Blog : digital marketing

6 Top SEO Mistakes to Avoid

6 Top SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Look out for these common SEO mistakes you might be making. If you’re looking to revise your digital marketing strategy, little improvements can go a long way to drive higher traffic to your site and increase ROI.

  1. Incomplete On-Page SEO

Often, there are many small things websites can do to fine-tune on-page elements, which from the perspective of Google, build up your site quality in tangible ways.

This includes quality web copy, which features relevant information and keywords, presented in a way that is easy to read and scan. Perhaps more overlooked elements include page titles, meta descriptions, and image tags.

  1. Ignoring UX

Your website functions as shop front and shopkeeper – not only do first impressions matter, how it interacts with customers after that will help or hurt the journey towards conversion. Prioritizing User Experience will aid with both conversions and SEO; a website that is fast-loading and easy to navigate is a basic foundation for a user to want to spend time reading, browsing, clicking around, shopping.

Though it’s still largely a mystery how Google measures bounce rate, it’s acknowledged that how long a user spends on a website and how much they engage with the content will affect its quality rating, and eventually, its ranking.

  1. Ignoring Mobile Responsiveness

As we’ve covered before, the future of retail lies in mobile-ready online shopping experiences. Google has also started experimenting with mobile-first indexing, which will prioritize websites with mobile versions when it comes to rankings. If you haven’t haven’t already, start placing more focus on optimizing your website content for mobile platforms, or risk being left behind in the dust. Ensure that your navigation, text and image content are presented the way you intend them to across mobile and desktop platforms — by making your website responsive or dynamic.

  1. Not Using the Right Keywords

A good rule of thumb to live by for SEO — for small businesses — is the more specific, the better. Driving traffic to your website isn’t the be-all, end-all of SEO; higher traffic does not necessarily result in conversions.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of optimizing for broad, generic keywords. While this option has its place if you have a certain purpose for doing so, optimizing by using lower-traffic phrases that are specific and also lower in competition (‘long-tail keywords’) can often lead to higher conversions.

Avoid stuffing keywords into your content — not only does this make you articles sound unnatural, Google also has algorithms that will look out for content that might sound like spam.

  1. Not Optimizing for Local Search

While it seems basic, an often-overlooked part of SEO is using region-specific keywords. If you’re offering goods or services in a specific city or region, avoid global keywords. How Google takes into account local search is a bit muddled and complex, but for small businesses offering a good or service, using local rather global keywords is a best practice for driving both traffic and conversions.

As always, include those keywords in page titles and meta descriptions. It will also be helpful to list your business on local business listings, as well as search engines related to businesses, e.g. Google Places and Bing — these will link back to your website and aid in search rankings.

  1. Not Using Analytics to See What Converts

Analytics is not only important for measuring results as you go along in your SEO strategy – it’s also important as a starting point to assess where you’re doing well and where you have opportunities to improve. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster can allow you to set objectives, monitor objective results, and figure out which areas are worth it to focus your efforts on.

Interested in driving more traffic to your website and getting more conversions via SEO? Contact us or fill out a form to enquire about our SEO packages or for a thorough website audit.

How to Demand ROI from a Small Business UX Digital Strategy

How to Demand ROI from a Small Business UX Digital Strategy

A User Experience (UX) strategy is purposeful plan of action that achieves an online business goal. The strategy builds an online experience that is in line with the end users’ needs and expectations.

User Experience, much like Customer Service, is user-centric. It focuses on how your online customers interact with your brand, how it makes them feel, and ultimately how the experience drives them to convert and become long term customers.

Today, and for Small Businesses in particular, investing in your digital asset and optimising its user experience is done to generate e-business value and support its brick and mortar equivalent.

UX digital design is outcome driven, seeks to enhance user flows and create favourable online customer experiences – and thus has an expected ROI.

     “For every 1$ spent on UX research, there is an expected return of 2$ – $100”

However, it during the UX design phrase, it can be difficult to determine what the expected ROI should be. A conversion audit, or website review will identify pressure points and help define what success looks like after the UX design strategies have been implemented. In a business sense, the UX strategies should, at a minimum, be aligned with your overall business objectives.

Typically, investing in UX strategies can have the following business objectives;

Reduce Development Costs

Keeping development costs down is key to staying within your businesses budget. Ongoing redevelopment associated with retrofitting UX solutions can be an ongoing cost and become a massive strain for slim small business budgets.

It is estimated that 50% of programmer work and time is spent fixing errors and rework. Considering the hourly front/backend developer fees – costs associated with re-work can be avoided by forecasting usability pressure points in the agile UX design process.

Other measurable cost cutting UX goals and metrics include;

  • Reducing support costs
  • Reducing user and staff training costs
  • Reducing redesign and documentation costs

Increasing Conversions

Driving conversions is a typical small business objective. The UX strategy that helps meet that objective should have a quantifiable business metric for which ROI can be based.

Conversions are not always revenue and sales based, they can be also defined by other business goals and objectives such as;

  • Increase brand exposure, loyalty and awareness through new and returning visitors
  • Increase subscriptions
  • Increase in online and in-store inquiries

As observed, “Conversions” are wide ranging and can include other traffic driving efforts such as SEO. Good content management and optimisation is key to content search-ability, and usability.

Other business objectives may be enhancing the user experience to maintain market competitiveness. Particularly for businesses whose product and service offerings heavily rely on first-rate customer service and engagement; UX or digital CX (Customer Experience) increasingly become a key differentiator in the digital space.

It’s therefore no surprise that, historically, global companies defined as CX leaders and invest in user centric designs have outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 41%. Now, over 70% of companies that do not conduct user experience are expected to begin doing so in the next 12 months. It’s also expected that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator.

Reducing Errors and Improving Performance

System and user generated errors can significantly impede the usability of an asset, cause abandonment and lower retention.

In a business sense, all costs associated with advertising, marketing and other traffic generating efforts cannot be realised when the digital asset does not function in the way the user expects it to.

Potential usability and functionality pitfalls can be identified early in the UX process through user and system testing. Putting the digital asset through its paces in a test environment will help identify developmental bugs and errors. Fixing errors in a post-launch live environment negatively affects user acceptance, increases the ongoing cost of development and maintenance – further straining the small business online presence budget.

For a small business, the cost of fixing errors and improving performance post launch;

(Number or Errors) x (Average time to Repair) x (Developer/Designer hourly rate) = Total Cost to the Business.

A Small Business Case for UX

Making a business case for UX has gotten easier. The cost of investing in good UX requires some time to deliver ROI and results, however, it’s the cost of lost opportunity due to bad poor user experiences that drives a stronger case. With 88% of online customer less likely to return to a website after a bad experience, business losses and lost conversion opportunities are immediate and very apparent to the Small Business owner.

In today’s burgeoning digital economies, strategically creating great user-centred digital experiences is no longer a debatable project and development add-on – it’s has quickly become a responsible e-business practice.

When catering to Small Businesses on a budget, UX is more about strategically thinking about the purpose of your website from a customer’s point of view and alighting these with your Small Business goals.

In your next website build, redesign or relaunch, incorporate Web Design Market’s ‘UX Strategies for Small Business’ – it’s our ROI driven, user-centric, web design and development approach that considers the following:

  • Market Research – using market analytics, data and demographic information, we help understand your target market and its key economic drivers
  • User and Customer Persona Development – using user research, we unveil your customer, their needs, interests and goals.
  • Competitor Analysis – we audit and review of competing or competitor websites to gain a comprehensive view of the digital landscape and help identify opportunities
  • Targeted Marketing Campaign Development – after identifying the target market your customers, research, identify the most effective marketing channels and campaigns
E-Commerce UX Design: 5 Tips to Increase Conversions

E-Commerce UX Design: 5 Tips to Increase Conversions

The core objective of an e-commerce website’s user experience design is to drive conversions and generate e-business value for your business. However, you might be finding that while your Small Business SEO Strategies are working, there are significant drop offs past your homepage and your conversion goals are not being met.

The web analytics data confirm that you are driving traffic to your e-commerce website, but overall, you may have observed some of the following:

  • multiple abandoned carts and baskets
  • a significant drop in returning visitors (as opposed to new visitors)
  • increasingly high customer service inquiries relating to online orders

There can be multiple reasons why your customers drop off after a certain point of browsing your home page or in the middle of check out. At this point it would be useful to reconsider your e-commerce user experience design (UX) strategy in order to enhance the shopping experience. This will reduce stumbling blocks throughout the transactional, checkout and payment processes.

Read on for five user experience design strategies to drive conversions on your e-commerce website and achieve measurable results, including:

  • an increase in key metrics such as Session Duration, (Avg) Time-on-Page indicating that site visitors are spending longer looking at products
  • higher task completions to indicate visitors are completing key conversion tasks such as completing the checkout and payment processes

 

  1. Create Purposeful Homepage Sections

On the homepage, and above the fold, make it immediately clear what your business does and its purpose. Here, promote and describe your business’s unique Key Value Proposition with engaging hooks that match your target market’s language.

  • Key sections such as the header should be designed to feature standard items such as logos and branding, shopping carts, administrative or contact details, search and navigation. For global websites, provide shoppers with automatic geographic/country/currency selectors.
  • The banner section will carry your Key Value Proposition and hooks. Give attention to the copy and ensure it drives value for the shopper. Incorporate clickable promotional material such as banners, sliders or moving carousels to drive shopper attention to offers, sales and other marketing efforts.


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  1. Provide Intuitive Navigation and Search Features

The navigation menu gets the most use and should be designed enhance merchandise and product findability.

An intuitive navigation structure eases the online shopping experience by providing consistent and recognizable navigational paths.

  • Prioritise pages appropriately and arrange product categories in a logical and hierarchical structure while offering reference points to orientate the shopper of their relative position in the navigation structure.
  • Categorise products appropriately. Misplaced items or incorrect categorisation of products will frustrate users and cause them to abandon the buying process.

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  • For simple e-commerce websites with minimal product listings, create tabbed navigation menus for product categories.
  • For large websites with complex or in-depth product categories, provide a search functionality such as autocomplete or autosuggest to hasten the search. Design the search bar so that it allows for category-specific searches.

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  1. Create Product Pages with a Strong Visual Focus

The product page is where you showcase your merchandise and products to the customer.

Strong imagery and visuals showing real life applications of the product create an immersive user/shopper experience. They also help the online shopper to get a ‘closer look’.

  • Where applicable, consider features such as 360 degree interactive images, which aid in the buying decision.
  • Multiple photos of the same product with appropriate image and product descriptions in the image ALT tags will also help with image SEO rankings. (Link to Blog article on Google Image SEO)
  • Highlight discounted products by prominently displaying the new and reduced price accompanied by strong call-to-actions that create a sense of urgency.

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  • For products with multiple variations, such as quantities, sizes or colours – design options that minimise customer error. Purchasing wrong sizes is frustrating for the customer and costly for your business.
  • Provide important product details including customer reviews and the ability for customers to share on social media channels, This should be part of your wider Social Media Strategy. (link to social media page)

 

  1. Smoothen the Shopping Journey

The user experience design should aid the customer in making buying decisions.

  • Page-to-page transitions should be smooth and consistent with minimal loading times to keep the shopper engaged.
  • Throughout the shopping experience, help the customer validate selections with recommendations of items other customers viewed or purchased in the same product range. Use these opportunities to promote other related products.

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  • Ensure critical purchasing information is automatically updated and available to help the customer track their spending.
  • Where the shopper abandons the shopping process, preserve the cart contents and alert then on their next visit with options to ‘Continue Shopping’ or ‘Proceed to Checkout’.

 

  1. Simplify Your Checkout Process

The checkout process – a transitional task and critical conversion point – should be designed to be quick, secure and efficient.

  • Depending on your business, design a checkout layout that simplifies the input of customer, shipping and payment information while minimising user-generated errors.
  • Reduce Time-on-Task and hasten the checkout process with autosuggest features.

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  • Secure trust by highlighting confidentiality and security by using secure reputable payment gateways.
  • Build loyalty by rewarding the shopper with redeemable shopping points for account holders.

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  • Reduce cart abandonment for casual and guest browsers by providing quick checkout and payment.

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  • Remember to capture the departing online shoppers’ consent to receive push-notifications and subscriptions.

 

The Main Takeaway

An e-commerce website should evolve with your business. To drive conversions, develop user experience design strategies that align your business objectives with a digital shopping experience that matches customer usability expectations and behaviour.

 

Top Reads of the Week

Top Reads of the Week

1. Mobile-First Indexing for Search Rankings

Barry Schwart gives an outline of what it could mean for businesses and digital marketing strategy now that Google has started experimenting with mobile-first indexing for search rankings. Bottom line? It’s what everyone’s been saying in the past year: optimize your website content for mobile browsing!

2. Trump the Marketing Master?

It hurts to acknowledge it — but Trump was probably the best candidate at integrating online and offline marketing, whereas Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Bernie Sanders had campaigns that relied on traditional or outdated strategies. Who knew his shouting on Twitter yielded results?

3. The Future of E-Commerce: Social Selling

It’s the rise of native selling. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have been tweaking and optimizing their shopping features – allowing advertisers to engage customers, who can then buy the product on the platform itself by clicking on a “Buy” CTA button.

4. Optimize Your Holiday Campaigns

Kissmetrics brings attention to the importance of customer analytics to maximize profits during your holiday sale. It’s worthwhile to adjust your campaigns in response to concerns directly related to customer behavior during the holiday season — including taking a multi-channel approach, focusing on specific shopping days, and upgrading customer service.

5. The Do’s and Don’ts for an Aesthetically Pleasing Website

SEO and great content aside, a well-designed website can go a long way with leading customers through the purchasing journey to checkout.

Weekend Wind-Down

It’s been a long week – have a cute kitten gif to start off your weekend.

http://giphy.com/gifs/cute-cutie-cat-nmhaVaQKVmjra

Happy Friday!

WordPress SEO: 4 Tips for Image Optimization

WordPress SEO: 4 Tips for Image Optimization

With the crazy amount of information online competing for users’ attention, Wordpress SEO plugins such as Yoast allow you to take actionable steps to ensure that your quality content gets to be seen by the right audience, leading to higher conversions.

A staggering 27% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress. Being easily customisable, it’s definitely a worthwhile CMS to use for small-to-medium businesses looking to level the playing field by establishing an online presence.

most popular CMS on the Internet - wordpress SEO article

As WordPress and SEO experts, we’ve found that one thing that’s often overlooked by content creators is the optimization of images, whether for your blog or your landing pages. This can help with Google rankings and backlinks. Users can be redirected to your site via Google Images, and Google reads your page to be of high quality.

So we’ve made it easy for you — we’ve broken down four simple considerations for how you can prep your images to make the best use of Wordpress SEO (though this is applicable to other types of CMS).

1. Find the right image. 

This should be obvious, but placing an image into your blog or landing page should not be for purely SEO purposes. Whether you’re using your own images or stock photos, they still need to fit in with your overall branding and message.

2. Do your keyword research.

Align your keyword-optimized text content with the optimization of your images. Include keywords in:

  • The file name of the image you’re uploading.
  • The alt and title text: The title text appears when you hover over the image, while the alt text is used when the image doesn’t load, or on browsers made for the blind or visually impaired to describe the image.
  • Captions, if you decide to include them.

wordpress SEO screenshot

When naming or describing images, remember to use hyphens instead of underscores, as Google would read, for example, ‘file_name’ as ‘filename’, and ‘file-name’ as ‘file name’ — this can affect your SEO.

3. Consider the whole of your content. 

Now that you’ve got some eyes on your page, make sure that they don’t take a glimpse of what you have and decide not to stay! Bounce rate matters to your Google rankings.

  • Include captions. Although this might not apply across the board for all types of content, where relevant, include captions when they can enhance the quality of your existing content. Readers might jump straight to an image when it catches their eye, and the caption would be a good starting point
  • Preview your drafted posts and try to evaluate them from the viewpoint from one of your readers.
  • Are the images in your header? In a slide? Between text? Consider, for example, the alignment of your image and where you’re embedding your image within the text. Does it fit, or is it interrupting the flow of the page?

4. Adjust your image file size.

Your file size is also taken into account by Google, as it affects your website speed. This then affects the quality rating of your website. Most basic image editing tools have the function to adjust your file size, for example Canva.

Main Takeaway

Pair these four tips with your existing WordPress SEO and content strategy. Images can play a role in generating leads, too!

Opportunities in Mobile Marketing for Small-to-Medium Businesses

Opportunities in Mobile Marketing for Small-to-Medium Businesses

The verdict is in. According to a report by Newstore, retailers have been slow in shifting their attention to mobile marketing and sales. This, in spite of an industry-wide consensus that the future of retail rests with our smartphones.

What does this mean for small-to-medium sized businesses? Newstore scored businesses by a few categories: Mobile Experience, Search and Share, Personalization and Engagement, Path to Purchase, and Fulfilment. For small-to-medium sized businesses, these parameters are useful in evaluating whether your digital marketing strategy has placed enough priority on mobile readiness.

In the past few months, increasingly more discussion has turned to the opportunities for growth in mobile marketing.

The ubiquity of mobile internet usage means that consumers are looking up information, browsing, and researching products on their smartphones. Thus, it’s important to not only consider the transactional journey of the consumer but also the complete experience. This ranges from having a mobile-friendly website with rich content and an easy path to purchase, to considering your Google mobile rank or the accessibility of your contact information and location.

Main Takeaway

At the core of it, the gaps that currently exist for mobile marketing points to opportunities to take advantage of the difference between how users consume media on smartphones vs. on their desktop. With even major retailers lagging behind on fully taking advantage of this trend, it’s prime time to rethink whether you’re giving enough attention to mobile advertising and marketing.

 

Top Reads of the Week

Top Reads of the Week

1. Analytics Demystified

A step-by-step breakdown of metrics, PIs, and KPIs, and why you should place more thought and analysis for the data you choose to include in final reports. As Jeff Rajeck argues, analysis is often the most important and most overlooked part of analytics reports.

2. The Year of the Supershopper 

An insight into mobile shopping: a large proportion of users use mobile to discover, browse, and research. In short, they keep their options open — and it’s something to consider when adjusting mobile bids and optimising your reach across platforms.

3. Content Marketers Share Their Secrets

Some tips and words of wisdom from top content marketers on staying inspired and creating quality content. What we found most useful?

Chris Ducker:

“If I could go back in time and give my newbie content creator self a bit of advice it would be to repurpose, repurpose, and repurpose. Back when I first started creating content, boy oh boy, was I wasting time. Now almost every piece of content that I create is repurposed in some way, shape, or form.”

4. Forecasting and Trend Data in Google Keywords Planner

A quick run-through of the new forecasting features on Keywords Planner, including forecasted impact of keywords and data for competitive domains.

5. Why Designing for Delight Doesn’t Always Work

Main takeaway: Spend more time understanding what the customer needs. As the author puts in, “If you really want to impress your customers, stop focusing all your energy on delighting them, and consider where your customer is at rather than where you want them to be.”

Weekend Wind-Down

What are better than photos of animals? Photos of derpy animals, obviously.

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Happy Friday!

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