Why off-site SEO is just as important as onsite SEO, keywords and content!

Search Engine Optimisation is a constantly evolving process, as is your business, practises and the products/services you offer, therefore you need to ensure your optimisation is up to date, both on the site itself and off the site driving traffic. By following the steps in our recent Onsite SEO Blog , including having a blog, product optimisations, and keywords, you will improve your rankings. But without relevant and targeted off-page SEO efforts too, your website won’t benefit from a vast array of alternative avenues.

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of organically increasing traffic to your website, it’s not keyword placement within your copy alone. Equally important are the tasks you perform off and around your website, a heady mix of link building, social media, influencer marketing (where appropriate), marketing outreach, and paid marketing. For the success of your online business, you will need to have most of these tactics in place and fine tune the messages regularly. 

Not sure what we mean? Here are our top tips for giving your SEO the best possible impact.

“Behind the Scenes” - Backlinks

Simply explained, backlinks are ways in which sites and platforms link content back to you. For example, a customer may review your product on their blog or social media, tagging your profile and inputting a link to your website. These types of engagements are fantastic as they’re genuine; you haven’t paid for the “advertisement”. It’s an organic means of brand awareness and Google loves it. 

Backlinks or link building (as it’s often called) is effectively building votes of confidence in your brand. If a site chooses to link to you, they’re vouching for your quality and your business. 

There are 3 main ways of building links; natural, manual and self-created.

Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of the brand, this means that someone has promoted your product simply because they like your site and/or products. These types of links are the hardest to accrue but the most valuable.

Manually-built backlinks are generated through deliberate link-building activities; this can include things like customers leaving reviews and influencer marketing. This is often from blogs and social media sharing.

Self-created links are created by physically adding yourselves to a directory (Yell, Thompson Local, Google My Business and industry specific listings etc), on a forum, a blog comment, signature, or anchor text. 

Pages with a large number of backlinks generally have higher organic search engine rankings. It’s important to note here though that occasionally backlinks can damage your sites ranking, so reputable sites and profiles are what you’re aiming for. Well-known, highly thought of sites linking back to you is worth its weight in backlink gold. Ideally, they’d be focusing on your high value content too i.e. your blogs, images and videos, your current and relevant contribution to the online world!

Goldilocks Creative off site seo blog banner

Social Media

Social media works in a similar way to that of backlinks; directing traffic from your social media platforms to your website, the hub of your brand. Not only do your various platform profiles allow you to engage with your target audience, (we recommend at least utilising the top 5: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest), having this additional presence online increases the amount of Google results associated with your business. 

Often your social media profiles will appear above your web listing in search engines as they can be more active and engaged with. Your social indicators, for example Facebook likes and shares, or Twitter retweets and followers, are noticed and counted by the search engine algorithms, in turn boosting your SEO scores. So, detailed information and regular posting of sharable content about your business helps to generate awareness, build trust and an understanding of what you do, provide customer interaction, direct traffic to your chosen place, and boost SEO. Not something to be sniffed at! 

A little FYI for you too, always have your keywords and phrases in mind when writing captions and content, and what hashtags do you want to align with? Food for thought.

Influencer Marketing is a bracket within the social media realm; individuals with a certain following promote and endorse certain products and services relevant to them. For example someone who uses their platform to showcase all things arts and crafts might be sent various paint supplies to review and discuss with their fan base.

Your social media marketing strategy is as important as your traditional marketing strategy, having a cohesive amalgamation of the two will pay dividends.

Web Listings

There is an abundance of available index listings out there for you to promote your business; local, regional, national and international ones. An e-replacement if you will for the business directory phone book - remember the Yellow Pages?. 

Often they’re free, with options to pay for a more premium listing if desired, but whichever you choose it’s a great idea to invest some time into sourcing and inputting your brand. 

Be sure to register the correct address, business details and a keyword enhanced summary of the services you provide in order to get the best possible return from these listings. A few to get you started: Yell, Yelp, and Google My Business.

goldilocks creative blog off site SEO

Product Reviews and Feedback

Sourcing products and services online somewhat limits the interactive nature of “shopping around”; without seeing a person or item face to face it can be difficult to form an opinion of them. Your reviews and customer feedback therefore are crucial to a customer’s first impression of you and your brand. Facilitating reviews on platforms such as Trust Pilot (which has a free starter package), Facebook and Google not only affirms faith in your individual products but also in the business as a whole.

Google reviews also count towards the overall SEO ranking of your site, so well worth entertaining!

Multichannel Marketplaces

If your business has an ecommerce site, there are great opportunities to expand your methods of selling online. You’re no longer limited to optimising your website only, there are many off-site ways to sell your products too.

One of the fastest growing and widely accepted ways of funnelling to your website is with social media. For example, Instagram and Facebook now offer instant shopping by integrating ecommerce websites and platforms like WooCommerce. You’re able to tag your “shopable” products within your posts to boost sales directly and create social network specific offers.

It’s also worth considering where else your customers are likely to instinctively shop; for example, ecommerce giants like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and DePop. You can create seller accounts within these sites to broaden your selling horizons and tap into their massive markets. Start thinking about all the potential places your shop could “pop-up”... 

The aim then is to win repeat business directly through your own ecommerce site to cut costs. This is done successfully with follow up offers included in confirmation emails and shipping materials. 

Search Engine Optimisation is an on-going and ever-evolving part of running a business;  part of your every day. If you’d rather someone who already knew how took the lead and was in control of your online success, get in touch with The Goldilocks Creative via lauren@goldilockscreative.co.uk.

Onsite SEO - Getting Ahead Of Google (And other Search Engines, but basically Google..!)

If this blog has made its way to your screen it’s likely you either have a website (hosted or self-built), or are planning on getting one. You will have heard of the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) but may not have grasped its relevance or implementation fully. You see, without investing in your site’s SEO, you can’t expect to ever appear highly on the all-important Google rankings. Without impactful/purposeful/deliberate SEO efforts, it’s safe to say you’re doing half a job.

There are a multitude of practises, activities, tips and tricks to aid your SEO efforts, both on your website (on-site SEO) and through other channels (off-site SEO). At Goldilocks Creative we offer packages to cover all, or few, of these aspects, but if you’d like to give it a go yourself, here are our top tips for winning at on-site SEO. (See our “Off-site SEO” blog for help there too!)

Optimise Your Homepage for all it’s worth

On average a website has 3 seconds to grab someone's attention, and hold it. It needs to showcase why you are the best of the bunch. 

A homepage that is impressive in terms of design and usability goes a long way in converting visitors into customers. A/B testing is advisable to test your homepage design elements; what works with your audience and, more importantly, what doesn’t. 

Does your home page load slowly? Have a clunky interface? Is it too busy and hard to follow? If so, you will almost definitely lose prospective customers, no matter how fantastic a product you’re offering. 

Keep your product images up to date, and ensuring you have the most recent offers and releases visible from your home page will stand you in good stead for SEO purposes. The new season must-haves, the technological upgrades, and the revolutionary inventions, are all irresistible USP’s to consumers. 

Having at least one call to action on your visitors first landing page is essential. Digital shoppers want to be able to shop quickly and easily, being able to buy options from the home screen or get to the section they need right away will increase sales. Potential customers should not have to work to hunt down the option they want.

Effective Product Pages

An effective product page will not only generate more sales revenue, but it will also prevent as many product returns, reducing costs.

Pricing is almost always going to be the deciding factor for someone making a purchase. Contrastly, a common reason online shoppers leave a site without completing their purchase is often down to unclear or misleadingly low pricing. Having exceptionally low prices per item, but ramping up the costs in shipping is a sure-fire way to lose a sale! This type of deceiving pricing breaks shoppers’ trust, and once you have lost that they will not buy from you, fact. 

Clearly displayed and fully inclusive prices on your product pages, with shipping costs detailed alongside the listing, will mean your potential customers stay engaged and informed.

One of the biggest challenges for online retailers is the lack of senses available; you may well sell a physical product, but your customers can’t see/touch/smell/taste/hear it prior to them deciding to purchase. As the retailer your product descriptions are how you can provide clarity, aiding your sale. Including short paragraphs and bullet points of specifications allow concise and an easily understood summary. 

Your product descriptions need to be detailed and compelling, while also incorporating your brand’s personality, making it unique and relatable. Your product copy should be written to reflect the specific needs of your ideal customers, speaking to them as individuals, from you. Simply taking the manufacturer’s copy and dumping it verbatim alongside a product image will not suffice, in fact it could well damage your SEO ratings as Google will consider it duplicate content.

Providing robust product descriptions (with complete item specifications, dimensions and other technical details) will ensure less returns, as the more informed the customer is the more likely they are to be happy with their purchase. 

Return policies are often expensive and rigid. If you can provide a straightforward and free (if possible) returns policy, your visitors will be more inclined to shop from your website, they’ve got nothing to lose! 

Similarly, if you offer a ‘price match’ guarantee customers will lean to you rather than your competitors as this enhances their trust. Being able to demonstrate that your store is customer friendly and trustworthy is one of the cornerstones to winning at eCommerce!

Keywords and Phrases

Keyword and keyphrase research takes some thought and planning but is the ultimate winning component for making sure your site ranks highly. Search Engines love it when you use the most relevant and frequently searched keywords for your product page’s title, description and headings.

It’s important to note here however, that simply plying your copy with your chosen keywords and phrases does not fly with Google, they can spot manipulative attempts a mile off, so organic, authentic writing is the key. 

Not sure how to decipher your keywords? There are a plethora of free, and paid for, tools guiding you in the right direction. These are very helpful, but it’s also a great idea to just sit with a notepad and pen; what are your prospective customers typing in and how could they find you? Geographical locations, product descriptors, business and industry specific terms, etc will all help here.

Now you’re ready to get writing, but what other ways are there to optimise your pages?

You need to stand out from your competitors so your product labels need to be enticing to your viewers. Accurate information, perhaps with character (business specific), will reassure your potential customers that clicking on your link will not be wasting their time!

Within your website there are differing levels of text. We highly recommend ensuring your key phrases are in all levels; Header, Sub Header and Body Text. In addition to this, one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is with Alt Text, utilise this feature by inputting relevant text to all of your tags - it can count as much as your anchor text!

Ever thought about how your images are labelled? Optimise your alt text by naming your images to include relevant keywords or phrases! Put it like this; how often do you use an image search to find the product you’re after? Exactly!

Optimising your product pages with precise key phrases is one of the best tips of the ecommerce trade. Expanding your keyword database to include ‘long tail’ keywords (product specific phrases with 3 words or more) will help those who search long phrases. These people are your premium audience as they know exactly what they are looking to purchase. The conversion rate from visitor to customer is much higher.

Navigation and Responsiveness

The user experience of your website relies heavily on its structure. If your site is tough to navigate or has complex categories and drop-downs, users will simply look elsewhere for your products. Online consumers want ease, convenience and rapid response. 

In 2020, far more items are purchased from a mobile device than a desktop, therefore having a mobile-friendly store is essential. The mobile user experience of your website needs to be equally as good as the laptop version; consumers have a zero-tolerance attitude to anything less. Visitors expect a responsive, easily understood layout, ensuring this will equate to an improved mobile conversion rate.

Your menu items on both mobile and desktop should display the range of product/service categories concisely; not so overwhelming that it’s impossible for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, drowning in a sea of potential purchases.

Blogs and Vlogs - Read our Blog Specifically about Blogs Here

Blogging; that word you will have heard repeatedly from marketeers and SEO specialists! Not only does it enable fresh content directly from the horse’s mouth, which search engines love, it’ll also keep your consumers engaged with your brand. 

Blogs become a touch-point, allowing you to express your business values, processes, releases, promotions and events, all of which consumers may miss otherwise. Use-queries and detailed posts about individual products/services will also give the audience reassurance and support for their purchases.

You can choose to share your blogs and/or vlogs via email or on social networks, this increases the organic reach of your store, directing target audience traffic to your website, without you needing to actively market this content, it’s free!

Vlogging has fast become the new media phenomenon. By including entertaining and engaging video content to your marketing strategy, you are increasing your brand awareness and reach. Consumers want to get behind brands, and when they do, they want the world to know about it. 

Little known online fact; YouTube is now the second most utilised search engine, see our offsite SEO blog for details of how having a YouTube channel and using it to power your website blog and social media can really ramp up those click throughs.

As you may have noticed, the digital arena within your local town, industry and/or realm has become highly competitive. Contributing to your very own blog or vlog has become an essential aspect of successful marketing campaigns. 

Reduce Cart Abandonment Rate

Over 50% of all visitors who abandon their e-basket do so because it’s too complex or too slow a process to get to the finish line and purchase. 

If your visitors have managed to find your website through your various SEO and content efforts, you then want the best conversion rate to a sale! 

Probably the most simple and straight-forward way to improve your conversions is to simply reduce the steps it takes to buy a product. Here’s a few tips:

Exit Messages

Exit pop-ups are a brilliant way to improve sales and to increase sales referrals within your web store, this can be done in one of two ways. 

People love what they consider to be a bargain; if you have an exclusive deal for them they’re more likely to continue with their purchase. Presenting this discount when your visitors are navigating away will entice them to stay on and purchase.

The second method follows a purchase. To keep the user actively engaged in your brand, it’s good practise to add promotional offers such as discounts, referral bonuses, freebies and prizes to encourage the user to shop again and/or refer a friend.

Many site designers overlook the ‘Thank You’ page, however, from an optimisation point of view, it’s a gem! Customers love gratitude, especially when they see their purchase as a personalised item, and research indicates that the chances that this customer will buy from you again are doubled. 

Gaining loyalty from a customer is one thing, but when that person uses your suggested referral discounts on their social media platforms with friends, your prospective client base widens also.

It’s important to note here, that a “Thank You” page is a fantastic tool where Google Analytics are concerned. You’re able to track your website visitors and therefore their buying journey. This data provides you with information about how and where your customers came from, what they eventually purchased, how long they were on your site, which pages they viewed, the list goes on!

Product Reviews and Feedback

Many shoppers will religiously read consumer reviews before they buy something online; it provides them with faith in the listing, showcasing what peers thought of its quality and instils all-important trust in the brand.

Providing relative reviews alongside product descriptions is one trick that aids Amazon in winning the most sales. A simple quote, a star-rating, or a detailed customer review could do wonders for your sales. 

Etsy do all of these fantastically with their image, product descriptions, instant checkout, shipping costs and reviews all displayed within view.

So there you have it, it’s not simply about your keywords! All these elements will boost your ratings bit by bit; it could be the difference between page 1 line 1, and page 3 line 6 on Google. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, and looks a lot like something you don’t really have the time to do, the various website and SEO boosting packages at Goldilocks Creative could take the task off of your hands. 

To get in touch and find out more, email me at lauren@goldilockscreative.co.uk or check out our SEO Page for details of our SEO services

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