Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rankings are only ever going to be as good as the content you produce for your target audience.
The key to finding the right keywords for your users and potential clients is to know exactly what they are searching for.
What does keyword research involve?
It’s important to look at what keywords or phrases your target audience use when they search for a product or service you provide. Once you see what they are looking for, you can create and optimise content to help them find you.
The thing to remember is that certain keywords or phrases will be highly competitive and you may not be able to or want to battle larger competitors for a piece of that pie.
Being more specific and strategic with which keywords you target can give you a winning edge.
It’s not always easy to find those special keywords, queries, and phrases that users are searching for but once we do it all starts to make sense. The trick is ensuring that the keywords have the right ‘intent’.
For example, if someone is looking for ‘blue coloured contact lenses’ the best page for them to land on is a page of blue lenses, not the homepage that includes all sorts of colours, making it harder for the customer to find what they need.
Knowing your target audience and what their searches are gives you a better chance of connecting what you offer with what they are after.
If you are the most relevant website for their search, then not only are you more likely to show up in Google searches but you are also more likely to convert. That’s SEO working for you.
Being seen and successful
With the right keywords and phrases placed strategically in your content, you have greater visibility and a better performing website.
Remember, if you can’t be found, then you are invisible. All the fanciest images and website layout in the world won’t help you.
Even today, some people still wonder ‘Is keyword research the most important for SEO?’ The truth is that keywords are the cornerstone for beginning any SEO strategy or campaign.
The question then becomes how do you find and make more of the right keywords.
Getting the keys to better performance
The answer is to talk to the expert team who can help you by conducting in-depth and specialised keyword research.
That’s Mad Scientist, in case you were wondering. We can help you by taking a forensic look at what is really happening online for your business and where something specific like better targeted keywords can mean your website performs better.
Whether you want to get seen by your target audience, have your On-Page SEO actually working for you, or you need to improve your website’s relevance, authority and trustworthiness, talk to the team who work with you. Yes, you can get the real SEO story without any of the spin.
We can help you by taking a forensic look at what is really happening online for your business and where better targeted keywords can help you perform better.
You’ve probably heard at least something about Google Analytics 4 – or the short version of GA4 – but what does it mean to you and your business?
Here’s a quick trip through GA4 and its key features with some helpful advice on how to prepare yourself before transitioning from the current Universal Analytics GA3 over to GA4.
First and foremost, GA4 is Google Analytics with some serious oomph.
As the next generation in Analytics, it uses event-based data (data that shows the behaviour of users) rather than session-based data (where every click, pageview, transaction, etc., is tracked only during a set period of activity or “Session” ) from both websites and apps.
What does that really mean?
By collecting data from both those sources, you get a better and more thorough understanding of the all-important customer journey.
GA4 has a special focus on each unique user who interacts with the website or app as one of Active users (even if a person is active multiple times in a day, they are only recorded once) and no longer uses the Total users in reports (all users, even duplicates).
While the term ‘Users’ is the same in both Universal Analytics and GA4, that new focus on active ones means that GA4 reporting is significantly more accurate.
It is the cross-device insights that are some of the strongest advantages of GA4.
By being able to measure each customer journey across both website and mobile apps, you will get a better understanding of that journey and be able to improve the user experience.
You can also identify the number of users who begin the buying journey on a mobile app before visiting your website to complete their purchase.
With the improved set of metrics, GA4 tracks user engagement with your website or app more accurately than the ‘page views’ and ‘bounce rate’ of the GA3 metrics.
These metrics include any interactions with your site or app in the form of:
Engaged Sessions (where a user has made more than one pageview or performed an action such as filling in a contact form)
Engaged Sessions per user
Engagement Rate (the percentage of each engaged session)
Average Engagement Time
There is the built-in ‘enhanced measurement’ feature which can save you time and money. This feature allows you to track certain events automatically without the need or cost for additional coding or tagging.
Is GA4 an important step?
The most important thing to know is that GA4 is more than an upgrade. It is a total re-platforming. It gives you ownership of data like never before.
You will now have data stored in a way that gives you better access to it and is no longer on Google servers or behind Google Analytics interface.
That is a powerful thing.
Does this mean that it will all come at a large cost?
The good news is GA4 will still be FREE up to a certain tier (*up to a million hits recorded per month).
The difference is that the storage of data will only last for 13 months, after which time you’ll need to have it safely stored outside of the platform. This will incur storage costs, but these are not cost prohibitive and it’s important to remember it’s worth having data that is more accurate than ever before and is much easier to access.
A clearer view of your customers
The problem with the previous version of analytics was in having marketing data that was messy, confusing and simply didn’t line up. There was no clear way to market effectively with different streams of data reporting individual data performance.
GA4 fixes that and allows you to streamline your marketing while giving you significantly clearer insights.
There will be no reason to shed a tear about saying goodbye to GA3, but you have until the 1st of July of 2023 before it stops collecting data.
Reports will still be available through to January 2024, but then it’s curtains and GA3 will be shut down forever.
Remember, you will get a better snapshot of your customers and what is really going on with your online efforts with GA4. It’s not all smooth sailing though.
User defined goals like contact, email, and eCommerce tracking can be brought into GA4, but it’s not seamless. That is a worry!
Unless you enlist the help of experts.
That’s why it pays to talk to the Mad Scientist team. We can help you perform to your best by taking a forensic look at what is really happening online for your business.
We’ve all done it. We’re fairly sure that everything on our website is up to date and we’re putting out the right information.
Well… not quite and we know!
Mad Scientist has just embarked on a revamped branding exercise for our fresh and exciting new website. Then we found a couple of things on the current site that weren’t right and out of date.
Going over the website is a bit like going through your pantry. There’s always something that’s past its expiry and you find things that you didn’t know you had and shouldn’t have. Mustard & Passionfruit essence anyone?
Sometimes we see websites that have more than a problem with their ‘pantry’. They literally have soap in the fridge and cheese stinking out the laundry.
This is when a visitor to their site gets pointed in all the wrong directions or they come up with a dreaded 404 – which sounds like a gun but it’s the classic Page Not Found. Either way, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Everything in its right place makes the customer journey a smooth and enjoyable one. It also helps them become the return customer and we all love those.
Your time starts…now!
It doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, there’s always a chance that your website and your SEO practices could do with a spring clean.
Have you got the best foundations and are you making it easy for visitors to your site to find what they want and click the right button?
Sometimes it takes a different set of eyes to look over things to really see what’s going on and if something got missed. We did that ourselves and realised that yes, we’re very good at the bigger picture as well as the finer details, but none of us is infallible. (Is that spelled right? Yes, said the team).
It doesn’t matter if it’s On Page SEO or making sure that your site’s trust score is as high as it could be, there’s always some improvements that can be made. Even minor tweaks to specific areas can make a huge difference to your results.
Things you may have missed
It’s often easy to overlook certain things, especially when you’re busy trying to run your business.
Maybe it’s the old street address that’s still showing on your website. Perhaps your new logo is missing from your email. It might be you have a Landing Page for a service you no longer offer.
This is why it pays to get a health check done on your website. It will show you all the things of concern. Even small issues can add up to a bigger problem especially if they amount to you losing a potential customer.
There are specific ways to improve your organic rankings that you may not realise, unless you are mad about the different ways of optimising your website. That’s where Mad Scientist can help.
Having your website show its very best to all the programs and bots that crawl through it brings great rewards. Search engines like Google are hungry for quality content and you can give them something delicious that feeds their appetite for more. That ‘more’ you feed them means a better and better score.
Why specialists matter
As a digital marketing agency with real life SEO specialists, we know that finding something special about a business is the key to standing out.
It’s hard for some businesses to show the world (and more specifically their target audience) what makes them special. Oh, and it’s not customer service. Everyone thinks their customer service is the best, but you can join a lonnng queue who believe that too.
Asking a few key questions can unlock the potential a business has to showcase why they are the best choice for a potential customer. It’s not just what is different about you, it’s more about why that difference matters to your customers.
Are you industry experts who offer a strategy session where you explain what you can do and how you do it?
Are you the only supplier of a specialised range of equipment or do you have a unique method that’s new to Australia?
Whatever it is, make it the focus of what you say.
Surprisingly, almost every business has a special ingredient, but they don’t always realise what it is. More often than not, there is a gold nugget or two that just needs to be polished and put on display. Sadly, that gold could be hidden when it could be shining bright on your website.
You want your target audience to find you and find out what’s special about you. That’s why staying up to date with what you are telling potential customers is crucial.
That’s where specialists can help.
Ahem, that’s Mad Scientist Digital in case you missed it.
While you’re making sure everything is up to date with your website, here’s a Special Last Minute Reminder that the deadline for registering your domain name is the 20th of Sept 2022. If you haven’t done it yet, the Federal Government recommends you reserve your .au domain name by visiting anauDA accredited registrar.
When we optimise one of your web pages for Search, what we are doing is making what your page is about super-clear to the search engine crawlers. The clearer, more consistent and more engaging your content is, the better it will rank.
So what we’re really doing is influencing – influencing search engines to prioritise your content.
You can buy influence
You can buy influence through pay-per-click advertising. What and where depends on who you’re seeking to attract and what platforms they’re active on.
Businesses have been relying on advertising since day one. The thing is, though, in this heavily distracted modern world, it’s just not going to work on its own. The whole advertising game is in a state of flux. It’s changing. And people are starting to mistrust what’s put in front of them – especially online.
We recommend that you don’t rely only on paid advertising as your sole marketing strategy.
(It is worth remembering that paid advertising shows up as paid on most platforms – so that alone can sometimes reduce its influence in the wrong context.)
You can earn influence
You can earn influence by investing in supportive content, and maximise it with good SEO. It’s a long game, but it returns well over time.
(Beware of people telling you that Google is so smart you don’t need to do SEO – ask them for their evidence base. We see measurable ranking shifts every time we onboard a customer – so if there is contrary evidence, we’d like to know about it.)
There’s nothing wrong with buying some awareness, but it has to be backed up with a strong organic presence. This means starting with a compelling story, a clear message and a real brand. Then following through with engaging content on the right platforms targeting the right audience – at the right times.
The best strategy is to invest in both – helpful, supportive content that explains your business offer and its benefits PLUS targeted advertising in support of particular campaigns and promotions.
How do you maximise the return on your SEO investment?
The starting point isn’t technical, nor is it a bathtub full of random content.
It’s mostly about how well you’ve done your marketing ‘homework’:
How well do you know your ideal customers and what drives them?
How do they describe the benefits they are ready to give you money to deliver?
What are the questions they’re typing into the search engines that could bring them to your website?
With this information, we can research the right keywords and develop the best strategies to improve your rankings and get you found.
This isn’t just a numbers game – it’s also about relevance.
The quality of the customer you will attract depends on the clarity of your value proposition and how well you talk your customer’s language. Get this sorted and you’ll attract more of the right visitors and less of the wrong visitors (time-wasting tyre-kickers and bounces that work against your overall ranking).
Your traffic over time influences your ranking
Traffic is a Google signal – wherever it comes from.
Genuine organic traffic is less in volume but more valuable – because you’ve attracted someone who cares. It’s particularly valuable when your visitors stay and engage on your website.
Paid traffic that brings you lots of the wrong visitors who bounce will cost you. It may even negatively affect your rankings.
Your visitors are increasingly savvy – and suspicious
In the print media space, readers learned the difference between a billboard and a news article. And how to spot the advertorial “articles” that weren’t really independent content.
The online audience is more discerning now – and much more aware of implicit advertising. There are people who will read a great article – but won’t share it just because they know it’s paid.
The growth of “influencers” has an up-side. Online audiences are developing a real craving for transparency and genuine, considered, valuable content.
So go back to basics
Ask yourself “What are the legitimate nuts and bolts of our offering? How do we prove in multiple forms that a) it’s real and b) that it works?”
Remember that (probably since the first cavemen swapped a stone axe for a fur blanket) people do business with people.
You can’t just push your product any more – you have to give it an authentic human face.
Did you know that 65% of our client base who pay for SEO also do content? And they also invest in PPC. There is no silver bullet, guaranteed single answer. Test and measure and find the right combination that works for you in your market.
You can buy traffic – but not trust
You can buy influence to attract people – but to keep it you have to earn it with helpful, supportive content and clear, authentic branding. Then you need to optimise it – that way SEO crawlers have absolute clarity.
That’s how you develop a sustainable online presence for the long term.
The best results happen when our clients and partners understand the hands on process of SEO, especially the On-page side.
So to make our collaboration with your business a whole lot easier, we’ve been building the Mad Scientist Institute. That way we can teach you the science of On-page SEO and empower you with the knowledge to take care of things on your website.
Discover what Google ISN’T looking for
You’ll come away with a whole new understanding of getting found online. Because we’ll teach you what Google is REALLY looking for… without boring you to smithereens…
We do training the Mad Scientist way – with humour, experimentation, science and real partnership.
Our SEO courses will introduce you to the fundamentals of On-page SEO, with a big focus on optimising your own content. Here’s a sneak peek into just some of the areas we cover:
How to write meta tags
How to optimise images
Basic technical checks and fixes on your website
How to measure your results
Get to know the OTHER Mad Scientist…
The Institute is the “baby” of our backroom brainiac Andrew Radics, who comes out of the shadows to teach you what we’ve learned over decades of experimentation and stubborn independence.
“forget everything you’ve ever heard or read about SEO and just bare with me…”
What’s in it for you?
When you understand On-page SEO, then your digital marketing process becomes smarter as well as faster (as well as a bit less expensive).
It’s a win/win, because when you become better at basic SEO, that frees us up to collaborate and do the seriously geeky stuff.
SEO gets people to your website – trust keeps them there
A key element of trust is authority – it’s one of the 7 fundamental principles of influencing that will keep your visitors on your website. Not only will demonstrating your authority keep your initial visitors, it will BRING THEM BACK because they trust you.
We were reminded of that recently, when POD Services – one of our long-term SEO clients – told us the story of their COVID pivot and the award-winning range of “sneeze screens” they’re selling.
It’s an excellent example of how you can use what’s happening in your business to improve your “findability”.
Influencing and trust building
If you’ve been working with us for any time, you know that influencing, trust and authority can be built by supportive content.
“Trust” means different things to different people. And – like health and fitness – there’s a whole lot of “everybody knows” thinking about trust building digital marketing that “just ain’t so” anymore.
In the early days of SEO, if you used lots of your top keywords in your content that you’d get found. (But then a whole lot of people did ridiculous amounts of keyword stacking and now that can earn you a Google-slap.)
Today we need to work a whole lot smarter to build a trusted online presence. One way to do this is to apply the latest know-how on how trust and influencing REALLY work.
The psychology of influence and trust
In recent years, influencing has been broken down into its component elements and studied in detail. It has become a process that you can use to engineer user engagement – engagement that leads to sales.
Robert Cialdini is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He’s written two bestselling books on how influencing works (INFLUENCE and PRE-SUASION).
The real game of online business is about connecting with an audience of your ideal prospects, and engaging them – explaining why you and your solutions are the best way to meet their needs.
These principles are a great lense to evaluate everything from your website design to your SEO investment.
A quick tour of the principles of persuasion
When people are given something, they have a built in urge to give back. So helpful, supportive content is an important way to give to your prospects.
Who’s in the know has mattered ever since we worked out how to chip flint into spear heads. Demonstrate your authority and your expertise – including with content that proves you know your stuff.
“Something’s changed” was hard-wired into anxiety way back when a rustle in the long grass might be a sabre-tooth tiger. Present yourself and your offer consistently in order to build trust. And yes – be consistent about publishing that content over time.
People do business with people they like. You can’t be liked if you can’t be seen. No business operates without humans. Showing up as real and authentic people online is SEO gold – as well as conversion gold.
Scarcity / Uniqueness
No one wants to miss out. And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s prestige in having what others don’t. Appropriate, strategic scarcity can be an advantage. You can’t sell to the whole world – so make yourself awesomely attractive to your best prospects.
Most of the human race, most of the time (around 85%, according to Innovation Theory) make their decisions based on the opinions of those around them – NOT logic. Social proof from people like your visitors and from people they respect will win you customers. So build social proof into your content strategy.
Belonging to a community matters – being part of a tribe kept us alive. Treat your customer base – past and present – as a tribe of like-minded collaborators.
Be in the Pre-susasion game, not the sales game
Perhaps one of Cialdini’s biggest contributions was to explain framing.
What’s most important online is what you do BEFORE you go for the sale. How you frame your business and your offer will contribute enormously to GETTING you the sale EASILY.
POD Services, authority and trust
So when fine arts services provider POD – who have been investing in SEO for over 7 years – told us of their pivot and their award-winning new product, we knew it was a prime opportunity for them to turn that story into content.
Over the years, we’ve been able to give them page 1 / number 1 results for their selection of niche, targeted keywords and phrases. This year their investment paid off for them in unexpected ways when COVID hit.
POD are designers and innovators, working in a specialist niche with museums and art galleries. They design and build products to display, store and package fine art items.
They’re seriously smart, creative and entrepreneurial. So when COVID-19 hit, they did a fast pivot. They moved into designing, producing, and installing high-quality sneeze guards and point of sale protection – a bit of a change from museum installations.
Their products look – and are – top-notch because these guys are designers who know how to make things look good without distracting from what they protect.
They decided to give their very different product range its own website – called Counteract. (Which we did a great digital strategy for.)
Building authority online
Recently, POD won an award from The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre for their high-quality CounterAct screens.
So we’re working with them on strategies to use that award to build their authority.
Firstly, they can display their award above-the-fold on their new website.
They can also write content for that website about the award, explaining the features and benefits of their protective screens.
They can even blog about it on their existing niche website, sharing how their design skills and materials know-how helped them deliver a superior product.
What’s been surprising for them is how many sales that their existing client base has brought them. The ultimate pivot became a helpful value add.
Is your content supporting your authority?
The right supportive content builds authority and trust.
Supportive content (and copy) is most powerful when it pre-suades your visitors about your authority and your authenticity.
So take every opportunity to demonstrate your authority and authenticity in your content.
If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and let us help you with the right supportive content strategy for your needs.
Maangchi is a little Korean woman with a warm, husky voice. She’s a YouTube star and maven of Korean cuisine. I myself fell in love with her penchant for hot pink lipstick and fascinators, her way of wielding a killer cleaver, and of course, her recipes. In fact, so enamoured of her recipes was I, that it took me a while to see what was behind them.
You see, Maangchi isn’t just a cook. She’s actually a freakin’ content genius.
Currently courting 1,700,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, countless visitors to her bulging site, and thousands of active users in her forums, Maanchi isn’t someone to take lightly (fascinators notwithstanding). That kind of pull and longevity – her channel celebrates 10 years this year – takes some serious contenting chops.
Success leaves clues, as they say, and at her most recent Google Talk, Maanchi dropped a whole mess of them. Google says this talk “provides a crash course in authentic Korean home cooking” but it’s actually a crash course in how to do content properly and be wildly successful at it.
If you want to create amazing content that has your clients or customers hungering for more, follow her recipe. She won’t let you down.
1: Do what you know (17:40)
“Write what you know” is a hairy old chestnut, but it actually comes into its own with your content. Whether you’re writing it, filming it, recording it, or otherwise manifesting the hell out it, it needs to be based on what you intimately know as an expert in your field. And it makes sense: people come to you because of what you can brilliantly do, which is a byproduct of what you intimately know, and your content is an extension of that.
When doing content, you should do what you know – and do it generously – because your clients or customers are desperate for your knowledge. In return for this act of generosity, they will reward you with more business, more loyalty, and more trust. As icing on that hunk of cake, they will also come to consider you an authority, or a thought leader. (These terms, by the way, can only be bestowed upon you. You cannot claim them for yourself without someone, somewhere, sniggering.)
Maangchi started sharing her recipes with the world because someone told her that she was great at Korean cuisine. What are you great at? How can you communicate that as part of your content?
2: Don’t run out of content (18:00)
Content works, but content is hard. This is because if it’s going to work it needs to be a) great, and b) regular and consistent. Stats from CMI tell us that it takes 15 to 18 months from the point you begin doing content, to the point where your content literally pays off in actual coin of the realm.
Do you have enough content, or ideas for content, to do you day after day, week after week, month after month, for up to 18 months? Like, really?
For most people who attempt content marketing holus-bolus, it’s only a matter of (brief) time before their content becomes spasmodic, and then sputters to a halt.
The first way to ensure you don’t run out of content is the obvious one: you need a strategy and a plan. That’s it. It’s the best way to keep up with content marketing’s hungry demands.
The second way is one that I’ve written about before, and one that every editor and publisher is familiar with: your content has to be incredibly specific. General content is fine for periodic sharing, but for the consistently-good-and-good-and-consistent content, you need to get as specific as you possibly can. If Maangchi had set out to do vids on the theme of Korean cuisine as a whole, she might have had enough for a few, albeit informative, videos. But because she’s filming recipes, which are highly specific, she will never, ever run out of content.
Make your content highly specific, and you won’t run out of content either.
3: Begin anyway (18:25)
We all want our content to be perfect. Guess what? It isn’t, and it probably never will be. You need to begin it anyway.
Style, voice, themes, and messaging can’t be prescribed and then executed perfectly. This is because the act of creation is in itself a kind of searching. The more you create, the more you discover, improve, and evolve. In other words: the only way to do content is to do content.
Or perhaps, like Maangchi, you’re willing to embrace the uncertainty of creativity but don’t have the proper gear. I get it, and I sympathise: I want you to shoot on great cameras and record on great audio equipment, too. But guess what? The gear you want will probably be obsolete tomorrow, or the week after, or the month after. So begin with what you’ve got. You can upgrade as you go (and yes – you should upgrade, but that’s a blog for another time).
Commit, and do. Perfection only comes with practice.
4: Get a home on the Internet (22:20)
If you’ve worked with the original Mad Scientist, Ian, and I hope you have by now, you’ll have heard him say how important it is to own your digital real estate, and how absolutely vital it is to put your content on there. Maangchi would agree with him. Almost from the get-go, she knew that after they watched a video on YouTube, a good portion of the audience would want more: more direction, perhaps, or precise quantities, or the same information presented in a different way.
Your audience – your market – needs someplace to go. That means your own, registered website. On your website, you have ultimate control over how they experience your content. You can take care of these people in every possible way. And you can easily direct them where to go when they’re ready for your services. Your website is your most valuable digital asset.
Social media might be important, but it doesn’t belong to you. Social media’s main interest is itself – not you, not your business. Use it, yes, but treat it as your distributor, not your publisher. You are the publisher in the content marketing scenario.
5: Create a community (23:00)
Powerful is the business that can create and nurture a community. Businesses that are actively engaged attract more of today’s most valuable currency, trust, and are able to get up close and personal with the most important people: the clients or customers.
This is great, but communities also have huge content marketing benefits. Not only do communities make your content into a dynamic, ever-evolving construct as they discuss and share it, but when you host your community on your website, they also provide you with the easiest solution to your biggest content marketing problem.
Let’s back up a bit. The reason you need to create and publish great content consistently and regularly is because of Google’s favourite F-word: freshness. If you do as Maangchi did and say, set up a forum on your site, forum participants will constantly provide fresh content by asking and answering questions, engaging in lively discussion, sharing tips, and generally being cool to each other. A little judicious moderation aside, that’s as easy as content gets.
6: Learn from your audience (27:00)
Maangchi’s engagement with her audience means that they are giving her something else other than the adulation and income she deserves: ideas for more content! And not just any content: the content they really want.
When you create your content, who are you doing it for? Your audience and market, or yourself? Seriously. Because it’s one thing to pat yourself on the back when you have friends and cronies telling you how inspiring you are for writing about your blindfolded hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, and another thing altogether to have someone say, “I was really impressed with that piece you wrote about hiring sales staff. Can I make an appointment with you so we can talk about working together?”
Listen to what the people around you are saying. Listen to what makes them happy, but mostly, listen to their questions, whines, and whinges. You have the solutions they want. Put them into your content.
7: Don’t lead with the book (30:00)
Books – almost all of them self-published – have become the marketing tactic du jour, with a bunch of self-styled gurus selling too many people on the idea that books are necessary for establishing you as an authority. It’s not about the book sales, of which there’s bound to be almost none, but about your positioning.
At least, that’s the idea. The fact, however, is this:
The flood of crap books by a flood of people who actually know very little, unleashed upon the most sophisticated market in the history of the world, means that your book will most likely languish, along with your position as an authority, or a thought leader, or whatever you’d like to be.
Unless you first prove yourself as someone who knows a hell of a lot (through your business, and your content).
Unless you first build up a loyal market and audience over the long term (through your business, and your content).
Which is how Maangchi’s cookbook has sold a vast number of copies and cemented her position. Which is how Maangchi is now known as the “Korean Julia Child“, Which is how if you Google “Korean recipes”, her site is the second or third hit you’ll get. Which is how she got 1,700,000 YouTube subscribers.
Most of my business as the Mad Scientist comes from SEO so you’d expect me to say that SEO is the most important part of your Google presence, right? WRONG. The most important thing you can do to make Google love you is to make sure your site provides an excellent customer experience.
The way Google is ranking sites now means that if you are using best practice across brand, design, content, SEO, and social media, you’re heading in the right direction. What best practice is, well, that’s a bit up for debate depending on who you ask, but luckily all these areas of digital marketing are converging, which is as it should be.
Optimising your business for Google
With over 600 algorithm updates in the past year, Google is in full throttle, working to remove the crap from search results. I can’t believe that people are still buying shitty links from third parties and participating in link schemes. We found one a few months ago in Australia – a huge one, linking multiple accommodation sites to each other. It had been keeping them high in search engines for years and had gone undetected by Google. One of our clients had spent over 6 months trying to get ahead of some of these guys and out of frustration we went digging to find out what was really going on. Google’s algorithm hadn’t picked up on it at that stage, but it recently did and our client is finally ranking where they deserve to be.
Regardless of all this technical wrestling, and the struggle to prioritise where you actually invest your marketing dollar, the most important factor in this whole equation is your customer. I hear a lot of rhetoric from marketing professionals about how focused they are on this critical customer person. So often though, the customer is forgotten or temporarily pushed aside because a marketer or a creative or an ambitious and sometimes arrogant entrepreneur just wants to have an awesome-looking LinkedIn profile or website and impress people at parties talking about their smoke-and-mirrors business. Don’t chase the wrong thing.
How does UX impact SEO?
UX is actually quite straightforward to conceptualise but very hard to do well. In other words, it’s simple, but not easy. My advice on how you do it? Here you go:
That’s it. I’m done.
Well, not quite. The practical on-site user experience should engage your customer. First, it should fit your brand vision and values, and be easy to navigate. A great mix of visuals – video and images – should be juxtaposed with some incredibly compelling and engaging information. Lead with your story and the needs of your customer, and they’ll hang around and come back often.
What does “be awesome” mean?
It starts from ground zero.
Your business must have a clearly defined purpose and vision
You should understand your customer inside out (demographics, psychographics, online platforms and behaviours)
You must have a meaningful and visually appropriate and appealing brand look and feel
Tell your story and relate to your customers through content
Help your customers make good decisions in their lives and connect/engage with them
Be transparent about how you run your business (e.g. supply chain, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, internal culture experience)
You should have a complete digital marketing strategy that is updated and executed often
You should have an awesome website with a great user experience
Good mix of images, video, and text
Answer your customers questions quickly
Make it easy for customers to contact you and/or make a purchase
Champion thought leaders within your business to have their own voice (providing it aligns with the company, of course)
Engage with your audience where they live (appropriate social channels and community events and sponsorship)
Have a consistent bricks and mortar branding experience
Deliver an exemplary product or service with every detail thought of and revised often
Have an ongoing PR strategy and traditional marketing outreach.
Told you it was simple.
Let’s optimise ‘awesome’
SEO can plug a few holes for you to start with but if you’re are not willing to execute the “Be awesome” directive, or at least start the journey, then you’ll be pushing shit uphill. And we all knows what happens when you push shit up hill long enough and then get tired.
An SEO strategy is much more fun for everyone if we have something to optimise.