SEO is increasingly important to every business that has any presence online. You don’t have …Read More »
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SEO is increasingly important to every business that has any presence online. You don’t have to be an online shop to need it. Most businesses have information online so that customers can find out about them, and SEO ensures that you are in the right place at the right time. It is an affordable and relatively simple way to increase your business potential.
What Is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a way of optimising your website and other online content to make sure it ranks highly on search engines. It has been around for over a decade, but it is always evolving and it pays to keep up. In simple terms, it is a way of the search engine ensuring that people find the information they want without having to scroll through lots of pages.
Why Is SEO Important?
Think about how many times a day you use Google to find information. Whether you are trying to find the best Italian restaurant in a city, or booking a holiday, Google is the go-to place to find information. Then think about that Italian restaurant that comes up first in Google’s search results. They are going to get the lion-share of business. People very rarely scroll past the first page on Google, so if you are not on the first page, you could be missing out on a lot of business. It’s proven that 60% of traffic goes to the first three results on Google.
How Does It Work?
Firstly, it’s important to note that SEO has changed a lot in the past ten years. There used to be a huge focus on keywords. For example, if someone typed in “Italian restaurant London”, websites that mentioned those keywords regularly would rank highly. Now though, the algorithms used to determine ranking are a lot more advanced.
Your website’s ranking is determined through two factors:
Onsite – This relates to the information on your website. The keywords still play a part but now the focus is on fresh content. To rank highly in Google, you have to publish fresh and relevant content on your website regularly. For example, a wedding planner should publish blog posts about weddings.
Offsite – This is all about links to your website. If other websites link to your content and people are sharing content on social media, your website will rank higher.
Making Sure Your On-Site Content Is SEO Optimised
While the main focus is definitely on fresh content, there is still important work to do behind the scenes. There are no published rules for making your on-site content SEO optimised, because search engines don’t publish their algorithms. However, there are some obvious things that search engines are looking for.
Firstly, you have to get into the headspace of the search engine. They want the best websites, with the best content to appear at the top of the results. Therefore you need to make sure that your website is high-quality. There should be no typos in the copy and the UX (User Experience) should be well thought out. If people find your website easy to navigate and information/entertaining, they are much more likely to stay on the website.
How To Get Started
SEO takes time. You are not going to appear on the first page of Google after publishing one blog post, so you need to be prepared for the long game. Firstly, start by listing as many blog titles as you can think of. They should answer specific questions that your customers might want answering. So for a wedding planner, you might write a blog post titled “How To Choose Your Wedding Flowers” or “How To Choose The Entertainment For Your Wedding Reception”. You get the picture.
Then, this content needs to be shared with as many people as possible. That means setting up social media accounts and sharing every piece of content you write. You can also ask friends and family to share on their personal accounts to help build momentum. This is a building process and takes time, but if you concentrate on providing high-quality content, your SEO will take care of itself. Another useful tactic is to approach already establish blogs and offer to write a guest post. This means you can link back to your website and send traffic that way. In order for this tactic to be successful, you will have to provide the established blog with some value. You could offer your services as an expert in your field or even write a blog post before you approach them. That way they can already see the value of the content you are providing.
We recommend heading over to www.orbonline.co.uk if you have any SEO related questions!
I was recentlysent a question asking if it’s really necessary to go to college and graduate with a business degree to be successful in business. It is 2018, after all. The short answer: no, you don’t need to. I know plenty of millionaire business owners who made it without a degree, using only their brain, sweat, and tears. There’s something to be said for street-smarts in the business world.
The long answer: It can be beneficial.
My experience at college was immensely important to where I am now. I’m not necessarily talking about the classes, the campus life, or the parties. The crucial parts of college that I think you’ll regret missing out on are networking with people in your field, finding mentors in your professors, and building skills that you will need in the real world. I wish that college wasn’t so expensive and that so many kids didn’t waste their time partying. The only way, I believe, going to college will help you become successful in business is if you take advantage of the people and experts around you. Learn anything and everything, from anyone and everyone.
Post-college, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “I’m done school forever!” and burn all your textbooks. I understand how amazing that feels. However, when the book burning is done, and that degree is hanging on your wall, come back to education. I don’t mean reapply for another program, I mean find another way to continue your learning. The business industry and all its fields are constantly changing and growing. A business degree from 2010 didn’t teach you 2017 concepts.
So, how do you go about continuing your education? There are a couple ways I really enjoy.
First, meet with your mentor(s) at least every month to discuss your journeys. Learning from a someone more successful than you is hugely important to choosing your next steps. Second, read all the time. Some of the most successful business people make it a habit to read all the books they can in their field. It’ll keep you up to date. Third, don’t be afraid to take online courses or watch YouTube videos to learn a new skill.
One of the most important ways to be successful is to embrace learning outside the classroom.
If you’re not a millennial or gen-x, then you might be slightly confused as to where to take your online marketing in the world of social media. New platforms pop up on the daily and they’re constantly changing. There are companies willing to manage your digital marketing for you, but you don’t want that expense in your budget. I understand you, so I created a tip-sheet on the main platforms and why you want to use each one.
- Facebook is the most universally used social media platform available. Everyone and their dog has a profile, which makes it a prime location to market your business. However, due to the mass amount of business already doing this, it can be a challenge not to oversaturate your followers who are already being bombarded with ads. The key is consistent moderation in your posts and regularly offering useful content to your followers. I think it is the number one social media platform every business should be on… but tread lightly.
- Instagram is the creative outlet for all of us. Less text heavy than Facebook, Instagram focuses on using captivating images to grow followers and direct them to your website. Nearly as popular as Facebook, but it definitely has a younger vibe which can be intimidating to an older business owner. Here’s my take: if you have an eye for photos and believe you can create visually appealing content, then dive into Instagram, especially if you want to drive traffic. If you aren’t confident in doing that, then don’t waste your time. Focus on Facebook.
- Twitter is like Facebooks older, but shorter, brother. You still can still post statuses and pictures, but there is less customization to your profile. This means less opportunity to explain what your business does and who you are. I believe that Twitter isn’t the place to start your digital marketing journey, but a place to grow with your existing Facebook followers. Twitter is a great platform to run promotions and ad campaigns, but Facebook does it better. If you have time to do both then I highly recommend it.
The world of social media can be daunting if you didn’t grow up in it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start now and thrive. Your business can soar to new heights with the addition of digital marketing, you just have to put in the time to learn how to do it right.
When potential clients come across your business online, what they see 100% affects if they stay or leave. It used to be that having a professional and impersonal website was the way to go because looking more official made you more trustworthy. In this day in age, that simply isn’t the case anymore. Today’s clients and customers are looking for businesses they can relate to and that they feel connected to. Brand loyalty is bigger than ever, and a lot of that has to do with customer’s believing in your business because they took the time to get to know it.
The best way to engage with potential customers is through personal branding. Rather than an impersonal logo with no direct person responsible for the providing the services, make it super personal. You need to find a face for the company. That can either be the CEO or president, or it can be through the hiring of brand ambassadors. Customers want to see a real face on the company’s social media platforms. Getting your brand out there shouldn’t be difficult. You can accomplish it with a huge number of mediums, for example putting your company logo on a vehicle wrap, advertisements, letter heads and so many more. Prominent store fronts and billboards, which can be made using polycarbonate sheeting, engage with thousands of potential customers daily.
On your social media platforms, take advantage of the “live” features. You can always post infographics about your company’s purpose and services, but through live video show the daily routine of your business. Take a live video of yourself talking about an awesome review a customer recently left and what that meant to you. Refer to your customers by their names as much as possible. Reply to comments and direct messages. Ask questions back to your customers and if they give constructive criticism, consider it. Communicating with customers is the best marketing method on the internet. If customers know they can rely on you to answer questions promptly and put energy into being in this digital world, they’ll support you.
I mentioned above the use of brand ambassadors. If you’re not comfortable being the face of the company, then you need to find people to represent it. Start by researching different bloggers, YouTubers, and media outlets in your industry that you admire. Hiring bloggers can lead to doubling your sales in no time because bloggers have already cultivated trust and loyalty from their readers. If they tell their readers that your product is amazing, those readers will become your customers.
I almost always lean on the side of personal branding because, in today’s culture, it’s increasingly important to personally connect with potential clients and customers in a way they trust.
In high school, I was extremely shy and nervous. I would dread the compulsory oral presentations we’d have to give in each class, sometimes even feigning sick to stay home and prolong it another day. I loved to plan school events, but I never wanted to get on stage and do the introductions, so I’d let my friends go up and take credit. In college, I was still shy, but I had grown more confident in myself as a person. There were also way more presentations to give that I simply couldn’t get out of.
The pivotal moment came when I had to defend my thesis during my Master of Business program. I had spent the whole year in classrooms, labs, and libraries researching. I was creating a business pitch and intended on taking it to the real world after graduation. The problem was when it came to telling a class about my awesome business plan, I would choke up. I couldn’t make eye contact, I stuttered, and I skipped over material accidentally. I knew something needed to change before I made my final thesis speech. Luckily, I had one really amazing professor with game-changing advice.
My professor of entrepreneurship during my undergraduate degree remained one of my mentors throughout my entire college career. One afternoon, I was telling him about how nervous I was to perform this presentation. I was trying to find ways to get around doing this. Maybe I could write a paper instead? My professor looked at me and said, “So each time you want to present a business idea to a client or a boss, you’re going to write a paper.” Well, no. One day I would be able to do this, just not today. That’s where I was wrong. My professor looked me dead in the eye, with a sense of urgency, saying that it’s now or never. My business aspirations were over if I did not become comfortable speaking publicly.
So, I practiced. I read every tip and trick online and practiced profusely. I even went as far as going to a busy street corner and telling anyone who would listen about my thesis. Suddenly, after all this practice, I was less scared.
The turning point for my fear of public speaking was when that professor lit a fire under my bottom and told me it was now or never. Think about all your goals and dreams for your career; are you going to let one challenge get in the way? No, you’re going to master that challenge and you’re going to be successful.