Category Archives: Digital Marketing

hands holding digital strategy

SEO mistakes that sites are still making

SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, but many sites are still making the same mistakes and hurting their performance. Here are some of the main offenders.
Almost everyone running a business knows the importance of getting online and getting discovered, and that means investing some time and effort into SEO. However, optimising a site can be harmful if it is done badly, and many organisations are still falling victim to the same SEO mistakes that have been doing the rounds for years.

If you run a website, it is worth checking through this list and making sure you aren’t falling victim to any of these common SEO errors that are still showing up.

Keyword misuse
Keywords are an integral part of SEO, but it’s easy to get them wrong. This commonly tends to happen because sites are using the wrong keywords. For example, both search engines and the people that use them give precedence to long-tail keywords: phrases of three or more words. However, often organisations choose single words and attempt to rank for those.

While this will not help your site rank particularly high, at least it won’t hurt it. However, the same cannot be said about keyword stuffing. Many sites still consist of transparent attempts to feature their keywords as much as possible. Not only do search engines pick up on this – and penalise it – it is also a good way to get a user to leave your site immediately.

Neglecting metadata
The content on a site is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of SEO. The metadata is incredibly important as well, but many organisations neglect it. A good title tag and metadescription will be considered by search engines, so can give a webpage a boost up the rankings with relatively little effort.

One of the most neglected elements of metadata is image alt tags. A search engine cannot ‘read’ an image – it will have no idea what that picture of your product is actually showing – but it can analyse the text of an alt tag and work out what pictures your site is using from that. This makes the tags another great – but easily missed – opportunity for optimisation.

Paying for links
Link farming has got enough bad press that most people are staying away from it. Buying links like this is very spammy and will almost certainly get your site penalised. However, there are also downsides to offering giveaways in exchange for links, such as sending out free products to bloggers who will review it and link back to your site.

This is not harmful, it’s just a really inefficient way of link building. You’re paying out money or sending out products in the hope that the reviews will be positive and the links will boost your SEO. A better method is simply to produce interesting and useful content that is likely to be shared. You’ll get much more links for your money that way.

SEO

How to optimise your site’s images for better SEO

Site owners often think about optimising their webpage text, but rarely focus on their images. However, this can be just as important, and shouldn’t be neglected.

When people talk about SEO, often they’re referring to the text of their websites. Whether it’s content or keywords, a lot of focus is put on optimising the written word. However, in many ways it is just as important to make sure your images are tailored to both your audience and the search engine they will be using to find you.

So what does this actually mean? How does one optimise an image? Well, first off you need to give it a title when you upload it. So often, the filenames of images are a string of letters and numbers, which might seem fine to you, but it doesn’t help a search engine from working out what is on your page.

Google can’t understand images. There are efforts ongoing to develop computers that can work out what is in a picture as people can, but this is still a way off. For now, search engines are stuck with using the title of an image to ascertain what it is showing. When your title is meaningless, it doesn’t help your site at all.

Fixing this is as simple as naming the image after what is in it; “businesswoman holding meeting” for example, or give it the name of the specific product it shows. The more accurate you can be, the better.

This also applies to alt tags for images. This can simply be a list of words that apply to the image, although try not to be too spammy. You can also add a caption, which in addition to being picked up by search engines will also display if the image fails to load. For this reason it’s important to be nice and descriptive, although keeping it within a single sentence if possible.

Finally, remember that a huge part of SEO is about user experience. If your users arrive at your site to find basic stock images put there without any thought, they are highly unlikely to share your page, depriving you of valuable links. Instead, make sure your site’s visuals are planned just as carefully as you would plan what you write.

Digital Marketing trends

Digital Marketing trends to look out for in 2016

Making a success out of your digital marketing plans can be a challenge. From ensuring your onsite content is optimised to having the right online presence on social media, finding a cohesive and comprehensive strategy can be difficult. However, although there is still very much a place for traditional marketing in modern business, it’s likely that a company’s digital efforts will become increasingly important for generating leads, conversions and ultimately encouraging growth.

A significant challenge that a number of smaller firms experience is trying to stay on top of developments and advances in the industry. With Google almost constantly upgrading and altering its algorithms and digital marketing trends fading almost as quickly as they spring up, it can be difficult to ensure your brand stays relevant and is using the right tools to engage with your target audience.

This can be especially challenging for smaller businesses. Without the considerable budget needed to fund a creative team, it can seem like an impossible task to keep on top of digital marketing.

Although some trends can be more a fad, and be almost obsolete after a couple of months, for many areas of digital marketing it’s possible to spot ones that are going to stick around for a while. For smaller companies, these should be where to start when thinking about updating your strategy for the next year.

But what are those digital marketing trends? Here are some of the areas that are likely to be a key part of digital marketing success in 2016:

Personalised content

Competition is going to get fiercer than ever. With the recent changes Google has made to its ads, brands big and small are going to be throwing even more money to get their pages to rank well. If you can’t afford to compete with the multi-million pound budgets of international corporations, the best way to ensure you are not lost in the crowd is to become great at reaching your intended audience. This will negate the need to battle it out with your larger rivals, and instead customers will come straight to your for the service they need.

In 2016, one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching and engaging with your target audience is to create personalised content. There are many ways you can make your customers know they matter to you and the best way to achieve it will largely depend on the people you are aiming to bring onboard. Often dubbed ‘relationship marketing’, this method may mean a higher investment of time initially, but the returns are likely to be much stronger and encourage loyalty and advocacy among consumers.

Video

Many companies have been investing in video content for a while now, but things are likely to snowball in 2016 because of one big change – Google is getting involved. Although other sites like Yahoo have already joined the party, this year Google is going to allowing video content to show up in its search engine results pages (SERPs).

As you probably already know, Google already owns YouTube, meaning the impact of video content is likely to become far more important.

Location-based marketing

Alongside the growth of more personalised content, location-based marketing is also expected to become more important. Of course this will rely on having strong methods of identifying and targeting your audience, but it is just one of the ways that companies are trying to fuse traditional and digital marketing.

With all of these digital marketing trends, optimising your website and any onsite content will be crucial to overall success as it allows your target audience to find you, which is the first crucial step in the consumer journey.