8: Get Social

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Eight

Get Social is the last step in increasing traffic to your website.

You’ve done everything you can from installing all the right tools, doing your keyword research, auditing, refreshing or rebuilding your website, reviewing your content strategy and doing your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and your Pay Per Click (PPC).

Yet, whether you’re a new or an established business, no matter how hard you try you just need that extra little something to get more traffic, more enquiries, more leads, more sales…

Web 2.0

Web two point oh. Web two zero. However you say it, this was a turning point for the world wide web. Because once upon a time, websites were boring. you had a Flash intro splash page (Remember them?) and web pages with some images and text. That was it. No interaction, no nothing. Just static web pages.

But when Web 2.0 came about, extra dimensions were added to websites. For instance – blogging, user generated content and that all important social media.

The web became a much livelier, much more dynamic place. And social media was a big part of this.

Nowadays you just can’t get away from it. Social media is here to stay.

Donald Trump is infamous for his daily Twitter rants. Facebook is regularly in the news as privacy concerns put Mark Zuckerburg in front of panels of concerned officials. LinkedIn was brought by Microsoft… so you know that social media is big news.

So How Do I Get Social for My Business?

Well, as long as you’ve followed all the other steps in this guide to increase traffic, you should have everything in place to fly on social media.

The biggest focus here is driving traffic to your website. And if you’ve optimised your landing pages to convert that new traffic then you should see an increase in leads and ultimately sales/conversions.

But first, ask yourself this… where are your audience in the social media world?

If you’re a B2C business then your potential customers might be members of the general public. Twitter and Facebook are good grounds for getting your message in front of everyday people. We recently grew a Facebook following of a consumer lifestyle product from zero to nearly 4,000 followers in a very short space of time. Primarily a brand awareness social media campaign, we generated sales off the back of this work too.

For our B2B clients, Twitter and Facebook have certainly played their part but we’ve found LinkedIn a happy hunting ground. With the demographic controls in the platform, we’ve managed to focus our clients’ campaigns by getting them right in front of the specific audience – by job title, industry, by region… You can even specific schools and qualifications to really drill down to a fine target audience.

So select the platform(s) where your audience are and start posting.

If you’re not sure which channels to use then may you should set them all up and experiment. Post the same content on each social channel at the same time and monitor the stats to see what works best. It may be worth keeping a presence anyway, so keep your activity optimal so that you’re not wasting any time on channels that don’t convert.

But What Should I Post?

That very much depends on what you do.

Do you run brand awareness posts to spread the word and get your name out there?

Informational posts on your products or services? What’s new and innovative and how does it benefit your audience? Got a video for them or a whitepaper download? Post links to those on social media.

You can post industry updates and keep your audience abreast of what’s happening in your wider world. What’s the latest industry development that you’ll soon be incorporating into your own products and services?

Entertaining posts are welcome sometimes, if that fits your business’ character. This all ties in with your corporate identity, so be careful and post thinks that will add to your brand.

Does your website have content that will benefit from popular hashtags? Is there something beneficial that can be tagged with #MondayMotivation or #WednesdayWisdom?

And remember to join in and promote your favourite followers – with a #FollowFriday tag – you may be thanked for that and gratitude adds to your brand.

How about sharing other people’s content? Sharing is caring as the saying goes. There’s karma in there that when you share others share your content too.

Get Social with Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencySocial media is easy to use but can also be a bit of a “time suck”. If you need professional social media management then do let us know; we’re happy to provide our extensive social media consultancy services.

Call us on 01276 534 680 or complete the simple contact form.

7: Invest in Paid Search (PPC)

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Seven

Invest in Paid Search they say. Why? Well put it this way…

How are you doing organically? Is your business appearing at the top of the search results? Maybe there’s a competitor who is bigger than you, has a bigger team or more financial clout and has a team of people working on their content strategy and doing hardcore SEO every day.

Whether you’re a new or an established business, no matter how hard you try, you just need that extra little something to get more traffic, more enquiries, more leads, more sales…

So what’s left in the bag? What else is there that you can do?

That’s where Pay Per Click (PPC) comes into play, that paid search that you should consider investing in.

What is Paid Search?

When you can’t get a decent ranking in the organic search pages you can turn to Pay Per Click (PPC) or paid search.

Here’s an example…

We just Googled “solicitors in Hampshire”.

What we call the “local pack” is the box at the top of the page showing the local search results. It’s a map and a list of the top three results as chosen by Google.

As we’re currently conducting our search from a Farnborough IP address the local results are for two law firms in Fleet and a solicitors in Farnborough.

Solicitors in Hampshire - Local SEO results for Fleet and Farnborough.

Solicitors in Hampshire – Local SEO results

Then if you look below the local pack you’ll see the traditional organic results, the hallowed “top ten” organic listings.

Solicitors in Hampshire - Organic SEO results top ten

Solicitors in Hampshire – Organic SEO results top ten

Look carefully at both sets of results and pay attention, we may be asking questions…

When we looked at this listing there was a result at the very top that was above the local SEO result and above the organic SEO listing…

Paid Search results, PPC - Lamb Brooks, Basingstoke

Paid Search results, PPC – Lamb Brooks, Basingstoke

This is the paid search result, the Pay Per Click result, the PPC ad. This firm is still in Hampshire but they are 15 miles away down the M3 from where we’re conducting our search. They’re not in the local pack and they’re not in the organic listing. So they’ve leapfrogged their competitors by paying for a position and will pay for the click too.

That’s how paid search works. Try the same when you search for Solicitors in Woking.

We got a similar result when we narrowed the search to just our own town. We got all the ultra-local law firms with nearby addresses but an out-of-town business had bid to get the coveted number one slot. Or “position zero” is another way of thinking about it (Above the number one organic spot).

So that just goes to prove that, if you invest in paid search, you can get your business listed above your competitors.

The Nuances of Investing in Paid Search

If you’re new to PPC then you’ll need to know this:

The Google Ads interface is a lot slicker than it used to be, but it can still be quite daunting. Don’t allow yourself to be too overwhelmed by the dashboard, just focus on at least setting up one campaign to start with.

This should be your “brand campaign”. This will be where you use your brand name in your paid ads. Even if you rank at the top of the organic results for your unique brand name the logic is that you will get another position and “dominate” the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Another good reason for investing in a brand campaign is to actually protect your brand.What if your competitors are bidding on your name?

Remember when Samsung bid on users looking for the iPhone 6S back in 2015?

iPhone 6S - you mean Galaxy S6 - PPC

This was a blatant bid on Apple’s brand term and it won a lot of attention, with the story of this buccaneering tactic even making it into the tabloid media.

But the point here is that you should, at the very least, always run a brand campaign.

Additionally, by being in Google Ads (Google AdWords as it was) you have access to their tools, particularly their keyword planning tools. This is where you want to enter your keywords and see forecasts for search volumes and bids.

Search volume is an estimate of how many monthly searches there are for your keyword term. High volumes of searches indicate a very popular but also maybe a very broad term. Low volumes obviously aren’t as popular but you don’t want to put effort into setting up campaigns and ads for little to no traffic. Or do you?

Then there are the bids. Popular terms may be expensive. Less popular terms should be cheaper. Broad and generic terms might not get you particularly relevant traffic. The art here is to do your keyword research, investigate volumes and bids and then work out how much it will cost you and whether it’s worth running a PPC campaign.

Don’t Mess Up Your PPC Campaigns

One thing we will say is that it can be so easy to make a mess of your paid search campaigns. Last year we were approached to fix a paid search account where the previous PPC manager didn’t know what they were doing. They allowed clicks from the USA and India when their target market was England’s home counties. They bid all day every day all week and they didn’t set a budget, so they ended up blowing thousands of pounds for very few leads, not even full conversions.

So watch what you’re doing and do your homework. Our own top two PPC guys have 24 years paid search experience between them and, whilst we can’t expect you to match their lofty standards, you can learn a lot from them.

  • Stay on top of your PPC campaigns every day.
  • Manage your negative keywords.
  • Adjust your ads. Write new ads when you see good ads performing well and switch off poor performing ads.
  • Feel free to kill off campaigns where spend is high and clicks are low.
  • Experiment if you have some budget – take tentative steps to explore and spend more if you see results
  • Do set budgets – and stay on top of accounts to ensure you’re not spending more than your budget for certain bid strategies for instance.
  • Remember also that some campaigns may be “limited by budget” and, if these campaigns are doing well, they will do better of you spend more.

This is a very brief overview of getting into paid search campaigns. But there is so much more. Go ahead and get your feet wet but, if you need expert advice or help with PPC management, let us know.

Clever Marketing, full service digital marketing agency in Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey.Clever Marketing are a Hampshire PPC agency managing a variety of PPC accounts for clients locally, nationally and internationally. We pride ourselves on our passionate and results-driven philosophy, giving you our full attention and total success from PPC.

We encourage you to invest in paid search so you can drive traffic and generate leads from your website. However, if you do need our PPC consultancy services then call us on 01276 534 680 or fill in our contact form.

6: Keep Doing SEO

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Six

Keep doing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) because, you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again…

SEO is dead.

Long live SEO.

The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated.

As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, just because people have said “SEO is dead” it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

We heard this term many years ago and we are hearing it again. And for many reasons too.

1. AI Can Do SEO

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been touted as the “next big thing” including threats that it will “take our jobs away”.

Well, bots and AI might well be answering initial customer enquiries, as they have for many years now. You call your insurance company, you are met with an automated service. Eventually, after hopefully not going round in circles, you end up talking to a real human being in a UK call centre who answers your query in an efficient and friendly manner.

In the web business AI has also been touted as being able to “do your PPC” for you. Well, we’ve tested that out and we still don’t believe Google’s PPC bots can do a better job of managing an AdWords account than a real human does.

The same goes for SEO. How can a bot log in to your website, scan all your text & code and then, most importantly, make the right changes in the right places that make sense, read well and get you results? They can’t.

A person with 20 years experience of designing and building websites, writing eloquent text, editing it and marketing it through every digital channel can do a much better job than a bot. And that’s just one member of our talented digital team here at Clever Marketing.

2. Google Steals Using Featured Snippets

Years ago you used to ask Google “convert litres to gallons” and you’d get a list of the top ten websites that provided you with that answer.

Now Google will just present that answer themselves. Try it. Look up “convert litres to gallons”.

That is Google’s own engine delivering the result. You don’t need to go to anyone’s website for that result, not like you used to. This is all part of their “knowledge graph” and what amounts to “zero click searches” where a result will have appeared in the search but there was no click through to a website and no organic traffic (Because Google took the answer and displayed it for itself).

It’s the same for “what is SEO?: Big G pulls it’s own dictionary reference.

(Google did use it’s own definition but, 10 months after we published this post, that ad changed for a Wikipedia article)

If Google aren’t displaying a result from their own fold then they’re stealing yours. Ask it “what are featured snippets?” and the result is pulled from Sistrix’ website. But at least the search giant gives the credit for the source and a link too.

So just because Google pulls results into featured snippets doesn’t mean that SEO is dead. Far from it. In fact optimising your website for search is more important than ever.

3. SEO is Evolving

All that has happened is that search has evolved, especially with the world’s biggest search engine.

Of course it can be frustrating when Google crawls the web, picks the best answer for a question and displays the full solution in their own results.

Ultimately this serves the client, the user, the searcher and, if they’re not satisfied with the answer, they can at least keep searching or click a link that Google has been kind enough to provide.

But within this threat lies that golden opportunity. Keep doing SEO.

Because if you do all the hard work and your site gets chosen to be the featured snippet then that is kudos in itself. You didn’t get to the “number one slot” you went above that – you ranked in the “position zero”.

And besides, if other website owners believe that “SEO is dead”, then what exactly are they going to do? Give up SEO? Great, that’s an advantage you can leverage. Use PPC instead? That’s fine. Keep doing your PPC and do your SEO. You can then set about to get your site in the coveted Cost Per Click (CPC) slots and ranked high in the organic Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) too.

A Final Word About SEO

SEO will never die. You will always need to optimise your web content.

Every time you publish a web page you will need to ensure your title tag is correct and that the meta description accurately and enticingly sets you apart from the surrounding results.

Does your document have correct structure? Is there just one h1 tag supplemented by hierarchical h2s and h3s etc?

Have you written enough about your subject matter? When I hear the words “That’s too long, nobody reads that” I always say that the anecdote needs to be backed up by the data.

We saw a recent horror story where a designer said this very same thing and had a website owner poised to jettison 60 pages of authoritative content. It was only when our digital agency stepped in and raised an objection that the website’s rankings would plummet and so would the traffic that 16,000 page views and 20% of their organic traffic was saved.

Besides, an experienced SEO team had spent two years optimising that website and a design team were going to bin all that hard work (and many thousands of pounds worth of financial investment).

So, where would that website have gone with a slick design and no content? Down the pan most probably and no amount of SEO work would have saved the meagre thin content left behind.

Get Us to Do Your SEO for You

So keep doing SEO. It still works. And if you don’t have the time then call us and ask us to do it for you. We always get positive results and we generate leads from your traffic too.

Keep doing SEO - Hampshire SEO company Clever MarketingWe’re one of the best SEO agencies in Hampshire so your business will benefit massively from tapping into our wealth of expertise (Our Digital Marketing Manager has been doing SEO since 1998)

So call Hampshire SEO company Clever Marketing on 01276 534 680 or fill in the really easy contact form and we will be more than happy to pass on our expertise.

Have a Content Strategy

5: You Do Have a Content Strategy Don’t You?

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Five

You do have a content strategy don’t you? Because one of the tenets of the website industry is that Content is King.

Bill Gates said this in an essay in 1996 and, all these years later, it still holds true.

Websites such as the BBC, The Guardian and The Daily Mail are all content-driven beasts. Facebook draws you in to see what your friends are up to everyday because of content.

So if your website, the shop window for your products and services, doesn’t have strong content then that is something you need to take a serious look at.

Know Your Own Content

The first step in your content strategy is to know your content.

Do you know how many pages there are on your website? What sort of content do you have? What have you written about? Does it get much traffic? Which pages attract the most attention? Which content gets read the most, keeps users on your website the longest, engages with your audience and makes them share on social media or complete a form, make an enquiry or a sale?

That’s are a lot of questions but you need to answer them all in order to get a picture of the health of your website so that you can make an informed decision going forward…

Use your Google Analytics to see which pages get the most eyeballs, what the bounce rate is and follow that user flow through the website.

See which pages lead to the most goal completions.

Once you have all this knowledge, maybe marked up in an Excel spreadsheet, you can see what works and what doesn’t.

You want to do more of what is good and try to make improvements to the places where you aren’t getting as many successes.

There are many ways to plan content but knowing your own content you can divide up what you have into

  1. More like this.
  2. Improve upon these and…
  3. Less of this sort of content.

Do Your Competitors Have a Content Strategy?

Now you may not be privy to that exact knowledge, unless you’re into corporate espionage, but you can at least go and have a look at your competitor’s website to see what they’re up to.

Do they post regular blogs? How often?

Do they publish news stories? What about?

Does your competitor have webinars and videos, whitepapers, downloadable guides, an email newsletter?

Look at their social media channels – do they have a lot of followers? Do they post a lot? Regularly? Which posts get the most likes?

If you can see that your competitor is doing so much more than you, then that will be why they are so much more successful. That knowledge alone should get you fired up!

Whatever your competition are doing that you are not is to their advantage. At the very least you should be matching this. You should be aiming to beat this!

And, again, being wise and organised, you will have expanded your list, your spreadsheet and you can see what content you have got and what the competition are up to. There is a mountain to climb but you must do it because that’s what you’re in business to do – to succeed and win.

Is There Anything You’re Missing?

You know your own content. You now know your competitor’s content. But is that everything? What if you are BOTH missing a trick?

Are there websites in your industry that you haven’t had a look at? Go see them. Explore and get more intel.

Did you see anything in your keyword research? Are there terms in Google Search Console that you are getting impressions for that you don’t have strong content for? Does Google Analytics show you which terms people are typing in your site’s search box that maybe you don’t have content on?

This is where you get clever with you marketing, by thinking and looking and doing things that you have not previously done. Even if you later dismiss some of them, having a holistic view of your business, the market and your competition will fire up synapses and make connections that will help your future strategy.

Time to Have a Content Strategy

Armed with all this new knowledge you’ve noted down, it’s time to map out your content strategy.

There will be keywords and content that you currently perform well for. You will want to preserve this performance.

In addition to preserving your best performing content you will want to support and boost it. You can do this by creating additional content using secondary and tertiary keywords, those “long tail” keywords that will help web users find what they are looking for.

So for your content strategy you should do the following:

  • Choose your primary content subjects and support these with secondary subjects. This will form the basis of a parent-child relationship with your content and your website’s internal link structure.
  • Define the type of content that you will deliver these subjects: articles, blog posts and cases studies may be your primary HTML content in your website. Support these content types with videos, infographics, eBooks and whitepapers as appropriate.
  • Define goals such as when you will produce and deliver your new content. If you have limited resources you may wish to focus on a content strategy that has a more immediate impact.
  • Back up your content creation strategy with a content delivery strategy. You have all this shiny new content but how are you going to get it in front of your audience?

That should be enough to get you thinking about and formulating a content strategy. It’s essential that you have quality content for your audience to consume.

And remember – Google automatically crawls and indexes your website but occasionally a real person will assess your site – they will use Google’s quality guidelines to see whether your website’s content comes across as Expert, Authoritative and Trustworthy. E-A-T. Remember this and create the very best quality content that you can. Your users will appreciate it and so will the search engines.

Content Strategy - Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyNo content strategy? No problem. Our digital agency will work as your strategic marketing partner to craft and execute your content strategy.

If you would like to know more about any of these individual items then please do give us a call on 01276 534 680 or complete our contact form.