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Local SEO Hampshire

Posted on December 7, 2018 by

local seo hampshire search on mobile

 

As I said in my recent article on Local SEO – 7 Step Guide to the Best Local SEO – 46% of all searches on Google are local.

Local search is critical to your business and is only going to get more important as search and Google shift more towards mobile.

What is this article about and who is it for?

You may be asking why Hampshire? If your business is based in say, Surrey, that’s fine, this guide is also for you but I needed an example county. Seeing as I’m in Hampshire, that seemed like a good place to start.

Who’s it for? Well, anybody that has a website and wants to understand how search, and in particular local search, works with Google. This will allow anyone to perform some basic search engine optimisation specifically for, in this case, SEO Hampshire.

Your two primary considerations wrt Local Search

Number 1 consideration – Google’s Local Pack & Google My Business

Your business is almost certainly in a town or city, let’s use Eastleigh as an example throughout this guide. No surprise, that’s where Web-Feet is based. Eastleigh is a town in Hampshire with a population of around 130,000, roughly 10% of the population of Hampshire – just to put things in perspective. If you are from much further afield and have no idea where I’m talking about, welcome! Hampshire is in the UK, on the South Coast of England.

Google Local Pack

When you search for a product or service on Google, you will quite often get served up some ads There are at the top of the page, followed by what’s called the Local Pack. An example of which is below. In this case, there are two ads followed by the Local Pack. Underneath the local pack are the Google Organic Search Results.

Search results for landscaping services in Google

Now, see how I just searched for ‘landscaping services’ and not ‘landscaping services Eastleigh’, or ‘landscaping services near me’? Google is smart and I wasn’t even using my mobile. You can see that it has placed me on the map by way of a small blue dot just underneath where it says ‘Chandlers Ford’. Whatever device you are using, Google knows where you are. Or has a pretty good idea and gives you relevant search results. A few years ago, you would have had to have been more specific with your search queries. Now, you don’t need to be. In fact, you probably haven’t even noticed because most people have adapted to the new way of finding things online.

Google My Business

If you provide Landscaping Services in Eastleigh you will want to be listed in the Local Pack. The main reason being that it’s below paid ads but above organic results. This is your first consideration with respect to Local Search. I’ve covered this in a bit more detail in my article  7 Step Guide to the Best Local SEO. To get straight to it with Google you can go to the Google My Business page. Here you will be able to complete the whole process or update your existing listing. Without covering the whole process, my advice would be to be as thorough as possible and make sure that your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) are entirely consistent wherever they are listed. Google will get confused otherwise and you won’t get the full benefit of the listing.

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Number 2 consideration – Letting Google know the area your business covers

So now your Google My business is set up, let’s move on.

Let’s say you are a landscaping business in Eastleigh and you’re listed in the Local Pack. That’s great, but Eastleigh isn’t that big a place and your business covers the whole of Hampshire. This actually presents your business with a bit of a challenge. Anyone searching Google will always be served up a business local to them in the Local Pack. Someone doing the same search above in Southampton  (a city just down the road from Eastleigh, population around 250,000), is going to find a landscaping business in Southampton, not Eastleigh. At least as far as the Local Pack results go.

Adwords (slight diversion)

To cater for this scenario you can consider running Google Ads, this will allow you to target specific areas for search. This will ensure that your business is placed at the top of search for very specific search phrases and in specific geographic locations. Google Adwords is beyond the scope of this article however.

Letting Google know the areas you cover

Now whilst the Local Pack is important and you want to be listed here for local searches, underneath is where the organic search is. In order to rank well here, you need to optimise your website for, in this example, landscaping Eastleigh, landscaping services Southampton and landscaping services Hampshire. The temptation here is for businesses to build a page for each location they service but then go on to duplicate all the page content because it’s the same service, just in a different location. I would advise against this although you will still see this strategy in use. This approach is a bit dated and the problem with trying to unnaturally game the system is that Google makes the rules. Essentially, the more natural your approach to this the better. Always keep real people in mind. Don’t try and second guess what a computer thinks.

If Google decideds clamps down on the use of this tactic, your entire online business is instantly compromised. You would need to make some significant changes to your website to address (sorry no pun intended) this. You need to be smarter than this because Google doesn’t like duplicate content and to be honest, neither should you.  It’s just not adding any value to your visitors.

How to let Google know the areas you cover

Let’s do that search for landscaping services again but add a location to our search this time

Search for landscaping services hampshire in Google

You will see that the ads are now gone, which presents an opportunity perhaps but that’s not in the scope of this article.

Let’s break this down a bit. The local pack is still showing services local to me, as expected. Looking down at the organic search results however and you will see two businesess that have made it clear to Google that they cover Hampshire. Equally, it’s clear to the person searching that they cover Hampshire. This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s hard to see how if you carried out this search you’d not click on those two websites to investigate further. This is exactly the outcome you want as a business listed on Google.

How to make it clear the areas you cover

Let’s say that you had 2 minutes to pitch your business to an audience in person. You’d almost certainly cover the following topics;

  • What your business is called
  • The services you provide
  • Where you provide them
  • What makes you special
  • Something about yourself

On your website, you obviously need to cover all of these points, and much more, too. Focussing on where you provide your service, make this very clear on your website. For example;

  • Where you are based
  • What areas you cover
  • Provide a map if that’s relevant
  • Showcase work you have completed with details of where you completed it
  • Show testimonials of happy customers and make it clear where you carried out their work

Basically, take every opportunity to say what you do and where you do it.  This makes it clear to both your visitors and Google. That way, your website and business will be properly associated with all of these things. Google will list you accordingly and you should receive good quality click-throughs to inquire about your business. Each of these clicks is valuable and hopefully, you can convert them into a sale.

On page SEO – some techy tips

Don’t forget that Page Title, Meta Description and other on-page areas are all places that you want to make your geographic business coverage clear. Going back to the example search above, you will see that Hampshire is mentioned in the Page Titles for both of the ranked pages in all four top positions. It’s not just this Local SEO factor that will get them this listing but it is a factor. More importantly, to the person looking at the search results, it’s clear to them that they are relevant to the search term they used.

That brings this article to a close. I hope you found it useful. If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.


Top Tips for Content Creation

Posted on October 23, 2017 by

content creation blogging

“On average, people consume 285 pieces of content or 54,000 words every single day” – Hubspot

Content marketing is more competitive than ever.

In 2017, many businesses are putting out original pieces in a bid to entice, delight and satisfy customers. According to Hubspot, each person consumes 285 pieces of content per day, or 54,000 words on average. With more pieces of content appearing every day, it’s increasingly difficult for brands to get noticed online.

What is Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience” – The Content Marketing Institute

The keyword here is valuable. Content marketing isn’t just about throwing any piece of content out there. The content creator’s job is to give the readers or viewers content they want to consume, providing information that’s highly relevant and of value to them, whether it’s presented in the form of a blog post, an article, an infographic or video.

content creation video

What is content?

In web marketing, ‘content’ simply means a piece of information that’s available electronically.

As a rule of thumb, good content should be interesting, shareable and valuable to your target audience. It also has to be digestible information that’s presented in a useful and accessible way.

It can be written or visual, and there are hundreds of different types of content available online. The most common types of content we see online usually fit into one of the following categories:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • Guides
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars

Don’t worry – content creation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Infographics, blog posts and short videos can be created by businesses of all sizes on both big and small budgets, and are relatively simple and straightforward to produce. Guides, whitepapers and webinars are often more time consuming and will require more research, effort and expertise. The type of content you choose to produce will depend on your target audience, type of business and time available.

You may wish to include a range of types of content within your content marketing strategy, or just stick to one or two – there are no rules and you should do whatever works best for your business and your target audience.

Below we’ve included some of our top tips for content creation, based on our own content marketing strategy at Web-Feet!

1. Utilise content creation tools

For the graphic designers and videographers among us, producing an infrographic or short video is a breeze. For the rest of us, it can be hard to know where to start and what tools to use. Thankfully, there are some fantastic content creation tools available online that are completely free, accessible and easy to use.

Canva (below) is a graphic design tool we use for internal marketing at Web-Feet. It’s fantastic for creating high quality infographics and images for social media or blog posts. You can use it to create high-quality and visually engaging templates using your own branding. These can be saved, so you can use them again for future posts or campaigns without starting again from scratch. It’s pretty straightforward and user-friendly, and you can connect multiple social media accounts, making content distribution easy.

content creation buffer

For creating videos to be shared on our YouTube channel, we use the cloud-based online video editing tool WeVideo. WeVideo enables even the least skilled video editor to get to grips with creating high-quality videos, which can be embedded within a blog post (like below) or shared via social media.

2. Brush up on your written English

Writing skills are important when it comes to producing great content. It’s all about effective communication – you need to get your point across to your readers clearly and concisely to keep them engaged.

Your tone, style and the quality of your written work also reflects your brand: a sloppy piece with poor grammar and spelling that hasn’t been proofread doesn’t send across a good message to your readers. In fact, it can be very irritating so read and put people off your company altogether!

Keep your tone clear, consistent and representative of your brand.

If writing skills aren’t a strength in your team, there are some great online tools out there to help. Download the Grammarly Google Chrome extension to eliminate grammar errors and polish your written work.

It’s also a good idea to ask somebody to proofread your work, as even those with the strongest writing abilities can be blind to their own mistakes!

3. Take advantage of data

Content driven by hard facts and data is often the most successful. Many companies will spend lots of money doing research and gathering their own data, which is fantastic if doing so is within your means.

However, you don’t need to spend loads on research in order to produce great content, as there is a world of data out there ready to be taken and turned into a great marketing campaign. Government data is a fantastic source of free, trustworthy data that encompasses a variety of sectors, from business and the economy to health and the environment.

When you use an authoritative data source, your business takes on some of that authority, giving your brand a unique voice it doesn’t normally have. This can enable you to use that data to create something unique, valuable and interesting.

4. Use a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a great tool for planning ahead, making content creation much easier. Use it to plan around seasonal events and dates that are relevant to your business, and let it guide your overall content strategy. Come up with some content ideas and use your content calendar to create a backlog for future marketing campaigns.

You can find out more about planning content and download a free content calendar in our blog post Marketing Planning: Do you know your key dates?

content creation calendar

5. Think carefully about content distribution

Before clicking post or send, think carefully about who you want to target. Knowing your target audience will help you to decide not only the type of content you’re creating, but also where you will place it and how you will spread the word.

Content marketing is about more than just creating your content: it’s also about utilising the best tools out there to promote your valuable content in order to attract and retain customers. Below are three marketing tools that we use at Web-Feet, either for our own marketing or on behalf of our clients.

Buffer

For posting infographics and sharing blog posts on social media, we recommend using Buffer. Buffer is a free social media management platform which enables you to manage multiple social media accounts from one page. You can add content to a ‘queue’, selecting the time, date and place you’d like your content to be published. This means you can plan in advance, setting time aside to create and upload content Buffer which will then trickle your content to your followers.

You can also download the Buffer app to a smartphone or tablet, enabling you to add content to your queue away from your desk and on the go.

Hatchbuck

We also distribute content, such as blog posts, via email. For this we use Hatchbuck, which is a fantastic all-in-one sales and marketing automation software. We love Hatchbuck because of its wide range of features: not only is it a great CRM system for storing contact details, but you can also track leads and prospects, helping you reach out to the right people and stay on top of your marketing strategy. It’s essentially a tool which streamlines your marketing and sales strategy into one place, which makes it a great fit for many businesses.

MailChimp

MailChimp is another marketing automation service that’s popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have the added bonus of a built in CRM system and functionality that Hatchbuck offers, but it’s a great and affordable alternative if you’re looking for a straightforward email platform. MailChimp is responsive on mobile devices and tablets via an app, so you can use it whilst on the go.

To find out more about the Content Marketing services we offer at Web-Feet, including content creation, then Contact Us today.


Marketing Planning: Do you know your key dates?

Posted on September 14, 2017 by

A marketing plan is crucial for any business.

If you don’t have a cohesive marketing plan, you’re more likely to slap content together haphazardly.

This approach is risky, and you are unlikely to get the results you want.

A marketing plan will help you to regularly engage your customers with content that’s both relevant and interesting.

When developing a marketing plan, it’s important to keep in mind important dates and events throughout the year. Seasonal planning will guide your marketing themes, which will in turn keeping your content fresh and focused.

Developing a marketing plan also helps to get your team’s mental cogs turning early on, providing inspiration for great content during brainstorming sessions.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing plan yet. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to effectively plan your marketing strategy by:

  • Mapping out the structure of your marketing calendar
  • Planning your campaigns ahead of time
  • Adapting your marketing strategy to events

Create a marketing calendar?

A great way to start your plan is with a marketing calendar. An up-to-date marketing calendar is a fantastic and widely recommended tool. Not only can these record key dates and events, but can also be used to plan blog posts, email marketing strategies, and social media topics for the year.

Having an easily accessible marketing calendar in the workplace, either physically or online (i.e. Google Drive), also helps to open up channels of communication between members of the marketing team.

The whole point of a marketing calendar is essentially to get organised, save time and reduce stress during busy periods.

If you’re a super busy person then don’t stress – Web-Feet have created a marketing calendar free for you: download here

Choose a platform

Google and Microsoft both have online tools for creating calendars that are integrated with Google Mail. These calendars can be very useful, allowing you to set recurring events and reminders, which can be useful for scheduling newsletters, social and blog posts.

At Web-Feet, we often use spreadsheets which can be shared with our team on Google Drive. Spreadsheets are more flexible and allow you to access lots information at a glance, but you will lose the functionality of the online calendar platform. We recommend choosing the platform that best suits your business needs.

Remember your key dates

The annual events, holidays and celebrations that take place throughout the year present different marketing opportunities for different businesses. For many businesses, these dates often coincide with their most busiest and most critical times of the year.  You’ll be able to create future content and campaigns around these general themes and ideas.

Start by listing events that you know will come up throughout the year. These can include:

  • Holidays and seasonal events. Christmas, August Bank Holiday, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.
  • Seasonal sale events. Black Friday, Boxing Day sales, etc.
  • Charity and National Awareness events. Movember, Bike Week, Mental Health Awareness Week, etc.
  • Sports, arts and cultural events. Wimbledon, Glastonbury Festival, Royal Ascot, etc.

All of these dates can offer unique opportunities for a variety of business sectors. However, not all events are suitable marketing opportunities for all businesses.

The key thing here is to keep it relevant – if you’re a tea company or a cafe which serves afternoon tea, then National Tea Day on 21st April would be a perfect opportunity to market your business. If you sell children’s shoes, then the school holidays will be important dates to include in your marketing plan.

Try not to stick to the obvious dates – local events, celebrity birthdays and popular TV shows may provide unique marketing opportunities and generate interest in your products and services!

Remember: To protect official sponsors, some events (particularly sporting events, such as the Olympics) have strict rules regarding the commercial use of the official name and logo.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid running a marketing campaign around that particular event – you just need to be careful. The best way to get around this is through adopting a creative approach – you could use relevant, witty hashtags and emojis to allude to a particular event (we have some great examples in our ‘Key Dates 2017’ below!)

I’ve got my marketing calendar sorted – now what?

Once you’ve got an idea of the key dates and events your business is keen to target, it’s time to think about the types of campaigns you can run around the particular theme. Try and plan this in advance, so if necessary you can run your campaign during the build up to the particular event.

The type of campaign you choose will depend on the event chosen, your business and what resources you have.

We’ve listed some marketing strategies below, with some examples of how these strategies can be put into practice.

Social Media 

Social media is a great way to engage with your customers. Integrating social into your marketing calendar can be as simple as joining in the national discussion with witty captions, hashtags, emojis or running a competition on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Social media is also great for giving customers a sneak peak into all the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that goes on in your business. Not only are these strategies good fun, but this also helps to increase engagement and brand awareness. Instagram is a great platform for giving customers an insight into what goes on internally – feel free to follow our own Instagram account @webfeetagency!

Idea ? If you run a gift shop, spa, florist or beauty brand during Mother’s Day, you could hold a photo competition, where followers were asked to share their a picture of their entry, tagging your brand and using the relevant hashtag. The best photo winning a prize (that would work as a suitable Mother’s Day gift).

Paid Advertising

It’s a given that some products will sell better at certain times of the year. Therefore, it’s important to consider which events may trigger an increase in sales, and to create a marketing campaign around that event. If customers are likely to have a heightened interest in a particular product, you want to stick it in front of them as best you can.

Idea ? Imagine you’re a kitchen equipment shop during The Great British Bake Off – consider running a PPC campaign around KitchenAids during this period of time. This could also work for baking equipment, novelty aprons, etc.


Email Marketing

An email marketing campaign is a great way to target customers directly. You could send out E-shots via a CRM system such as Hatchbuck with themed templates, links to blog posts and themed discount codes for products.

Idea ? Le Tour de France is on and you sell bikes – advertise your products through an E-shot (perhaps a yellow or Alpine inspired template?), offering a discount at the checkout with the code ‘letour2017’.

Blogging

Blogs are a fantastic way to increase traffic to your site and generate interest in your brand, and can be easily integrated into your marketing strategy. At Web-Feet, we strongly recommend that all websites have a blog and post content regularly.

Blogs can be easily shared by your followers, fuelling discussion on your social media pages which can attract new customers. Consider posting a collection of themed blog posts about a current event that’s relevant to your business.

If you already have a successful blog on your own website, consider guest blogging for an online publication in an area that is related to your business. As well as increasing brand awareness, they may provide a link through to your website, which can increase your referral traffic and position in the Google search rankings.

Idea ? You sell outdoors clothing and camping gear and it’s festival season – ‘5 Things Everyone Should Take to Glastonbury’ and ‘The Ultimate Guide to Glastonbury 2017’ might be good ideas for blog posts.

Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope it can give you a few ideas to adapt to your business

Key Dates for September – December 2017

To help you get started with your marketing calendar, we’ve put together some of the key dates in the UK for the remainder of 2017.

September
6th – Back to School?
15th – London Fashion Week?
15th – 24th – Southampton Boat Show⛵

October
16th – October Half Term?
29th – Daylight Saving Time ends, clocks go back⏰
31st – Halloween?

November
1st – Start of Movember?
5th – Bonfire Night?

December
25th – Christmas Day?
26th – Boxing Day?
31st – New Years Eve?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good starting point for a marketing plan.

If you’d like to have a chat about our services with one of our Web-Feet marketing experts, then please Contact Us today.


Content Marketing Strategies To Indulge In

Posted on May 31, 2016 by

Do I really need to create a content marketing strategy?

That should be your first question before you even look at possible options to support your marketing strategy.

Yes! As we’ve learned time and time again, not only do you need a content marketing strategy, but it needs to be documented. If you do this, you’ll feel significantly less challenged with every aspect of content marketing, and will be able to use content marketing tactics and social media channels much more effectively. With a clear, documented strategy, you’ll be able to justify spending a higher percentage of your marketing budget on content marketing.

Content marketing

Continue reading →


What can we learn from the Tesla website?

Posted on April 6, 2016 by

Did you know that pre-orders of the Model 3 hit a quarter of a million in 36 hours?

We have all been on our favourite manufacturer’s website using the custom build application trying to see the ridiculous price it would cost with all the accessories attached, only to get halfway through and it to crash or not load correctly.

Cheap UX and tacky copycat websites are a constant pain in the automotive world, so what makes Tesla stand out and manage so many orders?

Let dive in and see. what can we learn from the Tesla website?

Continue reading →


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