Understanding Google’s Dynamic Search Results

Google is constantly adjusting their search results to provide a better customer experience and provide more relevant results.

We – as customers – can now expect to see a variety of content in the results page. As well as text listings we now get video, images, local map results, featured snippets, shopping listings and more.

search results
SERPS results

The standard organic listings themselves also sometimes feature additional results, for example, top pages, review scores and opening times. All this enhances the listing in a way that is easy to scan and visually appealing. Resulting in better click-through rates.

Paid search ads have also changed. The product listing ads – which are still the subject of an EU competition investigation – have increased in size. The number of search ads changes depending on what is being searched for. Some Ads are being displaced by map listings; for other searches up to 4 paid ads can be displayed. PPC ads can also be fairly large with all the extensions that can now be activated.

With Google constantly refining how results are presented, SEOs need to consider which content is displayed – on a variety of devices – so they can attract more clicks from the right search user at the right time.

The Dynamic Effects On SEO

From the classic 10 blue links on the results pages of old, to the more appealing listings of today – dynamic search results has had a huge impact on how website SEOs do their jobs. It used to all be about keywords, content and link building. Now, we must take into account how different content ranks in different sections of the SERP on different devices for users in different locations searching in different ways (keywords are still key!).

High-quality images (for image results).
Video (for youtube results)
Information on your local business – maps/opening times.
FAQs (for a featured snippet).

Each of these elements, in addition to your standard text content, could win a spot in the search results. All this means a lot more content to produce, optimise and track to maximise search performance.

What to Prioritise?

Examine which content type wins the top spot on the SERPs for your targeted keywords (this may also change for locations so think of your biggest market).

Google is never going to show a one-size-fits-all SERPs anymore. In order to sustain and improve your organic search performance, we need to analyse the ranking position of every content element on SERPs for the target keywords. We also need to understand customer intent to see if a keyword produces SERPs with local results — or with any organic listings above the fold at all.

Conclusion

Search engine optimisation is constantly changing, carry on doing the basics, but keep a close eye on the results to discover the types of content being displayed. Manage SEO and content development better and prioritise bigger wins, you are never going to be able to cover everything.

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Best Practice When Moving from HTTP to HTTPS

Changing a site from HTTP to HTTPS is considered (by the search engines) to be a site move. Changing the structure of a site at the same time as implementing https is a sure way of losing organic traffic. To implement https, first ensure your HTTP and HTTPS sites are identical.

Implementing HTTPS can be a great business move, but if you try to do too much the search engines will react and you are almost certain to take a major hit.

A site migration will almost always result in a temporary loss of traffic — search engines need time to process the change and update accordingly. A well-implemented migration can minimise traffic fluctuations and in time Google will treat the new site as if it were the original.

Migrating to https offers user security (when filling in forms etc) and there should be a slight SEO gain, but there will be a period of transition.

Never do a site migration without first testing everything on a test server. Verify that the redirects work properly and do all of the checks before going live.

A well-planned and monitored migration shouldn’t permanently affect your traffic, but you should plan for a temporary dip. A move is best performed during a slow time of the year (think bars/restaurants in January!)

Benchmark exactly what you have before the move

Make a copy of your Google Analytics data. You will need this information so that you can quickly identify if any traffic is lost after the migration. Also, information from Search Console for your http property should be downloaded for analysis after the move.

If any traffic is lost, export the Analytics data from your new site and run a side-by-side comparison with the data from your old site, so that you can identify precisely which pages lost the traffic. In many cases, a loss of traffic will be isolated to individual pages, rather than taking place across the entire site.

As mentioned, resist the urge to make any other changes when implementing https. The URL architecture should be identical to the old one. A site migration may seem like the ideal time to make structural changes, but you should be aware that doing so may cause Google to see it as an entirely different site. Also, if you do both at the same time, you will not be able to determine whether any losses in traffic is a result of changing the architecture or https.

Update all internal links

The HTML links on your new site should point to the new https site, not the old one.

This might sound obvious, but as you go through the process, you will quickly realize how tempting it might be to leave the links unchanged, since they will redirect to the new URL anyway. Do not succumb to this temptation. Apart from the server load, which slows down site performance, the redirects may dampen your PageRank.

The ideal way to rewrite the links is by performing a search and replace operation on your database – wordpress has a plug in to make this easy.

Canonicalisation

Canonicalisation tells search engines which web page is the original and should be indexed in the case of having duplicate pages. If you have identical http and https pages (that you will have), make sure the canonical is set to the new version (https) on every page.

In combination with the redirects, this tells Google that the new site is, in fact, the new location of the old site. URL parameters create duplicate content that should always canonicalize to the parameter-free URL.

Duplicate content

If both multiple versions of a URL are published, it results in duplicate content. Canonicalization should take care of the issue, but also set up redirect rules in .htaccess so that only one version of the page is accessible.

Make sure that links are consistent to avoid redirects from internal links.

Verify that only HTTPS or HTTP is used and that only the www or non-www version of the site is accessible. The others should redirect to the proper site.

If your site has a search function, the search result pages should be noindexed.

Update and submit sitemaps

https will need a new property setting up in search console. Do this, update your sitemaps for https and submit for indexing.

Redirection

Use a regex expression in the .htaccess file of your old site to redirect HTTP to https. The regex expression should simply swap out HTTP for HTTPS.

Test your redirects on a test server and verify that this works as expected.

Keep in mind that once the redirects go live, your site has effectively been migrated. The new site should be in pristine condition before setting up the redirects.

Monitor traffic, performance and rankings

Keep a close eye on your search and referral traffic, checking it daily for at least a week after the migration. If there are any shifts in traffic, dive down to the page level and compare traffic on the old site to traffic on the new site to identify which pages have lost traffic. Those pages, in particular, should be inspected for redirect errors. You may want to pursue getting any external links pointing at the old version of the page changed to the new one, if possible.

It is equally important to keep a close eye on your most linked pages, both by authority and by external link count. These pages play the biggest role in your site’s overall ability to rank, so changes in performance here are indicative of your site’s overall performance.

Mark dates in Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics annotations to mark critical dates during the migration. This will help you to identify the cause of any issues you may come across during the process.

Update PPC and all other platforms

Update all of your PPC accounts, social media profiles, bios, other websites you own, forum signatures, and any other platforms you take advantage of, so that the links point to the new site and not the old.

Monitor your indexed page count

Google will not index all of the pages on your new site immediately, but if the indexed page count is not up to the same value as the old site after a month has passed, something has definitely gone wrong.

Conclusion

Keep all of the above in mind if you are planning to migrate your site to https, and it should go off without a (permanent) hitch.

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Free Online Lead Generation – 2-Week Free Trial Offer

Start or resume your online marketing with a free online lead generation strategy and 2-week trial.

If you have already started researching how to find leads online, you probably have a shortlist similar to the below:

  • Outsource Email campaign – £15 per lead.
  • Outsource lead generation (3rd party website capture driven by PPC or social) – £40 per lead.
  • Outsource content marketing – £5 per lead.
  • Your own PPC campaign – unknown cost per lead.

Across all the options, the conversion rate is the big unknown variable.If you have outsourced lead generation before, you’ll no doubt be aware that both quality and supply are variable, which is why your ideal solution is to develop a lead source of your own. Unfortunately, this takes some time to refine and conversion rates are untested.

Assuming you have spent time investing in your website, and you are sure that it will be able to convert visits, the challenge is obviously getting the right people to your site.

It’s likely at this stage that you have already tried PPC (probably AdWords) with limited success. This is usually because campaigns are set up to be fairly generic. It’s worth spending more time defining exactly who your perfect visitor is and what they are looking for.

Related: PPC Campaign Optimisation

Invest as much time in negative keywords as positive ones, utilise all the site extension and have a strong call to action on all adverts.

Free Online Lead Generation Advice

While you are building your own online lead generation processes, dont put all your eggs in one basket. Try and negotiate low scale tests of all your lead options whilst also trying to develop your own lead generation.

You will know what is too much to risk untested, and if the supplier has any faith in their service they will accept a lower trial. If they won’t then they are just trying to get your money off you. Also, be aware that any test will involve suppliers sending you the very best leads. Quality will only go down. Email and content marketing can sometimes sound too good to be true, but are worth a (very) low-risk test.

SEO and developing your own website is an essential long-term option. But long term can sometimes mean years if you are in a competitive industry. Keep adding some interesting copy to your website that people will find interesting and useful. This is the only way to improve your website performance (along with the other technical factors).

Focus on Your Own Online Lead Generation

Establish more specific keywords and refine your ad text. Also, test other settings such as device and time of day.

This should lead to visitors only interested in your service visiting your landing page. Conversion to visit and qualification could then be established. There are other online marketing options (for example social, content, email and affiliate) but I think AdWords PPC is your best chance for a quicker return on investment.

The Free Online Lead Generation Offer

Online Customer Solutions don’t charge anything to review and set up new AdWords Campaigns. We recommend a test AdWords budget of £250 over 2 weeks and fully detail the plan before putting the campaign live.

At the end of the 2 weeks, we can review the results. This could lead to increasing budgets; refining the approach and testing again, or establishing that other lead sources are more effective.

If we continue past the 2-week test then we would put forward a proposal for our time (c£170-£500 per month depending on the effort required).

It normally takes a couple of days to be ready to launch and progress is monitored daily.

If you are interested in signing up to our free online lead generation test, please fill in this form and quote:2WEEKTEST to get started!

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Create a Successful E-Commerce Website

Elements of an SEO-friendy Successful E-Commerce Website.

A successful E-commerce website takes time, effort and organisation. But there is help available. Your site can deliver a great service to your customers and do well in the search results.

Over the past 12 years, Online Customer Solutions Director, Rob Wilkinson, has had the opportunity to manage a variety of e-commerce websites. These have offered everything from equestrian equipment to sirloin stakes.

Read more about our OpenCart e-commerce service here.

Most e-commerce sites suffer from similar issues. Usually, the problems are connected to how the business owners approach the development of their e-commerce platform. User experience and aesthetics are often placed way over search engine optimisation.

When sites overly focus on function and forget about optimisation, they lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers. A blend needs to be found.

E-Commerce Optimisation Recommendations

Unique product descriptions

Many e-commerce websites are looked after by people that are experts on their product. However, these people aren’t usually up-to-date with what SEO is or how it works.

Product descriptions are often light on detail and pulled directly from the manufacturer. This means there will be many other sites doing the same thing.

Your product description needs to be engaging, informative and unique. If it is, your site stands a good chance of being able to rank well. Although there are many other SEO factors to consider.

Try to create 250 to 300-word descriptions that speak to your target audience’s search intentions. Also, frame the products in environments where they are best suited.

Product Reviews from Customers

There are many reasons why customer reviews are essential. They are an excellent way to highlight relevant content on your product pages. They also build credibility and trust in your site, drive repeat business and they are free.

Potential customers really value online reviews. If your site has a number of positive reviews for each product, Google treat it kindly and other customers will convert more easily.

Relevant Search Query Optimisation

To allow search engines to understand all about your products, optimise them by name. Avoid using codes, colours or sizes to optimise your website pages. This will lead to duplicate content within your site. For example, use “Mens-Running-Shorts” rather than “Shorts-black-large”

Include brand names in your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and header tags.

Keyword Stuffing

Product pages crammed with keywords instead of quality content does not help improve search engine authority. Mention keywords because they are relevant. Descriptions that that help your visitors and describes the products will improve user engagement, enhance the organic authority and drive conversions.

Image alt text

E-commerce shopping online
E-commerce Shopping cart

E-commerce sites tend to have more images than most other websites making them more visually attractive. Good images are essential and support the product description. It is important to include relevant alt text with the images so search engines know what the images show.

Search engines need to understand what each picture is of and how it relates to the page. Every image’s alt text needs to describe the product image. Include a key term that you’re trying to rank for as well as your store name.

Unique Titles

Title tags allow search engines to understand the content of specific landing pages.

Avoid creating duplicate titles across your site by forgoing the use of manufacturer or vendor titles, as these are likely the same titles they have sent to your competitors.

SEO Friendly Urls For E-Commerce Sites

Instead of including item numbers or category IDs in your URLs, try to use the actual product names that are easily understood by potential customers. URL’s that are built with users in mind help customers and search engines navigate your site.

Meaningful Descriptive Categories

Your primary and subcategory pages should have enough content to be considered authorities. Include social sharing buttons, information that resolves common questions. Make sure you speak to your intended audience.

XML sitemaps

An automated XML sitemap updates when changes are made to your e-commerce website. Product or category changes are updated so the next time the robots crawl your site, they pick up the latest inventory.

Each time new products and categories are added the sitemap refreshes. This is the best way to ensure that all of your items are indexed by Google.

OpenCart and others offer automated sitemaps. Read more about how to start selling online here.

Content development and internal linking

Buyer guides, FAQ’s and educational content help attract visitors and connect them with your products.

E-commerce sites that link articles to a specific product or category page help teach visitors about your products and service, this transfers organic authority throughout your site.

Redirects

404 errors, or page not found, wastes organic search results and frustrates customers. E-commerce owners need to keep on top of their online catalogue and redirect to a newer product model or category page.

Page speed

Because slow sites are irritating to users, Google ranks faster-loading websites higher than slower ones. A fast load time leads to happier customers (conversion) and better search results (ranking).

There are several tools to measure the loading speed of your website – use your favourite search engine to find them!

Markup and Schema

Your webmaster will be able to tag your pages to highlight product name, price, availability, description and image. Data highlighting leads to enhanced search results for people looking for your products. Google provides tools for uploading a product catalogue to Google shopping resulting in more search result options.

Schema.org offers a library of structured data markup that search engines use to offer online consumers more information around a particular product.

Running Your Own E-Commerce Site

Contact us today to find out how we can help you start selling online.

Online Customer Solutions provide successful e-commerce websites to a range of businesses in the UK.

How Much Does it Cost to Set-up a Website?

How much a website costs to set-up depends on what it needs to do.

One of the most commonly asked questions on our keyword report is: How much does it cost to set-up a website? Below we try to give a simple answer, but remember the costs and options below will vary depending on the exact requirements. Or, in other words, it really does depend on what you want your website to do!

Find out how much it costs to set-up a Website

Online Customer Solutions provide the below guidance:

  • A basic 5-6 page website costs £300 + design (c£80) + Hosting and domain name (£65 per year).
  • Customised WordPress site (Blog) or another Content Management system: £450 + design + Hosting
  • E-Commerce (OpenCart) website: £750 + design + hosting.

Read more about how to start selling online here.

Of course, if you want a corporate website with bespoke requirements and multiple languages, the cost from your average web development company is going to run into the thousands. Typically if your e-commerce site requires unique functionality and multiple interesting payment options then the costs are going to be higher.

For most small businesses wanting either a brochure website, blog or e-commerce website, the costs above will be there or thereabouts.

Alternatives to Outsource Website Development

There are alternatives to using a low-cost UK based web development company such as Online Customer Solutions.

You could do it yourself using a self-service website generator, for example, WordPress or other blog type sites. But you’ll tend to find that the free or very low-cost options come with limited options. For example, you tend not to be able to have your own domain name or business email address.

Outsourcing your website development should also mean that it is optimised for search engine results. A web developer will ask you questions like: “Who are your typical clients?”, “How would you describe your services?”, “Can you explain a recent project or product that you provided or sold?”.

Although you will still need to provide some of the website content – after all – no-one knows your business better – your web developer will optimise for keywords pertaining to your site.

All this means is that a web developer should have an appreciation of who your website is likely to appeal to and ensure that your site attracts visitors to boost your sales. This practice is called search engine optimisation, you can read more about SEO basics here.

Slow website growth SEO
Cost of setting up a website is relative to the value of the results

The Offshore Option

Offshore website development companies tend to send a lot of unsolicited emails with eye-catching low prices and promise first page results on Google. Although there will be some reputable companies that could do a good job, getting fast search engine results will undoubtedly mean using ‘black-hat’ SEO techniques that will eventually get your website a Google penalty. Also, many offshore companies will not understand the local UK market and not spend too much time trying to help your business grow. They will just put up a site, get paid and move on to the next company.

Although there will be some reputable companies that could do a good job, getting fast search engine results will undoubtedly mean using ‘black-hat’ SEO techniques that will eventually get your website a Google penalty. Also, many offshore companies will not understand the local UK market and not spend too much time trying to help your business grow. They will just put up a site, get paid and move on to the next company.

Our Process

After an initial fact-find, if a customer wishes to proceed with the website build, the process for setting these things up is fairly straightforward:

  • A service agreement letter is sent to the customer confirming what has been agreed to be delivered.
  • Assuming everything is ok, we then send over some design ideas for you to have a look at and we’ll work out what the site is going to look like. During this stage, if you have any design requirements – for example, pictures you want on the site or colour preferences – please let us know.
  • After the design comes the content. If you have any words (leaflets or existing marketing) that would be a good starting point. If not, we’ll need to schedule a call and you can tell us about – Your background; Services you offer; Typical clients; contact information etc.
  • At this point, we invoice for a deposit, usually 25% of the build cost.
  • Once we have all the information we build the site and put it on a test server for you to have a look at. At this point, you’ll probably have additional ideas or content that you want to include, so we’ll work together until you are happy with it.
  • Once finished, we’ll put the site live and raise an invoice for the remaining 75%.

A Website is Just the Start

Building a website is usually the start of a marketing process. A professional website is optimised to appeal to your target audience. The SEO process then needs to be followed and there are a plethora of online marketing options that should be taken into account when looking to grow your business.

In conclusion, the question should not be: how much does it cost to set-up a website? But instead, “How much will it cost to set-up and promote my website and how much value will it return?” To help answer that, you need a website and online marketing partner.

Why choose Online Customer Solutions?

  • Motivated to deliver business growth.
  • Detailed knowledge of online marketing including SEO, PPC, Email, affiliate recruitment, content marketing, social media and display re-targeting.
  • Experience with Google Analytics and other reporting suites.
  • Technical Knowledge: HTML, PHP, MVC, OpenCart, MySql, WordPress
  • 12 years website and SEO experience
  • Constantly up to date with the latest SEO developments and trends.
  • Proactively looking for new ways to continuously improve the performance.
  • Experienced across a variety of industries.

Find out more

Based in Cheadle, close to Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions specialise in helping businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

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Low-Cost SEO for Small Business

Start Marketing Online with Low-Cost SEO for Small Business.

Many small businesses are thriving despite competition from big beasts such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Wallmart. Not to mention the many digital agencies that can charge thousands for an online marketing campaign. Low-cost SEO for small business can help them grow even quicker.

Small businesses have put a huge effort into service and product development, which has often meant that marketing outside their immediate sector has been limited. Many new customers come from word-of-mouth. Which is great, but there is much more that can be done in addition at a relatively low cost.

Once ready to increase sales and business growth, an online marketing program that includes low-cost SEO for small business is the logical next step. The question is, where to start? Online marketing and especially SEO involves a huge number of factors, a business owner can be easily distracted by the wrong focus. What to consider when embarking on SEO for small companies with a budget?

Outsource Low-Cost SEO

Online Customer Solutions deliver high-value, low-cost SEO services for small business. Fill out our quick contact form for more information about our services and low costs.

Do it Yourself SEO

There are many challenges including the website structure and content, historical traffic analysis, backlink creation, brand awareness etc.

Without historical data, the initial analysis needs to be done to work out the keywords and phrases that potential customers are going to be using that the small business website presents a solution for.

Carry out detailed research on the various keyword planner tools and live search results. It will be possible to narrow down your keyword list to transactional keywords that indicate customer intent. Use competitor analysis; this doesn’t need to be direct competitors, have a look what other similar companies are focusing on. Are there similar companies to yours in a different country that you can learn from?

Once you have an idea of what people will be typing that you want to rank for, you can start focusing on them. Optimise your site accordingly. SEO is not about attempting to manipulate the search results and your position in them. SEO has evolved and is now about understanding which people your website and services are going to be relevant to. Then helping them find your site.

SEO basics

A link to the basics of SEO is below. These include images and descriptive alt tags, keywords, internal links to key pages, title/meta description tags etc.

Website SEO – Manchester Web Developer

Local SEO

Getting a local business to rank high on Google’s search engine results used to be as easy as having a website (1), getting listed on some online business directories (2) and claiming your Google My Business page (3).

Once this 3 step process was complete, you have an ok chance of front page listing in the search results. This still goes a long way, but it is getting more competitive depending on how big your local population is.

A lot more local businesses understand the importance of local SEO – even if they don’t know this is what the 3 step process is. There are a lot more local businesses are vying for a high-ranking position making it more competitive.

Google Business results usually show the top 3 most relevant results next to a map. 2 are going to be organic and 1 position will be PPC.

low-cost SEO for small business
Google my business SEO Local

Small businesses can expand their local SEO by:

  • Optimising their Google My Business page. One of the most important factors for local SEO is for businesses to fill out as much information as they can on their Google My Business page. This includes — including uploading their logo, pictures of their business or products, their office/business hours, types of payments accepted, a keyword-rich business description and any other fields available.
  • Adding local content to their site: Focus on local content on your website. Mention news, local events and activities and how you are supporting them.
  • Get listed on business directories or local community pages. Most areas have dedicated facebook pages.
  • Have happy customers leave reviews on Google and other third-party sites. Online reviews are important because they make your business stand out, help you gain potential customers’ trust and they help your local SEO rankings. Get online reviews by just asking happy customers to leave a review! Make sure you give them a little guidance, for example, the review site URL (Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor etc) and any instructions they may need.

Backlinks

For smaller companies, backlinks are often limited. However, even on a budget, some things can be done which are easy and cost-effective.

In a small business marketing plan, make sure to include a number of press releases. Also send some article ideas to trade publications, if they like them and are willing to publish, make sure any articles you write are great quality, relevant, contain a few of your keywords and a good link back to your site.

Having a press release published by a good quality publication will appear online and potentially in print version as well. This will generate some good quality inbound links.

Furthermore, guest blogging, joining industry focus groups and taking part in online discussions are all good ways of generating especially relevant inbound links.

Regular Content

Be consistent. Regularly create pieces of content for your website and optimise them. Add a section to your website that you continually update. For small companies running a low-cost SEO campaign, creating a blog is a cost-effective way to create optimised content. FAQs

For small companies running a low-cost SEO campaign, creating a blog is a cost-effective way to create optimised content. Also, include a FAQ section or advice page.

Brand Awareness

Once you have created your content and posted it to your site, it is time to distribute it via social media. It can also be posted on the corporate or personal LinkedIn profile, added to e-newsletters and most important, optimised to attract search traffic and links. As a result of this activity, your small companies brand awareness will grow!

Monitor Results

Over time, monitor the results of your efforts using Search Console and Analytics.

Local SEO
low-cost SEO for small business graph

In Conclusion

Marketing online and low-cost SEO for small business on a budget is not impossible, but it does have a lot of elements. Furthermore, it can take a number of months before any results come through.

Finally, it is important to have realistic goals, be patient, and over time, these efforts create momentum which begins to snowball.

Find out more

Based in Cheadle , just south of Manchester in the UK. Online Customer Solutions provide low-cost SEO for small business.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help save you time and help you grow.

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Small Business SEO in 2017

What Small Businesses Need to do to Improve Website Performance in 2017 and Beyond.

For years advice has been, and was reiterated in this article from September 2016, “webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.”

SEO has evolved and is very different to how it once was. In 2017, small businesses need to acknowledge that is is not just about keywords, it is about semantics. Get into the mind of your ideal visitor. What are they looking for? Small business websites need to solve for their users, not for the search engines.

Various online marketing commentators say that SEO is dead. Optimisation in terms of H1s and meta tags, building a few links and watching a small business website rise to the top of Google, certainly is.
Although traditional SEO is still required, it won’t have too much effect on its own.

There has been no precise formula for SEO for some time (avoid pointless guarantees!) and SEO for small businesses in 2017 means getting the building blocks right with best SEO practice and adding in content that users want to find.

Website traffic graph
Increase web results with SEO for SMEs

So, do the basics. There are 200 ranking factors that determine search results. SME’s don’t really need to focus on them to rank well,  they do need to be aware of them to create a great experience for visitors.

Website Content

Since 2011, Google’s algorithms have been looking to demote websites will thin content, thus promoting websites with good quality. A few tips from the Google webmaster blog back in 2011 includes how to measure ‘good quality’:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well?
  • Does the site have duplicate content?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

The article goes on to outline more factors, you can find it here.

In 2012 a Google article mentioned: Include query terms normal people would use to find your product/business (e.g., “running shoes,” not “athletic footwear”), many SEO advisors bulked copy with synonyms the same article goes on to mention “Consider tag clouds and misspellings as fairly played out” pretty much putting this to bed.

Customer Intent

Machine learning has existed since 2013. Search engines know that people searching for X, click on website Y so they know the click through rate and bounce rate, and will be able to reasonably predict that if a new customer types the same thing, which websites will be deemed more relevant (I am obviously oversimplifying here, there are still many other factors).

Search engines continue to evolve. Google has developed machine learning that helps their algorithms ‘understand’ and process long-tail queries which are often conversational and relatively new. For new search queries never seen before, how are results presented? There used to be a phrase called a Googlewhack. A 2-word search query that comes back with a single result in a search. Try typing in something that you think might be a Googlewhack – Google will try and work out what you are trying to find, rather than just take what you type at face value. Which is what it used to do.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence in 2017 will evolve to compliment machine learning. However, it will be still about how to measure a website’s relevance to customers searching for X. Read more about the importance of understanding customer intent here.

For AI to handle conversational queries correctly – either this as a vocalised question or typed in common language – search engines needed to understand what the article is about, not just which words are in it. SEO in 2017 will be helping this process, not trying to deceive it.

There is evidence that this is already happening. Articles can rank for keywords that are not found anywhere in the text. The transition from “words” to “concepts” has already begun. Understanding the meaning as well as the relationships between words is known as semantic search.

Research has shown that the correlation between a keyword in the title tag, and the ranking for the search with that key word,  was much smaller than expected.

It used to be essential to have an exact matching keyword in a title tag but Google is better at understanding the context of a page.

Small Business SEO in 2017

Instead of synonyms, small businesses need to consider other keywords that would indicate the context of an article. On the other hand, writing good quality articles, concentrating on the target customer rather that skewing the search results would do this anyway.

The basics of SEO are really the basics of a well-structured website with unique topics, titles, meta descriptions, keywords in the filename, lowercase and hyphen separated. Descriptive anchor text for every link. Easy enough.

To understand what small business SEO will be in 2017, we need to appreciate the various elements of good websites. Excellent high-quality authoritative content (backlinks), structured data, rich snippets, product listings, security, trustworthiness, user experience [loading speed, navigation (breadcrumbs)], mobile friendliness, duplicate content, reviews, social media, location, competition etc.

Focus needs to be on creating remarkable content that is clearly better than competitors. Then get users to consume and share that content.

How AI grows and improves search results in 2017 is best left to the engineers. Webmasters and SEO’s need to focus on user intent. Appeal to customers that are looking for and supply what they need. Whether that be advice, products to purchase or a great SEO service for small businesses!

Find out more

Based just south of Manchester in the UK. Online Customer Solutions provide SEO services to a range of small businesses.

Contact us today

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Small Business Lead Generation

Lead Generation – Grow Your Small Business.

Small business lead generation from Online Customer Solutions. Online marketing and web development company that specialise in small and medium business growth.

We help refine (or create) your website and target customers that are looking for your products or services. If needed, we can help make your site more user friendly and optimise it for search results. This results inmore inbound leads for your small business.

We create a customised online marketing strategy that encompases paid search and SEO services. And also includes: Social Media, Content and E-mail Marketing. It’s a complete service to help generate more leads for small businesses without the huge marketing budgets of the larger companies.

Read more about online lead generation here.

Your website is the perfect platform for capturing customer details. Increasing web visitors now can snowball. Talk to your customers and offer: seasonal promotions, exclusive discounts informative articles.

Search engine optimisation techniques mean that people looking for your service will be able to find you before your competitors. Social media campaigns and conversion rate optimisation means you make a big splash and make the most of every opportunity.

Small Business Lead Generation

Your company’s sales growth involves understanding your customers’ needs and presenting your services in a way that simply fulfills those needs. Cost efficient sales leads are essential to business growth.

Many companies often use high-cost staff with basic lead generation knowledge to assist with building your business. Expensive city-based agencies can cost thousands and generate hardly any results. Here at Online Customer Solutions, we take the time to fully understand your company and your products. Our experts are at the forefront of online marketing and specialists at helping small businesses grow. State of the art tools and innovative techniques can result in cost-effective lead generation and help your business grow.

Find out more

Contact us today

Based in SK8 , just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide services including lead generation for small businesses.

 

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Lead Generation – Call Centre v Online Marketing

Online Lead Generation Compared to a Traditional Outbound Call Centre.

Lead Generation

Online advertising, search engine optimisation, content marketing and social media. All these, used well, combine to raise awareness and place your online self in front of prospective customers at the right time in the right place.

Your online self can be a social media page or better still website. A good website projects authority and creates confidence. Social media is a great way to get the word out or ask for recommendations. Pointing people to your website means they can buy directly from you. There are now add-ins to some social media sites to support e-commerce, for general overall confidence, people still like to have a look round an online website and read some testimonials/reviews. Especially if they have never bought from you before.

Pay Per Click

Online advertising, or pay per click, can be effective when you are selling a product or service and know what people are going to be typing into search for. If you set your PPC campaign up correctly when people search in Google for ‘exercise class in Cheadle’ then you advert will appear at the top of the search results, and you pay when people click on the advert and get sent to your website. A good website will then funnel the potential customer through the sales or sign-up process, resulting in a conversion. Although you can’t win them all!

Search engine optimisation (SEO) has the same objectives but without the cost per click. If you can use online and offline SEO to demonstrate to Google that you are an expert and a trusted authority when it comes to ‘exercise classes in Cheadle’ then they will display your website metadata high up in the search results meaning you get more visits.

Costs are variable depending on what type of website you need, how many customers you are looking to attract. What the industry conversions are typically like and the level of competition in your chosen field. Digital agencies can offer a fully bespoke solution with a price tag to match. Small businesses looking to generate more leads from online marketing can start with a relatively small budget, c£150 – £500 for a website. Depending on the marketing budgets, solutions can be found starting at £250 to set up and £150 per month to run a marketing campaign. A good agency will give you a month free marketing to see what kind of results can be generated.

Outbound Call Centres.

Outbound Call Centre’s have had a tough time since the acceleration of the internet. People rarely wait around for the phone to ring when they want an insurance quote / a new boiler / solar panels.

Over 85% of landlines are now registered with the Telephone Preference Service, so the more reputable call centre’s won’t be contacting a huge percentage of the market. Calling mobiles can be expensive and the contact rate is very low. People screen calls from numbers they don’t recognise.

Then there is the cost. A typical call centre will have agent time (per hour), telephony costs, admin, pensions, tax, overheads, bonus payments. Add on to this the cost of the data (who are you going to call?) compliance – make sure the people you are calling are not on the TPS list. Overall, the cost of making 1 hours worth of lead generation calls will be between £21 – £35 per hour.

Return on Investment

All this is fine if that within that hour you manage to find enough leads or make enough sales pay for the marketing activity, pay your service costs and still make a profit. However, unless the targeting and timings are right you won’t be talking to many people in that hour. Even less of those people will be interested in what the call centre agent has to say. Unless the data has some kind of propensity modelling attached. For example, people who recently bought a sink are likely to want taps. If you are just buying a ‘cold’ list and asking people if they want to install a £5k solar panel system, you might as well get your £3k test budget and throw it in the bin.

There is a place for Call Centre marketing but it is certainly not selling things to people. Call centres can offer flexible highly trained sales people that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford full-time. Setting appointments with businesses to discuss savings, or how you can make them money is where the old-fashioned outbound call centres now reside.

In Summary

Outbound call centre services are for you if you:

  • Are a B2B company with a great product that will save or make other companies money.
  • Need a hard sell.
  • Have a minimum of £3k per month marketing budget.
  • Can wait 3 months to see any results.
  • Don’t understand online marketing (we can help!!)

Online Marketing is for you if:

  • You don’t want to waste thousands of pounds every month.

Online marketing is essential for every business but especially suits small businesses looking to start or grow. Costs can start at £150 for a basic website + £250 marketing setup. Ongoing costs start from £150 per month + marketing budget.

Small businesses can generate more leads and grow without spending thousands of pounds a month. Get started with online marketing today. If you need some help, you can always email us, we’ll be happy to help. info@onlinecustomersolutions.com.

Find out more

Based in SK8, just south of Manchester in the UK. Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business but specialise in helping small businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website to improving online marketing and conversions.

make sales online with online customer solutions
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Online Lead Generation – Help Customers Find You!

Increase Sales with Online Lead Generation

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Online Lead Generation in Manchester

Generate Business Leads with an effective Online Lead Generation Strategy.

Here we discuss the options and measures available when developing an effective online lead generation strategy. Help people looking for your products or services find your company.

Lead Generation via Paid Search

Getting your brand in front of the right people at the right time is key to growing your business. But it comes at a cost and you can very quickly waste a lot of your budget working out how it all works. See our article about negative keywords.

Website Design needed to support Lead Generation

Your customers want a simple intuitive user experience (UX), but this doesn’t have to cost the earth. Instead of spending money on expensive agency designers (although there often good reasons why you should!) you can save money by customising templates or using open source solutions.

Data-driven Lead Generation

If you already have a database of previous customers, analysis of it can identify trends and demographics that point the way to growing your business.

Content Lead Generation

There is no doubt that adding new fresh content to your website or social media accounts proves that you are active in your marketplace. This, in turn, leads to awareness, trust and eventually, to purchase.

Generate Leads via Search Engine Optimisation

Developing high quality, unique content will prove to Google that you are a trusted authority on a subject and that you deserve to be high up in the search results when people are looking for your service or product. The are over 200 elements to good search engine optimisation. Not even people at Google know what they all are. So be careful about people who claim to be experts and cost a fortune. All the best people can do is stack the deck in your favour. The objectives are always going to be to generate leads. Coming on the front page for a search term no one ever uses, or doesn’t visit into sales is not worth anything.

Social Media Lead Generation

An active social media presence can engage with both your customers and potential customers. People trust companies that take feedback seriously. It’s also a great way to spread ‘word of mouth’ endorsements. Ask for reviews and put them on your website. Make sure you don’t forget about Google+!

Local Online Lead Generation

The most important thing you can do starting off is to make sure your business is listed with Google Business. Create and account and Fill in the form. Add as much information about you and your service as possible. Google will send a postcard to your business address with a code on to verify that you are actually at that address. Complete the verification process and you will start to appear in the local search results when people are looking for your services.

Video Lead Generation

Start a youtube channel and make videos about your service; how are your products made? People are more engaged with videos than ever before.

Essential to Lead Generation Improvement: Measure Conversion Rate

Measuring the conversion rate of your visitors is the first step to improving it. Understand where your visitors are coming from and make the best use of your online marketing budget and deliver valuable lead generation campaigns. You landing page and website need to be optimised to funnel visitors to make an enquiry or purchase.

Find out more

Based just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business but specialise in helping businesses grow.

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

make sales online with online customer solutions
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