SEO – A 3-Letter Word That Could Change Your Website’s Performance

What the hell is S.E.O. you ask? Search. Engine. Optimization. This 3-letter word could very well change your website’s performance. It comes down to how well it ranks on search engines like Google without the use of paid tools.

What the hell is S.E.O.?

SEO is about key words first and foremost. But not the ones you are paying for (in which case we refer to “pay per click”). 

In a way, SEO is a result of your ability to create a website that stands out. But to achieve this, you have to gain a better understanding of Google’s (and other search engines) algorithm. 

Search engines have mini robots called bots. They travel the web and analyze everything they find. Think of a teacher and his report card. Different things are considered when assessing a website: content, length of text, images, key words, updates, credibility, and many more.

Since new sites come up every day and that others close down or are updated, it’s a never ending process, which means your ranking could change over time.

Why should I care about S.E.O.?

Why should you care about SEO? Because an optimized website can make the difference between one that is bringing you new clients and another that does nothing for your business. 

According to Moz, 71 % of clicks on Google happen on the first results page, and this number can increase up to 92 % in some instances. That’s why SEO is so important.

Your website should be a tool you use to help you reach your main goal, whether it’s to make a sale, book an appointment or get someone to contact you. It’s your perfect ally to generate passive sales, but for that, you need to make sure people can find it.

Ok, so how can I improve my ranking organically?

1. Be relevant.

There was a time when some optimization specialists used less-than-stellar practices such as inserting unrelated but popular key words on your website. 

Today, Google wants relevancy. The bots scrutinize the words you use, assess if they are linked to your field of work or expertise and to what extent your content is original and of interest to visitors. Content copied and pasted from other sites don’t pass the smell test. 

2. Write just the right amount.

Relevancy is also assessed in terms of text length. Content that is considered too short can bring your credibility down a notch and get the bots to penalize you for it. Something too short sends the message that the information is too superficial.

If you’re told that long reads are a no-go because of people’s online reading habits, know that interesting content will always find its public. Also, there are different writing strategies you can use to make sure your text is reader-friendly.

3. Update your website.

When you update your website, you send a signal to search engines saying you are interested in your visitors and know how to reinvent yourself. A website with no update will be perceived as obsolete, which will make it lose optimization “points”. 

Think about it. When you research a trending topic, do you choose the article published 5 years ago or the one published yesterday? Google’s logic is the same.

You don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your website. Adding blog posts or doing small edits here and there is often sufficient. 

4. Use key words (but don’t overdo it).

Fundamentally, SEO is about key words. Choose the most relevant ones based on your area of expertise, your geographical location and other words people are searching for online.

For example, if you’re a dentist in Toronto, people may search for “dentist + name of neighborhood”.

But if there’s anything that makes your business stand out (perhaps you offer a 24/7 service), use that. Truth is, some key words are difficult to compete for, there’s just too many people using them. There might be less people searching for a 24/7 dentist but there’s a good chance that those who do will find you.

Only use one key word per page and try to include it in your page title, your image desription and make sure to repeat it a few times in the body. 

5. Create a Google My Business account.

An easy solution to help optimize your search engine ranking is to create a Google My Business account. This will allow you to get a Google listing – the box with a map, hours of operation and reviews that appear on the right of the list of results when you Google a business.

If you have a Gmail account, it’s even easier to open an account because you’ve already completed half of the registration process. Not only will your account help you gain a better SEO, it will generate additional visibility thanks to that Google listing. 

Again, remember to update your Google My Business account and to ask for client reviews to help your optimization even more.  

6. Include images.

Always aim to include at least one image for each content page. Search engines will appreciate it.

But don’t forget to give your images relevant file names by using your key words. 

You can do it!

These are just some of the basics you can implement to help your SEO. The best part is that you can easily do this yourself.

However, SEO is not an instantaneous thing – it can take time to see changes happen. But the day you do end up on the first page, do everything you can to stay there! Because if the bots penalize you for something, the impact on your website ranking could be felt for a long time.

Obviously, there are much more sophisticated solutions to help optimize your website organically and this is a service many companies specialize in – at a cost – beyond paid optimization such as P.P.P. 

 

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The newsletter: enemy or best friend?

Many small business owners have a love-hate relationship with their newsletter. On one end, they understand its value but on the other, they don’t like having to put in the work to make it happen.

In any case, here are 7 good reasons why your newsletter should become your best friend.

1. A newsletter gives you access to an email list.

In Canada, the rules around spamming are very strict. Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) dictates what you can and cannot do. At the very least, you need to get implied consent from the people you are contacting, and in many cases, express consent.

But don’t let that scare or discourage you. Follow the rules, learn a few (honest!) strategies to gather email addresses and you’ll do fine!

2. It allows you to stay connected with your audience.

Staying in contact with past, current and potential customers is the best thing you can do. You know the drill. Someone walks in your store – “I’m just browsing!”. Another person asks you for a quote but is not quite ready to commit. It takes time and effort to convert. And sometimes, it’s just about timing. You want to be top of mind when the day comes that your client is actually ready.

3. It helps you gain customers’ trust and loyalty and increases your chances of repeat business.

A customer who purchases your product or service might love it so much that he or she will come back for more – it’s just a matter of time. But we all need a little push every now and then and your newsletter can help clients come back faster.

This being said, trust doesn’t always come easily and some customers might be on the fence about purchasing from you again. You need to earn that trust and It takes time. Having a newsletter allows you to share bits and pieces about your business that might prove convincing in the long run and earn you lifelong customers.

4. It helps position your business as the leader or the authority.

In the same way, your newsletter is an opportunity to demonstrate your value and to educate your audience. Whether it’s by explaining why your product is better quality or how you keep yourself abreast of the industry, a newsletter gives you a chance to offer more in-depth information and therefore position your business as the authority.

5. It’s a quick and inexpensive tool that can reach many people.

A newsletter with a decent email list allows you to reach many people in no time. Looking to promote a last-minute sale? Forget about printing a flyer or placing an ad in the paper! These methods can be time-consuming and very costly. A good CRM like Mailchimp will make it that much easier and will only run you a few bucks a month if you choose the paid version.

6. It can be personalized.

Personalizing emails is a way for you to show your customers that you care while also generating additional opportunities for your business. You can personalize it with the recipient’s name but can also tailor the actual content to his or hers interests and needs, based on previous purchases, surveys or web browsing habits. 

Personalizing your newsletter will generate more interactions with your content, increase customer satisfaction towards your actual newsletter, increase open rates of future newsletters and provide you with valuable data about your audience.

7. It generates traffic on your website.

A newsletter should always direct readers to your website, even if you don’t have an online store. Whether you want to increase views on your latest blog post, ask people for feedback or advertise your upcoming event, more website traffic increases your ranking in search engines and shows that your website is relevant. People don’t necessarily think of visiting your website over and over if they are not prompted to do so.

Your newsletter should also include links to your social media so that customers can follow you and interact with you on different platforms.

 

Still concerned that a newsletter is too much work for you? We can help! From strategizing to developing contents to designing your template, The Storyteller has what you need!

 

How to create snazzy web content to amp up your ROI

 

How To Create Snazzy Web Content To Amp Up Your ROI

Every week, I meet entrepreneurs struggling to come up with content for their website. They don’t know what message to communicate nor how to structure the information. Here is what to consider to create snazzy web content to amp up your ROI.

Content That Is Fundamentally “You”

To get started, it’s important to think about your business’ identity, whether you’re a sole proprietor or are operating a distinct entity. What is your mission? What values do you stand for? Who is your target audience? WHAT DIFFERENCIATES YOUR BUSINESS FROM OTHERS’?

Think of your business as its own person. What are her characteristics? What does she particularly enjoy? It’s by describing its « personality » and by humanizing it that you will be able to present it best and better sell it.

If your brand is strong and consistent, it should be placed at the forefront of your visual concept and it should also influence your message and language. If it’s not the case, it’s essential to reflect on these questions before starting to develop your site and its content.

Your Story Makes You Stand Out

Don’t underestimate the value of an “About” section (also called “Biography”, “Business Profile” or, more and more often, “Our Story”).

Have you ever visited a website to learn more about it and hit a wall? There’s nothing more frustrating! People want to know who they’re dealing with. Using storytelling increases your credibility, enhances people’s trust and acts as a differentiation tool.

Your story can be told through text but also through photography and video. Include images of yourself, your employees, your clients, your workplace and your products (set amongst humans!).

Avoid stock images as much as possible, they are too impersonal! Watch out though, don’t use bad quality imagery (frame, lighting, context, etc.). Stay professional, but please, stay away from clichés and project an authentic but dynamic image, full of personality.

Accessibility, Consistency And Relevance

Your message should make a statement but we cannot insist enough that it needs to be clear. A misunderstood message will do no good. Make sure to use plain but interesting and straight-to-the-point language.

Think of your ideal client and try to identify why he would visit your website. What questions is he trying to answer? Is he wondering about the services that you offer? Your qualifications? How to book an appointment? Your operating hours? Answer all of these questions.

Don’t jump from one topic to the other; divide the information in different sections. Do as you would in school and stick to one idea per paragraph. Ensure ideas flow well and use subheadings.

Don’t Overcrowd Your Site

If your menu is so full its taking up the whole line, you probably have too many sections. Similarly, don’t make your pages too long. Each page should be airy, easy to read and not too “scrolly”. Understanding that 21% of people now browse the Internet on a smart phone, test your website on different devices and see if you need to cut down on the content.

Also, know that the eye doesn’t read web content the way it would print. Reading on a screen means a lot of content gets skipped and that only the main ideas get picked up. Write short sentences and create new paragraphs often.

Incorporate “Call-To-Actions”

Even if your intention is promotional, your content should remain informative. Avoid exclamation marks and “salesy” formulas. Quality content benefits your overall ranking in search engines but the contrary is also true and you could be penalized.

You should always include “call-to-actions” to encourage visitors to act. Do you want them to add a product to their shopping cart? Write it! Do you want people to book an appointment? Send them to the contact page. The idea is not to harass people but to encourage them to stay on your website as long as possible so that they take action and improve your ROI.

Need a bit of help with your website? Whether you want to evaluate the performance of existing content, to translate it, to create new written or video content, to organize a photo shoot or actually to develop your website from scratch, let’s meet, we have what you need!