🔎 People are going onto Google every day and searching for products, services & companies. If your company is not on Google in some form or another, you are losing out on business. In this article, we will show you the 3 ways you can get onto the first page of Google.
A Journey of 1000 Clicks Starts With a Google Search
Think about the last time you purchased something significant. How did you go about it? Chances are your “purchasing journey” started online, probably with a Google search from your phone.
The bottom line is that if your business is to be successful in 2019 then:
- Your website has to be on page 1 of Google
- Your website has to be mobile-friendly
Get those two things right, and the leads will flow like single malt whisky at a Saxonwold shebeen!
There are 5.5 billion searches made on Google every single day (source). That’s a lot of people asking a lot of questions!
That being said – Google is not the internet. We know that. There are other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
But we aren’t going to focus on those other wannabe search engines, because in South Africa Google has a 95% market share!
Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Search Engine Market Share
So it is safe to say that 95% of consumers in South Africa will turn to Google as their primary search engine when they want to purchase something.
The question is, are you appearing in those searches?
Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
Depending on what a person searched on Google, the SERP will look slightly different. Google displays the information in what are known as “cards” – and there are many different types of cards.
I am not going to go into the details of each card, so for the purposes of this article we are going to focus on the main 3 sections of a SERP:
- Paid Ads
- Local Pack (Map Listings)
- Organic Listings
💳 Paid Ads (Google Ads)
The fastest & easiest way to get on the first page of Google is to pay for it. The crowd gasps. Google Ads, when done right, will get your business to the no. 1 spot on Google instantly.
It’s pretty simple – you choose the keywords that you want your advert to show for and you only pay when someone actually clicks on your advert. You can set limits on what you spend per day to ensure that you don’t blow a hole in your credit card.
How much does it cost I hear you ask. It depends on your industry and what search terms you are targeting, but we have achieved costs as low as R2.87 per click. For very competitive markets we have paid as much as R28.76 per click.
🏢 Local Pack (Google My Business)
Creating a Google My Business page is the fastest free way to get onto the first page of Google. However, your business will only appear for people who are searching in your area.
If you are a local business like a plumber, electrician or pet store then you need a Google My Business page. If you do not have one, or it is not set up properly then you are losing business. Simple.
“Pet shops near me” gets a whopping 8100 searches on Google per month. Google auto-completes certain searches with “near me”.
Go to Google and type in “restaurants” followed by a space, you will see that the next suggested search is “restaurants near me”.
A Google My Business listing is not only necessary for local business – ANY business that wants to generate more leads and sales online needs a listing.
🔎 Organic Listings (Search Engine Optimisation)
Getting to the number 1 spot in Google’s organic listings is the holy grail of online marketing. Once your website is here, the leads will pour in!
The top spot in Google will get almost 35% of the clicks (source). That is a big chunk of people that will visit your website instead of going to your competitor.
But getting to your website to the first page of Google’s organic listings is not easy. I could write an entire tutorial just on SEO – so let me try to explain it simply:
Ranking your website on page 1 of Google requires two forms of SEO:
- On-page SEO
Firstly, your website has to be optimised with the right keywords so that Google knows what your site is about. This is known as On-page SEO – this is the technical process of optimising your website to make it easy for search engines to index it.
- Off-page SEO
Even if your website has the right keywords, Google still needs to determine whether it is relevant to a user. Amongst other things Google uses “backlinks” as a yardstick. Backlinks are links on other sites that point back to your website. Lots of backlinks tell Google that your website is trustworthy, authoritative and relevant.
Generally, it requires months of active On-page and Off-page SEO to rank your website on page 1 of Google.
Bonus tip: Write blog articles! Putting out weekly content onto your blog is a tried and tested strategy for more website traffic. But don’t just write spammy articles stuffed with keywords, no one will want to read that. Write articles that will truly help your customers – this means they spend more time reading your content on your website. And the more time people spend on your website, the better rankings you will get. Fact.
Which One Is The Best for You?
There is an ongoing debate amongst SEO and PPC specialists as to which one is the best.
For us, it comes down to quantity vs quality.
Google Ads allows you to generate a lot of leads for your business very quickly. The downside is that it costs money and the quality of these leads can be inconsistent.
Organic listings are considered “trustworthy” by consumers because they understand that companies aren’t paying to be there. Therefore the leads that come from SEO are generally speaking better quality. The downside is that it takes time to get your website onto page 1.
Oh, but you definitely need to have a Google My Business page. That is non-negotiable 😊
This is a comprehensive guide to blog SEO tips, updated for 2019.
In this article, you will learn how to easily optimise your blogs for search engines using a simple checklist.
If you want to your blog articles to dominate search engines and drive tons of traffic to your website, then read on!
Blog articles are a great way of displaying your expertise and knowledge on a certain subject and establishing your company as an authority.
Well written blogs should educate readers and provide them with useful information and actionable insight. By providing good quality content a company can build trust with a reader, making the sales process much easier.
But there is no point in writing amazing blog articles if no one can find them. Therefore Search Engine Optimisation is vital so that people can find your articles online.
Start with the keyword in mind
The saying “start with the end in mind” has never been more applicable than it is here.
Many businesses get it back to front – they start by writing the article first and then deciding what keywords to optimise it for. Instead, you should start by identifying the long-tail keywords that you would like to rank for, and then writing blog articles for them.
Here are 3 ways you can find what long-tail keywords people are searching for:
1. Google Keyword Planner
This is number 1 on the list because if you want the best data on search terms, then you need to go to the source! If you have a Google Ads account, then you will have access to Google Keyword Planner. Enter a topic into the search bar and it will spit out thousands of keyword ideas, with their search volume.
2. Google Related Searches
A much easier way to find good long-tail keywords is Google’s related searches function at the very bottom of the search page. It will show you popular searches that other people are doing. This is a great indication of the kind of blog articles you should be writing.
3. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a great tool for finding keywords. If you want all the features and data, then you will have to pay for a monthly subscription. But it does have a free Chrome extension that will give you a side-bar on your Google search page (see below) that gives you some keyword ideas and volumes.
Using the above example, a few good ideas for blog articles would be:
- Solar System for Home Electricity – How it Works
- Top 10 Solar Energy Companies in South Africa
- The Advantages of Solar Energy in South Africa
- The Ultimate Guide to a Basic Solar Power System
Wow, look at that – it took less than a minute to generate 4 blog topics. Spend another 10 minutes doing this, and you will have enough blog article topics for an entire year! Create a “content calendar” by assigning a due date for each of those articles.
Voila! You have the makings of a decent content marketing strategy.
Optimising Blog Articles for Search Engines
Once you have decided on a keyword and written a good article, it’s actually pretty simple to optimise it for search engines. It’s really just like following a recipe.
Here is how you optimised a blog article so that Google falls in love:
- Include the keyword in the article Heading (you would have done this when researching)
- Include the keyword in the first paragraph of text
- Include a variation of the keyword in a sub-heading
- Include the keyword at least 3 times (in a 500-word article) but not more than 10.
- Include LSI keywords throughout the article (keywords semantically related to your main keyword)
- Include 2 outbound links (to high-authority domains, like news and education sites)
- Include 2 internal links (to pages within your website related to the main keyword)
- Include a bullet point list with the keyword in it
- Bold your keyword at least once (in the body copy)
- Include the keyword in the alt text of images
Whilst there is no “ideal” blog length, we recommend that all blog articles should be at least 500 words. Studies have shown that the longer a blog article is, the better it is for SEO.
Bonus Tip: Write for people
Writing for search engines is one thing, but at the end of the day, a real person looking for advice and help will be reading your article. So first and foremost you have to write for people.
“But what if I am not a good writer?” you might ask. It’s not about sentence structure or grammar (although both are necessary for communicating an idea well) – people want authentic ideas and actionable advice. Don’t recite things that they can find on Wikipedia.
An important SEO factor is the length of time a person spends on a website. Search engines assume that if people are spending a lot of time on a website then surely the content must be useful. Therefore search engines will boost the ranking of that website to show that useful content to more people.
Oversimplified explanations aside, the bottom line is that if you write authentic, informative and useful content then people will spend more time on your website. And if people are spending more time on your site, then search engines marketing will boost your rankings. It’s not rocket science.
If you want more website traffic then you need to write blog articles that are optimised with SEO:
- Choose your keywords before you start writing your article
- Write good quality content that people find useful. Another way to think about it: write good quality content that people would share!
- Apply the simple SEO formula to the article once you are done writing
But always remember: a good article that is badly optimised will outrank a poor article that is well optimised.
Read that sentence again, slowly.
Your website could be costing you business, and you didn’t even know it! Like a salesman who is taking money under the table. Sacrilege. In this post, we will highlight the 5 biggest Web Design Mistakes that both small and large businesses make. We will also add some actionable techniques so that you can fix them!
So what are your Web Design Mistakes?
Just having a website is not good enough
Before we start with what you need to avoid, let’s hop in the DeLorean and travel back a few years…
In the early 2000’s when Google started to gain popularity, businesses saw the potential in having and building an online presence, more specifically, a website. With competition in the online realm being far from competitive, businesses saw a good return from just having a website. They would rank on the first page of Google without much effort. Leads flowed in. Life was good.
Until *he said, as the sky grew dark and the horses neighed* other businesses started catching on. Soon enough, everyone and their next door neighbour had a website. Suddenly the online landscape, once friendly and inviting, became cut-throat and fiercely competitive.
Today, just having a website is not good enough. You need a website that not only “attracts” more website traffic, but one that can convert visitors into sales. These are your top 5 web design mistakes you DON’T want to make.
1. Slow loading times
Website loading time is very important to both users and Search Engines. So much so that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors.
It makes complete sense – people are generally time-strapped, so the faster you can provide them with the info they need, the happier they are. And Search Engines promote websites that have faster loading times for exactly this reason – you are improving the user experience. If you want to test your website loading times, use our website auditor, It’s free.
So what can you do to decrease loading times? If you are using WordPress, install Page Speed Ninja. Just install it, and with one click you can shave seconds of your loading time.
2. Not mobile friendly
If your website is not “responsive” i.e. it does not adjust automatically to fit the device it is being viewed on, then you are losing business. No two ways about it.
Statistics show that in 2020 there will be 2.2 billion people using smartphones. And since we are throwing around statistics, here’s another one: in 2017 mobile devices were responsible for over 50.7% of all website traffic generated.
Welcome to the 21st century – this is how people browse the internet. They need a plumber, so they whip out their smartphone and Google “Plumber in Sandton”. If your website isn’t easy to browse on their phone, they will leave and try someone else.
Search Engines also prefer websites that are mobile friendly – because it improves the user’s browsing experience!
So how do you make your website responsive? Firstly head on over to www.responsivedesignchecker.com and test your website. If it not responsive, it would be best to talk to someone like LaunchWeb, who can convert your website into a lightweight, fast loading, mobile responsive website.
3. Poor design
In our article “Bad vs Good Website Design: Know the Difference” 2 of the 3 factors that we say make a good website design are Visual Design and Usability.
Visual Design is the overall aesthetic and style of the website. More than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by colour alone! If your website has a clean, professional design it leaves a great first impression on visitors and they will be more inclined to use your services.
So how do you fix poor Visual Design? Achieving a stunning Visual Design is easy, here are a few guidelines you can follow.
Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to use the website. Is the navigation logical and simple to use? Is the page content easy to understand? Are your contact details readily available? You might have a beautifully creative web design, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for and so they get frustrated & leave.
Usability Design is like a horse, dangerous at both ends and tricky in the middle. What you might think users like, could actually be sending them away. (I realise now that my horse analogy makes no sense in the given context, but I needed to use it somewhere).
So how do you fix poor Usability Design?Heatmaps and Clickmaps! These tools will show you what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. Using a software like Hotjar you will get valuable insight into how people are using your site. With this data you can make layout improvements to make it easier for them to find what they need.
4. No call to action
The best way of getting anyone to do something is to ask them to do it. This might sound like common sense – but we all know what they say about common sense. You would be shocked at how many business websites fail to do this one simple thing.
Whilst design & usability make for good website design, to us, a website is useless if it does not achieve objectives! Knowing what it is you want your website to do, will guide your design process in the right direction from the start.
The ultimate goal of your website is to get visitors to perform an action – purchase a product, complete an enquiry form, subscribe to a newsletter, download an eBook. Whatever the action is that you want them to perform, you have to tell them to do it.
How to add more call to actions to your site: Take a look at your site, and just ask yourself “is this page asking me to do anything?” This is done with buttons and highlight sections and clever design.
5. No Search Engine Optimisation
Here is another statistic to warm your coffee: the first page of Google receives 95% of website traffic. If your coffee still hasn’t kicked in yet, this means that if your website is not on the first page of Google, then you aren’t featuring on your customers’ radar.
Basically, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words and elements on your page (on-page SEO) to the way other sites link back to your website (off-page SEO).
How do I get onto the first page of Google? Well, you can start by seeing just how bad your SEO might be – use our free website auditor to get a detailed SEO report. This report will tell you whether it’s elements on your website that need optimising, or if an off-page strategy is required. Either way, we can help you get there!
Did we miss anything?
Do you think we left anything out? Comment below with some web design mistakes you have seen both big and small company websites make.
In our industry we often come across website owners who aren’t aware of the benefits of having a blog and how advantageous it can be for both their SEO and business. We often hear “Will that really help my search rankings?” and our instant response is “YES!”
Blogging is one of the easiest, most cost-effective and powerful ways to improve your search ranking on Google. Blogs assist in improving your search engine rankings by exhibiting your company’s expertise through original, to the point content full of keywords.
So, why else is there a need for a blog on your website?
BLOGS HAVE FRESH CONTENT KEEPS YOUR AUDIENCE HOOKED
Well, developing a website is not just “build a website, stick it on the internet and let it do it’s thing” – a great website is always growing, always evolving and that’s where blogging comes in. A blog enables your website to grow by providing content that otherwise wouldn’t be on your site. A constant stream of fresh, relevant content will keep your audience hooked and encourage repeat visits to your site. Not only that, when customers are seeking a product or service, a blog will allow you to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in the industry.
And since Google tweaked their algorithm, fresh content is constantly being pushed to the top rankings for many searchings – meaning more visitors to your website and more business for you!
ATTRACTING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL LINKS IS IMPORTANT
For those of you versed in the ways of SEO (and those of you who aren’t), backlinks are incredibly important when search engines crawl your website. The number of external sites linking to your website prove that your site is providing helpful, relevant information. Having a great blog is fantastic link bait that encourages other websites to reference, creating those all important backlinks.
Internally, blogs are crucial in providing links to pages deep within your website. Search engines love crawling websites that have a great, coherent internal structure and a blog enables pages to reference each other by mentioning your product, service or other company pages.
IT ENCOURAGES KEYWORD EXPANSION
One of the most important aspects of SEO are keywords. Keywords play a huge role in assisting a website to rank better. Websites that contain often-searched for keywords will rank higher than similar sites because it is assumed they have more relevant content relevant to a certain subject.
Websites with regularly updated, fresh and to the point blogs will undoubtedly have more related keywords to their industry than sites without a blog.
POPULARITY MEANS MORE VISITS TO YOUR WEBSITE
When your blogs are shared and clicked on often, they move up in rankings. Providing quality content to your audience encourages loyalty and contributes to your website’s popularity.
DON’T WAIT, START BLOGGING TODAY!
Blogging plays a key role in improving your website’s search ranking and establishing yourself as a thought leader. Blogging is a great way to encourage and increase customer engagement, a blog builds trust in your brand and keeps visitors coming back for more.
LaunchWeb specializes in On-Page SEO – in fact, we love nothing better than to see a website move up in ranking after bringing a website up to Google’s standards.
Not sure if your website is Google friendly? Take our FREE no-strings SEO audit and find out what you can do to get your website moving up in search results!