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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 internal linking

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.

Internal links 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.

bad linkedin, location obscure, fake profile

Do Consumers Need to Know Where Our Business is Located?

Today’s always-on global world could make your business location seem to be an irrelevancy.  But the opposite is true.  Local marketing is now the fastest-growing part of online marketing specialisms.  And it matters.  Let me explain.

So here are 3 examples for you to use when considering international website domains. 

Feel local but act global

A client asked “We operate in Australia and New Zealand and not sure whether our NZ target market (women 25+) will find our Australian connection appealing or a turn off, given how very passionate and patriotic us Kiwis are! I’m getting mixed messages when I ask around.

We don’t want to hide our Australian connection, as it’s very important and where the business was born, with a fascinating story behind it, just not sure whether to include “Australia” and “New Zealand” optional buttons on the landing page to split off there, or if it should perhaps only appear as an option when you need to click on “events” or “locations” etc. that have information relevant only for each country?” 

What should she do?

My advice is to use a single web domain as the master site for both countries and then to have separate pages for the two locations. Here’s why.

Aussies versus Kiwis – Broadly they are correct, New Zealanders want to think they’re seeing local information (and importantly local currency and phone numbers) and of course small differences in language and rugby club orientation may also come through in brand communications over time.  Do Australians eat afghan biscuits?  Do Kiwis eat chiko rolls?

Your Website Strategy

Ultimately the solution you choose MUST be driven by the strategy for each country.  Is the website a place where people find out about you, get news on specials and what’s new, will they email you, will they phone you?  If yes, then the website must facilitate separate information for each site.

Set the strategy for the website first, then worry about the technical implementation.

Take a look at this case study of some work we did for a client who needed his visitors to quickly split up into pages best aligned with their needs. 

apartment specialists website redesign

Driving visitors to the right landing page focuses traffic

A strategic solution

The home page says what the business brand is all about – the owners, your values and passions.

Then you have a “What’s On NZ”  and a separate “What’s on AU” button that take visitors to what is effectively a home page for that location……

I would treat the NZ page effectively as your local domain and give it a really simple URL and so all links to the New Zealand business go there first.

An alternative to this location split is to have parallel websites which have slightly different domains e.g. nz.yourwebsite.com and au.yourwebsite.com   You often see this device used by international law firms and accountants.  This can be set up by your web hosts.

In practice this means few visitors go to the home page…. but that doesn’t really matter as long as local audiences are being served.

A poorly executed country strategyPerth-or-Thailand

By contrast, we got approached by a Perth business asking to do some content marketing with us.

They sounded like a good prospect and we fixed a phone call.  I rang, answerphone with an English man’s voice…. so I looked him up on LinkedIn and it turns out the business name is BusinessName (Thailand) Co.  Which rang a few alarm bells.

And his stated location was Manchester, UK.  Clearly a disconnect.

When we spoke he said although their phones were VOIP and used Australian numbers; he was actually based in Thailand and he couldn’t make outbound calls to international numbers like mine in New Zealand.  As any Aussie or Kiwi business will tell you, it’s extremely odd not to be able to phone the other country while doing business.

Now let’s look at a third scenario

Nimbus Portal Solutions are a client and they trade in five jurisdictions – Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, USA and South Africa plus “Global” to pick up the rest of the world.  

Their chosen solution to the website location question is to locally identify the IP address of the visitor and to quietly re-set the website version to the domain best suited.  So my default goes to NZ.  You can check this top right in their website where a country name displays. 

The main goal for Nimbus is to ensure all the currencies are local and bank account / trading entities switch to match.  Which is important for their business as jurisdiction for secure document storage matters – borders and locations of server hosting are aligned to the local country to stay within data protection laws.

In summary – set the website goal first and the supporting strategy will then drive the solution which works best for your situation.

This article first appeared in Marketing Online Magazine

SEO Case Study

SEO Case Study: From Second Page to Second Place in Two Weeks

Google now processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, every single day. No wonder 10 out of 10 businesses want only one thing: to appear on the first results page for keywords related to their industry. This kind of visibility is the promise of a tonne of organic traffic, new leads and sales.

In this case study, you’re going to see how we used SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to push a client’s website from the second page of Google to the second position on the first page, for the desired keyword in the whole of New Zealand.

What’s the real benefit of being on the first page of a Google search?

Well, I’m glad you asked. According to data from the Moz blog, “71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click. Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks.”. That means if your website is not ranking on the first page, you lose almost 3/4 of the audience. Imagine you have the opportunity to pitch your business to 10 new clients and, as soon you enter the meeting room, 7 of them just stand up and leave, without you saying even a single word.

Very frustrating. 😞

Have a clear goal in mind

Our client, Baucher Consulting, a specialist tax advisor office in Auckland, wanted to increase the amount of relevant traffic on their website, consequently resulting in more queries for their services. We discussed this necessity and defined the solution to be, primarily, an improved effort on on-page SEO. After researching on the Google Keyword Tool for specific keywords pertinent to the client’s industry and services, we targeted the keyword “nz tax advisor”.

Google Keyword Planner

When you buy a desired product, sometimes going local is not a major concern, and ordering from overseas is commonly the case. But services, on the other hand, tend to be a lot more “geographically sensitive” for most of us. If I offered to buy you dinner tonight and asked you to choose a good restaurant, you would Google “best restaurants in [city you live in]“, right? You don’t go just “best restaurants”, because a suggestion in another country, let’s say, is not really helpful. I offered you a meal, not a plane ticket!

Mixing the prominent keyword tax advisor with some localisation as nz just covers the user’s natural behaviour when researching for professional services nearby. Besides, it also gave us a nice long tail keyword to work with.

What we did to improve the client’s website SEO, step by step

After a brief Google search, we discovered the client’s website was ranking in the 12th position for the targeted keyword. It’s not a bad position if you think about raw numbers. However, apart from all sponsored results, a standard Google search shows you only 10 organic results (unless you change this in the options panel). This result was leaving our client on the second page, the internet equivalent of a wasteland.  Luckily we’ve been working with this client for quite a while now, so just some fine tuning was needed on the website.

First, we included the long tail keyword as the “title tag” on the homepage, where we could previously see only “Baucher Consulting Limited”.

Baucher Consulting title tag on Google search

In other words, “title tag” is what shows on that big blue link beside the name of your website on  a search result. It is, in fact, blatantly obvious as a major part of the decision-making process for a person to click on your result or not. Also, we included the keywords in the meta description (the text below the website address on the image), while explaining the services more deeply.

However, working with a single keyword all over your website is not recommended as it can be interpreted as keyword stuffing. In Google’s own words, keyword stuffing can be defined as “repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural”. In the past, this practice was all the rage and several websites used this brute force technique to break through to the top positions. Google’s algorithm learned from it and is heavily penalising websites that still do that owing to the fact that it “results in a negative user experience”.

Having that in mind, we diversify the content all around the website using similar expressions to the “nz tax advisor” search query with the help of Google itself. And how do we know other keywords that are related to our search in the great oracle’s brain? Easy. Google spills the beans right in front of our eyes, just at the bottom of every search:

LSI keywords for NZ Tax Advisor

Noticed how we used the word “specialist” in that meta description I showed before? It came from these insightful suggestions. Also, “personal tax advice” is an amazing keyword to target in our current website copy.

The result of our changes

After only two weeks, we performed the same search on Google for “nz tax advisor” and got this result:

Baucher showing in 2nd position on Google search

Yeah, baby! Yeah!

 

A lot more SEO optimising to come

SEO can never be seen as an isolated project but a perpetual work in progress. The competition for the first places in search results is fierce. That’s why we still have more cards up our sleeve and a few optimisations aligned to Baucher’s website are still coming. Now that our client’s website made the jump from the 12th to the 2nd position on the Google search, there’s only one way we can go: straight to the top.

Testimonial & Case Study from Apartment Specialists realtors

We worked with Creative Agency Secrets to streamline our website and the customer experience.  We have two major client types – buyers and sellers.  The team helped us to filter website visitors so we could present different messages to each audience and drive engagement with the right team member from Apartment Specialists.

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists after a website assessment, CRM implementation and re-write of marketing communications (ebooks) to capture email addresses from website visitors and drive traffic to key landing pages.

Case study of realtor website improvements

What was neat about the solution we found for Andrew is a quick way to filter the website’s visitors using prominent buttons on the home page.  The image below shows the percentage of website traffic going to each of the three destination pages.  46% of visitors want to buy an apartment – these folks don’t need to discuss how to sell or value an apartment.

apartment specialists website redesign

Driving visitors to the right landing page focuses traffic

And now look at the previous attempt to segment the traffic – it’s still on the site but the most valuable customers (those wanting a valuation prior to selling) are not clicking on the links at all.

Ebooks drive fewer clicks for Apartment Specialists

Ebooks drive fewer clicks and nobody clicks the online valuation box.

So why is the offer of an ebook not compelling?

We analysed the website traffic and sought to understand the “buyer personas” of visitors.  When an apartment owner is thinking of selling the first thing they do is to get their property valued. Hence the need to put valuation front and centre of the offer.

But an ebook explaining the process and showcasing the skill of the team is not enough in itself to get visitors to click.  Many don’t want an ebook – but they do want other things.  There were no clicks on the left box which offered valuations.  This was a problem for the firm.

Creating a landing page with ALL the information a buyer, a seller or a seller wanting a valuation needs was the solution – the ebook is also offered there but so is a tonne of other useful data including podcast episodes, contact details and other resources appropriate for their needs.

Interestingly, the top menu includes a link to “buy” but this gets only around 3% of all clicks whereas the big button has 300% more.

Result?  More clicks, more valuation enquiries.

Google Alerts

How to Use Google Alerts to Drive Business

Google alerts are an extremely useful resource for promoting your business online. First of all, if you aren’t using Google Alerts to track your business, you’re missing a seriously useful hack. They are particularly handy for staying up to date with relevant and timely information regarding your business, so you can react immediately to any publicity or news as soon as it happens.

But that’s not all Google Alerts are good for…

Google Alerts can also be used via RSS as a news aggregator on your website or blog! This is particularly useful for showing your visitors you know what is happening around you as well as demonstrating a position of authority with regards to your particular topic. Displaying the latest, relevant news results provides a great reason for your fans to continue returning to your site. Tailored, niche content is much easier to digest when it is a subject aligned with your own browsing interests. It may even help increase the likelihood of your visitors purchasing from you!

The best part about this is it can be totally automated, so you don’t have to spend time curating material. But make sure you have tested and refined your alert keywords in order to get the best results. Or, be sure to check the results from time to time in order to filter out anything that doesn’t fit with your brand.

We will be putting together a guide explaining how to get Google Alerts displaying as an RSS feed on your website shortly…

The next application for Google Alerts is a little more intricate: With a bit of research and a thorough understanding of your target market, you can even use Google Alerts to find new business!

Example: How to use Google Alerts to Generate Leads

Our client provides storage equipment solutions to the global rowing community. Although they can retro-fit single pieces of equipment inside an existing boathouse, their biggest projects come from clubs and organisations who have or are building brand new facilities. These new facilities obviously require a complete fit out of storage equipment and therefore, are our client’s ideal market. So how do you know when a new facility is built and looking for storage equipment? Timing is everything – if you find them too late, they may have already sourced a supplier and you’ll have missed the boat. Google Alerts provides the answer!

By setting up alerts with keywords such as “new rowing boathouse”, “rowing building new boathouse” and “new rowing club” for example, you get a nice summary of boathouse developments happening around the world.

Of course you have to continue your research beyond the alert itself to determine the lead’s value. Sometimes, results are completely irrelevant, and sometimes they are duplicates of material you have already covered. However, on the whole, they are incredibly useful at identifying future projects, as they are often newsworthy topics in their local area.

google alerts example creative agency secretsgoogle alerts example creative agency secrets

The next step is to track all your leads in a spreadsheet. Information such as who to contact and where they are located is particularly important. Additional research on the lead’s website often provides the necessary information to point you in the right direction.

In our client’s case, we were interested in contacting the architects of the boathouse, so that we could get involved with the club and their design process, as early as possible.

We have experienced great success building up a database of quality leads for our client in recent months. It is then up to our client to continue the dialogue with the prospective club and come to an arrangement. We have had a great deal of success converting these previously unknown prospects into happy customers, and have done so without investing hugely in advertising, outbound mailing campaigns or other conventional outbound marketing activities!

We have been able to minimise the time taken to research new sources of business through alerts and have increased the prevalence of new business, while making it easy to filter out results of no value. And as it updates you each time a new boathouse is being developed, you don’t waste time searching for them manually. A weekly check of your alerts inbox provides you with enough

Regardless of your industry or business, there’s bound to be a positive application to use Google Alerts for. Whether it is direct lead generation, building a database of bloggers and journalists to share content between, or even researching a network of businesses whose interests align neatly with your own, the uses for it go on and on.

Joint Venture Case Study

Case Study: feel good joint venture for sporting website

Recently Creative Agency Secrets oversaw a joint venture campaign between our client, Rowperfect UK, the premier rowing education website, and manufacturer Crew Stop. The goal of the campaign was threefold:

  1. Raise awareness for National Learn To Row Day (4th June), a popular annual event in the USA but a concept that hadn’t yet carried over to other anglo-speaking countries that Rowperfect reaches;
  2. Encourage the use of rowing gloves and reduce the stigma amongst “hard” rowers of hand protection;
  3. Drive sales of the Crew Stop gloves stocked in Rowperfect’s online store.

Planning & Execution

Planning began in early May, when Rowperfect reached out to Crew Stop and proposed a partnership. As part of the joint venture, Crew Stop would provide gloves to give away to Rowperfect’s readership and art and assets to promote the awareness campaign, whilst Rowperfect staged a global social media campaign, tapping their 6,000+ twitter followers and 4,000+ Facebook fans.

The partnership between Rowperfect and Crew Stop made perfect sense. It allowed Rowperfect to continue to serve as a source of rowing advice and education whilst reaching the wide audience of watersports enthusiasts who had need for the Crew Stop gloves: Rowers, Scullers, Kayakers, Crossfitters, Dragon Boaters, and Waka Ama canoers.

As well as the competition to win gloves in the week that lead up to the weekend of the 4th of June, Rowperfect offered a discount code to new rowers and Creative Agency Secrets helped the client curate a new section on their website specifically targeted at learning to row for the first time. This new niche will be of value to Rowperfect readers into the future and allows the client to recruit new organic readers and clients. This approach aligned with ongoing project of creating new portals for the client’s key readerships: athletes, coxswains and coaches.

On the blog, Rowperfect published a series of articles about the purpose and uses of rowing gloves and advice around reducing the stigma of glove-wearing. On social media, Creative Agency Secrets coordinated the publication of posts advertising the three goals and the use of the hastag #NLTRD (national learn to row day). Rowers around the world adopted the use of the tag to share their rowing experiences.

Results

By strategically targeting followers of English-speaking rowing clubs with Facebook boosted posts, Rowperfect more than doubled their social media reach in the course of the campaign, increased awareness and engagement with their brand by adding over two hundred and fifty followers to their regular network, and hit internal sales targets.

For advice on arranging running joint ventures in your industry, or launching digital awareness campaigns, give us a call.

marketing manufacturer zero to hero

Case Study: zero to local hero for manufacturer

Auckland manufacturing firm, Cabjaks makes kitchen cabinets.  They worked with Creative Agency Secrets for 3 months to improve their keyword natural search results, SEM and on-site keyword SEO.

Cabjaks Manufacturing kitchen cabinets

Cabjaks Manufacturing kitchen cabinets

Summary of outcomes: Adwords results

In January when we started they sold a small amount of goods based on clicks from Adwords.
By March the revenues from Adwords clicks were up by 413%.
April is performing even better.

Cabjaks is becoming a strong brand on Google properties too

  • There have been 6 Five Star reviews in March (the previous one was September 2015).
  • We are now on page 6 of local search (up from 20+) and importantly a competitor is falling off the second page.
  • The YouTube optimisation has gained a 13% increase in views.
  • And Analytics confirms a 12% increase in website visitors over the past 30 days.

A “zero to hero” response in just three months demonstrates the success of our work with this manufacturing brand.

Do you need help with your finance literacy?

uoamoneyquizCase Study: University of Auckland Finance Quiz

One of the more exciting projects we have had the pleasure of working on recently, was for the University of Auckland. The goal was to help educate first-year students and encourage them to seek out and engage in smarter finance decisions. Now, unless you are an aspiring investment banker, learning about finance is probably as appealing as putting your hand in a bee’s nest.

So how could we help the University put the fun back in Finance?

We decided the best way to achieve this would be in the form of a ‘finance quiz’. Unlike something one might find on a credit card application or a tax return, this quiz would be worded and styled in a way that resonated with the student population and would hopefully encourage them to find out more information in the areas they were weakest.

As is often the best way to communicate with students, humour and relatability were key requirements. Picturing what might appeal to the broader student population was a fun challenge, forcing me to think back a few years to my undergraduate studies (I don’t think my mental maturity has changed). Although I am surely a poor representation for the collective student population, I feel we were still able to convey situations that most students can relate to. In case I found myself on a ridiculous tangent, we also had representatives from the university and focus groups of students to guide the direction.

What did we do?

The quiz was composed of 10 questions and 5 ‘finance’ personality types, originally provided as a guide by our Accounting/Finance clients, Love to Grow. Each question was adapted to accurately relate to current student issues. The character types were developed to be funny, but identify potential shortfalls in each student’s knowledge, which would encourage them to seek out more information. Although the final text was ultimately unrecognisable compared to the original, our aim was that the message would remain useful as an indicator of each student’s financial situation.

Check out some examples below:

finance quiz question CAS

finance quiz question CAS

And the results…

finance quiz result CAS

“Boom! You’re a go-getting super badass, with the wind in your hair and explosions in your rear view mirror. Life is sweet right now, and you totally know it. But it’s worth thinking about a safety net – just in case your luck runs out on the next roll of the dice! Start playing the long game using our money tips.

finance quiz result CAS

“Okay, you’re not frivolously wasting your money away, but you’re not doing anything useful with it either. There’s no sense in making sacrifices if you’re not getting anything out of it. Gone are the days of stuffing money under your mattress for safe-keeping. You need to put it to work! Be smart with your money. Check out some financial pointers.

 

Due to the nature of the project, we had to strike a balance between what was cheeky and fun, and what might be perceived to cause offense. This resulted in a generalised and somewhat ambiguous character break down.

Thankfully, through some crafty wordsmithing, we were able to combine the light-hearted and cheeky self-assessment, in a way that would not upset any students and still provide a valuable resource for those who needed help.

It was a fantastic opportunity to work together with a team made up of such diverse skills. We hope that the students who take the quiz will find it valuable and fun to play!

Thanks University of Auckland for the opportunity and Antoris & Luc Design for your help on this project!

The finance quiz itself has been published publicly on the UoA student financial resources page. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!

Trade show B2B marketing tactics – selling tech to the masses

Trade show stands are a strong component of most technology B2B marketing programmes and they are a great place to sweep up new leads for your service.

Our client, FeedBlitz, briefed Creative Agency Secrets to deliver collateral, case studies and a slide deck for their stand at the New Media Expo NMX in Las Vegas, formerly called BlogWorld.

Take a quick look jay-baer-case-study and erin-chase-case-study

Case study collateral for FeedBlitz Jay Baer

Case study collateral for FeedBlitz Jay Baer

2 Marketing Communications icon4 Profile raising icon6 Create Opportunities icon

erin Chase

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