Start a project

Is Your Business Ready For Christmas?

Christmas is coming FAST.

We all feel it, and we all know it's coming. Once summer ends, Halloween and Christmas always take centre stage. As we're all very well aware, Christmas is a big time for business each year (it's why you're reading this, right?).

Some businesses are preparing, and some are not; and so, we present: "how to prepare your business online for Christmas".

Late To The Party?

If you haven't started already, things may be a little harder than usual, simply because the ideal time to begin mapping out your Christmas strategy is in August. 

Ideally in August, you'd have begun an SEO, long-term plan (Search Engine Optimisation) and have had your website ranking up in Google by the time Christmas swang around. A new website isn't an option either - leave that for the new year or spring - as a quality website will take much more than just a few months to construct, code, create, design, test, and all that malarkey.

However, don't you concern yourself with missed opportunities, but instead let us focus on the possible actions you can take with these Christmas marketing tips.

BLOG1 Image2 stamped 1024x512 1
Information Sourced From: "https://www.theatlas.com/charts/BkEvv8kpX"

Create A Newsletter

Creating a marketing campaign for Christmas is vital if you want to increase Christmas sales. Your business will thrive on returning customers, so focusing on your email lists is essential. Remarketing is essential at Christmas: people like building trust with the companies they purchase from. So, why don't you construct a few new Christmas-themed emails, create an email list or use one you might already have, and get those emails flying!

Here's a blog built entirely around this topic if you want to learn more: 

"10 reasons you need to start email marketing"

Get In The Christmas Spirit!

It sounds like an obvious one.

But honestly, getting into the Christmas spirit is the right direction if you want to rake in all that Christmas-rush euphoria. People love Christmas, that's why they spend so much on it each year. 

Let's put it this way: let's imagine trickle treaters on Halloween as customers, and your house is, well, your company. It's common knowledge that if you don't have decorations on your home, the trickle treaters won't come to your house.

This analogy is valid for business at Christmas too as customers will overlook your brand if you haven't embraced the Christmas spirit as many bigger companies do each year perfectly. Yeah, you'll get some sales, but to truly tap into that Christmas rush, you need to become apart of it. 

Add a little extra to your website this Christmas, decorate your shop, create a themed event, post Christmas social media posts: whatever you do, the Christmas possibilities are endless!

christmas infographic stamped
Information sourced from: "https://www.marketingweek.com/uk-consumers-to-spend-7-less-this-christmas/"

Google Ads

It's an effective way to get your business in the search engine almost instantly. It's also a  great remedy for a last-minute Christmas business plan, which is probably what you're trying to concoct up now by reading this. The ads are fully customisable, can link to a phone number, your website, and more. This means you'll be thrown straight to the top, if done correctly - almost right away!

This would be ideal for you and your business at Christmas, as you really don't have time to implement strategies like SEO at this point in the year. So, if you still want to be apart of Google this Christmas, then Google Ads might suit you best.

This is especially the case when it comes to ecommerce websites. When it comes to Christmas, many more opportunities for keywords start to crop up.

When you have sales before Christmas, Google Ads becomes very important because it is a quick way to get people to click on your website.

This becomes essential when you are working within a limited time period and you want to ensure that you are appearing as high as possible in the search results.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

It's easy to focus on Christmas so much that you forget about the other great holidays for business in the season. Hop in on the discount wave this Black Friday and Cyber Monday; or, consider merging my last few tips back in the blog with Black Friday & Cyber Monday in mind too.

For example, make an email campaign to target these holidays. Google ads too? Prepare some ads to put out when Black Friday comes round the corner!

Anything we've already mentioned, apply it to these holidays too. This is when most people buy their Christmas presents in preparation, and you sure would be sorry if you missed out on that.

For some businesses, this is potentially the biggest day of the year so you should allocate enough capital into your marketing budget as possible.

Yes, it may cost more than you are used to spending on marketing, however, you can expect to make back that money easily if the fruits of your marketing efforts are successful.

This isn't just dependent on the money you put in, but the time as well. By doing extensive research into your target marketing, you can ensure that this increased use of budget will not go to waste.

Customise Christmas To Your Market

It's easy telling you how to do this all; however, you have to take all advice, including this blog, lightly. Apply what tips suit your market best and ignore that which may detriment you in dangerous ways. 

For example, Google Ads may not be the best option for you in your industry at Christmas time, especially if your competition is plenty and your products are cheap. You may find yourself throwing your valuable money into Google Ads just to keep up with all your competition at Christmastime. You may even lose money.

Just do your market research, see how Christmas affects your particular industry and pick and mix whatever works best. You might be mistaken that Christmas means good business for every single sector, but you might even find yourself in an industry which might find little benefit from the Christmas rush.

In Conclusion,

In conclusion, the Christmas rush is a great time for business, including the smaller holidays that are included in the season like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

However, you need to find Christmas marketing tips that work for your business, and if you want to catch the rush this year, then consider the faster options like email campaigns and Google Ads.

Whatever you do, at Design Box Media, we hope you'll have a prosperous and merry Christmas this year.

If you don't feel ready this year, don't rush either: there's always next year.

Why Use Email Marketing?

Why should your business start implementing email marketing? Could it be the impressive ROI of £30 for every £1 spent? Or the potential reach of 5.6 billion active email accounts

Here, we list our top 10 reasons to start email marketing today.

Well, What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing promotes your products and services whilst simultaneously creating a healthy relationship with both existing and potential customers.

It can be entirely cost-free and still stands as the most successful method of marketing, providing you with direct access to your target audience's personal mailbox, whether this is viewed on their desktop, tablet or mobile.

Email is an extremely simple (and eco-friendly) method to convey your message, with your customers being 45 times more likely to see your email compared to a post on social media.

Version 1 1024x1024 1

1 - Personalised Marketing

Email allows you to create a persona for your company; a writing style which suits your approach to business and a tone of voice which will appeal to your target audience.

Email is a platform to express yourself and appeal to your customer directly, whether this is through the design of the email, the main body of text or even the subject line.

Many email platforms such as ActiveCampaign, MailerLite and MailChimp include features which allow you to create a subject line targeted to the recipient, such as “{First Name}, a £10 voucher code just for you!”.

Using this technique creates a personalised experience for the reader, resulting in them feeling important and gaining trust in your company.

2 - Expanded Exposure

A main advantage of email marketing is the huge and ever-expanding reach it creates for your company.

With 5.6 billion active email accounts and 99% of consumers checking their email every single day, this is evidently a platform which receives attention, regardless of which industry you are promoting.

Any customer who provides you with their email address (this could be through a social media competition or even a simple newsletter signup) automatically turns into a free audience for your products, services and offers.

3 - Build Trust And Credibility

Customers purchase from companies who they know and trust, by sending regular emails to your contact list, this helps to keep you in the mind of potential clients, and when given the choice, people tend to purchase from companies they are familiar with and have had past communications with.

4 - A Reach Across Multiple Devices

With emails being able to be accessed anywhere and at any time; on desktops, tablets and mobiles, email allows your company to create a communication platform which conforms to all of these devices.

Mobile phones account for 46% of all email opens, meaning a mobile-friendly email creates the perfect way to showcase your business and its benefits.

Sample 1 v2 1024x1024 1

5 - High Return On Investment

Email marketing is the most effective method of digital marketing, resulting in a 122% Return On Investment, a figure that is four times higher than any other marketing channel.

6 - All Capabilities

Email marketing can be a low-cost method for reaching your customers, with the ability for any non-tech-savvy business owner to create a basic email template.

Of course, you can create highly engaging and perfectly designed emails with a professional image if you have a creative flair and the ability to navigate your way around the many email marketing software available.

We also offer a service to create your email newsletters on your behalf, find out more here.

7 - Create Automations

Automated email marketing is a popular solution for companies to promote their services at all times, automatically.

One example is through “abandon cart” when personalised emails are sent to customers who have left specific products in their cart without purchasing.

These can work as reminders and also incentives if paired with an enticing offer. Another example is creating an “email marketing funnel”, where a series of emails are sent to new or existing customers based on their interests and can alter depending on which actions they take when receiving the emails.

8 - Discover What Works For Your Customers

By using email marketing, the software available provide you with statistics which let you know how your emails are performing; giving you an indication of what works and what doesn’t work.

This could be a simple detail such as adding an emoji into your subject line, a technique which 56% of companies experienced a higher open rate when using.

9 - Increase Traffic To Your Website

By including “call to actions” in your emails, potential customers who are interested in your products and services tend to click through to your website, ganging an increase in traffic and potentially an increase in leads.

Clicks to your website through emails is also measurable on many email marketing platforms.

10 - Create Relationships

When customers receive regular and personalised emails, they feel connected to your business, building a foundation of trust and credibility.

Additionally, giving the recipient an option to contact you directly or including social media links in the footer of your emails adds an even deeper level of communication and a feel of humanity towards your business.

Email Marketing Problems

Segmenting your audience correctly:

Your customers would rather not be inundated with copious emails for a variety of products and services they may not be interested in.

By sending multiple and irrelevant emails to people may result in them unsubscribing entirely from your email list.

To ensure this doesn't happen, your segmentation needs to be organised perfectly.

To do this, you need to divide your audience into sections such as age, gender, their purchase history, geographic location, sales funnel location and even the paths (webpages) they interact with on your website.

Following this method will assist with sending your customers emails that they will be personally interested in, resulting in higher conversion figures for your email marketing. 

Forgetting about your existing customer base:

Many businesses focus on bringing in new customers; with offers for first time purchases and incentives to drive potential new customers to purchase your products/services.

We find that your existing customers should be who you focus on retaining, offering loyalty programs and special discounts for your loyal customers.

Practising this method aims to create healthy relationships by building trust and credibility for your brand. 

Low open rates:

If your emails are not being opened, the main reason for this will be your subject line, as this is the only element of your email which can be viewed without the email being opened.

Your aim is to capture the interest of your audience to entice them into opening the email.

To overcome this, the best method is to carry out subject line testing; discovering which subject line receives the highest amount of opens and which ones are less successful. 

Gaining subscribers:

If you have brilliant content, it's completely useless if you have no audience to share it with.

To help build your list of subscribers it may be worth offering a discount or an incentive, ensuring your sign up process is quick and simple, and show what material/content/offers they will gain by signing up to your newsletters. 

Why Use Email Marketing?

These ten reasons are only a handful of advantages to starting email marketing, a simple yet extremely effective method of marketing to gain exposure, awareness and new customers for your business.

Being an inexpensive technique for all industries, this method is risk-free and easy to improve once you start creating emails have the ability to see how they are performing.

Feel free ask any questions in the comments section below.

7 Tips For eCommerce

There is SEO, and then there is SEO for eCommerce. While some of the typical SEO tips you will see on the web are certainly relevant for eCommerce sites, there are some best practices that are unique to the web addresses of online retailers. In this blog, we run through seven SEO tips for eCommerce websites: 

1. Optimise your product pages

There are plenty of ways in which you can improve the product pages on your e-commerce site for the purposes of SEO. There are many ways in which product pages can easily be ineffective in your push for search engine ranking leaps. Duplicate or substandard content can be just some of the typical weak spots. So, ensure your product descriptions are unique, that you include metadata, and encourage user-generated content such as reviews.

Another thing to consider is alt descriptions. Alt descriptions are important for any website to improve the accessibility of web pages for images. However, when it comes to e-commerce, this is absolutely crucial. Since your focus is on individual products, it becomes more important to provide alternate descriptions for images so that people are fully aware of the product they are looking to purchase.

This goes without saying, but remember to add mentions of your target keyword into all the key areas of the page, this would be the title tag, h1 and within the first 100 words of the body content. Adding a mention in the meta description and alt description can also be good, but try not to make it look like you're adding the keyword for the sake of it.

2. Optimise your category pages

If you are looking for a home for your top-level keywords, you have one right here on your category pages. This is a way of driving high traffic by including keywords that are focused on the product terms online shoppers are searching for.

Your text should be rich, with at least a paragraph describing what the category is about and which kind of products are included. And if you're in the process of link building, try to focus on including links to these category pages, as this is recognised as a helpful SEO practice.

Because you ideally want your product pages to not contain too much unnecessary content, category pages are the perfect place to add that content instead, making them a great resource to internally link to as well as providing further opportunities to mention target keywords.

82181291 m 1024x736 1
82181291 - link building blogging illustration connected link seo technology web

3. Organise your site navigation

Structuring your site in a Google-friendly layout is essential:

  • Consider adding several landing pages for specific brands or product types. This allows you to optimise for multiple keyword groups and multiple pages - in turn this increases your site's visibility when search.
  • Include category level navigation on drop down menus.
  • Organise your URLS in the following formation:
  • yourwebsite.com/category
  • yourwebsite.com/category/sub-category
  • yourwebsite.com/category/sub-category/product-name
70723131 m 1024x683 1
Stock market indicator and financial data view from LED. Double exposure financial graph and stock indicator including stock education or marketing analysis. Abstract financial indicator background.

4. Say yes to HTTPS

Switching to HTTPS can be beneficial for all websites, but it is especially pertinent for eCommerce. That's because this security feature assures encryption for visitors to your website and protects their activities. It is even more important considering the personal details which can be exchanged over eCommerce sites, including payment information. An HTTPS URL gives visitors to your site the reassuring padlock symbol and green part of the address bar. More importantly, users need not be issued a security warning that your eCommerce site is not encrypted and risks being a deceptive platform. This can see many potential visitors turn back before they even start shopping.

5. Understand the potential problem with a filter system

Filter search systems can undoubtedly be helpful to eCommerce customers, allowing them to narrow down items as they browse for a particular product. But they can also be counterproductive when it comes to SEO. That's because they have the effect of producing a large number of indexed pages, on which it is likely that there is a lot of duplicate content. Google is recognised as not liking duplicate content, so if your number of index pages are spiralling out of control, the best answer could be to add a parameters noindex follow with a meta robots tag.

21139567 s
21139567 - teamwork works together to build a gear system

6. Use internal links naturally

Google will notice when you're overusing internal links, ensure your use of internal links is natural. For example, placing an internal link to another related product on a product page would be natural. Opposed to overfilling your pages with irrelevant internal links. In addition, placing links on your homepage to your products will also help the product's page rank score and be easier for customers to navigate.

One way to prepare for this is to plan an internal linking structure. If you can map out each of your pages, you should be able to see which ones are relevant to each other and therefore, which pages should logically be connected to each other. This is not so much experience and technique as it is applying logic and what you as a customer would expect upon visiting a web page.

7. Keyword research

Keyword research should be the main priority for any SEO plan. Knowing what your customers are searching for helps you gain an insight into what they are physically typing into search engines when searching for certain products you sell. This allows you to focus on keywords and phrases which will get noticed by potential customers. This of course does not mean filling your pages with keywords. There is no need to constantly use the same keyword throughout your page. Google's Latent Semantic Indexing means Google uses context clues to recognise what the content is about. Top sites for keyword research include Google's Keyword PlannerSEMRush and Moz.

SEO for eCommerce websites takes on a whole new importance and offers a real incentive for site admins to keep up with all the latest tips and tricks. We hope these SEO tips for eCommerce websites can help boost your SEO traction.

Google frequently makes changes to its search algorithm. Since 2000, Google SEO updates, both large and small, number in the hundreds, and they all affect the way content climbs or falls down the search engine results pages (SERPs). As such, marketers must accept that there is always a new Google search algorithm on the way.

These frequent changes are not often explained in detail. This leads to great speculation around how to change Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies to stay high in the rankings. While we are never certain of precisely how the algorithm has changed, we can look at a few areas to pay attention to for your SEO strategy in 2018.

1. Mobile-first indexing

Around 60% of searches are now performed on mobile devices. This means mobile compatibility will become essential as Google moves from 'mobile-friendly' to 'mobile-first'. The index of the search giant has already been split in two. One for desktop, and one for mobile - and it seems the time of mobile taking priority is finally here. The two indexes are now combining into one, and mobile will be prioritised.
Reference.

Untitled mobile friendly 1024x709 1

2. Increased focus on Featured Snippets

'Featured Snippets' are what appears above regular content on SERPs. If you manage to rank for them, they can significantly boost click-through rates and site traffic. They take many forms, from reviews to lists to answer boxes or event dates.

Google is continuing to expand Featured Snippets in 2018, giving greater preference to structured data. This is a line of code that can be added to a website's HTML to provide Featured Snippets. With the addition of structured data, you can do things like creating a knowledge card that offers a more visually pleasing overview of your business.

3. Linkless mentions

In 2017, it was suggested that Google had developed the ability to recognise mentions in the same way as a physical link. These so-called 'linkless mentions' could be testimonies, positive reviews or other unlinked mentions of your company, and this will play a real factor in SEO.

4. Security is paramount

Google announced some time ago that they give preference to HTTPS sites for security reasons, and thus rank them higher. In their latest roadmap, they revealed that 2018 is the year they start punishing websites that don't add an SSL.

99803729 l 1024x683 1

5. Voice commands

Voice searches through technologies like Cortana, Alexa and Siri have grown enormously over the past ten years. This upward trend is expected to continue, placing even more focus on mobile optimisation. It could also change the way search terms are structured, with more 'neutral' search phrases likely as people voice more fully formed questions.

Voice search is also set to work in tandem with Featured Snippets moving forward, as technology like Google Assistant will read them aloud as an answer to voice searches.

Keep in mind that the specifics of Google's algorithm updates are always kept under wraps. But if you focus on the areas covered in this article, you are in a strong position to carry out SEO best practice in 2018.

Firstly, What Is Google Adwords?

Google AdWords is an incredibly effective way to drive new business if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, it can be incredibly easy, yet frustrating, to spend a lot of money without seeing concrete results. In this article, we’ll highlight a few tricks of the trade that can help you to get a handle on your Google AdWords campaign and achieve the results that your business deserves.

Lets start simple!

We all have to start somewhere, so why not begin with your account? 

If you consider your account clean, organised, and you're still having other issues, then just skip this simple bit; but, if you are really, horribly stuck, just press these little things down below!

Organisation

You must order your Google ads account: that is first thing on your agenda. A messy account is only going to slow you down, throw you aside, and eat you whole if you let it descend into chaos. 

Campaigns & Ad Groups

Right, create a campaign for your entire company. I recommend sticking to one campaign overall as it may throw you off and the time spent may be pointless. Once you have your campaign, create some lovely Ad groups and theme them according to your business. For example, if you sell a range of toys at a toy store, try considering splitting Ad groups into things like “garden toys” and “inside toys” etc.

Theme Them

When filling your lovely Ad groups with keywords, consider the theme you’ve placed your ad under to keep things orderly. Your “outside toys” should only have keywords related to outside toys. this will help get the most relevant clicks and leads too!

Negative keywords

Okay this is the one which probably sounds the most daunting...

I mean what is a negative keyword? What do they do? Are they bad to use?

Don't you worry, you may be using broad or phrase match keywords and not negative keywords. This means there’s every chance that you’re wasting a lot of money on the wrong type of visitor. Put simply, negative keywords allow you to exclude people who won’t be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell windows, then you probably want to make the word ‘Microsoft’ a negative keyword to avoid paying Google AdWords a small fortune for visitors who are actually interested in software. 

Be sure to check the ‘search terms’ report regularly and update your negative keywords list at least once a month. Negative keywords can be used to your advantage when fixing up your google Adwords!

Extensions

Sometimes, people won’t want to visit the website page you’ve selected for them. They might be looking for information that’s on another page or they might prefer to phone or visit you in person. Ad Extensions allow your visitors to do all of these things and it won’t cost you a penny more than a normal ad. In fact, since ads with extensions are proven to have higher click-through rates, it might even save you cash.

If you’ve never set up ad extensions before, then we’d recommend that you start with Sitelink Extensions. These allow you to select a number of additional pages that display underneath your ad and give potential visitors additional options. Contact details, other products, pricing information and special offers are examples of common extensions. Once the extensions are set up, your search ad will be far larger and more eye-catching and you may well notice an improvement in your click-through rate.

Hopefully, our advice will help you to improve your Google AdWords account and avoid some common newbie errors. Once you’re past these, the sky truly is the limit.

Top 10 SEO Tips For Noobs

SEO is something that all businesses need to be concerned with today. It doesn’t matter what type of company you operate or your target demographic; having a dominant online presence is a necessity. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at some basic SEO tips for beginners to get you started…

Top 10 SEO Tips: Let's Jump In!

1 - Google Analytics!

Use Google Analytics to track your keyword performance. It will help you to extract useful information, that you can use to make informed SEO decisions down the line when that data may be needed. After all, how do you expect to improve your marketing efforts if you do not know how you are performing at present?

Not only this but being able to effectively track each page of your website allows you to optimise them accordingly. By looking at things like bounce rates and session times, you can understand the behaviour of customers/prospective customers. This allows you to revise your marketing strategies to ensure that they become more streamlined over time, further providing you with the opportunity to reach your intended audience.

2 - Link-Building!

Develop relationships with other websites. Incorporating links into your content, and getting others to do the same for your company, is a great way to boost your search engine ranking. However, don’t just choose any old website to partner up with. Make sure it is a high-authority website, i.e. one with a considerable audience that is relevant to your business.

There are several different methods you can take in order to build quality links for your website. One method would be to utilise your existing clients and ask them to provide a link to your website from their. This can usually be a mutual agreement where you can link to each other, providing your client is understanding of the benefits.

Another method would be to look for unlinked mentions of your brand. By entering your brand name into Google search results or using specialised tools, you can identify pages where your business has been mentioned. It is always worth reaching out to the owner of that website to see if they will change the mention to be linked to your website. Sometimes people will refuse but there are always some that are willing to help.

3 - Original Content!

Create content that is original, interesting, and engaging. people aren't on your site to dribble at the sight of your design: they want to read stuff too! If your content isn't as eye-catching as your website, then people will simply click off the moment your content lacks substance. 

This has become more apparent over time where unique and rich content has become perhaps the most vital ranking factor for the Google algorithm. When it comes to creating this content, the use of different forms of media is a great way to ensure the content is more useful. If you are able to provide video content, image content as well as text content on one page, that page is already deemed to be rich with useful information.

The most important thing to remember though is to ensure that you do not create duplicate content as this can lead to negative performance for your pages. Not only do you run the risk of your own pages trying to outrank each other, but you are also running the risk of confusing visitors to your site.

4 - Include Alt Text In Images

Make sure your images have descriptions. Search engines cannot see images as we can, so you need to add a description to make your website more prominent in search engine result pages. It doesn't take long, and most of all, it really does make a difference. (google will love you a little more!)

Another reason for this is to improve accessibility for your page. For some people, they may have trouble viewing some images so being able to provide alt text allows us to provide each user with a suitable page experience.

5 - Keyword Placement!

Incorporate keywords naturally. Gone are the days of the more keywords, the better. If your content looks like it has been keyword-stuffed, this can actually have a negative impact on your ranking. Imagine reading this blog post and every sentence had the word "SEO" slumped in there - it'd be awful! Balance your content!

Keywords should be included in key areas of a page including the slug, title, headings and body text. It is important to balance these out with other keywords that essentially have the same meaning too, once again to prevent the idea of keyword stuffing.

Furthermore, adding semantic keywords that are both closely and loosely related to your main focus keyword makes the information on the page seem more relevant and therefore supports the efforts to rank better for your primary target keyword.

6 - Avoid!

Avoid flash. Flash may make your website look pretty, but it can ruin your SEO strategy. Google cannot pull information from flash, so therefore it is essentially a blob of nothingness when google comes searching round. 

7 - URLs Must Be User-Friendly!

Make sure your URLs are search-engine friendly. Name them with clear keywords. URLs are the things people see, copy and paste, put into their essays, and more! They are the lifeline of your website and if you don't treat your URL with some serious respect, then your rankings will tell you a different, worse story...

8 - Sitemap!

Create a sitemap. A sitemap is a page that lists all of the other pages on your website and links to them. This makes it easier for spiders to search your website. If not, google might not even find your site in the first place, so all that SEO work will be for nothing as google won't even be able to find your hard SEO work, bearing in mind read it.

9 - Link To Yourself!

Link back to yourself. This is one of the most basic yet essential SEO strategies. Integrate internal links to improve traffic to your individual pages. You want to keep your visitors on your site for as long as possible, so use links effectively to do that. Google will pick up on your linking efforts!

10 - Review, Review, Review!

Constantly review your strategy. The world of SEO is ever changing. If you don’t move with the times, you are only going to get left behind. Even refer back to the first point and use Google Analytics to review your SEO work. Sometimes you just need to sit back - and observe.

In Conclusion

Use all ten tips together and i guarantee that your rankings, visits, and everything, will improve for the better. Just be aware that SEO takes time to show results, so don't grow weary of how little impact the work has in the short-term. Google is a slow reader, so give the old bot some time to read your site.

SEO is such an integral part of any company's online marketing strategy. It is important for even small businesses to have a basic understanding of how search engine optimisation works.

SEO Basics: Explained Simply

Search engine optimisation is the process of making sure that your website is visible to potential clients and customers.

In this digital age, search engines are most people’s first port of call when looking for services or products. People tend to search for words associated with that particular service.

For example, a person in Essex who needs a tap fixed is likely to search ‘Essex plumbers’. If they need the tap fixed right away, they might search ‘emergency plumbers in Essex’.

Implementing basic SEO simply means that when writing social media posts, blog posts and website content, a smart plumbing company includes the keywords ‘Essex’, ‘plumbers’ and ‘emergency’.

That way, their website appears in potential customers' search results, increasing the chances of business.

Types of SEO

Organic SEO:

Organic SEO is a marketing strategy that allows you to rank at the top of organic search engine results pages without paying for it. Understanding how to gain customers organically is part of the basics of SEO.

It's made up of sub-strategies like keyword research and link building which help your website get there faster than if you were just waiting on natural rankings alone.

Organic SEO may not be as flashy or well known as its paid counterpart, but with this organization, small strategies such as keyword research and linking will give your site an edge in ranking higher when people are searching online - all while being more cost-effective!

Organic SEO usually combines three key areas of SEO strategy, these are:

  • On-Page SEO: On-page SEO is a practice in which individual web pages are optimized to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. Optimizing the content of your page includes adding keywords that can be searched for, as well as using headers, summaries, descriptions and more.
  • Off-Page SEO: Off-Page SEO is a term used to describe the actions one can take off of their website, which may help boost up your site's ranking in search engines. Some examples are getting links from other websites and social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
  • Technical SEO: Technical SEO is the process of improving a website's ranking in search engines by increasing its technical aspects. Technical optimization includes making websites faster, easier to crawl and understandable for search engine algorithms.

Paid Search:

Paid search is an attractive marketing channel for many businesses because it's measurable and controllable.

Unlike other forms of advertising, with paid search you only pay when someone clicks on your ad - this makes sure that there isn't a hefty bill at the end of the month in case no one ever clicked on the advertisement!

Ad formats vary depending upon how much you want to spend on advertising; if you have no budget whatsoever then text ads will provide some exposure for your business from time-to-time.

Shopping overlay campaigns show products directly above the organic listing so that searchers know exactly what they're getting into right away when clicking through.

Not Just Website Content

SEO also applies to image searches and video searches, and improves a site’s organic, or unpaid, results. In other words, it’s free marketing.

All businesses need to do is make sure their content is in line with what their audience will search for!

SEO is pretty straightforward for us and most businesses work on it as part of their online marketing strategy. There is a lot of competition for those first page Google search results though.

That’s where experts like the people at Design Box Media comes in: we look after your online marketing so you can focus on your business, safe in the knowledge that your business has a strong online presence it deserves.

Our Online Marketing Services

We offer SEO services; including keyword research, error analysis, back-linking, press releases, monthly reports, keyword implementation and content writing.

These all boost your site’s chances of reaching that all-important first page. We can also take care of your social media marketing; from reviewing the design of your social media profiles to planning a strategy around your business’s goals.

Additionally, we offer pay per click services with total transparency; targeting specific audiences and boosting your online visibility. We started in 2002, and have built a service that will propel your business to the top. If you’re already enjoying success, we will make sure it continues!

Benefits of blogging for business

Online marketing has become a lot more complex over the last ten years. It used to be the case that a quick assessment of keywords and some well-placed links could boost a website's profile almost overnight.

These days, successful online marketing requires expert attention to a range of critical areas. This ranges from flawless web design to mobile-friendly content - and it's anything but straightforward to implement.

But you may be surprised to learn just how big a difference something as small as a blog can make. Here are three surprising benefits of blogging for business.

Blogs boost inbound links by over 90%

Everyone knows that good quality content drives readership on the web. A constant need to stay relevant comes with a high demand to supply useful links.

A useful blog about your area of expertise will get other sites lining up to promote your content. That means swathes of potential customers too. Blogs are always working for you, and unlike conventional advertising the only real expenditure is time. It's a no brainer to harness their potential.

Drives traffic to your website

New content is the key to a successful website. Whether it's new visitors or returning ones, there needs to be something that makes people want to visit your site and engage with you as an organization.

The more interesting, creative, and engaging information they find on your site about who you are will make them trust in what products/services you're offering.

Blogging provides you with the opportunity to create a blog post that can be shared on social media platforms which is another source of traffic for your website.

This way, when people share your content they are exposing it to their networks of friends which could potentially lead them back to your business or website for more information about what you offer.

Blogging in this way is important because every time someone reads and shares one of our posts we have an opportunity at getting exposure from potential new customers who may not know about us yet!

Fresh, rich and consistent content will improve SEO performance

A well-maintained blog is a great way to find new clients and customers. Search engines prefer websites with fresh content, so regularly adding quality pages will create more opportunity for you to show up in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

This doesn't even take into account creating specific blog posts to rank for particular keywords that have a respectable monthly search volume. Eventually, having these regular blog posts can result in more traffic to your site; this means that some of those visitors might just turn into conversions.

Regularly updating previous blog entries also contributes to positive performance in SERPs. Google loves websites that frequently update old content as well as creating new content. This boosts the trust score of a website and in turns helps to rank better.

Blogs boost B2B leads by over 50%

It's estimated that blogs can generate up to around 70% more leads for businesses promoting services to other businesses. This is easy to believe for anyone that's searched for answers about their areas of work on the web.

One of the most trusted sources of information at the moment is the blog. If you can stay relevant and keep answering those evergreen questions in your content, you stand a great chance of being more visible to other businesses.

Prioritising blogging boosts positive ROI

It can take some serious effort (current figures suggest that it takes more than 50 posts before Google starts to index you) but it has been shown that blogging can improve chances of positive ROI on a marketing campaign by more than 10%.

It's perhaps no surprise that blogging can help to get you found online, but these figures suggest it's still a driving force in online marketing. So there you have it - blogging might seem like one of the more old-fashioned online considerations, but it remains as relevant as ever.

If you are looking to market your company in the modern business environment, online business branding will be an essential part of the process. Yet, unless you are an expert in digital marketing, there is a good chance you won’t know where to begin with branding your business online.

With so much competition, it takes a lot more than tweeting twice a week to create a true personality for your company in the minds of your web audience. So how do you go about professional branding in the digital world? Here are the key strategies for branding your business online:

Your website is your castle

Any and all attempts to brand your company on the internet will lead back to one place: your website. This is why, before you even begin to flex your muscles on social media, you need to focus on website design. The most successful and click-worthy content that you post elsewhere on the web will only be effective if it leads potential customers back to a homepage that is powerful and compelling.

Today’s web user has no issue clicking straight off a website if it takes too long to load, has a layout that makes navigation unclear or does not work on their device. Making your website as engaging and functional for your target market as possible is your first step to creating online buzz.

Utilise Social Media

Word of mouth referrals have always been the best form of advertising, and for decades this was how brands were sold to consumers. But in recent years marketing has shifted from man-made methods to digital channels like social media because they are more cost effective than traditional means.

You can easily stay on top of social media trends by freely accessing them. If you use a service like Twitter or Facebook to its full potential, then not only will it help your brand get the word out there but also give people an idea about what's going in with your company- how things are running and that they're always accessible for feedback.

You can reach out to potential customers as well as current ones through interaction - not just one-way communication! Connecting with industry peers also helps build networks so that everyone knows what's going on without having someone else tell them.

Learn the tricks of inbound marketing

The rise of the internet over the last two decades has brought with it the growth of inbound marketing. If you don’t know, inbound marketing involves creating content that will draw your potential customers organically to your business, rather than leaving material out there (such as print or TV ads) in the hope it will encourage them to buy.

The best way to do this online is to create content that is relevant to your industry or entertaining to your demographic but does not directly sell your products. This could be blog posts, videos or social media messages. The goal is to make you and your business a respected authority in your field. Then, when it comes time to shop for the product or service you offer, your target customer will think of you first.

Online business branding is not easy. It takes time, effort and will require the creation of truly engaging content on a regular basis. Yet, if you are prepared to put the work in, the potential rewards are massive.

Make use of testimonials

You can be sure that you will have a successful business if your customers are happy with the service they receive. You should always strive to make them feel like their needs and concerns matter by listening attentively, giving great customer service, providing fast responses for any questions or problems along the way, etcetera.

Testimonials help show how well people respond when these things happen because it's an individual--not just some company saying this stuff about themselves!

Testimonials from satisfied clients prove that companies who provide stellar services not only get more referrals but also create ambassadors out of those very same loyal customers as well!

Social media marketing for local business is incredibly important. There have been many instances in the past and present where we have dealt with business owners (especially small business owners), that simply don't believe they should be 'doing' social media marketing.

"It's too time-intensive", "it's too broad", "I don't know where to begin". These are just a handful of the reasons some SMEs give for not taking advantage of social media.

These companies simply don't see the value in engaging with their target demographic online – and it's a real shame.

Social media marketing done properly should be a very effective digital marketing tool for all small businesses. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are not going away anytime soon.

What initially started as a means of friends and family keeping in touch has since become a useful tool for many types of businesses for a number of reasons:

TESTIMONIALS

The modern consumer is nosy; they spend hours researching and comparing and very often seek recommendations from friends and family.

That's where social media gives local businesses a real opportunity to encourage customer feedback and testimonials. This adds real credibility to their products and services.

Happy clients will take care of word-of-mouth marketing themselves which means that not only can you save money on advertising but also customer service because their satisfaction makes sure there's less need for follow up or long conversations regarding your product or service.

COMPLIMENT OTHER MARKETING EFFORTS

Websites are a great way to reach potential clients, but they’re not the only option.

You can also use social media and direct traffic from your website to other platforms like Facebook or Twitter so that you have more control over how people see what you offer without relying solely on Google Search Results for SEO.

With this system in place, it will be easier than ever before to get noticed by those who might need what you're selling!

By providing quality content on social media platforms, you stand a better chance of bringing in higher quality backlinks which are important ranking factors in SEO.

One key aspect of social media marketing is the ability to create shareable content, so the more useful and relatable your content is, the more it will be circulated around social media.

This also increases your chances of getting featured in a major publication which, again, can provide invaluable backlinks.

The more prevalent you are, the more people become aware (even if not a target customer). You may have people promoting your business and they don't even realise it. That is the power of social media.

Because of this, you can expect a lot more traffic to your website and provided that your advertising is targeted towards the right audience, you can improve your average customers page experience sheerly through how useful the page they end up on is.

This results in lower bounce rates and higher engagement levels on your website, which can positively impact your SEO efforts and even inform you of potential avenues to explore when it comes to paid advertising.

A CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE

Social media is a free marketing tool that allows you to target advertisements specifically to your targeted customer base within the radius of your business. This means less wasted advertising money and more customers coming in!

You can instantly communicate with customers by updating them on all of your promotional announcements, new products you're offering, or industry-related information that might be relevant.

Targeting your ads is a powerful technique for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing. By targeting those who live near you, have similar interests, and belong to other demographics that are important to you; one can increase their customer potential with minimal costs.

Instead of asking your potential customers what they want, make it easy for them to tell you by maintaining a steady stream of relevant and engaging ads. This way, you can easily identify which demographics are most responsive.

The personal touch of small business owners and their customers can also make for more effective social media marketing.

Current customers have the opportunity to share your products or services with prospective consumers on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., making it easier than ever before to grow a customer base organically and thus, making it more cost-effective.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

For those local firms in competitive markets, it's the little things that can make the biggest difference to closing a deal or securing a greater share of the market - from user-friendly websites to strong, professional branding.

Smaller companies tend to have a stronger sense of connection with those in their communities than larger corporations do - they often choose to be heavily involved because it brings them closer to customers as well.

Small business owners should know that helping out can lead back into goodwill over time which also helps boost sales.

A big company doesn't always find time to give you an individualised response when there are so many other people across the nation who need customer service - which means that your needs may be pushed aside until further notice.

However, smaller companies are able to take care of each one by taking direct action instead: writing back directly addressing what matters most about your situation at hand.

Social media marketing also gives SMEs and start-ups the opportunity to build their own personality online, giving customers a reason to come back and build relationships. This could be nuggets of advice, a great competition or an exciting new product.

Social media is the perfect medium for engaging with your target audience.  It's also a great way of creating 'brand advocates' who, in many ways, can become your very own virtual sales team!

CATCHING THE EYE OF BIGGER FISH

Social media also gives start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to get on the radar of the leading brands within their industry.

Don't be afraid to engage with strong social influencers either. Popular bloggers are people customers rely on to provide independent, impartial advice.

Now more than ever, engaging the online community is the absolute cornerstone of social media success. Social Media's a digital marketing tool like many others, but it's entirely unique in how it grows a company's visibility.

It can also broaden the reach to new and existing customers. But it will only work with a clear strategy, and that's where we come in.

Our social media marketing packages are ideal for SMEs, with tracked social exposure through a combination of manpower and industry-leading software. Get in touch today to find out more.

THE BEST BUSINESS DIRECTORIES FOR YOU

Business directories are the next best thing to search engines. They are simple, easy, and beneficial to you and your company. In today's online business world, we need to make it easy for customers and clients to find us! 

There are so many different free business listing websites out there, some good and some bad. I have spent a huge amount of time learning what ones are the best for results. What ones give me and my clients the best results.  I've saved you the hardship and created an easy to follow list of the Best UK Business Directories to register your business with.

21289543 s
21289543 - yellow pages search

 

TIPS FOR FREE BUSINESS DIRECTORIES

You don't need to pay for anything unless there is genuine evidence other people have had success. Most medium-sized directories will be less competitive meaning you are probably near the top anyway! So sign up to them! We've found on personal experiences that it's only worth paying for the top directories such as Yell. In our experience, we have never seen any return in smaller directories.

Below is a competent list of business directories that are entirely free to register with. They have proven to still provide useful traffic at a free price, so don't wait, get registering with them now!

 

TOP 10 BEST UK BUSINESS DIRECTORIES 

Number 1: Free UK Business Directory Google my Business– 

This is commonly used by a lot of people on the internet, providing directions of where to go etc, it is majorly beneficial to be listed with Google Places. When users are searching for services or businesses around your local area, either in the standard search engine or Google Maps, appearing in Google’s directory listings can drive a significant amount of traffic to your website.

Number 2: Free UK Business Directory Yell.com – 

The yellow pages as a whole are going downhill in popularity due to the 4000% rise in internet searches, however, Yell.com will always be used by everyone because of how well known the brand is. Quite often, a free page can bring you business. For what it's worth, we pay very little to advertise with Yell and we've found it's incredibly worthwhile.

75842190 s
Business, Technology, Internet and network concept. Young businessman working on a virtual screen of the future and sees the inscription: Link building

Number 3: Free UK Business Directory Freeindex – 

This website is on the rise in popularity and trust. This directory allows you to add reviews from your customers which will rank you in accordance with how good your services are. You don't need to pay a single penny to get top of these directories, just plenty of satisfied customers! The page you get is very customisable and you can really make the most of it. Also, the £7.95 per month for a premium listing is well worth every penny. This will increase the areas around you that you cover and given that you have good reviews, will up your traffic. This has proven to be an important source of traffic for us.

Number 4: Free UK Business Directory Thompson Local – 

This brand is also very well known due to the diversity and advertising they do across the UK. Like yell, very much worth a free listing, however, we’re not in a position to comment ourselves on the quality of their paid advertising. One of our customers, however, had told us they had spent well over £2200 and felt it was a complete waste and another spend not nearly as much but cannot praise them enough.

And Here's Some More!

Number 5: Free UK Business Directory Yelp

Yelp is an example of a business directory that has continued to thrive despite people tending to use directories more sparingly these days. The reason for this, Yelp values its users and strives to make their experience as pleasant as possible by keeping spam, advertisements, and other distractions away from them when they are trying to read reviews about businesses in towns. Yelp reviews are also full of long, well-thought-out observations that give customers deep insight into the business they're considering.

Number 6: Free UK Business Directory Lacartes

Lacartes is a directory that will make you want to put your best foot forward. You can expect a prompt and professional response from them after you submit your listing, with the added bonus of being able to add an attractive header photo for extra style points. This directory is also treated very respectfully by Google so you will not have to worry about being penalised for using it.

Number 7: Free UK Business Directory Business Line Directory

Number 8: Free UK Business Directory Touch Local

Touch Local is here to help you tap into the vast potential of online exposure. From a simple business listing, like your company's information and address on Google Maps, all the way up to advertising across many major search platforms - Touch Local has everything that businesses need for maximum success in today’s digital world! Touch Local is part of the Scoot network, which includes many different directory sites.

Number 9: Free UK Business Directory Scoot

Scoot is the business directory website that powers four of Britain's national newspapers. They have listings for nearly every type of small business, and it doesn't cost anything to list your company on their site! However, they only offer links back to Facebook or Twitter as opposed to a full URL link like other directories do.

Number 10: Free UK Business Directory Foursquare

Foursquare is a social media platform that has been around for 10 years, and it's still going strong. Focusing on providing reviews of local businesses to its users, the app now boasts over 50 million monthly active members worldwide.

82181291 m 1024x736 2
82181291 - link building blogging illustration connected link seo technology web

Lastly here are some other business directories that are worth adding for free:

Factual: http://www.factual.com/contact/update_add_business , Central Index: http://centralindex.com/ , Hotfrog: https://www.hotfrog.co.uk/

Thanks for reading our top 10 UK business directories: here's another blog which may assist you and your business: Click here!

Get in Touch

Address: Gibraltar House, 
539-543 London Rd,
Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9LJ

Let's Socialise
Copyright © 2016 – 2021 All Rights Reserved Design Box Media Limited
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram