I know most of us know what is SEO is these days or have at least heard about it. For those not in the know and who haven’t clicked on the link, in layman’s terms it simply refers to settings made so search engines like Google can find your website or blog. Having said that, creating good SEO and getting the results you want is quite another undertaking. In fact the more SEO I do and the more I learn about it, the more I realize all the things I don’t know. Even the best SEO experts have a challenge keeping up with the latest Google algorithms these days.
But having said that, I wanted you to be aware of the latest changes in SEO which I know about since I continue to stay current. And for the benefit of those reading this, I want to focus on the change not what you’ve needed over the last five years to make your SEO work better. So what did Google change with their algorithm and what do you need to do to respond?
What changed for SEO this summer?
This August the Google update focused yet again on quality content. Google is trying to help searchers. not penalize you. However. that means your website needs to have quality content. Google’s aim is to rid the internet of poor quality websites. Google’s refreshed its quality algorithms during the summer month explicitly in August this year. Of course Google didn’t tell us how or what to change, but here are few suggestions I would recommend: Websites, pages or blogs that just had outbound links (tags) or thin content with little text. If these are not changed, your website will be negatively affected.
So what do I need for better SEO?
To have good content on your pages you will need more than main titles and photos. Yes you still need to tag your photos with attributes for better search results and page ranking. Your home page with which Google weighs about 80% by-the-way, will require relevant content to your keywords with subtitles breaking up your page in a logical manner for flow. On top of all that, the hardest part is qualifying sentence structure and avoiding passive voice and long sentence structure. Your readability should also pass the Flesch–Kincaid readability tests to assure the public can read and understand without a lot of industry jargon. Some of the better SEO software out there will aid in your process, but it really does take some current training, experience and ongoing changes to get good results.
Summary and conclusion
I’m just scratching the surface and the few things I’ve listed is not meant to complete the requirements for good SEO in any manner. It is really to make you more aware that SEO is just not something the average DIYer can do quickly. You might be able to learn how to design a website, but areas like development, page flow and SEO requires ongoing education, experience and skill. Finally, I want to leave you with the thought that SEO is now not a “one time set it and leave it process.” It must be tweaked and maintained to keep up with our ever changing world of SEO if you want to get found on the web.
Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the nice weather and take some well deserved vacation time. But you’re not the only one that needs the break. Your clients and customers are doing the same thing which makes the summers quieter for business, unless you’re in the tourism or entertainment business.
Many businesses and owners use the summer time to catch up on tasks that never seem to get done such as doing some face to face meetings with clients, rearrange your office space or catch up with some accounting processes. If you are in sales, this is a good time to visit your competitor’s accounts while the competitors are on vacation. Watch your back, because your competitors likely have the same idea.
So what can a small business get done during this quieter times and prepare for the busier autumn times? Here are few ideas I’ve learned over the past few decades of business in the summer.
Summer Business Ideas
- Visit or contact those customers or clients you never had time to see
- Clean up computer files or start new backups
- Revise your website and social media pages
- Setup email or marketing automation
- Catch up with your accounting
- Renovate or refresh your office space
- Contact your competitor’s accounts while they are on vacation
- See a few businesses face to face to book a fall meeting
- Invite clients out for a patio lunch
- Take your best customers out golfing
Whatever your creative mind can come up with, is likely worth pursuing. It’s time to enjoy the summers months as we all know they’re shorter than we would like. However, it’s also worth your while to use the more casual downtime to your advantage. Move your business forward by catching up, booking appointments and arranging meetings with your competitors’ clients. You may just hit a hole in one with your downtime efforts.
You know you need to be mobile and have a good presence, but should you create a website that is fully responsive to mobile devices or should you create a mobile app? At first glance both seem similar. However, determining which one suites your needs depends of a few factors from your target audience, your reasons for a website or an app, your available budget and required features. If you are trying to decide which one is better, it really depends on the purpose. If it’s a game, then perhaps an app might be better. If the goal is to reach a wide area market, then a mobile website makes more sense. In some cases, having both a mobile website and complementary mobile app is a good solution.
So what’s the difference between a website that’s mobile and a mobile app?
It’s important to know the differences before you can determine which one or both are are required for your type of business and application. A website that is responsive allows viewing and resizing for all kinds of devices whether vertical or horizontal and can be accessed anywhere there is Wifi or mobile internet. In contrast, mobile apps are applications that need to be downloaded and installed on your mobile device from either the Apple’s App Store or Android Play Store. There are others, but these two are the most common. These apps usually pull data from the internet, but can operate just on your device. Regular updates are required to stay current. It’s safe to say, then, that a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence.
What are the advantages of a mobile website?
- Immediate access – mobile websites are instantly available providing you have internet
- Device compatible – responsive websites are available and view-able across devices
- Searchable site – easy to get found with website SEO
- Market reach – mobile websites are accessible across all platforms
- Current version – there is no need to update to the latest version
- Longer life – websites are always there, but mobile apps can be deleted
- Development time – websites are quick and easy to set up
- Design cost – responsive websites are less expensive to design
- Less maintenance – websites need changes, but apps need support and upgrades
- ULR sharing – websites can easily be shared just with a link share
When should a app be used?
There are many many reasons why a responsive website makes sense; apps are still quite popular, and there are a number of times where an app might be the best choice. Here are a few benefits of a mobile app:
- Gaming – for interactive games or offline games, apps will be the best choice
- Regular use – for people using your app on a regular basis and require functionality
- Complex calculations – using data and allowing complex calculations
- Functionality – requiring SMS, GPS or using device camera
- No connection – provide offline access to content or to perform functions
As mobile use increases the question of the mobile website versus a mobile app will be on most business owners’ minds. Mobile websites that are auto responsive are likely your best choice if your marketing goal is to expand your mobile presence. On the other hand, if you are trying to provide a better user experience with mobile functionality, then a mobile app might be a better choice. Many times starting with a mobile website and moving into a mobile app as budget allows, is becoming more common. Once you know what you need, use the best tool that fits your business and your objectives, website, app or both.
It appears that many website designers are pushing for FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) on all of their clients. The question I have is “why?” I suppose most themes have this built in feature now so for that reason website designers want to include FAQ’s. Perhaps they think FAQ’s look impressive to their clients. Maybe FAQ’s are expected from website viewers. In contrast, some even say FAQ’s are too old school. With all of this in mind, I’m suggesting a few ideas from recent training and past experiences.
I’m of the the opinion that it’s not necessary for every website to have FAQ’s because many times, having a customer reach out to you is a better selling process. Perhaps there are other alternative to FAQ’s with more side benefits.
I believe FAQ’s are great if your business products and services need explaining as do some newly released products or complex services that prompt questions. Sometimes companies use them just to differentiate from another similar company. In this case, FAQ’s may help answer those common questions and in turn, stand out from the crowd so to speak. If you have a new product or services that has a complex concept that needs to be explained, then FAQ’s will keep your viewers engaged for a bit longer.
On the other hand, if your customers are reaching out to your business through a phone call or live chat, that can prove to be more useful and immediate. Not only does phone or live chat show interest, but it gives your business the opportunity to close some deals through interaction. FAQ’s do not encourage interaction.
I would suggest that using animated explainer videos are a much more useful marketing tool than FAQ’s. Everyone wants to watch a video, including, I might add, yourself. It’s easy and it gets the point across in a fun and entertaining way. Uploading these kind of informative videos to YouTube not only furthers your branding but can increase your SEO providing proper settings are made for greater exposure, not to mention increased revenue.
So yes,FAQ’s are a great feature to add to your website or clients websites to help further explain services or products. But there should be a good reason why they should be added; they should not just be a nice feature add. That is not a good enough reason. You may want to consider the investment of an animated explainer video to boost comprehension and SEO improvement.
What are you thoughts?
The Christmas season is the time of year when most people find a little good in each other which is often called the “spirit of giving”. Many of us know that it usually feels a bit better to be giving than getting. I’m sure Santa would agree! Giving gifts from my experience, is always a good feeling, but there quite often is an unspoken obligation from the receiver, to give back. Perhaps we should all have that spirit of giving without expecting anything in return. Whether in our personal lives or in our everyday business dealings, what would it be like if we did not to expect to receive in return, but just to give? Here’s a few reasons for the “spirit of giving” you may want to consider:
It’s one of life’s mysteries that does not really make any sense to the logical mind, but we all know that it’s one of the strong possibilities in all races and religions. Whether you call it “Karma”, or say “What goes around comes around” or “One good turn deserves another”, the principle is the same; do something good for someone and it returns many times over. It may not return in the same way you gave, but somehow it does make a difference.
Keeping this philosophy in mind, we should apply this in our business dealings if we want our business to grow beyond our business plans. Instead of being selfish, perhaps we should give away some of our business products and services (of course it’s also a tax write off) to show our kindness and offer our customers a chance to share in our good will. They may even pay it forward. We never really know the spin-off or effects of our gestures or how far it will extend and the returns are usually rewarding.
Just have a look at current marketing trends for many businesses today who are offering free trials, try before you buy, or consulting with no obligation to buy. Manufactures or organizations offering us an opportunity to try free products or services helps build client trust and makes believers out of us, not to mention great customer referrals.
Perhaps start in the giving season of ‘Peace on Earth’ and ‘Goodwill Toward Men’ and try giving away a few of your products and services to your customers or clients. In return, you have a chance to gain their trust, loyalty and new business. Perhaps start your New Year’s resolution by offering a free trial or offer some demo products knowing that seeing and trying makes believers out of most of us. So what’s it going to be this year? Are you a Scrooge or a Santa.