This might sound like a silly remark, but it’s quite common for us to utter it. The situation goes something like this…
We’ll be talking with business owners about how things are going…
How’s your website doing?
Is it bringing in any new leads?
Are you getting much traffic?
The answer to all these questions usually leads us to look at the website in question and within just a couple of minutes there are the usual telltale signs that the website looks good and has a lot of great features and functions, but underneath the bonnet…
…the designers did nothing to SEO your website!
We’ll save these telltale signs for another blog post but first, let’s look at the whys and wherefores.
Sometimes, a great website design is just that – a great website design. It looks good. It has the wow factor and everyone who sees it loves it. But that’s not enough. How many people are actually seeing it?
Did all the “oohs” and “aahs” come from people in your business? Did everyone who was involved in signing it off love it? Then that’s great. But if those are the only people who see your website then what’s the point?
Now the first reason you’ve got a website without any SEO functionality is that the web designers did just that – design. Web design is a sophisticated mix of art and science and specialists are very good at building good-looking websites.
But it takes the input of digital marketing specialists at the time of build to make sure that your site is created properly. If there is no SEO/SEM, no content management nor social media involvement with the design then it falls flat on its face.
Maybe the designers do not have the resource. Maybe they don’t have the skills. Well, that’s an issue because, in our opinion, every website absolutely MUST have SEO baked in from the very start.
What if they do but the client doesn’t have the budget for SEO and decided to go for the cheaper option, cutting out the SEO features and functions?
Again, there really is no excuse. If you build a site that has not been SEO’d then it will probably fail.
The old line from the film “Field of Dreams” comes to mind here…
“Build it and they will come”
Well, in our experience that isn’t the case.
If you have a website built but nobody knows it’s there, then how is anybody going to find out about it?
It’s never too late to apply SEO techniques to your business’ website but you have been at a disadvantage having to do it so late in the game. You have probably missed an increase in traffic at the launch of your new site. When was that? Last month? Not so bad. Last year? Oh, that’s not good. A few years ago? OK, now that’s a problem.
But don’t worry.
SEO is best talked about and integrated during the website conceptualisation and build phase and, if you’re lucky, it can still be fully applied at this late stage.
However, be aware that some things cannot be undone or fixed immediately. For instance, you could be on the “wrong” Content Management System (CMS), have the “incorrect” templates or be held back by the fact that the e-commerce plugin is not the most SEO-friendly or customisable one.
Also, your information architecture might be a bit of a mess, your content might be a bit “thin” and the supporting social media structures could be somewhat flimsy if not non-existent.
But again, don’t worry.
As a digital marketing agency with a great many years of experience, we have a solution for you.
Pick up the phone and give us a call on 020 3146 4341 and we’ll have a chat about your website.
We’re happy to give you our insights into what we can do now, in the medium term and for your long-term traffic strategy.
We’ll probably perform a website audit for you so that you can see what’s wrong and what needs to be done.
Then you can look forward to the peace of mind that your site really is in ship shape and you’re getting the traffic you’ve worked hard to earn.
Good habits of digital marketers? What are they then?
I’ll come clean straight away on this post – I was reading a blog post one of my predecessors had written about 18 months ago entitled 5 Bad Habits of Digital Marketers and my first thought was – why the negative slant?
My own professional and personal take on things is far more positive. I am a realist and totally understand that things may not always go to plan. But there’s always a positive direction in my thinking and doing. Hence, why I decided to write about the 5 GOOD habits of digital marketers.
And when I thought to positively counter the original post, I actually wondered why would I list just 5 good habits of digital marketers, but here they are…
One issue with the original blog post was about “forgetting to measure”, failing to take stock and evaluate, for a number of reasons ranging from the pace of work to fear of failure.
Well, every digital marketing campaign is under some sort of pressure, from results to timelines, so it’s a fact of life in the fast-paced digital world that time goes whizzing by and expectations are high for some campaigns. But that’s never an excuse to “forget to measure”.
It’s a given that you should be measuring your campaigns. You cannot run an effective campaign without measurement so just do it!
The sheer amounts of data are a lot to handle at times but good digital marketers filter through all the big data and only present the important stuff to clients. More signal, less noise, to use an analogy.
The numerous tools these days from Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google AdWords to Moz, Ahrefs and SEMrush all have dashboards showing historical data, some more than others. So, rely heavily on the tools that capture ALL data and just be aware of the ones that only show the last 90 days worth. Any digital marketer worth their salt knows which ones they are.
Download that data, label it clearly, have a good system and that will be the basis of your campaign measurement.
Customers, whether they’re businesses or consumers, are happy to divulge some data in return for information or free services. It’s acceptable these days to give some information away for free, just like we do in the Clever Marketing blog. We’re happy to give you tips and insights in the world of graphic design and web development, for nothing in return other than a smile on your face that we’ve helped you out. Better still is an acknowledgement or a social share and we’re always delighted when you share our blog posts and content on Twitter or Facebook.
(Ultimately, we’d really love you to be a customer of ours, whether you take us on for a print job, a website redesign or an SEO/PPC campaign, but let’s just get to know each other first)
However, if you want one of our free website audits, they will take a member of our digital marketing team at least half a day to complete; that’s 4 hours out of a skilled professional’s day, so it’s not much to ask for an email address to send your report to and to take a name with which to address the person who requested the website audit.
There are times when it would be useful for us to know, in return for our knowledge, which sector you’re in, how many staff you have etc. But some recipients of your email campaign, for instance, might baulk at divulging their turnover. That’s cool, we understand.
So, go easy on the data capture. The best, most experienced digital marketing agencies know where to draw the line – what to ask, when to ask it and how often. That’s a skill that comes with experience.
I’ve been a digital marketer for nearly 20 years, being involved in SEO since 1998 and PPC since 2002. In all that time, the one thing that has always been at the heart of every website I’ve been involved in is good, solid content. Content is King, as the adage goes.
There have been some interesting situations in that journey such as traditional marketing managers saying that some of the content on their website was just “waffle” and that it either needed to go or be completely hacked down. Only when I pointed out that the content was both technically excellent and the top-performing article on the site by a country mile, did the person in question decide not to lose a quarter or more of their traffic overnight in a hasty hack.
Or how about the content curation for one client that involved a suite of articles around one fairly short-term topic that saw them dominate the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for that term for a number of months and, for a few days, saw their traffic spike something like fifteen-fold!
Or what about the client who built a brand new website and canned nearly four years of blog posts! We’re talking about not just a loss of traffic and losing a wealth of long-tail search terms but also the investment in time, effort and cost into those valuable pieces of writing.
So, good digital marketers understand that content is king still and they have a good habit of integrating content into digital strategies, both in-house and for their customers.
A traditional old sales and marketing adage is “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
What this means is that even if the product is great and has the latest spec, top stats and all the bells and whistles, what differentiates the product or service from everyone else’s is that it brings certain benefits, it provides a solution to a particular problem.
We recently discussed this subject with a client who sells some very technical equipment. We aren’t experts in their field so we don’t understand all the technical specifications of their product, but we asked what the practical applications were and they were happy to give us some examples.
And this is the approach that is a good habit of a digital marketer – all the technical specs are fine but if you can provide a solution to an existing problem then you will resonate with potential customers.
So, this is where a good digital marketing agency will excel – they will mine out the benefits of your product or service and, with clever marketing, sell your sizzle and not just the steak.
Of course, your digital marketing agency will specialise in digital marketing. But it’s your agency having an understanding of all aspects of the digital and the marketing world that will help you shine as their client.
At Clever Marketing, Surrey, we do graphic design. That ends up in print. It can be everything from business cards, to flyers and brochures, pitch books and full-on publications, There are trade and exhibition stands, you name it, we print it.
These designs can very easily cross over to your digital assets too, we’ll rebrand and refresh your website design, revitalise your e-commerce site and then drive qualified traffic to it through digital marketing – that is, through organic SEO, Pay Per Click and social media too.
We are a full spectrum design and digital agency and we know how virtually everything interacts. So that’s the bonus you get from a Digital Marketing Agency that also understands print too.
At Clever Marketing we eat, sleep and breathe digital marketing so for us, it’s in our blood, it’s a daily routine and a perpetual habit. And there are many more good habits we could divulge but we’re already out of time…
Paul Mackenzie Ross
Digital Marketing Manager
SEO, PPC, content marketing, retargeting… if you’re new to digital marketing, the sheer amount of terminology and phrases to get your head around can seem daunting at first. Don’t get left behind – here’s our comprehensive A-Z of the most popular terms to make sure you stay in the know! (more…)