporate these keywords into existing content

Now that we had a lovely list of keywords, we needed to disperse them around different landing pages in a natural manner. For SEO purposes, there were key points that needed keyword boosting:

  • Landing page headings
  • Links
  • First paragraphs of content

These were just a few places where we implemented keywords into the existing content in a manner that was natural and flowed. Being a business that sells fermented foods, this wasn’t a problem. We also made sure we used a mix of these keywords because no one likes repetition (especially not Google!).

3. Help out your visitors with handy backlinks!

Keywords aren’t the only way to boost SEO. There are many things that affect search engine rankings, and relevance is a big contender. If people aren’t spending long enough on your website and are bouncing away quickly (tip: check the bounce rate in Google Analytics), it may very well mean they’re not finding what they are looking for on your website.

Backlinks are a great way to boost SEO and retain website traffic. If you aren’t linking to your products whenever you mention them, it’s a huge opportunity wasted. You also want to encourage a longer customer journey by suggesting other pages that are relevant.

For Living Goodness, we added links to their stockists page and social media handles on the recipes pages. This call to action prompted visitors to seek the closest stockist after reading a delicious recipe – “Are you running low on delicious sauerkraut or kimchi? Check out your local stockist here.” The social media links also encouraged visitors to share any of the recipes they’d followed. Being a foodie Instagram account, any photos using a Living Goodness product was free user-generated content, and of course, we were going to make the most of it!

Three simple tips that you can do yourself

As you can see, these tips are all very simple, easy and free to do. Hopefully, you’re able to apply them to your website straight away.

All these were tasks that we did as part of our SEO Starter Pack. It’s a comprehensive analysis of a website with actions to improve SEO and a recommended guide for next steps.

Search Console and broken website links

Has Google been sending you emails recently?  If you are the webmaster for your domain, you will be getting messages from Google Search Console as they find new errors on your website.

Search Console email text alert

The newly helpful Search Console Reports are good to get.  This is all part of a rollout of improved reporting.  Now you can take control of your own website SEO and won’t have to rely on bespoke or paid developer tools which you don’t want to buy.

What does Google’s email say?

Typically the standard email you receive is not written in plain English – this is tech-speak.  Let us help you decode it.

New Index coverage issue detected for site https://www.yourdomain.com

The Google is trying to be helpful.   So click through from the link supplied and see what the Search Console summary error page says.  There are quite a few possible variations – but here are some of the possible issues [Read the Google Support page]

  • Error
  • Warning
  • Excluded
  • Valid

Helpfully Google offers suggestions on how to research the issue you can test if the Robots.txt file is blocking, you can fetch the page as if you are Google [superb trick this], View the page as a search result and lastly, re-submit to the Google database.

Don’t worry – this isn’t terminal

If you have received this message you can research some how-to guides, blast through the Support guide or call us and we will help you fix it.  Remember Creative Agency Secrets will teach you how to do these fixes yourself, or we can do them for you.

I just checked the error from one client and found a lot of other broken links – use a broken link checker tool to find your priority pages.  It’s worth getting these sorted out – you know “nanny knows best.

Landing page

Four Major Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make With Product Landing Pages

Landing page mistakes, avoid errors on wordpress,

Product landing page mistakes to avoid

Designing a landing page is no easy task. There are many moving parts to consider, including copywriting, design, social media, and CTA placement. And with so many decisions to make (both big and small), it’s no wonder that mistakes can easily occur. In many cases, business owners fail to take the proper precautions to ensure their landing page is up to par, both in terms of design and functionality. Sometimes, they even let simple mistakes slide.

However, because humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish, you need to be able to capture their interest almost instantaneously. Within just a few seconds, a potential customer will move on to the next best thing because of an error you may have thought was trivial. Here are five mistakes you don’t want to make with product landing pages:

Choosing The Wrong Platform

There are many platforms available, and choosing the right one is crucial. WordPress is touted as one of the best lead-generating landing page platforms because it’s simple to set up, and creative freedom is nearly endless. You can choose from thousands of free and premium themes, and even install plugins like Elementor to build your product landing page with drag-and-drop functionality.

Then, there are other platforms designed to help you launch simple product landing pages, like LeadPages (which offers WordPress integration), Unbounce, and Instapage. These may offer a quicker set-up but are typically very limited in terms of design.

Think about your site goals before you choose a platform. For example, if you want to be able to incorporate certain features, like immersive photo galleries, you will need a platform that supports it. Or, if you think you’ll be using an independent designer or developer in the future, go with a platform that allows you to scale in that direction. Budget is another thing to keep in mind. If you’re just starting out or still growing your customer base, you might want to start with a cheaper option, like WordPress, which you can get for as low as $10 per month. Other lead-capturing landing pages cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month, and even as high as $2,400 for platforms like HubSpot.

Stock Photography

Believe it or not, in most cases, people don’t like to see stock photography on product landing pages. It might be okay for your blog posts, but it requires special consideration for your landing page. A study conducted by MDG Advertising found that 67% of online shoppers consider quality images to be an integral part of their decision-making when it comes to purchases. The more vivid and authentic a photo is, the more likely they were to perceive ownership.

For software, beautiful screenshots are the way to go, and it would be fine to juxtapose humans with your software imagery. Sometimes, stock photography is the easiest way to mesh the two, but you might also want to add a high-res photo of someone actually using the software to add that extra touch of authenticity.

If you do use humans in your photography (whether stock photos or you your own), bear in mind that studies have shown that site visitors tend to look in the direction of the eyes that belong to the person in the photo. Therefore, you’d ideally want to have the person looking in the direction of your text.

No Clear CTA

Before you start working on your landing page, ask yourself, “What’s my main goal here?” One of the biggest mistakes people make with landing pages is cluttering it with too many options for the visitor. For example, it can be overwhelming to visit a landing page that wants you to read articles, sign up for a newsletter, purchase your newest product, watch a video, AND request a quote.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple points-of-purchase or ways to appeal to your potential customers. Instead, you should have a core goal that stands out above the rest, rather than blends in. Think about the singular action you want your visitor to take: this is called the call-to-action (CTA). Your call to action should be decently-sized, stand out, and be placed in the right area to attract the most attention. Use split testing software to help you choose between different types of CTA. This will help you choose the option that converts best.

Too Much Copy

Having too much copy on your landing page can be fatal. As previously mentioned, most people don’t have a very long attention span, and every small decision about your copy–from size to typography to color and word count–plays an important role. Too many words create information overload and dilutes the message you’re trying to get across.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and concise. Try to avoid using one of the pages to dominate the text. It’s best not to align left or right when you’re working on landing pages. Instead, you want to spread bite-sized bits of copy across the page evenly. You want your copy to be as scannable as possible, and clunky paragraphs make it very difficult to achieve this. For optimal results, try breaking up the text by using well-designed icons, mini-paragraphs, bullet points, color-coordinated sub-sections.

 

website traffic drop

“Why is my website traffic dropping?”

For any business using its website as a lead generation tool, traffic is essential. The more visitors you get, the more chances you have to make your product or service known, gain connections and promote your brand. This is why an unexpected decline in organic traffic is a terrifying idea, as it might result in fewer business opportunities and less income.

Whether it’s a technical problem, a new Google algorithm implementation or lack of content optimisation, there are several possible motives why your company’s website traffic numbers have been sinking lately.

For example, older websites have higher risks of being penalised by Google’s algorithm updates because of potential coding errors and obsolete practices still applied to some of the pages. That ‘keyword stuffed’ article you wrote in 2010 that brought a lot of traffic seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, it is definitely hurting your website on an apocalyptic scale.

Content is (a mad) king

We recently had a meeting with a group of young entrepreneurs who run MI6-HQ.com, a fansite dedicated to Bond, James Bond. (cue the music)

They expressed their concern with the MI6-HQ website traffic dropping like a stone over the past months and wanted our help to:

  1. Assess the possible reasons for the decline in visits;
  2. Come up with a few creative ideas to solve the problem, like a marketing version of Q.

Even though they offer really good articles (many visitors had lots of nice things to say on their Facebook comments), their search engine rankings and organic reach keep decreasing. There are multiple marketers that repeatedly state just writing “epic content” will drive traffic to any website, period. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that good content is essential. But if you publish it in a flawed website, you’ll have your king residing in a crumbling castle. That inspires no recognition at all and the results are totally unpredictable.

Google has a license to kill your audience

Google holds more than 74% of the search engine market share worldwide. That’s why you either play by their rules or fall into the internet abyss (a.k.a. Not the first page on Google Search).

We believe part of the decline in the MI6-HQ search rankings is that their website has been running for over 20 years (!!!) and most of their ‘ancient’ content might not have been updated regularly. A quick search (on Google, of course) shows that MI6-HQ.com has 15,500 indexed pages. It’s probably really hard to keep tabs on all of them individually.

mi6-hq indexed pages on google

Optimising websites is not a one-size-fits-all process. When it comes to web content that is already published, you have the option to improve or kill pages forever. In this specific case, deleting some of the older articles might be an alternative. Having fewer discoverable pages to increase your website findability can sound very counterintuitive, but I assure you, it works wonders for some people. Learning to let go is necessary sometimes.

Analysing your website performance is a laborious but rewarding task

There’s a lot of work involved in optimising your website. You might even say it’s a never-ending task, depending on your level of perfectionism. Nowadays, the competition online is cutthroat, so any edge you have over your competitors is worth the effort.

According to research by Moz blog, more than 70% of searches result in a page one organic click. The rest is diluted from the second page onwards. This just shows how important it is to aim for the top place of the search engine rankings.

We Review a Service Business Website

We pitched a client – we didn’t win.  And so I decided to show you all how we assessed their website in scoping out the work that is needed to improve the search engine optimisation for this company.

They offer a local service and have two principal products.

First impressions of the website

Hubspot, website assessment, website grader

Free appraisal offer for your website

Go to the Woorank checker or Website Grader tool on Hubspot.
Find out how your current site performs.  Both give you a score out of 100.  Easy to see your score.
This site scores 53 out of 100.  Definitely in the could-do-better group.

Summary areas for improvement

  1. Both the named services should be in your meta description
  2. The Headings structure needs adjusting so it includes H1 as well as H3 (currently all 4 are H2 which is not good)
  3. Change the SSL certificate from BlueHost to your own business name
  4. Incoming links are low – so we’d recommend getting local directory listings to improve this (there are 36 free ones)
  5. You should be on Google My Business as well because that will enable Reviews and a location pin to appear when people search

Improve website messaging

I think there’s some other places where a bit of clearer marketing communication could help
  • Strapline.  The name of the business does not describe what you do [I also provide sensational services – but of a different type]
  • Pearl Waterless is a strong point of difference for one of the services – but you don’t EXPLAIN it.
  • Plus it’s a “Green” product and you could be selling the environmental benefits.
  • One service page does not have any heading titles, it doesn’t have any testimonials and it doesn’t explain that you offer a mobile service
  • The other service page has a gigantic photo and doesn’t explain the service in detail compared to the other service page.  They should be similar – consistency matters.
  • You have a Facebook page but there’s no link to it on the site.  42 people have shared your website onto Facebook – but you aren’t tracking links like this.
  • Have you got any customer testimonials?
  • Have you got any photos of your ACTUAL Team doing the work?
  • Any funny stories to tell about your jobs? What about the Facebook photos you share – the team celebration – could these go on a blog on the website too?

Why would you change?

What’s important here is that the website owner sees a rapid return on investment for his marketing spend.
The areas where I believe we can show a quick ROI are the services descriptors and aligning them to search phrases, pulling out the points of difference.  And then making it super-easy for the site visitor to get in touch by phone.   That rapidly increases enquiries, the business owner feels his spend is justified.  Later we can get more sophisticated.
And so if you would like us to improve the SEO and re-write some of the pages, go to our shop and buy our SEO Starter Pack and then come into the office and we’ll prioritise, get started and tick off all these things for you.

Can you tell when you’ve found the right business in search?

I was searching for a music streaming service for classical music.  But I got the name wrong.

I knew I had not found the right business in my search results when I clicked through to the best result, and found this website design (top image).  Realising my mistake, I quickly revised my search (by spelling the business name correctly) and was directed to the second page – where I knew I’d arrived at the site I wanted.

You can see how I worked out my error, through the image design, layout and styling.  It’s dated and not mobile responsive.  Styled as 2000s versus 2017.

Now imagine if that actually WAS the correct result and it was the business I wanted.  What first impression is your website giving to first time visitors?

WooRank Website Test Tool

How to test your website is working effectively

May I show you a little insider secret from the world of web marketing?  It’s called a website rank check tool.  It shows you a score out of 100 for how well your website is built, secured and how well it delivers marketing engagement.

My favourite one is the WooRank tool – I have it installed in the toolbar of my Chrome browser.  But you can use this website or the HubSpot Website Grader Tool does a similar job – but from behind a registration paywall.

We use this when testing SEO on a website for clients.  But you can do it yourself – we’ll show you how.

A case study Central Flowers

WooRank Website Test Tool

WooRank Website Test Tool

I read a lot of newsletters and when I got one from a printer and web design company, I clicked through to their gushing review of their team’s work building a website for their customer.  So I decided to do an independent check on the website.  It scored 52.3/100.  Hardly a rip-roaring success for a new site.

You can see the result here and it demonstrates two things

  1. The web team are only designing for HUMAN visitors, not SEARCH ROBOTS
  2. The client is not expert in hiring and buying expertise.

First things first.  The web team should know about these issues

  • Headings should be in a hierarchy (they choose to only use H1)
  • Three image Alt attributes missing (so search engines can’t index the image and link back)
  • No anchor text in several external links (except the one going to the web design company)
  • No language declared (so the search engines know it’s English)
  • No blog – so the web rankings won’t become good because the site won’t get regularly updated (this is a failure of marketing strategy more than web design)
  • Secure (SSL) website but registered to a different domain (a property management company)
  • Automatic Copyright update to the correct year (it’s 2016 on the site)

These are hygiene factors.  They show up the lack of quality control by both the developers and to a lesser extent by the client.

The #1 mistake business owners make when buying a new website

The mistake is to buy a pretty design layout.  This is made by a designer.

What you need for an effective website is web development made by a web developer as well.  This sets up the effective tools and structures which humans cannot see from a website front end.  But robots and web search engines CAN see.  And now you can too.

Go and test your website using the Hubspot or WooRank tools now.  And send me the results.

Book in a 20 minute call and we will tell you what can be easily improved and how you can do it yourself (yes, really – most of these improvements do not require web development expertise, only editing in your CMS).

Or just buy the book.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning Impact on the Future of Content and SEO

The age of Artificial Intelligence is here and it’s powering up the simplest things in our daily lives. In a nutshell, Machine Learning is the science of giving computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Kinda like showing it pictures of kittens until it creates enough patterns to identify another kitten by itself from new images. It’s very similar to how our human brains learn while we are kids. A few companies already have this type of technology running (and evolving by the second), like Facebook and Google. Every day we input more and more content online as check-ins at favourite restaurants, search queries for hotels for our next vacation, pictures with friends and peers. The list goes on.

Big Brother is watching and he can help sell your stuff

This is a bit of a futurology exercise, I know. But don’t get it confused with any supernatural nonsensery, I’m certainly not writing this article on an Ouija board. It’s pure (computer) science that you don’t have to understand completely, just harvest its potential.

Taking advantage of the massive quantity of data stored online is incredibly useful to pinpoint your target audience, facilitating conversions. Because we blindly “agreed to the terms and conditions” of most online services, social media platforms can freely record information and trace it back to your profile for future use. In a world where virtually everyone is connected 24/7, this is actually a cool thing from the marketing perspective (if you ignore the obvious user privacy issues of having every move tracked online).

Ever noticed how Facebook shows (mostly) spot on sponsored content on your timeline? By analysing everything you like and share, Facebook creates a detailed persona of each user to target ads in the best way possible. And it’s not only what you do on the platform, they can track your footprint in other websites thanks to their Facebook Pixel.

Machine Learning helps predict your client’s future actions

As you probably know, we humans are creatures of habit, which makes recording our behaviour a simple task to the machines. Knowing that, Amazon and Netflix have mastered how to give the best “related products” suggestions you can find online. Their state of the art database is taking advantage of Machine Learning to predict your next clicks offering highly tailored content. Forget one-size-fits-all. To thrive in the current market, companies must pay attention to User Experience like never before.

A simpler (and free) way to implement something a lot less fancy as that is two tools called Content Analytics and Heat Maps, both part of the SumoMe suite. They record data of how far down your readers are getting in your articles and what links are generating more clicks on your pages. With this information, you can make very good educated guesses regarding what’s working and what to change on your website. This is not the “machine learning” approach, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

Forget that “beep-boop” bullsh*t R2-D2 has been feeding us for decades

Artificial Intelligence is also being used to write texts without human supervision. For example, the biggest Wikipedia contributor, Sverker Johansson, with more than 2.7 million articles published, is actually using a bot called Lsjbot to create all content.

If you think it would be obvious to differentiate between human or computer generated articles, think again. According to a study from Karlstad University, Sweden, “the readers are not able to discern automated content from content written by a human“. The researchers used two sports articles (these tend to be more factual and analytical) one written by a journalist and another by a software previously called Statsheet (now called Wordsmith). Big media outlets as Los Angeles Times and Forbes already use similar technology as a base for some articles, with humans later improving the content before they hit publish.

And what if I told you that the previous paragraph wasn’t actually written by me, but by software?

Well, I would be lying.

But for one second you actually thought about the possibility, right? Welcome to the future.

Get creative, experiment, innovate

And how can you take advantage of this in your business? There are a few services (like the IBM Watson) that offer the power of “computer minds” to businesses.

One experiment that I believe is worth the try is applying “robot talk” to your images SEO. Using a free tool like Microsoft’s CaptionBot you can let their machines determine the Alt tag for your image in your website. With Google giving more autonomy to RankBrain and relying more upon machine learning to deliver the best search results, it’s not about how you describe an image anymore. It’s how the machines see it.