On-Page SEO 5 Simple Steps To Get Started.

on-page seo a mobile phone showing google search bar

It can feel overwhelming to try and improve your website’s rankings on Google. You may be asking yourself what steps you should take to improve your website’s performance on the search engines. A lot of webmasters might think they should be working to build links, which is part of the equation for sure, but there is one thing you need to get right before you start building links, so in this post, our focus is directed at “on-page” which is essential to improving the rankability of your website;

Here are 5 things that will help guide you in the right direction.

On-page SEO is a way to improve the visibility of your website in search engine results pages. To understand how your site could benefit from ON-page, the first thing you should consider is carrying out an audit that will identify those parts of your website that can be optimised and can be improved upon.

The content of your web pages and what is outputted on the browser is one of the most valuable areas of SEO. This not only includes the content which can be consumed by the visitor but also the code and files served to a webpage upon loading, including text, metadata visuals and multimedia, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. All these things together can be classed as content and regarded as “on page” elements.

No matter what type of content you produce, it’s vital to optimise any site for your visitors. The reason why this is so important is that as your site can be found in the search engines and people are going to start visiting, this is called traffic and is the first part of the SEO equation, the second part, which is just as important, is the conversion and should. As the name suggests, this converts visitors into taking some form of positive action on your site, which will lead to an opportunity and eventually turn into sales and profitable customers.

You can’t be successful online if don’t have both of these parts of the equation working, so If you want your website to rank in Google and keep visitors coming back for more, and become raving fans of your brand in the process, then remember these five on-page SEO factors to help in your pursuit.

One of the principles that you should uphold at all times with On Page SEO is that the search engines rank webpages, not websites, so targeting each and every page as individual digital assets will serve you well as if you target a distinct group of keywords for each page with little cross over, you are more likely to get greater visibility for your site and avoid keyword cannibalisation, especially on eCommerce sites.

Content

Good content, which is both relevant and compelling is essential for getting noticed and attracting the attention of the potential customer and getting them to take the next steps of engagement.

It’s hard to be definitive about what Good content is, but it can be summed up by providing extreme value to your visitors and positioning yourself as the authority in your industry. But within that, it should be optimised through the use of keywords to attract your target customers and which should appeal to their wants and needs and contributes to solving their problems in some way.

Things to consider here are making sure your content is easy to digest by providing quality and accurate information in a clear and concise format.

By putting yourself in the shoes of your potential customer you can think about what keywords they might include in their search and then strategically insert those keywords throughout your content.

Put the needs of your readers first, not just what search engines want. And don’t resort to the spammy tactics used in the past such as keyword stuffing or other spammy techniques, Google is far too clever for that in the 21st century.

First impressions count too, so provide your visitors with what you think they should expect from you. Provide a great user experience and keep the brand and design consistent across all of the pages of your site. As well as always trying to think about how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Title Tags

Title tags are one of the most important parts of on-page SEO, they’re treated differently by search engines than regular body text. Search engine algorithms pull metadata from these tags and use them to display your site in SERPs. ( search engine ranking pages)

Therefore, they should be accurate and precise in how it describes the content on that webpage, but should also include the main target keyword, preferably at the beginning of the title.

As search engine only usually display 60 characters of a title, be sure that your format reflects those limitations as otherwise it could be ignored and any opportunity wasted and won’t be seen by the visitor.

Title tags are incredibly powerful, and worth taking time over to get the best results.

Metadata

The definition of metadata is data that describes other data and is found in a site’s HTML (the markup all websites are rendering in) and help search engines determine what information the page contains.

Metadata (which includes your title tag mentioned above) is recognised by web crawlers and used to inform it of things like your webpages title as well as any descriptive text used across the whole page.

Search engines also use some of this data as the snippet you see when viewing a search engine results page and tells the visitors what the page is about so they can make an informed choice whether to click on the link or not.

It helps both your search engine and human engagement if you can optimise the metadata with relevant information to encourage web users and search engines to interact with the page.

This effects:

  • Click-through rate – More people are enticed to click on your link and visit your site and can be regarded as a soft ranking factor
  • Trust and authority – By using good copy to describe the page, visitors are more likely to trust that you offer quality products and services and want to know more by clicking the link to visit the page in question.
  • Improved conversion: – Building a website that appeals to your visitors will convert them from being viewers into clients.

Keywords

Historically, web crawlers prioritise websites with a high density of keywords but nowadays you’re more likely to be penalised by Google for using these tactics. To avoid negative consequences for a page stuffed with keywords, search engines are programmed to detect this behaviour and rank it lower in results.

To use keywords properly you can start by visiting Google’s own Keyword Planner which is a great way to find relevant keywords and phrases for your niche for free. However, to research keywords correctly and more in-depth, industry professionals like us use other sources too as it has been shown that sometimes Google keyword planner can be restrictive.

When choosing keywords you have to think a little bit deeper about the content you’re planning to create and to consider the nuances which are apparent when making those decisions, things like the intent of the keyword, as well as the overall objectives of your business dependant on the type of messages you are wanting to publish, such as a sales page or informational page for example.

And while it’s ok to use keywords deliberately and strategically, you also need to strike a balance between human consumption and search engines favouring the former. It is important that content on your site is relevant, engaging and of value for human readers, but not over optimised to the point that Google penalises you for being too biased towards the algorithm.

A common oversight is to assume that websites rank as a whole in the search engines, but you need to think more granularly. It’s the individual pages that appear in the search results, so you should be thinking of each page as its own separate entity, which is a subset of the whole site, just like chapters are a subset of a book.

So when choosing keywords think about them on a page by page basis.

Another thing to consider with your choice of keywords is intent. This is the proposed intention of the searcher and so needs to be reflected in the page you are creating.

The main search intents are

Navigational: people looking for a specific website such as Linkedin or Google for example.

Informational: as the name suggests, it’s where people are looking for specific information.

Transactional: If you are building out a sales page or a store, these are typically the type of intent keywords you could optimise for and are quite specific and can use modifiers such as “buy” or “deal” or “coupon” for example.

Commercial: This is typically used by people who are interested in buying a specific product/service but are doing some research prior to purchase, so maybe using modifiers such as “review”, top” or “best” with your keyword is the way to go here.

As you can see, choosing keywords is a little more nuanced if you want to do it correctly and takes a little more time, but as you’re the expert in your business, you’ll have most of those keywords in your head already, it’s just a matter of thinking about it more and strategy.

Optimised Images

A picture says a thousand words as the saying goes, and it’s right, Images are a great way to attract your customers and hold their interest on your website.

However, it’s easy to overlook the fact that placing large images on your site can slow it down to a crawl, especially on mobile and therefore resulting in a poor user experience.

Limiting the size of the image file you upload, as well as using compression tools is an easy fix to help overcome this problem and in the process optimise them for your site.

One further step you should take is to edit them to the appropriate dimensions, which will help optimise those images further.

Touching on metadata for a second in relation to images, always make sure your image file names are keyword-friendly and your alt text for each image is descriptive will help even further.

These enhancements make your site more searchable by Google, more user-friendly and load a lot faster.

This is growing in importance for Google as they see the performance of websites and how fast they load as a major issue as far as user experience is concerned.

They are actively seeking to resolve the problem and doing something about it, much in the same way they did with forcing positive change to SSL certificates and mobile-friendly website.

They have given notice that As of May 2021 they plan to introduce Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor.

This is a metric that Google has used as part of the Search console tool, and focuses primarily on website loading speeds using metrics such as LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift).

if you want to know more about on-page SEO and would like to get a professional opinion on your website by requesting a FREE website review get in touch to book in with one of our optimisation experts.

The Best Marketing Channels For Small Business

small business person marketing company on laptop looking for the best channels for the greatest reach online

You may be wondering what marketing channels are best for your small business. Luckily, there are many ways to market your small business and it is important to understand which ones will work the best for you. In this blog post, we’ll discuss a number of digital marketing channels that can help you grow your company!

let’s get into it…

Leverage Google’s Tools for Businesses

Use the tools google provide which are in many cases free to use. Here are a few suggestions.

The first couple in the list below are more to do with carrying out some marketing intelligence, as you probably what to start with finding out what people are interested in?

Google search engine:

Sometimes business owners or agencies think you have to buy expensive tools to be effective or to understand your market and retrieve data, but that is not the case.

By using your brain you can simply use Google’s free search engine to simply research for Keywords you might want to use for your small business marketing or for what your competitors are up to.

But don’t just aimlessly browse around, have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start with any search engine intelligence gathering, such as searching for popular terms In your industry and seeing what Google returns.

Make notes of what you see and identify patterns or competitors who keep on showing up in the results. This is important, as these results are what Google think are relevant enough to position on page one for your query.

Google Analytics:

Track your site’s traffic to find out which pages are most successful on your site, who is visiting it etc. You can also set goals so you know when they’ve been reached

Google Sites:

This is a free tool that allows you to create a basic website, but if you use it strategically you can use it as another layer to your marketing on top of your main website. The great thing about a google site is that it automatically updates itself with any posts you create on your Google my business account, so if you do this regularly it keeps that google site up to date and represents a further layer of content that is getting published regularly on the web.

Google My Business:

Google My Business is an important tool for small businesses, especially if your audience is local and based in close proximity to your business.

It’s like a social network but based around googles own search engine, but with a local bias. It displays local results of a query relevant to the location within which it’s searched, which according to Google’s own research, accounts for over 50% of all searches carried out across the internet as a whole.

Anyone who uses Google will have noticed these locally based search results which normally appear as three business listing along with a local map at top of a relevant search results page. A lot of the time it will be accompanied by a knowledge panel with details of the business google thinks is the most relevant to that query.

This is an incredibly powerful way to marketing your locally based business and is essential to being found in your immediate area by people looking for your product/services

local SEO listing in Google maps that shows up when you type in  a query which has local intent

Use social media effectively

You don’t need me to tell you that you need to market your business through social, buy just pick the ones that make sense for your industry and don’t worry too much about the others.

Depending on where your audience is, consider the most popular ones from the list below.

Facebook:

This is one of the biggest social networks in the world with over a billion monthly active users, so it makes sense for small businesses to consider setting up ads and pages here. That being said, be aware of your audience and if they are going to present on there, which may not be the case if your industry is more b2b than b2c?

Twitter:

A microblogging site that’s been around since 2006 but is not focussed on one type of audience or demographic so it’s considered to be the most impartial social network.

LinkedIn:

The social network for the business world. This is where professionals go to find jobs, meet other people in their industry or field and can be a valuable tool for small businesses looking to build relationships with other companies and as one would imagine is best for b-to-b clients.

YouTube:

The second most visited website after Google, youtube is great for marketing because you can upload videos which will allow people to go back through them later and they’re also searchable meaning you’ll get traffic from those searches too! And as a video has a huge share of traffic on the internet, this is a great way to reach your target audience.

Instagram:

is part of Facebook, and is a photosharing social media platform popular with millennial’s, with over 600 million active monthly users. It is also a good way to get people to share your content and you can build brand awareness by using filters which means that the photos look more attractive.

Tik Tok:

Tik tok is an app. It is really popular with 12-18-year-olds, but it has become popular with people who are older and businesses trying to promote their products through video. It has become one of the fastest-growing apps in recent years and a lot of businesses are starting to adopt the platform for marketing their products.

However, as the demographic is of a particular type, you need to be sure that your audience before jumping headlong into it…

if you own a business that provides Emergency plumbing or roof replacements perhaps think twice before spending a lot of time and effort marketing your services on this platform.

Use your own Business Blog

Spend time blogging on your own website blog is a great way for you to talk about the business, keep people up to date with what’s going on and attract new clients.

Its also been shown that you get more traffic to your website and more engagement if you can provide high-quality content which can provide value to your audience.

Things you can cover on your blog are things like:

tips for running a small business in your industry and for your audience
news within your business
Behind the scenes in your business to give people a sneak peek behind the curtain where most customers never get to see.

Most business owners ignore this because they think it’s hard work coming up with content to write about, which to a certain degree is true, but it is so worth the effort.

But remember if you think it’s hard for yourself to blog regularly, if you have other members of staff, ask them if they would be interested in writing some posts too, you never know, someone may jump at the chance… if all else fails you can always rely on your friendly digital marketing company that will blog for you either as a stand-alone service or as part of a larger digital marketing strategy.

Email Marketing

Marketing your business through your email list is a great marketing channel that a lot of small business owners either don’t do or get so wrong, but doing it the right way is one of the most cost-efficient ways to market your business and to get new customers.

It can be really great for small businesses because they can integrate it with all of their other marketing channels such as social media, blogging and of course add it to their website.

The most important thing about email marketing is that you need a set schedule for when you are going to send out emails, how often the recipients will receive them, and what content they will contain so its not too much or too little information.

One way to make sure that people are kept interested and don’t unsubscribe from your mailing list is to offer them something of value in each one, This could be an article on running your business or simply some useful tips about how your reader can achieve some results either using your product or learning how your product can help them solve their problem!

The thing that most business owners do when applying email marketing is to just send emails about their business… and while that is ok to do occasionally, you really need to think about the customer more and what they want to know more about and why they have subscribed in the first place. If you can do that, there is huge value you can get from your email subscribers

The more value you can provide to your subscriber, the more likely they are to think about you and your brand as being an expert and more likely to consider buying from you when they are looking to purchase the service or product you offer.

Paid Ads

Using paid traffic is a great way to get new or existing customers to your site, and if done right can be very lucrative. The problem is that a lot of site owners think it’s simply a matter of pointing an ad to their site and that’s it.

That couldn’t be further from the truth and those who have done it wrong find that it can be very expensive with little reward. so you have to be clear about your objectives and outcomes and plan out the campaign before spending a cent.

The key to success with paid ads is how to use the traffic to achieve your goals that you should have arrived at in your planning. So if you want to sell a product for example, then the goal of your campaign is to get as many people who are looking for that product and show them your product. If you want to grow awareness, then it’s about getting visitors onto your site so they can learn more about what you offer and then perhaps get them to sign up as an email subscriber.

One other thing – in digital marketing timing matters a lot because each day or week will be different depending on how competitive things are at any given time. So if something works today but not tomorrow, don’t keep throwing money into doing the same old thing when there may be better opportunities out there waiting for you.

The best way to improve ROI from paid ads is by using conversion tracking software: this allows you to see every visitor you’re sending through to your ad campaigns and know exactly which is working until you’re in a position where you have an optimised campaign which is In profit.

SEO

Many of the suggestions made in this post can be regarded as constituents of SEO, but having an SEO strategy allows you to unify all of your efforts to result in a coordinated approach to your small business digital marketing to get the desired results.

Search engine optimisation is one of the most important digital marketing channels because it’s free and you can improve your rankings on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. by taking some of the actions described above and by doing some research to discover the best keywords for your industry and using that information to provide value-based content and posting it across the internet.

Many small businesses don’t use SEO because it can be regarded as too complicated and time-consuming, but there are many free tools you can use to simplify the process.

It all starts with a good digital marketing strategy! and it allows your business to reach out to and be seen by potential customers in order to increase sales or leads.

You never know which channels will work best for your particular target audience so trying things out and trying different types of channels should be considered as part of any solid digital marketing plan.

Digital and Traditional PR

This may be a surprise to include, as most small businesses think this is for larger businesses, but that is not the case. PR is becoming more important with the digital age, and traditional PR still works well for some small businesses.

At its simplest it’s just a matter of looking at what publications are out there, either locally or in your industry and then finding out the people who create the content or edit the publication.

This is probably the easiest thing for an individual to do as most can be found online with a little bit of thought and perseverance.

The key to this technique however is understanding what these people want. They are busy and they are typically under pressure to fill a blank page with something of interest for their audience.

This is where you come in by providing that interest on a silver platter. All you have to do is have something ready to offer them and make it as easy as possible for them, so this needs some planning.

All you need to do is to think about all the things they would want to run the story, images, a great tag line and some copy that is well written and a little different. When I say different, I don’t mean it has to be something that hasn’t been done before, most things are after all are recycled, I just mean you have to give your story or event a different angle, something which fires the imagination.

An example of this would be that one of our clients who does this very well have an annual charity walk to raise money for their favourite charity. This is for a great cause, and that is the main reason they do it, but by reaching out to editors and journalists, we know it will be picked up by some and will be featured in their publications.

By referring to our client and their company in the article, we know that this will be published and provide some additional free publicity for the business, as well as also doing some great work for charity.

As you can see, it’s pretty simple to achieve, and if done well, you can even become a go-to source for some journalist, which can become invaluable in differentiating your small business from that of your competition in the eyes of your potential customers.

To Round Off

So as you can see, digital marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses, but it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive.

With a little imagination, you can easily get some amazing traction for your business through using these digital marketing techniques.

Then again, if you would prefer an expert to this for your business, we can help you find the channels that are best suited to your industry and budget and do it all for you.

whether you want to do it yourself or for someone else to do it, you can achieve some amazing professional insights into which direction could yield the best results with our free digital marketing review. Schedule yours FREE today!

More Funding Available For North East Businesses

small business applying for nbsl small business funding

Have you got a digital project in mind for your business and would like to get some funding towards it, then this is for you?

We can announce that the North East Business Support Fund (NBSL) have successfully applied for further funding to offer grants to eligible projects for North-East businesses which are now open for application.

Here at Black and white Boy, we are registered suppliers to the NBSL scheme and have helped many businesses fulfil their digital projects with the help of the funding available through NBSL scheme.

We have delivered websites, eCommerce solutions and digital marketing campaigns to help those businesses grow and thrive despite the many challenges small business face in today’s commercial landscape, including Covid.

The great news is that NEW funding of £1.6m has been secured and applications are now being invited for relevant projects for SME’s in the North East.

What’s on offer

Depending upon where your business is located in the North East the offer differs slightly.

Specifically:

  • Businesses located in County Durham, the offer available is funding up to 40% of the value of a project costing between £2500 – £8000
  • If your business is situated in Tyne and Wear or Northumberland, the deal on offer is funding up to 35% of the cost of the project from £3000 – £8000.

Which companies are eligible for funding?

The grants are open to businesses who are based in County Durham, Tyne and Wear or Northumberland who are classed as Small to medium-sized enterprises. The definition of an SME is as shown below:

  • Employ no more than 250 full-time or equivalent employees
  • Annual revenue is no more than € 50 Million
  • Balance Sheet value below €43 Million.

There should also be evidence that there is a plan to grow or to recover from the impact of Covid (staff or turnover).

Also, If the business is involved in any kind of group structure – either being partially or fully owned by another business or having partial or full ownership of another business – NBSL would need details to establish eligibility.

How Do I make an application

Making an application is simple and shouldn’t take more that15 mins. It’s all online and easy to understand.

As you may expect it will cover the fundementals of your business, aswell as asking you about the trading history of the business.

If you’re a ltd business you will be required to provide audited accounts for the last two years, though if you haven’t got them that far back, you can still apply it’s just that your NBSL manager will want to know a little more information from you, so its likely they will prefer to do that during a phone call.

Even if your business hasn’t been trading that long and you don’t have all the financial documents of a more established business, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply.

All you have to do is show evidence that you have been trading and that you have been able to raise invoices for the goods or services you provide as part of your application. NBSL will use that information to evaluate your application, but will probably also require a phone discussion to discuss it further.

Once your application has been received it doesn’t take that long to process and receive a decision, sometimes within a few days.

What Do I Do Once My Application Has Been Accepted?

OK, so you have great news and you have received word from NBSL that your application is succcessful, now what?

If you have a registered supplier in mind, you can start immediately, once you have received written notification from your NBSL manager.

The project needs to be delivered within a three-month window and should be shown to be complete within that time for you to receive that funding.

So for example, if its a website, this needs to be live on your domain and fully functional within the allotted time.

After this, there are just some small bits of due diligence for NBSL to oversee such as seeing evidence that the project has been paid for.

Once that has been done, the grant will be paid directly into your bank account and is normally pretty swift.

NBSL state that this would be done within 30 days of completion, but in reality can take as little as a few days.

Book A Quick Call

If you have questions or want a quick strategy session without any obligation, book a call with us and get some answers to your problems

10 SEO Writing Tips For Higher Conversions

10 SEO tips for better conversions

Nobody wants to read meaningless passages of keywords, especially since they are not even rewarded by Google anymore. So here are 10 SEO writing tips to help you with your site.

The focus should be to avoid the classic SEO criteria of chasing keywords and instead, you should direct the content towards writing for people and their needs.

This is not only rewarded by Google’s algorithm, but it also ensures that your hard work will not go unappreciated by those who read it. Its been shown time and time again that users who read well written content, read more, and have a greater likelihood to convert into raving fans.

Those SEO articles often associated with poor quality, constant repetition and spun sentences that making no sense don’t have a great reputation.

No wonder, far too many (allegedly) SEO content still read like an incoherent hodgepodge of keywords without adding any value.

The problem: As the name suggests, some content writers are still creating content for machines instead of people, which is so 2012.🤣

But who benefits from high click rates when readers leave the page immediately due to the user experience being so low?

In addition, Google has long since stopped basing its rating solely on keyword density, taking other metrics, such as CTR and linger time, into account.

That’s why we’ve put together some tips that will help you write strong SEO peices that not only rank well, but also lead to high conversion outcomes.

Google has rewarded helpful content for a long time now, the Google algorithm has not only taken keywords into account, in fact it id estimated to only make up around 15 percent of the ranking. Instead, Google now places much more emphasis on really helpful content, which is expressed in two basic principles:

😎EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
This means above all technical competence, credibility and reliability. Google prefers sites that provide added value for their readers through a high level of expertise and knowledge.

YMYL (“Your Money or Your Life”)

This acronym means that Google has high standards for content that could directly affect the health, finances or general quality of life of its users.

Here, poor quality is severely punished and instead, relevance and responsibility need to shown instead.

This shows that high-quality, helpful content actually helps with ranking webpages itself: authority and popularity of a site make up around 26 percent of the ranking.

But high quality content also fulfills another function. It not only guarantees visibility and thus entices users to read, but ultimately nurtures them to covert into valuable leads.

The following ten tips will tell you what makes content of this kind stand out.

Follow these 10 SEO Writing Tips For Higher Conversions

  1. Headline and introduction:
    The headline is the first connection between reader and text and thus decides whether it will be clicked at all. It must therefore arouse curiosity, convey an initial idea of the article and its structure, and express ease of readability and added value.

“XX Reasons why. or “How to” headlines are particularly successful because they directly address the benefit to the reader.

However, not only is the headline important, but also the introduction is to, this ensures that readers do not jump off after a few sentences. It should emphasise the added value in more detail, get to the point precisely without filler words if possible, and be formulated clearly and concisely.

  1. useful, precisely tailored content:
    This is the core feature of content that drives conversions: It must be informative and at the same time answer the questions of the respective readers. After a user has read such a passage, she should be convinced of the company’s or users expertise.

To do this, the copywriter must understand the precise needs of the readers. They need to make the core benefits clear right from the start and ultimately solve the readers problem.

  1. meaningful text structure:

Not only formally, but also in terms of content, every article should be clearly structured.

This includes first introducing the topic in general terms and then listing individual points that are coherent and put into context. In the end, a logical conclusion must be deduced, which becomes obvious after reading a stringent argumentative text.

In order to make and to clarify connexions in this way, connectors or connectives are essential, especially conjunctions (if, although, so that etc.). Particularly important connections should be emphasized explicitly in separate sentences.

  1. consider the level of information of the users:

In order for an article to be of maximum help to the reader, it must be taken into account at what point in the buying process they are at. Do they first have to be informed about the problem itself or have they already obtained a lot of information and are looking for a very concrete solution?

If this question is not considered, there is a risk that readers will either get bored or become overwhelmed – in either case, they will probably neither read the text to the end nor convert through it.

So in order to serve potential leads with different levels of information, different content is required for the different phases.

  1. No Continuous “Wall of Text”:

Long, uniform text blocks discourage, overwhelm and do not make you want to read. Instead, the shortest possible, self-contained sections with subheadings should be chosen, interrupted and loosened up by illustrations, enumerations, tables, etc.

  1. Call to action:

The aim of a text is always to make readers take action and turn to the solution offered by the company in question. This should not only be made clear in the Call-to-Action (CTA), but rather by means of the general language of the text. This requires active language with clear imperatives. In addition, the present tense should be chosen as a tempus, as this allows topicality and urgency to be expressed.

7 Direct Address:

This aspect is closely related to point six. After all, imperatives in particular only work in the second person. But the direct approach also serves a purpose of its own: users do not want to obtain general information, but are looking for a solution to their personal problems. Accordingly, the wording should make it clear that the text helps them very specifically.

In addition, the “you” or “them” creates proximity and immediacy.

  1. Precise, strong formulations:

Precise language is used to convey information in a few clear words. This works above all by using the appropriate adjectives: instead of “unhelpful”, “useless” can be used; instead of “very pretty”, “beautiful” can be used.

Such an expression stands for energy, clarity and a certain authority of the copywriter: If you know what you are talking about, you don’t have to hide behind vague formulations. At the same time, precise language helps to prevent the text from becoming unnecessarily long.

  1. Formulating appealing calls-to-action:

CTA is the decisive sentence that finally decides on every conversion. Accordingly, it must express the call to action in a direct and clear manner, be formulated in a convincing and appealing manner and, if necessary, also convey a certain inspiration.

  1. Finding a round conclusion:

The final sentences of a text remain particularly in the mind and are the final thing users read before deciding whether to click on a CTA. Therefore, you should always round off your content with a strong message. For example, a metaphor or a generally pictorial language can be used here to illustrate the core message once again. You can also end with a look into the future or a question that makes the reader think. Making SEO human again.

Hopefully you have picked up a few things you can apply in your own content which will help your content get better conversions and in so doing grow sales and engagement.

What Is Linkbuilding And How Can It Help SEO

linkbuilding for better seo rankings

Building Links And SEO

Even in 2021, Link building remains one of the biggest factors in SEO if you want to improve the search engine results of you webpage.

It’s one of those terms that can confuse and instil dread into the hearts of many an SEO. But despite all the changes the internet marketing landscape keeps throwing at us – link building is one of those disciplines, which has fundamentally stayed the same and yet remains one of the more challenging areas of SEO to master.

Since link building has been a “thing”, there have been plenty of tools to automate the process and to make it easier, but this will often produce lower quality results. So the best way, still, to get the best results is to have a solid manual link building process, and something we’ll explore in this post.

So, in order for you to learn, we’d better start at the beginning by explaining why it’s such a powerful digital market skill to have.

What are links

So links, or as they are more commonly known, hypertext links are a foundational element built into the markup language through which all webpages are built, called HTML. Its job is to allow anyone on the internet to go from one part of the internet to another through clicking (or tapping in the case of a mobile device) on that element. This could be in the form of a button, image or appropriately coded text.

It was one of the reasons why it was considered so revolutionary when its inventor (Sir) Tim Berners Lee introduced it as a way to share files between researchers who worked at CERN  (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva in 1991.

The webpage he created then is still available to see as it’s now considered a historical document and also conveniently demonstrates a link in it’s most basic form  – this is a link to the very first webpage

Two years later in April 1993, CERN announced that this technology dubbed “the world wide web” would be available free for anyone to use, and just like that, the internet was born.

That’s Great, But How Does This Help Me With Digital Marketing?

Given the quick history lesson above you might be hard pressed in joining the dots to understand how these hyperlinks help your internet marketing efforts, but I will try to explain… bear with me.

The best analogy I can refer to is that links are like votes from other websites,  to say your site is good, it’s really as simple as that.  However, not all links are equal.

In the wild,  these types of links are all over the internet, and are commonly used as a way to refer to another piece of content which is relevant in some way to the information, much like the link I created above when I referred to the first-ever web page – it allows you, the consumer, to make a little more sense of what I was trying to describe.

So, therefore, you can see that if you create valuable information on your site which someone thinks is good enough to link to, then they are saying, that piece of content is good, relevant and authoritative in their opinion, and effectively giving you a vote. But that is only part of the story.

The power of links came about when you add Google into the mix, as links are a large part of their algorithm. To understand this, we need to have another quick history lesson…

Back in the 1990s, Larry Page, one of the founders of Google was at Stanford University studying his PhD, he was interested in many things, one of which was how search engines worked at the time.

He was specifically interested in how to improve the quality of results a user received when they typed in a query.

Back then search engines such as excite, Alta vista, AOL, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo! worked on providing results based upon keywords taken from the metadata of a website. This left the search engines open to widespread abuse and was being manipulated by unscrupulous web developers who knew how to skew the results in their favour.  Therefore, the quality of the results was at best vague and more often than not, irrelevant to the query you had typed in.

Larry Page thought that this isn’t how search engines should be, he believed that the results of a search should be the best quality possible and shouldn’t be open to as much manipulation. 

He hooked up with a colleague at Stanford, Sergey Brin, a mathematician, and together they embarked on a way to change it.

Their response was an algorithm nicknamed “backrub”, this was the first algorithm of it’s kind and one which developed into the “page rank” algorithm, which went on to form the basis of their new venture.

In September 1998 they launched a new company called Google, which would literally go on to change the world.


The Page Rank(PR) algorithm was designed to change the way search engines processed information and how it categorised information on the internet.

Previously,  information on the internet wasn’t organised and categorised, therefore you didn’t know how authoritative, or even how trustworthy, the information you were seeing in the results actually was.


What Googles algorithm did was create a simple hierarchy of the internet based on the how websites linked to one another, which could determine the authority of a webpage on a scale of 10 to 0, with PR 10 being the highest authority and most trustworthy, by contrast, PR 0 showed that the web page had absolutely no authority or trust whatsoever.

What this allowed Google to do was to improve the quality of its results on its search engine based upon how authoritative and trustworthy the information was as determined by a mathematical algorithm, largely based on which other websites linked to it (in other words how many quality votes it receives.)

Even though the algorithm has changed significantly over the years and Page Rank metric is no longer publicly shared by Google, the algorithm and the search results which result from it still has a significant links bias to it. Though now the algorithm is largely dynamic and built around AI and automated learning technologies, that being said, they still find it difficult ( at the time of writing) to find another metric as reliable as links to determine a website’s overall authority and trustworthiness.

So now we understand a little about the genesis of links and link builidng we can now move on to explore some of the practical techniques.

What Type Of Websites Should Try I To Get Links From?

The first thing I would probably preface this with is that natural link building is always preferable, that is where you produce quality content consistently and build up an audience who are more likely to share and link to that content.

Though if you want to amplify your efforts, you can use the following as guidance as to how to develop that reach.

With content, the ideal outcome is to get it consumed and to be seen by more people, which can often prove difficult if you do not have the reach of a noted celebrity. There are many things you can do to help promote that content, one of which is to build a powerful backlink from an authoritative source.

But to do this, its often not as straight forward as just letting your content sit there on a webpage waiting to be discovered as some would have you think. You have to promote it, but do so strategically.

You need to identify those sites who are the most powerful and will provide that added coverage, however, if you are just starting out, It’s best to keep it simple stupid at first.

With experience, more powerful links will be acquired, but at the start, some of the links you win are not going be the best, but you will learn a great deal in the process.

What Determines The Power Of A Backlink?

To get more powerful links, authority is still based upon the page rank principle and the hierarchy of the internet, so, if one website, which is more authoritative than yours, links back to your site, then some of that power will trickle to your page, that is the simplest way of looking at it.


However, you also have to match that with a concept called topical relevance, which as you can probably guess is how relevant the corresponding page is to your content? This is important because it makes more sense that websites are going to link to you when they are in a similar vertical or relevant, rather than a backlink from a random website.


One small side-note that perhaps I should mention here is what we’re trying to do in building links is to build trust, authority and relevance to our own website.
While that might look like its gaming Google, it’s not, the way I like to think of it is that we are naturally promoting our content, just as you would promote it on social media or any other channel, only this way we are reaching out to those who might be interested in a more targeted way.

You don’t need to ask for the link per se, just that the recipient might be interested in sharing it with there own audience.

It is important to underline that what makes this achievable is the quality of your own content too. Someone linking to your site is only going to do so if it enhances their own content or reputation in some way, no one in their right mind will link to poor or low-quality content.


If the quality of your content is good enough, and you promote it in the right ways, you will attract the attention of other website owners whose subject matters are aligned with yours, this is how you grow the power of your website naturally.

And even though you can’t really control who links to your site, it’s important as much as possible to ensure that the link profile remains clean, high quality, but natural as far as possible. 

If it looks off, it may set off a red flag in the algorithm to say  you are trying to  manipulate your rankings too much by artificially acquiring links for rankings as opposed to for editorial reasons, this is the inherent risk in such a pursuit.

I’m In A Very Specialised Vertical And Few Sites Will link Back.

One of the more common questioned I get asked is this.

A lot of people who embark on a link building campaigns will be hit by this barrier at some point. There are billions of websites out there and millions are being launched daily, so there are no limits to how many links you can get theoretically, but I accept that is an unhelpful answer when you’re just starting out.


Obviously, not all those websites out there are going to be suitable and relevant to your industry, so I would typically start the most obvious.


Firstly, social links may not be the most powerful, but they are worth having. Even if you don’t use social media, which, if you’re serious about marketing your business online, you should be. But even on those channels which you don’t post to, it’s worth just having an account just so you can fill in the bio and have a link back.

As mentioned, it’s not going to be too powerful, but what this demonstrates to Google and the other search engines is that you’re a real bona fide entity.

This is important, as Google is looking at trust signals related to your business, and if you are like most other businesses, they all have social media accounts, so it’s important to have that social foundation, at the very least, even if you use the platforms or not.

Then look at your industry, if it’s like most, there will be lots of bodies and associations which are relevant that you may already be a member of, check their website to see if your business is featured and if they have included a link back from that site, if not, reach out to them ask, as member  if they would refer to your website in the bio they provide about your business.

If you understand Html, you can even send them the code with a hyperlink included back to your home page, so all they need to do is copy and paste that into the page.


At this point, I want to point out that it’s probably not the done thing to ask straight out for a link, as the person you’re contacting may not know what you’re talking about, and those who do, know the value of a backlink and may ignore the request and disregard it as span, especially if you’re not known so well, so we have to think of strategically about how to request one without being too obvious.

Once you have done this, we can then go beyond the obvious,  and look at other low hanging fruit. This is the time to get a little creative and examine just what content is on your site. What is the subject matter or industry and then hunt out another site which has similar content?

Remember though, people are only going to link to your site if the content has some value, so look at the type of content you and your team have produced and or what you can produce which could be of value to your audience and that of other similar sites.  Be critical and consider if it’s the best it can be, and If you’re objective, ask yourself if anybody other than your colleagues would find it interesting and read it.

If it’s passed the sniff test, then you can think about who would be interested in reading it also, perhaps it’s a case study of a client you’ve worked with, surely they would be interested in someone talking about them online?

Reach out to them and tell them they have been featured on your website and perhaps they would like to promote the piece themselves or post about it on social media or even refer to it on their own website.

Now remember what i said earlier about being subtle,  in the above scenario, you’re not asking for anything outright, you’re giving them something they would be interested in knowing about, you’re not asking for anything, this is just being strategic.

Now here’s where a little psychology starts coming into play, it’s called reciprocity, and it basically means that someone may reciprocate in kind if you do something for them. Ideally, it could be in the form of a backlink, but what you might get is the next best thing, maybe a post on their social media channels or promote it some other way.

The point is, that it’s not always going to result in what you want, but what you’re doing is using relevant content, which is interesting to other people, and leveraging that to be seen by a bigger audience. In this case, you’re potentially getting in front of a clients audience who might be a larger audience than the one you have and therefore more people potentially becoming aware of you.
If you do enough of this type of promotion and have enough of this type of content, you will start to get the links you wanted.

Where Do I Start With Linkbuilding?

OK, so you’re still interested in wanting to do some link building, which is great!, So obviously you’d be right in asking the question where do I start?

The first thing I would suggest is to have a goal, what is it you want to achieve with your campaign? if you’re just starting out, it might be worth just having very simple objectives and to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-specific).

Build your process and experience

The key here is to build some experience, and learn from doing it, so you could start with something simple such as building your first link in one week, this will allow you to achieve your objective without too much pressure and perhaps will give you the confidence to go further on the next campaign.

It will also make you think about your process, which is half the battle, if you can develop a standard operation procedure it will allow you to be more efficient, and also if you get proficient at it, you can use that procedure as a way to train others.

Do You Have Sssets You Can Use

The next thing you have to consider is what assets have you on your website already which might be considered as interesting enough to link to?

If there is such a piece or multiple pieces of content, then great! if not, do you have the resources to create such a piece? This content could be anything such as an article, infographic, a case study, video – the only thing is it needs to be original and high value that someone other then your parents would be interested in reading.

You don’t have to produce it yourself  if you don’ have those skills, instead, identify someone who has, maybe in your business or someone you know. Otherwise, the internet is full of freelancers who will produce content – just be careful who you choose and make sure you check out their work and the reviews they have.

Identify Your Targets

The next thing you should consider is finding other sites who want to link to you. If you’ve read above, I mentioned a couple of places you can start and could be considered as low hanging fruit. Examples of this would be case studies you have on your website or bodies or associations your company are members of who might be willing to give a link.


But what if you want to do something other than that?

One of the most powerful ways is guest posting, this is the process of reaching out to other site owners and offering a value exchange, typically this is content you produce in exchange for a link.

Guest posting  is a really popular tactic and some agencies do it at an industrial scale, but that is not to say you can’t do it yourself to pick a few extra links now and again. If you don’t know who to reach out to, then there are several ways of doing it. one of the most basic ways is to use keywords together with search operators to find suitable websites on Google.

What are Search Operators

You may not know it, but Google have some really powerful features built into their search bar to help users get more accurate search results, these are called advanced search operators and they work in the same way as a normal search query, just more specific.

In contrast to a normal search which results in a list google thinks you want to see based on the key phrase, search operators allow you to narrow that down.

I am not going to go over an exhaustive list of operators, but here’s a good resource from Google if you want to know more about advanced search operators.

One of the simplest yet most powerful ways to use a search operator in this instance is to make use of quotation marks, which to google say they you wish to specific about the string of words you wrap within those. A lot of similar posts on other sites about link building would recommend using such queries as “keyword” + “write for us” as your operator, which return a list of sites in a niche who accept guest posts.

To us though that is a bit of a red herring, as those sites who come up in the results are looking to be targeted by such a term and are not necessarily going to be authorities in your vertical.

Remember,  its not a numbers game, it’s a quality game.

If you’re smarter, you could make a small change to the operator to “keyword” + “blog” or “keyword” + “books” These are more likely to get results for authorities in your vertical and may be looking for other contributors.

The thing which goes a long way with doing this type of outreach is that you’re building real relationships, not just sending out random emails in order to get a link.

It’s likely that if you can connect with another authority in your space, they may have a network to which they can introduce you to which might lead to something bigger, you just don’t know where these things lead.

In agency land, when you work with clients, we can do this at much greater scale, and we can go into more depth in regards to the metrics target websites have and the likely quality of the site you’re reaching out to.

As we have paying clients who are expecting results, we have to do it properly and look at the data, but if you’re just doing a little outreach for your own business, then starting off with a basic strategy is the best way to learn and develop the skill through experience as we have down the years.

This is the best way we have found to learn, by coming up against roadblocks and learning how to get over them. But if you do want to look at the metrics of the targets you’re reaching out to, then you can always use free tools such as moz explorer tool.

Take note of the domain authority of the site, this gives you an indication of the power of the domain you are asking for a link from. Anything above DA 30 is regarded as being worth the effort, but unless you have some exceptional content, it will be difficult to get anything from a site with a DA greater than DA70. But if you are just starting out and what to get an easier backlink, then DA 20 is OK too.

How do you know if the links you are targeting are any good?

I half answered this question above where you can use a free tool to assess the power of a domain you’re reaching out to, however, as with everything, the devil is in the detail.

When assessing the power of the targets site, it’s more than the metrics, why, because metrics can always be manipulated, and so even if a domain looks on the face of it to be powerful, it may have got there through spammy tactics which can only really be determined through the eyes of an experienced SEO, and a few other tools such as AHrefs for example, which has become an industry-standard over the past number of years.

One other way to tell if there is anything suspicious about the target site, is your own sniff test.  Using your own eyeballs to check out a site is often one of the best ways to see if the website is bona fide.

if you examine the site itself, you can get a sense that the website and the content on it is high quality, does the site look as if it’s genuine and do you recognise anyone else from your industry if you are knowledgeable in this field? If you can do this and it looks fine and the metrics are on point, then it might well be a good target for you.

overtime if you do this on a regular basis you will get a better sense of it and quicker at doing this sort of thing and increase the power and improve the reach of your site in the process.

How many links will it take to see results

This is the $64,000 question, the short answer is it depends, and that because unfortunately, it boils down to a number of factors. However, the biggest factor is how competitive your vertical is and which keywords you are trying to rank for if that is indeed your objective, which it does have to be all the time.

If you’re just starting out and you are looking for results, don’t fall into the trap of many other newbies and try to rank for a random keyword which you think would be good to be number one in Google. Not only could that be a very competitive term, it may not even convert anyone into engaging with your brand.

Instead, it’s best to go for terms which don’t have the competition. These are terms which don’t normally have a great deal of volume either, but they are easier to rank for.

If you can rank for a number of these low competition terms, over time it will accumulate into quite a bit of traffic potentially, which is also a better policy in some respects as if diversifies your traffic rather than having it all just coming from one key phrase.

Plus, competing for a large term with lots of traffic can take years and a lot of hard work and most likely dominated by sites which are more powerful than yours. You need to build your power over time by chasing the less competitive keywords, before graduating to the big fish.

What Tools Should I Be Using For Link Building?

As with any  process, you can do it for free, which is usually a little more time consuming, or you can use paid tools which speed things up.

The best advice I could provide is to start off doing it the free route in order to understand the process and to find out what works and why you’re doing it. This allows you to be better at the job of building links a provides much more control and a lot more personalisation, remember what I have said earlier in this article, start forming relationships, which is hard to do if you automate your process too much.

Once you’re happy and comfortable with doing the process manually and you have built your standard operating procedures for the manual way, then it’s time to change things and use some other tools.

But before you do this, it’s really important for you to save the initial version of your SOP as that will be the document you will pass on to the person you will employ to the job after you. As you have learned how to do it correctly through trial and error and you now have the experience of what works and what doesn’t, you can hand that experience to others, so they too can learn to build links, manually like you have which can be a very valuable skill.

Once you’re at this point, the question is which tools you think you need. If you have been doing manual link building up until this point, you may have your own ideas, you also may be happy with your results and don’t want to change from your process, which is fine too.

But if you feel you need to fine-tune your process, the areas you probably think you need better automation are things like target discovery, choosing targets and using other metrics that the free tools, then there’s outreach.

There are so many tools out there its hard to list them all, but the one which I think could be the best to start off with are things like Ahrefs which is now the industry standard data tool for link builders. This tool has so many benefits when you are looking for link targets but also competition analysis too plus many more features. To many link builders they can’t do their job with out it.

Of course, you do still have the option of going with the Moz tools which  I mentioned in a previous section if you have gotten used to using that on the free plan, again, as a paying customer, you will have a lot of options at your disposal.

The same can be said for SEM rush. This product does not have quite big of a data set than ahrefs, but never the less, is a very comprehensive tool to use, but perhaps more focused on keywords analysis than links.

For outreach, there are lots of tools at your disposal. At the top end you can go to pitchbox, which is a premium tool which some link builder swear by, and then there are others which are a little more affordable such as buzz stream which automates the discovery of targets and outreach into one interface.

A cheaper options but one which only does one job, that of automating outreach is a gmail plugin called mailshake which is great at automating a large volume of outreach emails with follow up sequences, auto “canned” responses and a whole load more, but is a tool which many link builders love and their work flow is aligned to.

Most of the tools mentioned free trial or a full refund within 30 days to try them out to choose which you prefer.

As far as recommending any of them, I personally have used most of them and have in my personal workflow such as Ahref, SEMrush and Moz. But they are personal preferences. I would suggest that if you are interested in trialling them take advantage of that and try before you buy options, as with most things it’s a personal choice plus ofcourse there is the question of your budget and if it allows for such tools, as there are not cheap. 

How Much Does It Cost To Build Links

Even if you take your time into consideration, link building like most other SEO tasks has a cost associated with it. Getting a few low level links through your network is certainly a good start and something you should be doing for your website anyway, however to really add some power and grow the traffic, you will have to scale it up and do it consistently.

Once again, a lot of the learning process for you is the cost of time as there is a learning curve as this post testifies to, but if you then add a layer of cost for tools which are normally monthly subscriptions, it can get quite expensive, but no more so that any software-based exploit you’re hoping to use within your business.

The question is if you feel that cost is justified and if you feel you want to get a return on investment through it’s pursuit doing it within your own business?

I would say that it all depends on your priorities, and how important you feel links are for your site and indeed if you have the resources in the business to have that as an inhouse discipline along with all the other things you’re doing.

Do I Have To Build Links Myself Or Can I Get Others To Do For Me To Get Better Results?

It is difficult to answer this question for you, as mentioned on a number of occasions in the post, it’s all a matter of priorities within your business. That being said, we find that few businesses need this particular discipline in house and therefore find it more cost effective to use a contractor such as Black and white boy.

The reason is simply one of economics, the cost of employing someone to do it and then learning how to build links proficiently takes investment, and if you’re a large business, that may not be an issue.

But then comes the discipline of learning how to do it, what experience is that person going to have, and how long to you give them to demonstrate that? On top of that, it’s the additional investment in the tools which are an ongoing monthly cost if you are building links consistently.

This is in contrast to using an agency to build a set amount of links for you per month for example. This then becomes a fixed cost which can be assessed on a regular basis. If that agency works in any way like we do at Black And White Boy, we can aggregate those staffing costs and monthly software costs across a number of clients. Plus we have trained our staff using the same processes which have been outlined above, so we know they can get the results our clients expect.

This is distilled into a monthly cost which is often easier to manage and justify and cheaper over all, plus the fact that should you for whatever reason want to change emphaisis in your marketing direction, you can do so without having to worry about redeploying or retraining staff, or making them redundant.

When you put it like that, that is why most companies don’t have an inhouse link builder.

In Conclusion

Link building for your website is often looked up as a nice to have but with the emphasis post-COVID being on commercial internet usage and how it is going to grow exponentially, it’s now considered an essential.

Link building should also become part of your overall marketing strategy as it has been shown to improve rankings through adding authority and relevancy by connecting your site with other more powerful sites, over time, we have found this represents the best value for money in terms of a return on investment when compared to paid traffic.

It’s always difficult to find a balance between being in complete control of everything you do in your marketing, and being strategic and cost-effective which only you can answer for your own business, but there is only so much you can do with your business without the risk of trying to be an expert in several disciplines and not being masters at them all.

It still remains one of the most powerful way to build traffic aswell as authority and trust on line, though  if you don’t know what you are doing, it can have a large learning curve which is often best handed over to someone who knows what they are doing and will get better results.

How To Generate More Leads Through Your Website

Two Simple Ways To Get New Customer Leads

Today we’re going be talking about something really important and which will help you get more customers. This is a topic close to my heart because I don’t think enough people are doing it effectively, we are talking about how to generate leads using your website.

I’m going to cover two really easy ways to do it as well as giving you some ideas of things you can use to encourage people to go from just being interested into becoming raving fans.

The first type of lead is a direct lead, these are people who have come to the site and they’re ready to buy, they want to talk to you, they want to schedule an appointment or to fill out a form. Later we’ll also go through indirect leads, which are those who need a little nurturing and are not ready to take action just yet as they are still in the discovery stage. I’ll show you how to handle this type of leads in a slightly different way.

Hot Leads Who Want To Buy Now

Let’s start talking about those direct leads – basically, these are people who are ready to go right now so the first thing you need to do is decide on the action that you want people to take on your site, what’s that big call-to-action going to be?

Do you want people to pick up the phone and call you, do you want them to fill out a form giving you their information so you can give them a callback?

I believe in making things as easy as possible while getting the best results, and in this instance, you can do both through the use of a little automation. You can allow people to schedule an appointment or a consultation call with you directly on your website eliminating all that back-and-forth of arranging a convenient time, and best of all, it’s all done on autopilot.

Automate It To Make It Easy Work

For the automation, there are many programs which can help you here, two of the most popular programs are calendly and Book Like A Boss. They are both really easy to set up and allows your customers to pick a pre-specified time that you’ve already chosen. It’s really easy to embed on your site and seamlessly syncs with your online calendars like a Google calendar or Outlook.

What’s even better is that you can even add some pre-qualification questions to let you gauge if those contacting you are qualified prospects for you or not. You can determine if they have the budget, are they the right kind of fit. You can even ask some preparatory questions if there was anything you needed to know before the call to really help you prepare for that call.

Call To Action – Make It Stand Out.

So whatever you decide that main call to action is going be, whether it is to schedule an appointment on your site or just to fill out a form or even to call you, you need a consistent call to action throughout the site. It is therefore important to make it very prominent and style it as a button not as a text link. You want to really make it stand out and one of the ways to do that is to choose a colour for that button that stands out against everything else on your site and only use that colour for that button.

Now since this is going to be the main call to action throughout the site, I definitely recommend placing it in a few key areas, basically on every page and in the main navigation on top, so ideally you’d have your other navigation elements just as text links and then your CTA is going to be styled as that button we talked about.

I’d also recommend putting it toward the bottom of all your important pages. This would be in a single column with a headline on top and the button underneath, positioned in the centre of the column. I also recommend putting it at the end of every blog post as well as on your about page.

What About Those Warm Leads?

So that covers the direct leads on the site, but what about the more long-term prospects who are not exactly ready to convert just yet?

Upto 90% of people coming to your website are only in research mode, so give them what they want Click To Tweet

80 to 90 % of people coming to your site today are only in research mode and only about 18 % of those people are willing to talk to you or a salesperson before they’re actually ready. For those people, you definitely want to make sure you stay top of mind for them throughout their entire decision-making process so that you end up making the shortlist when it’s time for them to actually make that decision. The way you do this is to offer them something valuable in exchange for their email address.

The typical way to do this was to offer a newsletter or ebooks, but these don’t cut it any longer, nobody cares about your newsletter, when’s the last time you signed up for one of those? You know they don’t seem very valuable and neither do books anymore.

There used to be a lot of value associated with an e-book, the problem is people have been abusing that over the past few years and people have caught on to it. People kind of expect now that it’s gonna be a three page PDF that just doesn’t go into enough detail to make it worth it for them.

We want to be different and provide value to our prospects so we’re going have to up the ante a little and come up with something a little more irresistible if you want to get those email addresses, and of course I’ve got some good ideas for you here too.

  1. The first one is pretty easy to pull off and that is just the idea of a cheat sheet or a QuickStart guide – now this works great as it’s what we call a content upgrade. So let’s say you have a blog post about a certain topic, this cheat sheet or QuickStart guide is an accompanying download that basically allows people to just download it without having to take notes so that they can act on all those tips. You can have just one of these site-wide or you can have different ones that accompany different blog posts it’s totally up to you
  2. Next up we have a workbook which is definitely an upgrade from an e-book because it offers really clear steps and it promises some kind of an outcome once the actions are taken within the book and all the steps have been carried out. This can be a downloadable printout or you can get a little more interactive with it using a google form where the user can fill it out online. There’s an added benefit to doing it this way because you can set it so the answers the user gives are also shared with you which may give you some valuable insights into exactly who your customers are and what kind of problems they’re facing.
  3. My next suggestion is a little harder to pull off and that’s a video or audio training, now this can be a pre-recorded video or a live webinar. It’s a great way to get a little more personal and connect on a deeper level with your prospects that you couldn’t really do with any kind of written material. Now if the idea of video scares you audio can actually be pretty effective as well, Marie Forleo who’s pretty well-known marketer has her main lead magnet as audio training, people just download it and they can listen to her when driving to work, walking the dog or at the gym.As we’re talking about video or audio you can take this a step further and do a video series. Now what I really like about a video series is it establishes a bit more of a relationship over time and it also promises an outcome once you get to the end of it. This type of lead magnet is really powerful and some of the best marketers use this approach.
  4. Next up, we have quizzes, people definitely love quizzes because they’re interactive and it plays on people’s curiosity, you know they want to see the results at the end. A few great ideas would be to determine if a prospect is right for your product or service or which product or service would be best for your client based on their particular situation.
  5. Next we have a multi-day challenge – this is basically challenging your audience to get the desired outcome or learn a specific skill within a set amount of days, you send them one email a day with a different short assignment. People love this because it’s interactive and it definitely promises a result at the end of it.

The main thing to think about with any of these lead magnets is you want people to be saying at the end of it, wow that free content was so good I can’t wait to see what the paid stuff looks like.

Things To Note For Lead Magnet Ideas.

You want to be sure that it’s that your email that delivers the content as opposed to them having to input their email which results in them just been taken to a landing page where they download it. It’s really important to make sure they know it’s going be sent to their email as that’s how you cut down of people giving you fake email addresses.

To avoid collecting fake email addresses, make sure you stipulate that your lead magnet will be delivered only via email and not download via a landing page Click To Tweet

Make this opt-in really prominent around your site, think of it as a second call to action right behind your more direct call to action. You want to make sure it has its own landing page that you can link to from social media or Facebook ads if you want to go that direction with it.

As well as giving it its own little mini section on all of your important pages and I’d even go a step further and add an exit intent pop up on all your important pages just so there’s kind of a Hail Mary for anyone who was going leave your site, you’re giving them one last opportunity to sign up.

So, in the end, you should have a call to action for those people that are ready to do business today and one for the people who need to be nurtured a little more long-term.

now I want to hear from you and I want to know in the comments below which of these lead magnet ideas are you thinking about using for your own business.

This Bug With SSL Certificates May Cause Problems For Your Website

ssl and https with green pad lock

Over 3 Million Certificates Affected

This post is about a problem that I was made aware of quite recently, the story was also reported in search engine journal and several other places, so it’s not just something that is uncorroborated. The problem revolves around 3 million  Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates and the bug they have found affecting them, as a result, the certificates are ineffective on the domains to which they are assigned and are rendered useless.

If you’re using let’s encrypt SSL Certificates that means that three million sites are now without SSL protection, and could have been hit by this issue so is probably worth checking out to see if your site has indeed been affected.

The reason that this is important is that first of all let’s encrypt are probably one of the biggest SSL certificate suppliers out there, mainly because they supply free SSL certificates, nevertheless, you should still check.

Why Should I Care About An SSL Certificate?

The reason why SSL certificates are important to your website is that it invokes the HTTPS protocol on your domain which an “S” on the end of your “HTTP”. This appears at the beginning of your domain name. however, more importantly than just adding an extra letter to the beginning of your domain name, It also is responsible for showing that little padlock which denotes that your site is secure and that it is actually encrypting data between two data points or servers.

If You Have An Ecommerce Store It’s Crucial

So if you’re collecting data of any type and even more critical if you’re doing any paid transactions, such as with an eCommerce store, for example, having HTTPS protocol should be present at all times in order to encrypt the data as it moves between your website and it’s the final destination. This encryption stops anybody hacking into it and accessing through a public network for example and then reading it or worse. Obviously is a bit of an issue, not least for GDPR compliance and even worse, stealing data or identity theft, so it’s really important that you check to see if your site is still protected.

Below I have added a link to a handy little tool which is free. All you need to do is enter your domain into the field, excluding any HTTP and www, just your naked domain. The tool will simply check with the Lets Encrypt database and tell you whether the certificate is ok or whether it needs to be replaced.

What If I Find My Site Is Affected?

If it’s the latter, you shouldn’t panic, all you need to do is get in touch with your developer and ask them to change it over with a new SSL certificate, which is a pretty quick job. But it’s really important that you do it and don’t ignore that because if you’re transmitting any data whatsoever from your website it needs to be addressed otherwise you are opening yourself up for problems down the road potentially.

it’s basic good practice to have your website to include an SSL certificate so I encourage you to take a look at the tool that I’ve just posted below and just make sure that you are not affected by this problem.

https://checkhost.unboundtest.com/

How Ecommerce Websites And Coronavirus Are Changing How We Buy.

coronavirus and how its changed ecommerce an new meaning to contactless

Why The Fax Machine Wasn’t An Overnight Success

I remember talking to a chap who in the early 70’s worked for an American company, back then his job was to introduce the Fax machine to the UK, he mostly failed. But back then, we didn’t have the internet, nevermind Shopify or eCommerce development companies to help his cause, it was very old school.

Speaking to him years later, he said that it was a hard job knocking on doors day in day out with only limited success. It was surmised that the failure was mainly due to the cost and size of the machines at the time. He eventually left this job to work for another company doing something else other than selling unwanted technology to the business community.

However, though the facsimile machine was present in mainly larger companies during the 1970s, mass adoption in the UK was not apparent until some years later, and that was because, at that time, conditions were not right, we’d have to wait until the 1980s for that to happen.

The Very Specific Event Which Changed Everything

The first reason why things changed in 1980’s was pretty obvious, the technology had improved significantly since the ’70s, mainly thanks to Japanese companies, who have a habit of taking something, re-engineering it and making it better… take for example car manufacturing and of course electronics. Nonetheless, even though the Japanese had made huge strides in making the facsimile technology more affordable, smaller and more accessible, wide-scale adoption in the UK in the 1980s was still only relatively small.

The second and perhaps the most compelling reason for large scale adoption was because of circumstance. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and so it was in this instance. The game-changer was as a result of an event that few people saw coming and which affected every business in the UK and changed the very nature of how companies operated. The event in question was the Postal strike of 1988, which started out as a 24-hour dispute over pay and conditions, but which went on to last two whole months.

Because the postal service was a government own monopoly at the time, the strike meant that virtually all postal services ground to a halt. For those of you who don’t know what it was like back then, remember, this was a time before the internet, and mobile phones were still very expensive and about as mobile as a concrete block, and where written communication between parties was limited to writing letters and sending documents through the post if they couldn’t be sent or collected by hand.

Back then, as the monopoly, the royal mail represented over 90% of all postal activities in the UK, more especially for businesses, who sent and received letters, purchase orders, contracts and other such critical documents which and was the de facto system for written communication among businesseses of the day.

Due to the disruption caused by this one event meant that businesses had to find another way to communicate, and fast.  Virtually overnight, businesses turned to the fax machine as a solution to the problem, much like when there’s a heatwave and everyone all of a sudden needs a fan.

Is Ecommerce Driving Innovation Or Necessity?

Fast forward to today, we’ve come along way since 1988 and there is a completely different landscape, certainly when it comes to those things which affected the rise of the fax in the UK. Those events which lead to the rise of such a machine in an office have largely been consigned to history with the exception of certain professions, even the NHS banned to purchase of fax machines in 2019.

But despite all that has gone before, you can see the parallels between those events on the late eighties in the UK and the events happening globally today in 2020 with the Coronavirus. Once again we see necessity being the mother of invention.

Technologies and electronics are more mature and are universally available not just in business, but with the general public too, and much like the fax machine in the 1980s, there was a recognised way of doing certain things, in this case, buying habits, which due to lack of innovation or necessity have remained largely unchanged, that was until now.

Take the purchase of a car, for example, the process is largely unchanged from when you used to do it decades ago. You choose your car, you go to a dealership, you haggle (maybe), then you agree to terms. At some point, you may even go back to the lot to drive home your purchase, or perhaps the dealer will deliver the vehicle themselves.

Buying Cars Online Will Explode

Even though you have been able to buy a car online for some time, figures for 2019 state that around 825,000 cars were bought over the internet. Relatively few people choose to buy their vehicles wholly online, as they would an item of clothing. It seems that for us humans, there is a need to have some kind of tactile involvement with the purchase of something which is of a higher value, but maybe that is about to change?

With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe, panic-stricken populations fueled by media coverage and government advice are restricting themselves of travel, avoiding congregating in large groups or being stuck in an enclosed space with other people, without the protection of a face mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer. This is changing how we live our lives and our shopping habits, especially for those larger items, we may have previously considered too large to make over the internet.

According to an article on the BBC News websites, in China, the epicentre of the outbreak and the country first hit, there are some buying patterns emerging which correlate with what we saw in the UK back in the 1980s, but instead of a fax, this time its cars. Not that car ownership is limited in China, as per the fax machine pre-1988 in the UK. But due to circumstances, people have found themselves in and then acting out of necessity.

During Feb 2020 the purchasing of cars in China fell by 92%, and in a country as large as this, its a huge drop, but it’s a circumstantial response to a unique situation, and once again, due to this, people are adapting to this unique situation which was impossible to predict.

In response to the crisis, the demand for cars bought online has gone through the roof, with companies like Geely who owns the Volvo brand and is the largest privately-owned car producer in China, even setting up an e-commerce store promising fully contact-less process from pre-purchase including a test drive, right through to post-purchase delivery.

Frost And Sullivan consulting estimate that by 2025 six million cars will be purchased via online platforms. As the coronavirus takes hold across the globe,  there will be more scope to grow this further using eCommerce websites and online transactions. Tesla has already disrupted the way we buy cars to a large degree, but even beyond the large outlay of domestic vehicles, what else will people be buying more of through online channels?

How Will Online Buying Habits Change Because Of Coronavirus?

If you don’t want to put yourself at risk of infection or if indeed you are self-isolating, you don’t need to worry about having to find a way to go to the store to get supplies of any description. If you’re in a major conurbation you can get shopping the same day. Amazon Prime membership gives you free next day delivery, same day if you’re in their delivery catchment area. Even the humble fast-food delivery will be able to help you out if you make payments online. I can see some enterprising takeaway food companies adding a service where you will be able to arrange for the food to be dropped off without having any physical contact, in some if not all cases.

So while we might think of e-commerce as being pretty universal, in reality only about 20% of all transactions take place online, given the circumstances, and the online commerce technology available – it will be interesting to see if statistics in the coming months reflect a permanent change in our online purchasing behaviour.

What do you think?

How to 10x your phone enquiries through your website by using UX design principles

Mobile phone uk principles for more leads

More Phone Calls Through Your Website

As a business owner, if you are investing in your a new website, one of the basic functions you are probably looking for it to do is to generate more potential customers through phone calls or email enquiries, right?

Unfortunately, the truth for most websites is that they don’t perform well in that department, which shouldn’t be the case.

In this article we’re going to tackle this issue head on a even provide a little tip which could 10X your phone call enquiries through your website, based on our experience in applying it on client websites. You just need to apply some basic user experience design principles.

But first we have to throw in a small caveat.

Essential For Any Online Success

For a website to be successful it needs two ingredients …Traffic and Conversions.

You can’t get sales without both these things happening on your website. So as we are talking about getting more engagement on your site, we are naturally talking about the  conversion part of the equation not the traffic generation.

For a website to be successful it needs two ingredients ...Traffic and Conversions. Click To Tweet

For a lot of businesses who have a website,  one of the biggest stresses is getting traffic to it in the first place, real people going to your website. This is one, if not the biggest problem with websites in general and one which is very common.

Surprisingly however, it’s often ignored to the point that the website itself is forgotten about and scratched off as a required business expense that didn’t work, or the owner is completely oblivious to the fact that is getting no traffic, given that most don’t even track their analytics … I digress.

However, the traffic part of the equation mentioned above is a separate issue which we won’t be covering in this article.

How To Get Click Through Rate

So… lets just say for arguments sake that you have been able to grow traffic to your website to a pretty steady number, you know this as you use analytics to at least track what traffic you are getting.

However, you might still be stressing, because despite having a steady stream of people looking at your site, you may not be getting many, or very few new enquiries.

This can be really frustrating for a business owner, especially if they have invested in any kind of traffic generation, such as SEO campaigns or regularly adding content to the site through blog posts etc.

But here’s the thing, there could be multiple reasons for that traffic not converting into enquiries, including the message used and the keywords chosen on your site which may well be attracting the wrong type of audience.

But lets just suppose that the message is right and you were giving great value and provided solutions for your visitor, yet you’re still disappointed with the amount of leads you would like or expect…

what to do then?

This is actually a common issue and something which a lot of site owners struggle with, no matter how much they tweak and how they change the wording or call to actions, they still struggle with getting those all important new customer enquires, despite them visiting the site.

Most people are not aware of a certain discipline in website design called UX or user experience. It’s really important for you as a business as it deals with the way in which a user interacts with your site.

Four of the most common problems a website suffers from which can be identified as UX design issues are:

  • Value proposition on the site, so the user doesn’t know what to do and what the benefits of using the site are.
  • What action do they need to take as often its not that clear.
  • Building enough trust with the user through reviews, testimonials and social proof
  • Mechanisms by which you can warm up prospects and position yourself as a trusted business to buy from and how  a user can be nurtured through the use of funnels.

As web developers who understand UX design, we feel that it is important to think outside the box when trying to study a website and understand how a user might interact with it.

User Experience Best Practise.

One of the biggest issues we see with a lot of sites can be explained through a couple of factors, out-dated web design legacy practices still being used and the inexperience of some website designers, who may not understand the mechanisms of a commercial website, and how it should be looked upon as a contributor to revenue and profit.

Just by simply considering the potential traffic source of a site one can change the perspective towards a design and immediately improve how it works. An example of this would be the consideration for designing your site for mobile devices.

Given mobile traffic accounts for around 60% of the internet, it’s still bizarre that a lot of website designers broadly design sites for desktop, but crucially don’t change the overall design functionalities to account for that traffic source.

Just by simply considering the potential traffic source of a site one can change the perspective towards a design and immediately improve how it works Click To Tweet

Google Mobile Friendly Tool Is A Robot.

While these sites are responsive in design as confirmed with tools such as google mobile friendly tool and get the green check of approval, nevertheless, you have to remember one thing. Google’s mobile friendly test is automated, and while it is a pretty complex, it basically looks for media queries in the code of the site for different screen sizes which are the unique identifiers to show that the site is built with the prerequisite responsiveness in mind.

What it can’t take account of however, is the way humans might interact with the site in the wild.

This is a huge deal, as given the limited real estate on mobile screens, together with how ergonomics works on mobile, this remains a huge blind spot, even though most designers have taken the time to make sure the site functions, as far as they can, on all sizes of device.

But as we know, looking good and being effective are two separate disciplines. A classic example of form over function instead of form following function.

(users are the) ones with a metaphorical credit card in hand, ready to spend money, with the only barrier being your website and their experience using it. Click To Tweet

In essence this is a user experience issue and the type of thing Google is looking for as part of it’s overall quality score, but so too are your website visitors and ultimately the ones with a metaphorical credit card in hand, ready to spend money, with the only barrier being your website and their experience using it.

Ergonomics And Laziness.

One thing we have found which works well for our website clients is to look at the mobile version in a different light, and to view it as an app from a functional point of view. We also draw inspiration from other apps or websites which work well on mobile and then try to incorporate some of that functionality into a clients design, but crucially, hiding it from larger screen versions of the website where it would have no value whatsoever.

We know that as a whole, humans are lazy, and from a user experience point of view, if something is harder to do, even by just a little, its not going to happen in most cases, Click To Tweet

Most web designers, for example, will keep the same call to actions on the mobile version as the desktop or tablet version of the design. This often means that a “call us” link, which is a pretty common element of any business website, is in the header of the site. But if you actually think about how you use your phone, this is actually counter intuitive, as you normally use one hand to cradle the phone, then use your thumb of that same hand to tap the screen.

Following this design principle will result in the call to action in the header being out of reach to most users who haven’t got longer than average thumb or unusually small phone screen.

We know that as a whole, humans are lazy, and from a user experience point of view, if something is harder to do, even by just a little, such as having to reach further with your thumb, its not going to happen in most cases, that goes for a call to action on your mobile too.

always consider how users are going engage with your website, and modify accordingly. Click To Tweet

So our recommendation is simple, always consider how users are going engage with your website, and modify accordingly. In this instance our solution is to add a call button at the foot of a sites mobile screen, it’s that simple.

So If your site is getting any traffic at all and you want people to call you, do this and you should expect to see an immediate uplift in calls.

How To Be Found At The Top Of Google For Your Most Profitable Keywords Without Knowing Anything About SEO In Six Months Or Less.

people using google to view the top results and to figure out the most profitable keywords to use

SEO has evolved, and it’s no longer about having a few keywords dotted around your site to get Google to notice you…

Today your website is about defining your online identity and how you as a business can differentiate yourself and more importantly WIN more business in an ever-increasingly competitive environment.

Your business needs a solid online strategy to help you be found across the internet for the goods and services you sell. But how do you do that without being an SEO ninja?

With a typical website only retaining 97% of your visitors long enough than a few seconds, getting more traffic to your site is not the only consideration, you also need to do something more to keep them there.

a typical website only retaining 97% of your visitors long enough than a few seconds Click To Tweet

Your strategy needs to both attract more visitors as well as make it “stickier” for when those visitors land. They need to be immediately engaged and encouraged to stick around long enough to learn more about what your business can do for them.

Once they have a modicum of trust with your brand, you then want them to engage with your business through picking up the phone and calling your number and/or visiting your store, if you’re a retail outlet.

So, I bet you’re thinking this is going to be really complicated and hard to understand?

Well, that’s where you’re wrong.

From all of the techniques I have studied over the past 20 years, I have found one of the easiest ways to achieve results, and one which most of your competitors probably don’t have and can’t compete with is a blog.

Yep, the humble blog is a gold mine if you are a business who wants to get more customers, position yourself as an expert and become the trusted leader in your field.

Welcome To Our Blog…?

I am sure you have seen them before, a business website that actually features a blog, it’s by no means a rare site, however, more often than not, it’s completely lacking in content…

In fact the internet is littered with business sites that have abandoned blogs which mostly feature one solitary blog post, normally entitled something like, “welcome to our blog” or even worse, the default “hello world” post.

If there is any content, typically, the post will consist of a couple of lines explaining that they’ll be posting updates regularly to keep you up to date with what’s happening… despite it being posted some years back, with no additions or updates.

Whenever you see that, you know that they’ve probably had their site redesigned at some point in the past and they thought it was a good idea to incorporate a blog. Like most businesses, however, once they have posted that initially content, they find the novelty soon wears off and there is no appetite from any staff member to blog regularly, so it follows all the other neglected sites to the business blogging graveyard never to be resurrected.

How Can My Blog Be Different?

If developed correctly your companies business blog will be the thing that can be the differentiating factor and easily help your business stand out from the competition.

What’s more, is that pound for pound it also represents the best return on investment there is when compared to most other client acquisition techniques.

pound for pound a blog represents the best return on investment there is when compared to most other client acquisition techniques Click To Tweet

The fact is that despite how unique we all think our businesses are, all industries broadly share the same type of pages, content and ideas across their website.

When you browse the internet and look at websites of small to medium-sized businesses in your industry, you’ll see the same pages over and over again. Typically, you’ll see the “home page”, naturally, then there is the “about us” page, “contact us” and possibly even a “services” page too.

Sure, the content is unique, mostly… The designs are different, but you’ll find the ideas, subjects and pages are broadly the same.

So, if you think about the search engines and how they work, it’s going to be a hard job for them to separate those sites and rank them according to who provides the most valuable content, It’s virtually impossible, even for a Google algorithm. …So, how hard do you think it might be for a potential customer looking for the best supplier to her company or who will give her the best service?

The answer my friend is a blog, and It’s a way to add valuable content to your company’s website beyond the static pages typically found in your navigation bar.

How Can You Get More Customers Through Having A Blog?

Once you make the commitment to your company’s blog, something magical happens…

With a few well-written posts, It instantly catapults you ahead of your competitors.

Once you start consistently publishing content you will start developing a greater reach than your site has ever had on the internet. As well as attracting more engagement with people who will become fans of what you do, it will draw in those people who will want to know more and want to engage with your company.

And because Google is changing from a search engine to an “answer” engine, it also allows you to provide content which can add value for your readers. But crucially you’re able to provide the answers people are looking for when searching for your products or services.

If you can provide the right type of information and do it consistently, it will pay off through your site appearing in top positions for more and more search terms.

The great thing is, as you’re an expert in your industry, producing content no longer becomes about cramming the keywords you think are the best for you website to get the traffic you crave, but instead morphs into content which can answer your customer’s questions and fulfil their needs, and therefore, providing value. All you need to do is think about the questions people already ask you?

producing content no longer becomes about cramming the keywords you think are the best for you website, but instead morphs into content which can answer your customer's questions and fulfil their needs, and therefore, providing value. Click To Tweet

It also allows your brand to develop its voice and for people to get to know you as an expert who is also trustworthy and authoritative… Which coincidentally are all the things Google are looking for from a website to determine which they should rank higher. And we all know that if you give Google what it wants, they will reward you in the best way they know how… with more traffic.

If you would like more help with your website, SEO or content strategy for your blog, then give me a call on
03333 448049 and I’ll be happy to have a chat.

Are You Ready To Get To The Top Of Google?