Regarding our “Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy Service”:
I received two excellent questions today about our Setup and Strategy Service:
- What do we mean by site optimization?
- What do we mean by “messaging”?
These are basic, but the best questions are often basic. In addition, many people mean different things by “messaging” I am going to try to answer as concisely as I can, and you can download the PowerPoint (in PDF form) we use to describe our Setup and Strategy Services here: Digital Marketing Setup and Strategy Services and Presentation
First of all, I have been optimizing websites for nearly 20 years (19 years as of September, 2016), and me and my team spend over $20,000/month on research and development where we constantly test the Google Algorithm ourselves rather than relying on articles and publications in the industry. We would consider that equivalent to buying information “retail” rather than “wholesale” or “manufacturing it ourselves” (to put it into analogous terms).
In my experience, 99% of the websites built are not built with holistic SEO in mind. Many web designers and web developers “say” they do SEO, and many of them do some of the basics well, but since it is not their expertise they are lucky if they would get a “B” when the site is graded from every SEO perspective.
It is also important to note that SEO is no longer separate from “user experience”, because if your website falls short in any of these categories it has a negative impact on your rankings.
What is Messaging?
(You can find our messaging worksheets on our digital marketing resources page)
Messaging helps ensure that all of the content and marketing strategies for your business target your ideal clients and increase conversions by driving interactions and engagement with your ideal target audience. Along with branding it is the foundation of every business from a marketing perspective, and it has implications on all aspects of your business including sales and operations. Large organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars and dozens of hours on messaging to ensure they are doing their best to find, engage and attract their best clients.
Our Messaging Methodology
We have a system we have used for over 5 years that is cost-effective for small businesses and accomplishes just about everything they need to accomplish from a messaging perspective that they can use online and in other media such as print, tv and radio. Additional messaging tools you could do that would cost extra would be market research where your current clients are interviewed to dig a bit deeper into their pain points and hot buttons. That can add $2,000 to $10,000 to the cost of messaging, depending on the size and scope of the project. To save time and money, we find we can rely solely on your ability and experience to help us discover your customers pain points, desired solutions and your value proposition, unless you want to spend the extra on market research.
Some Important User Experience Factors
Click Through Rates
When people see your website in the search results and they are more likely to click on your competitors sites than your site,
this will have a negative impact on your rankings. Higher click-through rates can improve your rankings.
How do we improve click-through rates? By writing title tags and description tags that target your audience.
How do we do this?
By making sure we understanding your target buyer personas pain points, hot buttons and the search terms they use. Title tags with your business name at the front do very little to encourage new prospects to visit your site, so we put those at the end to anchor your referrals and make sure your current customers find your site easily. However, we put keywords towards the front and language that engages with your target buyers in the description so they are more likely to visit your site.
Site-Speed, Site Engagement, Bounce Rates, Time on Site, etc.
If your site takes significantly longer to load than your competitors sites, it will have a negative impact on user experience, your rankings, and ultimately, your traffic.
Once people get on your site, Google takes note of their engagement. If they land on a site that relates to them, is easy to navigate, offers the solutions for which they are searching, and they are more likely to take action by filling out a form, calling you or visiting your contact us page, it will have a positive impact on your rankings. If they land on your site and have a difficult time finding what they want, or don’t see how you are the right choice to meet their needs they will leave the site much sooner and not engage, which will have a negative impact.
Messaging and Optimization (SEO) Are No Longer Separate Strategies
We start with developing the right messaging to engage with your target buyers, show and tell them why you are the right choice for them, which goes hand in hand with…
- …the language on your site…
- …the pictures on your site…
- …the calls to action on your site
- …trust signals on your site that give you credibility, such as
- Industry Organizations you are members of that lend to your credibility (BBB, Chambers of Commerce, and ones more specific to your industry)
- Case studies and design portfolios
The search engines look for engagement/positive user experience and these trust signals when deciding who is the “authority” in serving your target market. These factors also improve click through rates, bounce rates, time on site, and conversions to leads from your site.
Of course your site needs to address technical SEO:
The right amount and the right content on your site so Google knows what your site is about and for what content/keywords you want to be considered the authority.
Proper coding and site architecture so the search engines can easily crawl your site and understand what your site is about, again, so they can determine for what you should be considered an authority.
- Site Markup, Local Schema, Structured Data that matches your site goals
- Title Tags and Meta-Data
- Strategic Internal Linking (Addressing user experience AND search engines)
- Properly names pictures with keywords where it makes sense
- Mobile friendliness
- Site speed optimization
All of this is relative to how well your competitors’ site quality, and it does not take into account “off page” or “off-site” SEO.
You often see very bad sites ranking at the top of Google, and this usually for one of two reasons:
- The industry is not very competitive, so Google is bringing back the “least worst” site.
- The business has invested more in getting other sites to mention or link to their site more and in better ways than their competitors, and even though they have not fully addressed their on-site factors they are able to win an uphill battle by “pushing” it up to the top with links.
Both of these strategies are short sited, and usually short lived once their competitors do a better job of on-site SEO AND invest the right amount in off-site SEO.
The bottom line is that Off-Site SEO can be an even bigger factor in competitive markets than on-site SEO, but if you don’t address all of the “on-site” factors (engaging content and technical aspects) you will always be fighting an uphill battle trying to get more links and off-site efforts to make up for your short comings on your website.
Our strategy is to make sure we address all of the on-site quality factors with engaging site content and a near perfectly structured site (no site is 100% perfect) so we don’t have to over invest in off-site SEO. When we do this, most often a site will begin to rank better right away, and once we see where the “gaps” are we can address them with more on-site content and an off-site strategy that will boost rankings as needed.
- We provide initial off-site SEO with our setup and strategy package, which includes:
- High quality local directory placement and directory content optimization
- A few original articles written and published on quality sites that will link back to your site in the articles.
I would love to hear your feedback and have your engagement, so contact us with your comments and questions, share and discuss on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.
Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer and Public Speaker