We often get asked about digital marketing in workshops and 1-1 sessions. What people often don’t realise is just how broad the topic of ‘digital marketing’ can be.

For example, do you mean email and CRM marketing, social media marketing, mobile, websites, paid advertising, analysing data and web traffic or something else? Once you’ve answered that, you’ve got to consider whether your interest is in content creation, marketing techniques, customer research or the usual stuff you consider with traditional marketing campaigns.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed, yet? It’s easy to understand why a lot of people outsource that branch of their business, but what options are available if you’re not in a position to do so?

We plan to address this issue one topic at a time, starting with SEO. Although our articles won’t have all the answers, they’ll give you a basic overview and point you in the right direction to learn more about it.

First things first

First off, if this is all new to you, go to Google Garage. They have 32 free courses about digital marketing, each of which is broken down into short, snappy lessons you can easily fit in around other things. These courses cover things like setting up a shop, finding customers and advertising. There’s content for people who may be coming to the web for the first time, including this module on everyday tasks such as using email and creating documents. Plus, they’ve recently updated it with remote working materials, too.

Once you’ve made your way through the garage and feel more comfortable, you can focus on particular areas of digital marketing as and when they are needed.

The structure of your website

You might be familiar with the term ‘SEO’ without really knowing what it means. It stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and helps your website to be found by sites like Google. If you’re good at SEO, your website should appear on the first page of a relevant search and bring more customers to your website. The structure of your website plays an important part, but also the content that you write.

Areas to consider are:

  • Have a simple, easy-to-follow page structure that Googlebot can crawl.
  • Add site security (https://).
  • Minimise dead links and error messages by adding a redirect protocol.
  • Try to get other websites to link to yours, as it builds credibility.
  • Use alt descriptions on images so Google can see if the picture content is relevant.

Some online resources you may find useful for SEO:

Writing content for search engine optimisation

After that, you need to make sure your content is written well. You’ll change your voice depending in the customers, but there are some things that are a ‘must’ for everybody.

  • Use a heading after every 300 words (or less).
  • Use the search term in the first heading, a few sub-headings and about 3-4 times per 1,000 words in the main text.
  • Keep most sentences to 20 words or less.
  • Try to use the active voice for 80% of your sentences (I, we, you).
  • Use easy to read words instead of longer, technical words.
  • Include both internal and external links.

Some online resources you may find useful for writing SEO:

Getting ‘position zero’ through Google My Business

It used to be enough to get the top spot on a search engine, but over time this has become less effective. Why? Well, making money from paid ad spots is probably the most likely culprit. Other reasons include searchers using mobile devices with limited screen space and a preference for local results.

If you enter a search now, the top result often comes up with a map, indicating extra information such as opening hours, directions and contact information. This is what people refer to as position zero. Either that, or a drop-down box of frequently asked questions.

Location, location, location

Obviously, once you know this you can use it to your advantage. Ignoring the paid ad spots for now, you can find yourself in position zero quite simply. By creating a Google My Business account, you are telling the search engine to place you on that map. This instantly puts you as a priority within local search results, even if you’re competing with the likes of widespread brands like Argos.

For some businesses, simply creating this account and filling it in is enough, but there may still be competition. If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of scoring highly:

  • Fill out ALL of the boxes
  • Check that all contact details are consistent (and place them in the footer of your website so they show up on all your pages)
  • Add photos – two or three will do it
  • Ask customers to give you a Google review
  • Add post updates regularly

Answering FAQs

Regarding the FAQ boxes, you can get a box spot through having the most relevant content. This mainly goes back to your content writing, however, an easy way to get this spot is to read the article which appears and simply write a better one. Although not fool proof (you’ll still see more consistently used sites like WebMD take top spots), it’s an easy way to approach article rewrites or find new content ideas.

That should be enough for you to get started, but if you need further support, don’t forget to ask your mentor!