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Get your website to rank higher in Google… install an SSL certificate

What is it?

Whenever you see a website’s URL that starts with HTTPS, it means the website is secured by an SSL encryption/certificate and it’s safe to transfer sensitive information (e.g. credit card number, bank information, etc.) using the website.

By installing an SSL certificate on your website, you show visitors that your website is verified and data sent across the site uses a secure connection to, for example, prevent hackers from intercepting it.

Up until this point, there has never been a need for websites to install an SSL if they don’t exchange sensitive information (e.g. blogs and business websites, where no transaction is made).

Typically, you would only see an SSL certificate among online stores, banks, and other websites where sensitive data is transferred, but now Google has officially listed SSL as a ranking factor… what does it mean for businesses?

Your website’s Google ranking

Google let us know they’d be introducing the change back in 2014 to make the internet ‘safer’.

“We’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web…so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

Check out the article for tips and tools that Google has provided – it helps webmasters avoid common mistakes and makes adoption easier.

Installing a SSL certificate will improve the search rankings of your website and signals to your customers that your website is secure and trustworthy to use.

Not sure where to start? Start a conversation with SMP today.

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Google brings advertising to Maps as it revamps for mobile world

Google claims that half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets, while location-related mobile searches have grown 50% faster than all other queries on mobile meaning marketers must reassess how they use mobile to add a local element.

The company said that almost one-third of all mobile searches are related to location. This has led the tech giant to upgrade its ads, with a key change being to launch ads in maps, allowing marketers to target consumers through local areas.

Local search ads will be available across Google.com and Google Maps. Marketers will be able to use them to reach consumers searching for physical business locations, for example a “shoe store” or “car repair near me.”

According to Ramaswamy, Google Maps will provide “more branded, customised experiences for businesses” aimed at helping brands gain more store visits. Customers can also expect to see ‘promoted pins’ for businesses in their local areas, including coffee shops and stores, which can provide bespoke special offers.

Google is also updating AdWords to make them more relevant on mobile.

Google said it will also provide more ad space for brands so they can showcase more product information and services. Marketers will be able to decide what type of devices they advertise on and “optimise with greater precision” to ensure advertising is consistent across devices.

Device consistency was originally introduced earlier this year, when Google removed right-hand side ads as it aimed to improve search experience and consistency across devices. Ramaswamy believes that the usability of the ads across various devices is ideal for the “on the go” consumer and is part of the “biggest changes to text ads since Adwords launched 15 years ago.”

Want to know more about location based marketing on Google? Begin a conversation with SMP today!

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SEO, the basics

Good SEO (search engine optimisation) practitioners are aware of one undeniable truth: They are never finished learning.

In the blog this week, we’ve included some tips to help you understand what SEO is, why it’s important and how to get started.

SEO | The Basics

SEO is the practice that helps your website appear on the first page of Google – this makes your business easy to find on the internet.

SEO is a moving target because search engines often change the algorithms they use to rank websites.

Here are four important areas to consider:

Website Structure
Your website should have pages that cover the basics like an overview or welcome, ‘about us’, contact us, what you can do for your customers and why they need you. Once you have those basics in place, you can expand your site over time.

Use analytics to discover the most popular landing pages on your site – the pages most visitors come to directly. Then you can make sure those pages are full of rich content that encourages sales activity.

Content
Search engines love good content. If you can write about your business in a way that’s interesting, helpful and informative then you’ll be rewarded with better search rankings – and better traffic. If you can’t do that yourself, pay someone who can. It’s worth the investment.

Keywords
Gone are the days when businesses could get to the top of search results simply by packing their web pages full of keywords. These days, if you try ‘keyword stuffing’ on your site it will probably be penalised or removed from listings altogether.

Keywords do still have their places. Use them in page meta-tags, as category tags and in page titles. But use them sparingly and sensibly and choose ones that are relevant to your business. Services such as Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends can help you.

Accessibility
Make sure your site can be viewed on different devices and browsers. Check it on a smartphone, a laptop and a tablet, and any browsers you can find. Does it work well on all of them? If not, get your web developer to fix it so that it does. Your website should be accessible to everyone, whatever device they’re using.

If you do SEO properly, the majority of your web traffic will find your site via a search engine, like Google. That means sales leads for your business, so it’s important to get it right.

To find out more about how you can improve your online presence, contact SMP for a fully supported Digital Performance Report.

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Survey Shows Aussie Small Businesses Misunderstand Marketing

A recent survey of Australian small business owners has revealed that nearly half want to know how to use marketing to generate new leads, while almost a third are most concerned with attracting clients and marketing their business.

The survey, conducted by marketing education company Basic Bananas, found that small business owners simply don’t understand the power of marketing, with 43 per cent admitting that they would like to know how to use marketing to generate new leads for their business, over and above mastering social media (12 per cent), online and digital marketing (9 per cent) and SEO (2 per cent).

Furthermore, 38 per cent of small business owners are most concerned with attracting clients and marketing their business right.

Basic Bananas co-founder Christo Hall said small business owners feel a sense of overwhelming nervousness when trying to understand marketing and the benefits of doing so to attract new clients.

“A lot of small business owners are banging their heads against the wall because their marketing efforts are not working,” he said.

“There are very few small businesses out there taking advantage of new technologies to benefit their business. These new methods are not only far more cost-effective than strategies used 10 years ago, but are easier to use than ever before to promote a business on a tight budget.

For all those small business owners struggling to market their offering, Hall provides four cost-effective tips to help you nail your next campaign:

i. Choose your perception

Hall believes small businesses must first choose how they want to be perceived.

“If you don’t determine how your product, service or business is going to be perceived, someone else will and steal your thunder,” he said.

When describing your business, Hall suggests using adjectives such as ‘young’, ‘old’, ‘fresh’, ‘modern’, ‘adventurous’, ‘safe’, ‘cheeky’, ‘energetic’, ‘vibrant’, and ‘fast’.

“The less conventional, the better, so stay away from the common words everyone chooses such as ‘professional’, ‘quality’, and ‘experienced’,” he said.

“Make sure you share the above with your team so they are all on board and pulling in the same direction. Your team are your biggest brand ambassadors.”

ii. Differentiate and blow your customers’ minds

“We live in a very busy world where we get bombarded by thousands of marketing pieces every day (unless we live on a beautiful remote island somewhere),” Hall said.

So how are you ever going to stand out from the rest of the pack?

“You need to differentiate!” he said. “Unfortunately a lot of businesses copy each other plainly because they think ‘the other’ guy has got it all figured out, but most likely he or she hasn’t!  Copying is never the answer and it’s kind of uncool too.”

Rather than blending in, Hall recommends carving out your own uniqueness by asking yourself ‘what’s the frustration in my industry?’

“The second question to ask yourself and others is ‘what would make working with a <insert your industry> irresistible?’” he added.

“You’ll be surprised by how many great ideas you will get from your clients and friends!

iii. Amplify your awesomeness

Hall suggests making a list of every touch point your business has with your prospects and customers. This could include phone calls, emails, social media, your shop or offices, your website, and invoices.

“Then think about how you can amplify your business’ personality and differentiation at each of these touch points,” he said.

“Let me give you another example. If you’ve chosen ‘quirky’ as one of your characteristics, how can you add more quirk to your different touch points.? You could include a funny quote in your email signature, change your phone greeting to something more quirky, adjust your website copy, send a quirky direct mail to your prospects, give your clients something to smirk about.”

iv. Be consistent

Consistency is key in taking controlling how others perceive you, according to Hall.

“If there is no consistency, your clients will be confused, and confusion doesn’t sell,” he said.

“The purpose of consistency is to create familiarity, which leads to trust, which leads to more sales.”

Hall also stresses the importance of fluidity.

“We can’t always influence the circumstances, but we can always influence our perception,” he said. “Staying flexible and adaptive is key for a business to thrive in today’s ever-changing, fast-moving market.”

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