Why SEO Is Like Leg Day At The Gym

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video which got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day so much. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love it.

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video on image optimization for SEO. This got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO leg work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day ever. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love doing it.

So I thought I would share how I go about doing some leg work on SEO for images. According to the video, images sizes on your website should be <50kB. This will help you speed up your website’s load time and Google is really looking favourably on this at the moment. Secondly, all images should have Image Alternative Text Tags which should describe the image in plain english e.g. A Photo of The Copper Coastline. This is so search engines can crawl your info/keywords better and in turn help you get up the rankings.

Here is how I do the leg work for image sizes:

  1. Download Screamingfrog app.
  2. Run the SEO Site audit for your website.
  3. Export the results.
  4. Open the CSV file in MS excel
  5. Apply a filter to the topline.
  6. Sort by largest to smallest image size. The cut off is 50kB. Anything over this could do with replacing.
  7. Use an image compressor for PNG files. I used this one. And Google Picasa for compressing Jpegs.
  8. Replace and delete the larger files.

I was horrified to find one logo PNG image that was 400kB! So after I compressed it became 5kB. So thats an awesome result. Imagine over a website how much load time you can save…probably not that much but it all helps thats what I like to tell myself.

Screamingfrog will also give you the statistics and results for the Alt Tags again making this easy but you have to put in the leg work.

Final tip. JPEG is okay for your website but PNG is better as it compresses a lot small in size without losing too much quality.

And don’t skip SEO day!

An Email Critique – Good Job!

I just received a great targeted email from Canon (the camera people).

What I liked:

  1. It landed in my inbox (not promotional box in Gmail). So I must have signed up and have interaction with them before. Confirmed email address email?
  2. Time of day was good at 4.26pm (people are usually clearing emails at this time of day…also nearly going home time so people’s moods are usually good).
  3. It used my first name in the subject but not in a spammy way. I was interested to learn more.
  4. The Subject pulled me in “Darragh, we are starting your summer early”.
  5. Email was from Canon Europe so they were upfront that the email came from a mail provider.
  6. They used a count down time to build interest in the content.
  7. The main content looks great…I love story telling and photography..so I’m looking forward to see what Canon has next.

Capture1

I hope this will inspire you to wow your customers.

Why You Should Be Targeting Your Competitors Keywords with PPC

Think about it. In theory, people searching for your competitors’ products/services should also be interested in your products. This should be extremely high quality traffic.

People are rarely loyal these days. Price, value and quality are the 3 perceptional pillars in which we think about before people buy. If these factors are satisfied by your company then adding in an alternative option is fair game.

Is it legal? Google state in their Adworks Behaviour Guidelines that this is legal. Once you don’t mention your competitors brand names directly you are well in your right to target them.

So to start, create a new campaign called Competitors or what ever you like. Add in Adword groups for each individual competitor. Then use broad phrase match to target the company name, brand name, product name etc. Create maybe 2-3 ads for each adgroup. If they are similar products then the same adverts can be used across the campaign.

You don’t want to rank first on the page. Leave this to your competitor. Ranking 2-3rd position is optimum as you want to remind the person that they have another option. Therefore keep the bid as low as possible. Brand names tend to be lower cost than generic keywords so this is a great cost effective way to win some business from your competition.

Final tip: Make sure you have a valid offering or point of difference to the competition in the ad and don’t forget a good call to action (watch, listen, download, buy, access….)

 

 

3 Analytics Goals Every B2B Website Should Have

Google Analytics can be daunting to those that are not that familiar with it. There are tonnes of good online/offline/ self learning tutorials out there. I would urge you to do one structured course so you can ask questions pertaining to your own website’s needs.

The overview reports are fine for most people but when you dive deeper in Anaytics that was were it all used to go pear shaped for me. Conversion goals used to be an area I didn’t really understand.

From a Digital Marketing course that I completed (I would highly recommend) I learned 3 simple user engagement goals:

  • Goal 1: Contact us   – How many visitors are converting to the contact us page. This tells us the value and hit rate. You can monitor this every month to see if any activities are improving the rate. This can tell you how many leads your website is generating.
  • Goal 2: Session Duration Engaged >3mins  – People tend research online before they engage with you face to face, so the more visitors converting here the better your content is performing. Again monitor monthly and use in reports. The more people spending over 3 mins per session the better your website is doing.
  • Goal 3: Pages per Session >3 Same as before, the more pages being visited the better, You can then analyse what pages are contributing to the goal conversions.

I hope these tips can help you develop new goals that will give you data to help improve your website and grow your business. Some guidance on how to set up the goals in Google Analytics here.

Adwords Custom Ad Scheduling Tip

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and hours of the day that are not relevant to your business.

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and/or hours of the day that are not relevant to your business. For example, your company is B2B and your target audience tend to work office hours (8am-6pm) Monday through to Friday. By pausing your ads so they do not show out side of these times you can save up to approximately 20% of your total ad cost. Clicks outside these hours tend to be irrelevant and close phrase-matching variants of keyword searches.

This next bit is important.

First of all you need to switch your Adwords campaign from “Standard” to “All Features” as shown below. The Ad Scheduling feature doesn’t show up when the campaign is set to standard. Google loves to hide features like this (fair but not fair :-/)

Adwords campaign type

After that go to Settings and you will now see a tab called “Ad Scheduling”. Click on this and then create a new ad schedule.

I hope this helps.

Dont Panic…https is not a requirement for everyone.

In Hallam’s latest newsletter they claim that the latest version of Chrome is actively warning visitors when a website does not meet recommended security standards. Its great to bring this to peoples’ attention but they are also doing a little bit of scare mongering IMHO.

Is your website secure, or could you be scaring off your visitors?

Don’t panic!

The https is a protocol that is used to encrypt all the information going from the visitor’s browser to the website and from the website to visitor’s browser. While it’s not that important during normal browsing on websites it is important when you or visitors try to login to their account (like on twitter, WordPress panel or any other login where password is sent) or they provide their Personal Details  or Credit Card information on the checkout page.

It should be fairly easy to purchase the SSl certificate for the website (around €100 – €140 per year) and add it to the website.

You may notice that your website and  a”protected” one have the same (i) icon in chrome.

As the article says the shift in ranking may affect around 1% for the searches online – at the moment when you don’t have user accounts or checkout when you collect sensitive information there is not much need in moving to https://

Just remember – if you have a WP site don’t login to your WP admin panel (and to your bank, email,…) when you are using public WiFi or any other network that you are not sure about.

Surely Google will have to cut us (non https sites) some slack here. Comments welcome.

Keep the faith.

How to gain visitor email sign ups?

Following this excellent article from Hubspot which compared 3 heavy weight sports brands’ (Nike, Adidas & Under Amour) landing pages . It got me thinking about how hard it is to get people to sign up…Wouldn’t it be great for people to freely sign up? Most people aren’t that lucky.

How do you get people to sign up for your newsletters, blog posts, email updates, offers etc? I run a B2B company blog for my day job and I know more than most that it is incredibly hard to convert sign ups.

The number one factor to convert sign ups is to give the visitor something that is of perceived value to them. We as marketers have to think about that. Saying sign up to get email updates has a perceived value if you are Google or Nike as people rely on that information for their jobs, professions, knowledge etc. But if you are a SME or a fledgling company that is not going to be good enough. If you are lucky enough to have a great product most visitors are someway interested in what you have to say about it. Do you have enough expected value to get them to sign up? Thats the million dollar question.

The best way to get sign ups is to include a ‘receive newsletter/ email opt in’ check box on your website enquiry forms. If you are getting an enquiry then the chances are that the visitor is open to receiving more information over time. That and the feel that they might be compelled to give you something in return for you answering their enquiry. Once you have them then you have to keep them. Hello marketing automation and its just as difficult to keep them than to get them in the first place. Hard work here on your content and targeting the right audience should pay off.

Other tactics come straight out of the Hubspot marketing inbound playbook. Sign ups via whitepaper, guides, template deigns downloads which are also very effective.

Keep the faith.

Information overload – PPC Tips

I have hit a ceiling here. There is way too much information out there on digital marketing particularly with SEO and PPC (articles, blogs, whitepapers, guides, demos, case studies etc).

This is mainly of my own doing. I subscribed to every recommended blog out there. Searchland, Hubspot, Google, Moz, Campaign…you name it. Now my inbox is being bombarded with tips and tricks , download this guide, 6 ways to…..arrgghhhh just stop. A lot of this stuff is very repetitive. For me the best way to deal with this overload of information is to just scan through it in order to see what is of interest. Then I can digest these articles in my spare time, which is limited due to a 16 month old toddler.

Every business is different so the best thing to do is play around with Adwords and the keyword planner tool. This first step is worth doing. Complete the Google Adwords Tutorial. This takes about 1.2 hours. It will stop you making a lot of silly mistakes in your first campaign. Then its trial and error from there to see whats working. Another tip is not to thinker too much. I would give each change a week to see what the outcome is before changing it again.

Create a Adwords account, play around with the keyword planner for a while, create a plan with your adgroups (tier #1 e.g. Digital Marketing Services) and keywords (tier #2 SEO help) and create ads for your Adgroups. All of your keywords are then supported behind the adgroups to make sure you are hitting the right search queries.

Remarketing and conversion reporting are more technical and you may need some outside help from someone in the know or a web developer.

Check out this great article I found regarding using the Keyword Planner Tool here.

Keep the faith.

SEO website fix up and other stuff

This week I got stuck into analyzing the website from a SEO point of view.

This week I got stuck into analyzing the website from a SEO point of view. I used the Screamingfrog  app tool (free) to download CSV reports of all page titles, meta descriptions, H1’s, image alt tags. Then filtered the ones that needed fixing…which was most of them. Its unbelievable the amount of stuff that was wrong or irrelevant to SEO. Just goes to show you how many designers just sell you a website and give you little or very little advice on proper SEO techniques. Anyway that’s why Digital Marketing consultants exist so happy days.

While I was doing the fixes to the SEO stuff I also realised that some of the headings and content wasn’t relevant to Google’s algorithm. I was using Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which is excellent as it tells me how rubbish my SEO was, for example no Meta Description is used, title too big, my keyword usage is too dense…but also tells me the readability of the content like a sentence has too many words, not enough transition words (due to, because etc), passive voice etc. Thus, I would highly recommend this plugin for WP CMS users.

So after about a full days work the website is now SEO optimized, the content is also relevant. Here’s waiting for the leads and enquiries to roll in. Hopefully a worthwhile exercise.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to share this article from Moz with you. It shows you How to Use Search Analytics in Google Sheets for Better SEO Insights. I will let Moz talk you through it but at the end of it you have google sheet that will automatically update every month showing how you are ranking against your main keyword queries. That’s pretty awesome for a campaign manager!

Next topic is PPC.

Keep the faith.

Why CSS Stylesheets are Important

Split testing CSS is the key.

A website’s main CSS file is a central point of reference which controls the common styles, positions and behaviours of all elements across each and every webpage.

Within the main CSS file are the settings for all fonts, margins, colours, alignments and so much more. It’s the most important file on most templated websites and can drastically change the look of a website with just a tiny edit.

Read the rest here

With thanks to Hallam for this article.