Paid Online Advertising – Friend or Foe?

What if I told you I could guarantee visitors to your website?  And not just ordinary visitors either; these visitors are genuinely interested in what you have to sell.

Well, Google Adwords can deliver on that guarantee and become the most effective online marketing that you have ever done or ever could do.

However, before you run off to open a Google Adwords account to start down the road to fame and fortune, let me introduce a word of caution.   Google Adwords is also a huge gaping hungry mouth which loves to devour your hard earned cash.  If you decide to advertise you better know what you’re doing.  Google Adwords is complex and therefore dangerous.   This article sets out to explain the basics of Google Adwords and remove some of this ugly complexity.

Over the last couple of weeks Google has introduced a new service called Keyword Planner.  It’s so new that the phone I’m typing this on hasn’t got it on auto correct yet.  The Keyword Planner is similar to the old Keyword Tool but far better – it combines it with the old Traffic Estimator.  Put simply,  you can use it to determine the actual numbers of people who search for your keywords together with the number of visitors you will receive to your website based on your budget.

Give me an example I hear you say.  Okay – I’m just about to run a Google Adwords Campaign for a large financial institution here in Northern Ireland.   Using the Keyword Planner I was able to build a list of highly relevant keywords for their main services – critical illness, annuities etc.  I was able to restrict my research to searchers based in Northern Ireland and based on a daily budget the Keyword Planner told me how many website visitors I would receive.  There’s even a screen which tells me whether my daily budget will optimise the visitors I would receive – pretty smart!

Armed with this knowledge we can set about writing our Google Advert together with the web page that visitors will land on when they click on the ad.

Avoiding the pitfalls

The first thing to do is to make sure you set a daily budget.  This limits your expenditure and allows you take stock after a few days.

Secondly make sure that you have narrowed down your target location for the advert.   Most businesses are local and sell to local people; Adwords provides the facility to target by country,  county or even postcode.  This means you are directly reaching your prime target.  

Thirdly,  restrict your ad to run at certain times of day and on certain days of the week.  No point in running an ad in the middle of the night for most businesses!

This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Google Adwords but at least it provides a basic understanding and likely will save someone from making an expensive mistake,

If I can provide any more information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Build it and they Won’t Come

So here’s a question for you.  Where have you spent the most time and money – on building your website or on promoting it?  I’ll take a wild guess here and say that you spent the lion’s share on the former.  Give me 2 minutes of your time and I’ll try to convince you that it should be the other way about…

In training sessions I often ask participants the same question.  I ask them to imagine that they are running a retail store and they have spared no expense.  The signage is perfect, the shelves are well stocked and the assistants they have employed are professional and courteous.  Then I ask them to imagine that their store is based in the middle of nowhere.   Most people’s websites are like that – they invest in making it look great but don’t promote it. It therefore doesn’t attract any visitors / customers and is therefore a complete waste of money.

Most small businesses say that their website doesn’t generate any business so is a waste of time.  Their website is probably fine, but no thought has been given to promotion.  Here are some quick tips to promote your website; but don’t worry, if all this seems daunting, table59 is launching a website promotion service to do this for you.

– If you are a local business make sure you register with Google Places.
– Submit your website to Google and Bing (at least).
– Submit your website’s Site Map.
Read and reread my blogs on discovering and deploying your Google keywords.
– Install Google Analytics to track how many visitors you are receiving and what they look at on your site.

These activities will have an immediate impact on the promotion of your website with Google, but let’s not forget that Google is only part of the promotion story.  As you can see from the following chart visitors are attracted to your site from Referrals and Direct Traffic – what are these and how can you improve traffic from these sources?

Google_Traffic_Sources

Referral Traffic

Referral Traffic relates to visitors who clicked on a link on another website or email to come to your website.  Increase this by making sure you place links to your website on your emails, Facebook Page and on any business directories you are registered with.  Google Places is a business directory and will show up as Referral Traffic in your Analytics.

Direct Traffic

Direct Traffic relates to visitors who happen to remember your website address and type it directly into their web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer).  Increase this by making sure your website address is on all your stationery and any other direct promotional items that you produce.

I understand that this might seem a bit too complicated, but it really is important and therefore worth the effort.  Put simply, forgetting to promote your website is just like locating it in the wilderness where no-one is able to find it.   If you would like to discuss how table59 can help you to promote your website, just contact us.

Make the Most from your Keywords

In last week’s blog I explained how to build your keyword list – i.e. the words and phrases that Google will use to rank your website.  We reviewed the process of determining which keywords to choose based on the Google Keyword Tool, which tells us how many people have searched for those phrases.  Missed last week’s blog on building your keyword list? – no problem – click on the link to read it.   So you followed the instructions from last week’s blog and you have your list of keywords – now let’s look at how to use them to maximum effect on your website and elsewhere.

A few years ago I recorded a video on finding and deploying keywords.  While the technology has moved on, the basic steps are still the same – the video is in the head of this blog.

OK – I agree that this is probably not the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s an important one.  A quick scan through table59’s client bank tells me that Google searches generate a minimum of 50% of all visits to our client websites.  And we look after some pretty large clients!   I’m going to break this down into two main areas, with clear instructions for each:

On-Page

On-Page refers to deploying your keywords on the website itself.  You will have some keywords that are main (or focus) keywords that are the most important to your business.  These keywords should command their own web page; in fact, they should be deployed on a blog item (like the one you are reading now).  Over time you can write a blog item for most of your keyword list to make sure Google indexes the website correctly.

As an example we are going to use the keyword, “solicitors belfast”.   As you can see from the following image taken from the Google Keyword Tool, this keyword is searched for by almost 10,000 people every month.

Solicitors Belfast

As I write the blog I need to make sure that my focus keyword is placed in the following areas:

– Title of the web page
– In the web address for the web page (e.g. www.table59.co.uk/solicitors-belfast)
– In the text of the page:

It is recommended that the keyword appears a number of times in the text of the page, but not too many times (keyword stuffing can be penalised by Google).  Approximately 250 words of text on the web page is perfect with the keyword appearing about 5 times on the page.  Place the keywords in the headings and make sure they feature towards the top of the page as much as possible.

– In the meta-title and meta-description of the page.   If you need help with this bit please let me know – you might have spotted these terms in your Content Management System and that’s where the keywords need to go.

Off-Page

Off-Page refers to placing your keywords on other sites which link to your website.  Examples of such sites are Business Directories (e.g. Google Places, Chamber of Commerce directory), a links page on someone else’s website, a Facebook Page or online advertisement.

Google will reward you through improved ranking if another (higher ranking) website links back to your website using the keywords that you have chosen.  But what does that mean and how do you do that?  Hover over the following link and read the text that pops up – example link.   You want to make sure that your links on other sites have that link text (anchor text) inserted.  That is done via the Content Management System and is very straight-forward to do – you will likely have noticed it before – if you need any help please let me know.

Summary

In this blog we have covered a lot of information but it’s worthwhile to take the time to understand it.  Armed with our keyword list we have learned how to deploy on our web pages and through links on other sites.  I strongly recommend starting with one keyphrase and following these steps before attempting more phrases.  You will learn from starting slowly and hopefully not becoming frustrated.

Of course, if you need help with any aspect of this please do not hesitate to contact me.

The Keyword Challenge

Do you think that it is important to market your business online?  I suppose the real question is, “do you believe that you don’t need to?”.  If you are in the latter category then you can be convinced otherwise by asking if your clients search for products and services using the Internet.  Of course they do, which is why you need to read this article.

Marketing online means Google.  Sure there are many other Search Engines out there, but most people use Google, so let’s focus on that.

Of course acceptance that Google may be a source of new business is one thing; actually making that happen is another.  This article explains the basic steps to understanding how Google can be made to work for your business.

Google works on the basis of keywords, that’s to say the words that people type into the search box on Google.co.uk. The trick is to know which keywords your prospective clients type in to find businesses in your sector and then to make sure you appear on the first page of the respective search results.  Easy right?  Well, sort of…

Finding out which keywords prospective clients type in is not difficult.  Simply use a free online tool provided by Google called the Google Keyword Tool to try out some keywords.  This tool will tell you how many people are searching for these keywords in your target location every month and how much competition there is for those keywords.

How to Use the Google Keyword Tool?

Follow these steps:

– Click on this link to go to the Google Keyword Tool
– Type a word or phrase into the box and click Search
– You will see the following information related to your search term (and other related search terms):
   – Local Monthly Searches:  This is the average number of searches conducted per month for the search term in your chosen location
   – Global Monthly Searches:  This is the average number of searches conducted worldwide
   – Competition: This is High, Medium or Low and relates to how many other websites are competing for Google ranking for that search term.
– Take a note of the most appropriate keywords for your business.

It might be best to steer off the high competition keywords from this tool as it will be quite difficult to rank on Page One of Google for these.  Best to target the medium or preferably low competition keywords, which will likely require some lateral thinking on your behalf!

OK – so I’ve got my keywords – what do I do with them?

Armed with your keywords (have one main keyword and a few related keywords) then it’s a matter of deploying them on your site and elsewhere. This is a topic which could stretch to many many blog posts so I’ll write another next week to detail the process.

For now, conduct your keyword research and build your list.  Then watch this space for the next steps.  If you would like any help understanding this please contact me.

Is your Website Mobile Friendly?

Did you know that by this time next year more people will be surfing the Internet via their mobile phone than via their desktop computer.   That’s why your website has to be mobile ready.  This article reviews what that means and how to make sure you are ready.

Browsing the Internet on our mobile phones has become the norm,  well at least for a growing number of us.  And it’s not just surfing web pages – people will use online applications and even game online.   Did you know? –

Some 60% of NI and 51% of RoI consumers own a smartphone (Mintel’s Irish Lifestyles – Ireland, June 2012 report)
35% of NI consumers access the internet from a mobile phone.  Three quarters of NI consumers are shopping through such devices (Ofcom’s Communications Market Report: Northern Ireland 2012)
10% of RoI consumers had made a payment through a mobile device during 2012 (KPMG’s Consumers and Convergence Ireland 2012 report)

These statistics were drawn from a Mintel Report that was provided to table59 by Signal Business Growth Centre.  Here is the full report for information:

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Last year we had a client featured on an episode of Farm Fixers on BBC2.  I watched the website statistics grow over the 30 minute programme and noted that the vast majority of visitors were using their mobile phones to view the client’s website.   They were watching the TV with their phones in their hands, surfing the Internet.  I suspect that some of us do exactly the same thing.

Okay, so we need a mobile website,  but what does that mean and how do we achieve it?

What is a mobile website?

Most people get mixed up between a mobile-friendly website and an App that they download from the Apple or Android App Store.   A mobile friendly website is a version of your website that displays comfortably on a mobile phone or tablet.  Most websites don’t render correctly on a mobile device as the screen is smaller and their site was designed for a larger PC screen.  For example, the table59 website is mobile friendly (if you would like to check it).

How to test if your website is mobile friendly?

The simple way of course is to view the website on your mobile device, but you can also manually reduce the size of your browser window on your desktop or laptop and see if the website fits in the smaller window.   If you have to scroll horizontally to see the website correctly then it is not mobile friendly.

How do make your website mobile friendly?

If your website fails the test then don’t worry – most websites fail!  Chances are that the website was built some years ago before it became so important to be mobile friendly.  The question is, what can you do about it?

There are some simple things which can help, for example:

– Try to keep your website images as small as possible
– Don’t insert tables with large fixed widths
– Place your key information at the top of page (phone number and email address for example)
– Keep your website font large enough to be legible on a mobile device

If you would like more practical tips on how to make your website mobile friendly please contact us on hello@table59.co.uk.