Google rules the roost, right? Their search share is around 88% in the UK and they also own YouTube, Google+ Google Maps to name a few tools making it easier to find your business online.
So when you disrespect big ‘G’, the rug is pulled from under your feet and your listings disappear pretty quickly.
How do you know whats right and wrong? Google tells you in their Webmaster Guidelines. It will take longer than 60 seconds but take the time to adhere to them.
Like reading instructions off a packet of seeds won’t make you a professional gardener, reading the Webmaster guidelines won’t turn you into an SEO expert, but it certainly tells you in black and white how to keep big ‘G’ happy and working for you.
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I really hope that by now I have demonstrated that I am an web design and search marketing expert. But now and then, even the experts need to take time out and gear up on what like-minded and other experts are telling the world.
So last Friday I attended the Great British Business Show at ExCeL London. Despite it actually being Summer outside, I sat through about 4 hour’s worth of seminars, a networking board (the busy person’s way of networking) and obtained a stash of pens and a couple of toy freebies to keep the kids happy.
The seminars were the most valuable of all: I sat through the seminars of Simon Coulson, http://simon-coulson.com/, Kimberly Davis http://www.sarsaparillamarketing.com/ to name a couple. There were a few more, but these three were the most inspirational. I apologise for not remembering the others, and for not being able to hear James Caan properly, but the live feed room had the sound quality of bees playing comb and paper.
So here it is the best snippets from what I learned last Friday:
90% of UK Search is from Google. Yes you read that right. Google is definitely gospel in this country. If you’re operating in the UK and not ranking in Google, then if I were you, I would work on reversing this! In America this figure is about 67% with Bing progressively rising to 17%. If however, you are covering China, then don’t bother: Google has only 15.6% of the market share http://www.chinainternetwatch.com/1972/china-search-engine-market-share-in-2012
YouTube is the 2nd most popular resource for search. YouTube isn’t just a resource for watching Susan Boyle’s first audition or the cat that can say “No”: It has become a resource for step by step advice, to find out more about a company or product, breaking news or a simple behind the scenes. A lot of companies and brands have even set up their own channels on YouTube. Jamie Oliver’s Food tube is a prime example https://www.youtube.com/user/JamieOliver. A more recent channel that caught the news was the McDonalds behind the scenes photoshoot by McDonalds Canada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSd0keSj2W8
94% of websites don’t work. Now I am sketchy on this particular snippet. I don’t think that 94% of websites have an online form that doesn’t work or their Twitter button directs to the wrong page: More likely, its a case of 94% of websites are not getting their message across. This particular conversation stemmed from site owners that decided 2 weeks before launching their business that they should really have a website. So cue either stressed business owner trying to put together a few hurried pages with no clear message or purpose or cue stressed web designer putting pages together for stressed business owner. This is why I always stress that it is so important to plan what message you are going to portray on your website as soon as you’re thinking on setting up a business. And for the “don’t work” reason, this is why constantly monitoring your website is vital.
Google has the reading age of a 14 year old Have you ever been onto a website where you could read about 3 pages and still not understand what the company is about or even trying to promote? People at different levels are going to visit your site from beginner to expert: if they’re new to your sector, why scare them off with technical jargon? And referring to my first snippet, why would you want to scare off Google?
Write well-written content that’s engaging. Other adjectives were used here: topical, human, relevant. This snippet isn’t just for web pages, it also applies for social media and blogs. If you’re wanting to engage with others, and gain their trust give them something to engage with. What does everyone think about a latest development in the news? Note that on Social media, keep it short and snappy, on Twitter you only have 140 characters!
On social media its tell, tell, tell not sell, sell, sell As said before, you want to engage with people and gain their trust. As soon as you launch into a sales pitch, the trust is broken, they drop you like a hot potato and others will certainly follow. So share things that are topical. Connect with like-minded people, share your content, like and share other companies’ content (Tip: if you’re promoting your company page, like and share and contribute under your Company name)
So at this point, I bet you’re asking yourself, so why use social media to promote my business, sounds like a waste of time. But its not all for this little snippet: 85% of people rely on online people to make buying decisions. Just last week I had a friend on Facebook asking her friends if she should buy the new iPhone 5 or the Blackberry Z10. I myself have asked advice about what the best family car is to buy or asked advice on getting the back off a watch. In every case, someone gave me their recommendation or pointed me in the direction of a handy YouTube step by step guide. Now if any of those friends mentioned that they followed a local jeweller that supplies the tiny flathead screwdrivers needed for getting the back off a watch then definitely would not have been a waste of time. If you tell others, share your knowledge in your online network then in turn those followers or friends will do the telling for you.
Google is a big popularity competition I know, I’m back on the subject of Google, but it does tie in with what I have just covered: Just think of Google as the year book and your website as the average Joe that wants to be one of the popular kids. If Joe is spouting rubbish and sales spiel to all the other kids then chances are he’ll be left to do his own thing with no one paying attention (and after quite a bit of abuse). If however Joe’s creating content that is engaging enough that people listen and interact with Joe and then go on and share Joe’s content with their friends, then Joe gets a good reputation for being an expert (“hey, my friend Joe told me about that”), Google will reward Joe for and his popularity stakes will go up higher.
Test your website Whichever stage you are at with your website, regular monitoring is just the reality check you need. So take time out to analyse your website regularly using either your web analysis software or Google Analytics.
One area of testing that was mentioned more than once was A/B testing. A/B testing is a simple way to test changes to your page against the current design and determine which version produces positive results. A/B Testing can now be set up in Google Analytics but can also be used in email marketing campaigns
And I thought I’d save the best bit until last so here goes:
You can get on the first page of Google within 2 weeks which was news to me because Google have always emphasised that it is a progressive thing, but apparently if done correctly, and with a lot of hard work and strategy, it is possible. But you will need £2500 and 3 days in Heathrow to find out how.
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