Ads can be intrusive, misleading and costly. Today with more people searching online for your product or service, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting your brand found in online search results pages (SERP) and directories.
Often referred to as inbound marketing, the focus is placed on creating the content and helpful site pages to encourage engagement and traffic. For example, our site DriveSocial, gets found in searches for terms like ‘Hunter Valley SEO‘ as we help brands with search engine optimisation and website updates in the Hunter Valley area of NSW, Australia.
Ads are often used for instant traffic building, and can be cost effective in the right scenario with the right content.
The problem being, when the budget for your ads runs out, so does your traffic flow. Why not create content that is going to engage and continue to grow even after your budget has been exhausted?
Whilst the enticing fast results of online advertising and pay-per-click campaigns is often thrown at brands by marketing agencies to grow fast, we at DriveSocial believe you can invest better with content, optimisation and tech.
Here are 3 focus points we believe can help grow your brand and provide a better ROI on your marketing budget.
Evergreen content is content that does not have relevance to a specific date or timeline, and is relevant almost all the time. This could include tutorials and guides, product info, and advice on specific topics.
Having evergreen content on your website that also ranks well in search results, especially for a specific niche, can be a great way to attract your ideal online audience, and increase site traffic.. organically.
The attraction cycle would start with you creating a piece of content on your site that answers a question or query often asked in Google search.
Following this, getting that page optimised for search engines to index and rate highly. This would include both on and off site optimisation techniques.
The goal here is to get on to page 1 of Google (as page 2 is where you hide dead bodies) and show towards the top of the website.
As users type their questions in to the search bar, your article is hopefully seen as the best answer to that query and gets you that user’s engagement. From here, your page could include links to more of your useful content, a form to enquire, or useful references.
One is not enough, and you need to take into account how people search today. This includes via voice searches on phones and home devices which can be more sentence-structured, and can also include a lot more question-related wording like who, what and why.
Create content that answers the same question in different ways to maximise your exposure on SERP.
Being evergreen content which stays relevant, your content will continue to show up in search results, long after you wrote it.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Getting found online can come in many forms, including via organic search results on a search engine page like Google, in local directory listings like local search and yellow pages, or on maps and business pages.
Optimising your website and being listed in all the relevant places is time well spent on growing your brand, especially for local services and tradies.
Even if your website is not showing first in organic results, it may show in the Google map suggestions or business page listings.
Local directories or service-specific directories often rank better than most websites. This could include wedding directories, utilities and services like plumbing and electrical, local business guides and phone contact lists.
The most important aspect of SEO is ensuring you don’t stay still. By this, we mean making sure you update your listings online with a new photo or updated services regularly (monthly is great), creating new site content to submit to Google search, and getting reviews on your Google business and map listings.
All of these actions will help you get found over your competitors, as sites like Google are trying to find the most relevant results that are also on sites that are known to be active and user friendly.
Being search engine friendly goes hand in hand with user experience. Google is looking to send its users to sites that are helpful, both content wise and interface wise.
For example, a search on Google on your smartphone is not necessarily going to give you the number one desktop search result, as that site might be terrible on mobile. Yes, Google does split their indexing between desktop and mobile searches.
Ensure your website is both search engine and user friendly. Our blog has some great articles on SEO and improving your website.
Thirdly, we tell our business clients to focus on technology. We believe this is more important than advertising as it shows your brand associated with current trends and tech.
A big one in our books is cloud hosting.
Cloud architecture has changed the way business run their IT services, with even small businesses having access to cloud services they could never afford in-house.
For web users, cloud has delivered fast virtual servers that can replicate content across the globe. Whilst traditional hosting serves a website from a specific server, whether shared or dedicated, cloud hosting can serve a website from multiple datacenters all around the world, depending on which is closer to the user.
Caching and content delivery work well with cloud, and having multiple services to manage databases and content helps to speed up your site.
Just as importantly, or maybe more importantly, cloud servers are easily backed up and recreated, with many cloud solutions offering self-healing. All this helps ensure your site is always fast and available for your users, wherever they are.
Other tech can include the apps and services you provide online to make your customer’s journey easier.
This can include online bookings for services, the ability to purchase online, self help guides and pricing, and virtual product or location tours.
Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) can all increase the efficiency of your interactions and provide services that may provide your customer with a better experience overall.
Some examples of these include: virtual dressing rooms and makeup mirrors, car dealership virtual walk throughs and test drives, pricing calculators, service selection aides and more.
Where to Start
We recommend doing an audit of your current website using our site audit tool.
This will give you a report within a minute highlighting areas you can improve on your website for SEO purposes.
SEO includes changes both on your website, and off. the on-site changes can include the layout and usability on mobile devices, loading times, picture quality, keywords and metadata.
Off-site we refer to the authority your site has for a specific niche or keyword.
This can be improved by being listed in more places like directories, having better ranking sites link or refer to you, and having content that is ranked well in search results.
This might include guest blogging and blogging on your own site, press releases, social content, and citations.
If you are not sure what all this means, book a free strategy session with DriveSocial here.
Last but not least, ask a friend or existing customer about their experience interacting with your brand.
Get feedback on where you can improve, services they would like to see and things they didn’t like about the experience. This will help you decide on where to pay more attention.
In summary, don’t just do things and pay for things because your competitors are or other marketing agencies say that is the way they are done.
Services like ads can be an absolute money pit. Investing in your own assets like your website, listings, press releases and blog outreach can do wonders for your brand. Expand your options with newer services like having brand ambassadors to shout out your brand on socials. The possibilities are endless, and more often than not, the return on your investment better.
The real winners with advertising are your marketing agency, Google, Facebook and the other networks you advertise on.
This article was written by DriveSocial founder David Walter who studies cloud architecture, systems and programming, and has helped many brands with SEO campaigns and website updates.
We’d love to hear your comments on this article. Do you agree or would you focus on other areas to grow your brand online?