Todays consumers view the internet as an essential part of their shopping experience (especially now during the pandemic). According to latest economic reports, global online sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. Brands that do not take advantage of online marketing are doomed to struggle to survive.
Online marketing, also known as internet marketing, is more than just having a website and social media presence. It is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads, and sales.
Unlike, in the baseball movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner , "if you build it, they will come," does not apply to a corporate website.
The problem that most companies face isn't about creating a website but rather how to get people to notice it in a sea of ever-crowding space. The truth is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed among the deafening noise. If you're not a seasoned web developer, it can be overwhelming to keep up with digital marketing. However, one thing is certain - if you don't invest in online marketing now, you might as well throw in the towel.
So what does investing in internet marketing look like? Despite the number of options, in this article, I will focus on search engine optimization or SEO.
SEO is the method used by web developers and digital marketers to boost the ranking and/or frequency of a website by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Therefore, the importance of SEO comes from its ability to help consumers find websites with relevant content more easily.
How Search Engine Optimization Works
Using "spiders" search engines read websites looking for key bits of information that signal to them the topics and value of the content on each webpage. The spiders, of course, cannot really read. This means that they merely scan pages for certain terms that most closely match the search criteria of the person browsing the web.
In order to take full advantage of SEO, your website content should be updated frequently with new and relevant content. This is why blogging has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. To help keep your content relevant, look at your industry trends and try to keep your topics timely.
When adding a blog to your website, it is not enough to just write content without paying particular attention to 'key words." Remember, the spiders are looking for certain terms (ie. key words) to determine its value.
Using Keywords for SEO
Keywords are what your best customers will type to find your business and products. A strong keyword strategy focuses on attracting both customers at the bottom of the sales funnel who are ready to make a buying decision, as well as customers at the top of the sales funnel who are just doing a bit of light research. For example: If you are writing a blog about gardening, you might use keywords such as how to plant a garden or include terms such as seeds, fertilizers, soil, etc.
When writing a blog, avoid text that is filled with endless repetitions of the same keyword or keyword phrase. This type of text is awkward to read and contributes to a poor user experience, and can actually do more harm than good to your site ranking.
Another factor in SEO is the site construction and organization. Google and its algorithm also look at the organization of the site. A clear site map makes it easy for Google to navigate the site. It also helps to ensure that the spider does not miss any of the pages of the site while it scans the domain.
Side note: If you are thinking of changing your site domain, do not get rid of your old one as established domains generally rank higher than new ones. This does not mean that you cannot add a "better" domain and point it to your established domain. Yes, digital marketing is tricky stuff.
Speaking of tricks, be aware of your website loading speed. Pages that load slowly on a desktop or mobile device will be marked poorly by Google and more likely to be abandoned by impatient viewers. Large images, videos, and animation tend to slow down loading times, so only use them if they are essential to your brand and make sure they are properly set up to ensure an optimal load time.
Last but not least, site errors such as broken links or misdirected pages also negatively impact SEO. Part of SEO consists of running a site audit and checking that all error pages, poorly done redirects, duplicate pages, and similar types of mistakes are cleaned up.
If you have questions about SEO or need help with blogging, let's talk. Schoner Communications offer a free website review and loves helping businesses grow through better online marketing.
By Ian Mills
The fact is if you aren’t optimized for mobile you’re ultimately losing sales. Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.
Considering how important a website can be for any small business it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is mobile friendly. It’s amazing to me how so many websites are still not optimized for a mobile experience.
Here are five reasons small businesses must have a mobile optimized website:
1. Mobile Users are Different
Mobile users have different objectives than desktop users and typically this means they want information in quick, easily digestible bites. Customers report that their mobile purchases are often impulse buys and some statistics show that mobile users spend more money per purchase than customers do on desktop websites.
This underscores the importance of optimizing your mobile experience to match a visitor’s needs and behaviors in the context of how they will most likely be browsing your website. By making the path to purchase or enquiry simple and intuitive you’ll align more precisely with mobile users who need information rapidly to make decisions on the fly.
2. Mobile Gets Traffic
With one-quarter of global web searches conducted on a mobile device by over a billion users worldwide, mobile websites are just as important, if not more so, than desktop versions. Multiple sources report that smartphone users are engaging with mobile websites and apps while watching TV, commuting to work, and simultaneously while using a computer.
As Google made clear with last year’s Hummingbird update the future of search is mobile and websites that aren’t usable on handheld devices will see their search rank suffer for it.
3. Better Brand Engagement
People like your brand more when you offer a satisfying mobile experience and they’re more likely to return to your website later on a desktop. 90 percent of people report moving between devices, or “multi-screening”, to accomplish a task. When your mobile experience is optimized for functionality and consistency it fosters trust and affinity with users.
On the other hand if your mobile website is difficult to navigate customers are more likely to go to the competition than to visit you on a desktop computer. If you can’t provide what they need when they need it you will have lost the opportunity for the sale and risk losing a customer permanently to a competitor.
4. Increased Conversions
Desktop websites in mobile browsers are ineffective at converting visitors into buyers. Calls to action (CTAs) are often obscured, links are difficult to click and contact pages are buried in awkward menus. Mobile shoppers have little patience for an unwieldy website and one-third of them will leave a transaction if the site isn’t optimized for mobile.
To make the most of mobile, CTAs should be clear and easy to click and contact information should be one of the first things visitors see. 80 percent of shoppers admit that mobile purchases are impulse-driven and that they’re more likely to purchase from and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience.
5. Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Content that looks great on a desktop might be unreadable on a mobile device. Visitors won’t stay on your site if they have to pinch and zoom or squint at illegible type, or worse yet if it runs flash or anything that requires add-ons to display in a browser. If your website isn’t optimized professionally for mobile your bounce rate on mobile devices is going to be extremely high. By providing mobile visitors with an appropriate and intuitive user experience you will obviously engage visitors longer and drive more of them to purchase or enquire.
Mobile Health Check: Pick up your smartphone and go to your website. Ask yourself these questions:
• Does it load in less than three seconds?
• Does it draw your eye to your key selling points or message?
• Is the content easy to read?
• Is it easy to navigate?
• Is it easy to recognize and activate the call to action?
• Does it provide a good user experience?
• Is it a website you would spend time on if it was not your own?
If you mostly answered “no”, then it’s time to optimize your mobile site and capture the traffic and sales you’ve been missing out on. In our definitive report, The 11 Essentials of a Successful Website Design, mobile optimization has been ranked as number 8.
Ian MillsCo-Founder and CEO, Magicdust