SEO is one of those secretive beasts that has been the obsession of online marketers since the dawn of their profession. Especially with the event of one search engine pulling far ahead of the rest in its usage, an intense culture was born out of focusing on how to best game or manipulate Google’s search algorithms over the years.
Now, for better or for worse – and I think for better – Google has wised up and, through a series of updates, brought their algorithms into the modern day by being able to account for the factors that make a site most relevant to users today. While this is great for Google’s users, it does mean that getting your site on top of relevant search results is no longer a simple matter of pulling the right strings for a few days and awaiting results. So, without further adieu, here are a few ways you can ensure your SEO success in 2015 and beyond.
Google knows what it wants, and so do you!
Google’s end game has always been about providing the best user experience possible. They want to make sure that the results they display are getting people to their desired answers as quickly as possible. While there are literally thousands of metrics that go into determining what websites best service the interests of a given query, a little bit of honesty about your site can go a long way in getting results. In every decision you make, you should be evaluating your options from a consumer perspective: Don’t think about your bottom line, or your conversions, or your sales funnel. Instead, figure out what decision will provide the best possible experience for people searching your niche. Have you adequately answered an asked question? Will your bounce rate remain low because people want to stick around and read what you have to say? These kinds of questions can help you honestly evaluate the usefulness of your site.
Social Indicators Are Huge
If you aren’t killing it in social media already, you’re behind the curve – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started now anyways! Google has been known to, since the beginning of their work as a search engine – weight links and references to your sites as more or less important depending on where they come from. Nowadays, you can bet that social “buzz” is a metric taken into account by Google when ranking any site.
Now, being an expert in your market requires you to also take your social controls by the horns and get active. Promoting your own brand and site(s) through social can generate a kind of natural traction â€“ providing you’re putting out good content – that Google has no choice but to love. Well, that is, until the game changes again.
Ride Waves, Don’t chase Them
The best note to leave you on has to do with education. Simply put, you should be researching SEO and social bloggers and thought leaders regularly. Keeping up is half the battle, and you never know which big trend you can ride the front of and end up catapulted to the top of your market.
The start of the month in internet marketing land should be called copytime. Every website out there is looking for brand new copy, from blogs to social media posts to web copy. Of these three important types of copy, only one is going to represent your website day in and day out. While none should be ignored or written off with any type of nonchalance, I personally believe that webcopy should be the most scrutinized of the three.
After all, many blogs are informal. Social posts aren’t meant to serve as your doctorate. But web copy, this is what the people are looking at when they get to your site. And not only that, it’s what the search engines are looking at when they rank your site. So, it’s easy to see why webcopy should be carefully crafted, but it’s not always so simple to see how it should be crafted.
Five Points to Keep in Mind When Creating Copy for Your Website
Here are five things that you want to keep in mind as you sit down to write your web copy:
1. Capture. The first thing your copy needs to do is capture the attention of your viewers. If you have some bland, boring headline followed by copy that drones on and on, you’re going to bore visitors right off your site (if not to sleep!). Be a little provactive, a little funny, stir it up. The average person browses dozens of websites each and every day, what is going to make them stay on yours?
2. Portray. Your webcopy should be very clear in conveying your value proposition. Visitors need to know exactly what makes you different from your competition. Why should they spend their money with you when there are 50 million other sites selling the exact same product or service? If you can’t answer this, then how can you expect your customers to understand it?
3. Stand Out. People don’t really have time to read everything you write. Even if you’re the most interesting writer in the world, eating a nice juicy steak is more interesting. You aren’t going to compete with reality, so make your content easily accommodating in that you have all key points standing out for quick scanning. Headings and subheadings are a must. Numbered and bullet lists help people get the information they need, do what they have to do and then get on with their life. You aren’t inviting them over for tea, you’re inviting them to learn what you have to offer them and then convincing them to take it and leave.
4. Describe. Description is vital for many products and services, yet so many marketers buy into the “picture is worth a thousand words” ideaology of content creation. Pictures are amazing, yes (videos are even better), but you need the details, features and benefits of your products and services in writing. Why? If nothing else, for the search engines and to rank for keywords, but trust me, there are still people out there enjoy reading everything they can about a product before making a purchase. Remember, an informed consumer buys more.
5. Perfection. Finally, it’s vital that your webcopy be absolutely free and clear of errors. No spelling mistakes, no grammatical errors, no txt spk. You want to convey authority on your site and nothing will lose it faster than mspelling a werd or too or making grammer errors or having poor punctuashun?
Overall, webcopy is to a website what a salesperson is to a brick-and-mortar location. You wouldn’t hire just anybody and send them out there uninformed and unpresentable, don’t do that with your webcopy.
Welcome to part two of this series on reducing churn rate. Let’s jump right into a few methods for keeping customer retention high and making sure no one is jumping ship!
Savvy businessmen and women know that keeping an eye on the competition is key, and nowhere is this more important than in customer acquisition and churn rate assessments. Take time out of every day, week, or month – depending on the cycle time and speed of your market – to research what your competitors have been up to. Are they doing something that you aren’t? If so, is it something that you, as a customer, would want and benefit from? Be honest here. If the answer is “yes,” think about how you could not only implement something similar, but how you could improve on it.
This is simply part of the process of continuously adding value to a business, and keeping an eye on competition helps you to gauge the rate at which you should be doing so. Rather than trying to slowly dole out new goodies to your customers, challenge yourself to give away new value as it comes about in real time. This also means that you won’t be able to rest on your laurels, and will have to constantly innovate in order to have bigger and better offers for your customers. Seem like tough work? It is – and it’s also how industry leaders get to the top.
Get Personal, Don’t Automate
Automation is one of the trickiest things to master when your business begins to grow. You want to be able to manage everything at once, but losing the personal touch you may have begun with can be detrimental to your relationship with leads and customers.
As a rule of thumb, it’s ok to automate, but don’t fake it. This means that things like post-purchase emails, etc. can be automated, and are expected to be. By the same token, don’t fake communications so that they are automated but are actually canned, pre-written, and going out to 5,000 people.
For example, let’s say you write an email for your list to announce a new offer. Don’t use silly name tagging to fake personalization. People see straight through that, and it is (rightfully) perceived as phony. People understand that they are part of a mailing list, so don’t try to convince them otherwise.
If they write to you, however, respond personally. If that becomes logistically impossible, then make it clear that a support team is the one helping to field questions and concerns. Also, keep in mind that “impossible” should mean something different to you as an entrepreneur. You should be a time management ninja, and also realize that your work day might be 10 12, or 16 hours, not eight.
Ride the Wave, Don’t Chase It
Even more important than watching the competition is to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and the context within which it exists. Recently, Facebook noticed (and has helped champion) the bringing of rudimentary mobile internet to new countries that have never had such services. The company launched a stripped-down, Facebook Lite app to better accommodate these low-bandwidth markets. As soon as new mobile plans hit these countries, Facebook will be one of the first apps available.
Be the Facebook of your industry. Sound like big shoes to fill? They are! But the point is that you should be looking to ride along with new trends as they crest, and leave everyone else to chase after you. That is, of course, the mark of an industry leader after all, isn’t it?
The last thing we want to hear from our leads is one simple word: No. No is the death of a sale, the end of a funnel, the loss of a lead. So while it might seem pretty obvious that you want to give your leads more chances to say yes, some internet marketers don’t follow through with this. For example, think about the classic website that you land on after a Google search. You read through the content and at the bottom, there’s a link that you can click to learn more, or in reality, make a purchase.
But why is the only option to say “yes” all the way at the bottom? What this essentially means is that every other spot on the page is a chance to say “no.” That’s bad marketing. You never want more chances to opt-out than to opt-in. So what’s the solution? Make it harder to say no by giving more chances to say yes!
Increased Calls to Action
First up is the obvious: increase the number of CTAs you have on your site and in your copy. Now, this doesn’t mean simply put links at the top, bottom and middle of your content, get creative with it. Opt-ins and other calls to action can be placed all over your site, in the banner, on the side scroll, in a pop-up. The more chances you give your leads to say yes, the more likely it is that they will. If you make them search for a CTA, chances are you’ve already lost the sale by that point.
Remember, the three tenets of every good website are that the viewer should get there and immediately know:
1. Where they are
2. What they can do there
3. Where and why to do it
The third tenet is the one to be concerned with here, if they don’t know where to click or why, your page has failed. Which brings us directly to our next point, the why.
Back in the simpler days of online marketing, having one reward would be enough. Give me your email and I’ll send you a free eBook. Sign up for this newsletter and you’ll get 15% off your next purchase. But with so many different avenues of traffic, it only makes sense that you should have multiple levels of rewards. Yes, get the free eBook by joining my mailing list but also get 15% off by liking me on Facebook and get a free website health report by entering your website URL here.
The more points of contact you wish to produce and maintain with your leads, the more rewards you should offer to increase the viability of those contacts. Remember, most people are fairly savvy about what happens when they give a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter, as savvy as they are about the spam that occurs when they give out their email address. Prove to them that there is value attached to each of these channels by giving them actual value for connecting.
Make the Choice Clear
One of the most effective CTAs out there right now include a combination of a pop-up, a reward and making it very difficult to say no. You’ve likely already seen it on QuickSprout or WordStream, when you’re surfing the site, a seemingly random pop-up occurs with a question that has a very pointed answer. You then have the option to say yes or no, with no being a fairly ridiculous choice so that you have to mentally admit that’s your intention.
For instance, a website about money investment might have a pop-up that says, “Do You Want to Learn How to Invest Like a Pro?” The two choices would be:
Yes, I want to retire early
No, I’m fine living paycheck to paycheck
Which would you choose?
So you’ve churn out a stellar blog post. I mean a real whopper, something that will make people say, “wow, I’ve never thought of it like that!” Packed with data, case studies, and references, written with the eloquence of a modern day Shakespeare, your article is going to take the internet by storm, if only it finds a few interested eyeballs.
Hold on there, cowboy or cowgirl, it’s a long road ahead. Not that that’s anything to be afraid of. Once your blog post goes live, here are a few ways you can kickstart its ability to gain some attention.
Email sources. The advantages of citing actual sources and other authorities in a niche are twofold. First, they give your own writing extra authority because anyone can just say something, but once it’s backed up with facts and figures you can show that you’ve done your homework.
The second advantage is that you can actually try and leverage the people and sites you’ve used as sources to help share your article.
If you wrote in an article on top resources for bloggers (please, don’t actually write this article unless you can do something better than the 40,327,811 out there that already exist), you might have mentioned someone’s software that you use on a daily basis.
Once your article goes live, send the company an email and/or tweet at them, letting them know you’re a fan and saying you mentioned them in your latest post. At the end, politely ask that they consider sharing the article with their own audience if they enjoyed it.
Make friends with the big dogs, even when they seem out of reach. Every big content marketer whose blog posts now get 1,000+ shares each week started out where you are. They were grinding when no one paid attention and they recognize the struggle.
If you can offer them some sort of help in their business, if you can consistently network and show them that you ask smart questions in their comment sections, or that the posts of yours that you’re tweeting show that you’re putting in the time and effort and aren’t going anywhere, they’ll notice.
When the time comes, it might just not be too much of a stretch for you to reach out and ask if they might give some super cool thing you’ve written a nudge. That’s pretty cool (so make it happen!).
Of course, you should also be making sure that you give your own channels a mega nudge on your own.
Post to Facebook, schedule several tweets to go out over a few days using tweetdeck, post images to tumblr that link back to your content, take advantage of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn groups, as these can be deceptively good places to get your content seen by those who would find them relevant.
More sensitive communities, like Reddit and Inbound, can also be great places to share, but will require some more finesse.
Whatever your promotional tactics, keep them constantly evolving, and don’t be afraid of trying something that might not work, because it just might be a gold mine for you.