How to grow your social media presence organically

How to grow your social media organically

Whether you have a business Instagram page or Facebook site, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed, chances are you’re constantly looking to grow your follower numbers. You’ll no doubt have received numerous e-mails from companies offering to achieve this for you – for a fee. It often includes one of two things – the first is they will ‘buy’ an audience for you. This is a big no-no if you want to keep your feed free of spam accounts and people who are not in the slightest bit interested.

Grow your social media presence organically

Alternatively, they will use an algorithm to follow and un-follow multiple accounts, with the view that people will start to follow you back out of reciprocal interactions. This is dangerous ground to play on though, as it can frustrate your audience before you’ve even connected with them and make them feel like you don’t actually care about them personally. As such, many brands look to grow their social media presence organically.

So how can you do this?

Consistent posting

Firstly, there’s a lot to be said for consistent posting. Try to find a frequency that is manageable and post as often as you can. People will get used to seeing you pop up at regular intervals, and will start to interact with you. When people comment or engage with your posts, make an effort to respond to everyone who is engaging with you. Additionally, find accounts that are relevant to your business or industry, and start engaging with them. When leaving comments, try to leave messages that are thoughtful rather than something generic – this will make them more interested in replying or following in return.

Use hashtags

Next up, start using hashtags in your posts. This will help your audience find you naturally through shared interests or similar posts. You will also find cross-promoting other people’s accounts will help to boost your audience, and you can do this through sharing their posts or regramming their images. Make sure you credit the original source though, with a tag to them. This will make it clear you are not trying to take their content as your own, and may also see them do a similar post with a tag in return.

Include emojis

Include emojis in your description and hashtags, as these are a universal language, regardless of the country, that everyone can use when searching on Instagram. As an example, including the camera emoji in your biography on Instagram can be hugely beneficial for photographers. It also makes it really clear to people browsing quickly what you do, in case they’re not sure from your name alone.

Theme photos and posts

When producing content, find ways to make your photos and posts have a sense of a theme. The more cohesive and on-brand everything feels, the more chance people will start to engage with it and feel as though they understand who you are and what your message is. Integrate competitions and incentives into your content to get people sharing and tagging their friends, drawing them to your feed.

As well as having a clear bio that describes what you do, ensure your social media handle relates to your business so it is clear for people to find you. Anything cryptic will go unseen. You should also make sure you have your website link in your About section, as this will help to turn social contacts into sales leads.

Growing your social media organically – how to get more help

We can take the pain out of managing your social media channels. Find out about our social media management services here.

We can help you turn your website visitors into active leads, including those from your social channels, with a 14-day free trial – find out more here

Why Brexit is good for SEO

OK Brexit – let’s get the good and bad vibes out of the way, it’s here in the UK, it’s a done deal, so let’s move on and move upwards.

So Brexit is good for SEO – how come? Well, like anything in business it does boil down to money. A good SEO agency (which by the way I classify our own agency as) delivers good SEO results that show how its work has affected Google rankings and subsequently increased visitors. And of course it repeats itself month on month getting better and bolder, more creative and more dynamic with results growing and visitors continuing and increasing.

But of course it comes at a price – it’s business and any good service costs money to deliver good results. But now with the onset of Brexit, excellent SEO services suddenly become immensely more affordable to companies based outside of the UK buying from a UK SEO agency. A simple time lapse comparison says it all. The UK Brexit vote occurred on June 26th 2016 and then the UK £(GBP) stood at:

1 Eur€ bought you £GBP 0.736

1 CAN$ bought you £GBP 0.489

1 $AUD bought you £GBP 0.495

1 USD$ bought you £GBP 0.678

Today that’s all changed for the better if you are buying services from the UK your Euro or your Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar or US Dollar gets you much more SEO it’s like getting 25% discount for exactly the same service:

1 Eur€ buys you £GBP 0.92 up by 25%

1 CAN$ buys you £GBP 0.624 up by 27.61%

1 $AUD buys you £GBP 0.615 up by 24.24%

1 USD$ buys you £GBP 0.758 up by 11.8%

With buying power increased by 25% you should be investing in the UK for your SEO. In a global economy and an always on internet SEO is the same whether it’s being implemented for a UK, US, Canadian, Australian or European website – the SEO is the same the price is just so much cheaper for companies buying services from the UK.

Your Euro (€), US Dollar ($), Canadian Dollar (CAN$), Australian Dollar (AUS$) Stretch’s further, buys you more and gets your SEO working as you need it to at effectively 25%+ discount. So for UK SEO agencies Brexit is good for selling services and for companies based virtually anywhere in the world buying from the UK has never been better.

SEO services – where to find out more

Find out more about our SEO work here or get in touch with us if you’d like to talk about how we can help you with SEO.

 

 

FACT: WordPress is Secure – but only when YOU pay attention

WordPress gets bad press about being insecure and hackable.

The truth is that historically, when WordPress was a humble blogging only platform it wasn’t the most secure – but that was over a decade ago and it’s now old information.

WordPress is inherently safe – since its launch in 2003 it has undergone a massive metamorphosis and now WordPress powers nearly 30% of the world’s websites from sole traders to major international corporations. With an average of one CMS update per month for security and enhancements, it rivals many leading software organisations. The standard admin password on setup is a thing of the past and even user passwords need an administrator to agree to use what WordPress will highlight as an insecure password.

WordPress is only as secure as YOU!

Like the operating system, applications, anti-virus and malware on your laptop, WordPress needs your attention to keep it running properly and to remain secure.

Poorly managed WordPress websites are the most attractive to hackers according to Securi. Neglecting WordPress security can be disastrous. Following 5 simple security steps ensures that any hackers that try to breach your site will move on and find poorly secured, easier to hack websites.

As the recent worldwide  Petya cyber attack proved, as well as the UK’s NHS, global advertising giant WPP and the Ukrainian National Bank were hit – a graphic example that no matter what size organisation, if you’re not paying attention to required security updates can be disastrous.

5 Ways to keep WordPress secure

  1. Pay Attention

    Simple to say, but if you don’t pay attention to setting up and maintaining WordPress, then it will become out of date and the hackers will rub their hands with glee as they eye up your unmanaged site. But very simple to achieve by just checking the WordPress Dashboard Updates Screen regularly and you’ll be prompted to install important updates.

  2. Pay Attention and Backup

    We’re all only human, so while your best intentions are to pay attention, you may take your eye off the ball – holiday, new baby, big contract, any number of things can distract you. So make sure you implement a solid and secure off-site backup so that if the worst did happen, you can ‘roll back’ the site to restore it to a previous safe version. It may be missing a few updates that you made, but at least it’s working and an online presence. Check out Updraftplus and backup manager BlogVault, which also has a very simple restore feature.

  3. Remember the themes and plug-ins

    WordPress’ most important feature is the ability to search for a plugin, install it and add a new feature or function virtually instantaneously. Three key points to remember:

    1. Only use proven themes and plugins – they will be maintained and more secure
    2. When WordPress is updated check for theme and plugin updates – these often get updated to remain compliant with the new CMS version and with updated security
    3. Delete any unused plugins – if they are still on your WordPress server they could be an unwitting route in for security breaches.
  4. Reduce Risk

    Like AV on your laptop you need security on your CMS to minimise security risks. There are numerous security plugins on the market and the top vendors have a free and premium paid for version, with the free version normally providing everything you need. Take a look at All In One WP Security & Firewall or WordFence Security for WordPress both solid security solutions.

  5. Users!

    Back to us as humans again.

    1. Don’t give every user administrator rights to the website. WordPress has multiple levels of security from subscriber up to full blown administrator, only give website users the abilities they need – give them full access and guess what? They’ll play, we’re all inquisitive and it can be so easy to install a dangerous plugin without realising.
    2. Keep passwords secure – yes I hate entering passwords that look like algebraic formula, but much better to force people to do that than let them change their passwords to their pet’s nickname Kitty or first son’s name Dominic – you can bet these appear somewhere on social media, so easy to hack.

So remember, WordPress isn’t normally at fault… as humans, we are, but when you know that you can take preventative action!

Enjoy your secure WordPress website.

Action you can take on your SEO right now

Basic SEO

Basic SEOAs a marketing agency, I get to see a lot of clients’ websites.  As part of our research when we take on a new client, we always look at their website, not just to find out what the client does, but also to see how well their site is put together.

I have to tell you that I’m often amazed that an awful lot of websites don’t have even the most basic SEO. What I mean by that is that the website pages don’t have any meta titles or meta descriptions – all of which are very easy to put in when the website is built, and should be easy to put in even afterwards.  To leave them completely empty is just a no-no.

How Google works out what your website is about
Why is this so important? When Google (and other search engines) is crawling the web, it has to decide what your website is actually about. It reads the text on your web pages, but it also takes a great deal of notice of your meta tags, eg Meta Title, Meta Description.  These are your way of telling Google “When people search for the terms in my meta tags, I want you to put my website in the search results (SERPs).”  if there’s nothing in the meta tags, Google won’t know what your site is about and is less likely to bring it up in the SERPs, or will rank it lower.

Meta Descriptions
The meta description is also important, because although it is not used for SEO, it is the text that Google displays in the SERPs when it returns your page in a search and so it should contain marketing text that persaudes people to click on YOUR website and not those of your competitors. You should have a different meta description for each page. Amazingly, an awful lot of websites have exactly the same meta description for each page.  So how are people going to be persuaded to read your page and how will they know which page to read in the search results if they are all the same?  Many websites don’t have a meta description at all, in which case Google will just display the first text it sees on the page – which may not be the text that you want people to read.

Action you can take on your SEO right now
Don’t despair!  There are actions you can take on your seo right now. Check your website now and do something to put it right. You can check if you have meta tags by displaying your website, click “View Source” and search the code for “meta”. Then look at the text next to the “title” tag and the “description” tag. If it doesn’t look right, talk to your web agency about adding in some basic seo, or if you can edit your own website, go into the CMS and add in different titles and descriptions for each page. Do it now, it’s important!  If you don’t know what to do, drop us a line and we can help.

5 ways to get your website ranking higher

5 ways to get your website ranking higher

5 ways to get your website ranking higherSEO isn’t rocket science. It might seem that way when you’re just starting out trying to get your website ranking higher though, because there are millions of articles about how to do this all over the web. What I’ve tried to do here is to pick 5 fairly simple things you can do yourself that will make a difference. Yes, you can do these things yourself, assuming you have access to edit your website in whichever CMS it’s been built with, eg WordPress, for example. So here are my 5 tips:

How to get your website ranking higher

1. Invest in Yoast

Yoast doesn’t actually do the SEO for you, but it will tell you how well optimised each page on your website is. Yoast is a plug-in you can use in WordPress, it’s very easy to use and it reminds you about all the things you need to have in place to get your page ranked highly. Visit the Yoast website to find out more about this and download the plug-in.

2. Include desired search terms in your page

Time and time again a client will say to me something like, eg “We want to rank for the term Oak Furniture.” Great. But then I look at their website and they don’t mention the phrase Oak Furniture anywhere at all! You’re not going to rank for a phrase that isn’t even mentioned so make sure you use the term you want to rank for in your Meta Title Tag, Meta Description Tag, H2 headings on the page and image names. The Yoast plug-in allows you to enter these Meta Tags and your CMS editor should allow you to select different heading formats. Highlight a heading on a page and select the H2 format. This indicates to Google that this is an important sub-heading. Each page can have several H2s and should also have an H1 heading that contains the key search term you want to rank for.

3. Put your keyword at the top of the page

If your page is about oak furniture, but you don’t mention the phrase Oak Furniture until somewhere near the bottom of the page, guess what? Google isn’t going to think this page is about oak furniture. If your page is about oak furniture, talk about it up front, right at the top of the page, preferably in the first sentence and definitely in the page title.

4. Alt Tags

One of the ways Google knows what your page is about is by reading names and alt tags of images. So don’t call your images home-page-1.jpg or header-1.jpg. Call them oak-furniture.jpg, pine-furniture.jpg, etc, whatever the main keyword is for your page. And make sure you type in an Alt Tag description for each image. The Alt Tag should contain the key search term eg “Oak Furniture.” This helps the user and also tells Google what the image is about.

5. Links

Links are the way the Google bot crawls through the web. If your page has no internal or external links coming to it, Google will never find it. Make sure there are links into your page from your own website, and also that any links out are to relevant sites. For example, you could link to the Institute of Oak Furniture Manufacturers from your oak furniture page and this increases its relevance.

Higher website rankings – where to get more help

We have a free website checker tool you can try right now for any page on your website. Just enter in your web page url and get an instant report to find out how well your page is optimised for SEO.

Or if you’d like our help to get your website ranking higher in Google, please email us or call us on 0843 289 3060.

Building High Quality Sites – Google shares SEO secrets

google-algorithm-lg

Everybody wants to know exactly how Google ranks a site and how its complex algorithms calculate your site’s score so you can capitalise and push your site to number 1.

While Google will never give away all its trade secrets they are very good at guiding us and on their Google Webmaster Central Blog they list some of the key factors that go towards ranking your site.

So what counts as a high-quality site in Google’s eyes?

Google’s site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find high-quality sites – in doing this they reduce the rankings of sites with low-quality content. In a blog on the site Google explains some of the ideas and research that drive the development of their algorithms.

Their approach is to pose the questions that answer their algorithms. They aren’t disclosing the actual ranking techniques used in their algorithms but answer all these questions and you will be much closer to getting into Google’s mindset and more importantly right up there on page 1 rankings:

 

  1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  9. How much quality control is done on content?
  10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  11. Is the site a recognised authority on its topic?
  12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  15. Would you recognise this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopaedia or book?
  21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Get the answers to these questions right and you’ll be well on the way to a top ranking.

Ranking techniques – where to get help

Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and techniques: How to be found in Google Searches

Do you know how to set up SEO?

How to set up SEO

How to set up SEOIt might sound like a strange question when we’re the ones offering SEO services! But we exhibit at lots of business and networking seminars and in talking to visitors about SEO, when we ask that question we often hear the answer:

“It’s all right, I know how to set up SEO – leave it with me!”

But all too often their knowledge is just outdated. Lots of people have content managed systems (CMS) to manage their websites and see the section called ‘SEO SETUP’ which has a few fields to enter information such as META TAGS, META DATA, PAGE TITLE and URI. They quite rightly enter these details and then assume that’s all there is to SEO and away they go expecting their sites to be ranked on the first page the next day. If only it was that simple!

SEO management covers a whole host of areas, is an ongoing activity and needs to really inform the search engines about every aspect of your website and your business:

  • detailed analysis of how you want to be seen;
  • how on-page content is related to underlying website SEO information;
  • how to create a unique focus on the information on each page;
  • the correct way to submit your website to each search engine;
  • updating information regularly;
  • ensuring videos are managed correctly to avoid down grading by search engines;
  • image tagging for performance and recognition;
  • site structure levels and the money pages…

There’s so much to do to setup and then manage regularly to get that search ranking and to maintain it.

SEO Top Tips – Download this guide now

The list of activities and requirements is extensive and is more than just entering the scant data into the SEO fields that may be available to you. So we’ve put together some SEO Top Tips to get you started that touch on some of the key areas to look at when starting out on SEO.

 

Keywords: How to help search engines understand your website content

Pick the Right Keywords

Pick the Right KeywordsWe’ve been doing quite a few web site analyses over the past couple of weeks and it’s been fascinating to see that not one of the sites we’ve analysed so far, has what I would call good SEO in place.

Most of the sites have no meta tags, but I won’t go on about that here as I’ve covered it in previous articles. But surprisingly, not many sites actually include their key search terms in their on-page copy.

Analysing the most frequently used words on a web site home page often picks up generic terms like “leader”, “we” or “business”, which aren’t specific enough to explain to a search engine what your website is about.

While I don’t want to encourage you to repetitively stuff your page full of keywords, you have to make sure that the search terms you want people to find you for, actually do exist on your page, maybe 2 or 3 times, otherwise Google is not going to find your site when people type those search terms into the search box.

You should also make sure that the other copy on the page supports your main theme. So if you’re a social media consultant, talk about social media channels, twitter, facebook, youtube, and whatever other words relate to the social media. This sort of occurrence of associated words makes Google realise what your site is all about and will increase the chances of your page being returned higher up in the search results.

Can you delegate social media management to a third party?

Can you delegate social media

Can you delegate social mediaI often attend events where the speaker says “of course you can’t delegate social media to someone else, you have to do it yourself.”

There seems to be a belief that a third party can’t possibly know your every thought or opinion on what’s going on in the world, so how can they possibly post something on Twitter or Facebook on your behalf?

Another objection is that a third party won’t know all your contacts, so when a friend or business colleague posts a message to you and asks you a question like “so how was the seminar yesterday?”, a third party won’t know how to respond.

Of course, to a certain extent, this is true, and there will always be added value you can add to your own Twitter or Facebook account. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hire a third party to create fresh content, Tweet and Facebook it, and implement regular posts to engage with your social media contacts.

If you work closely enough with the right social media agency, you can delegate all the daily slog of thinking of things to post, finding followers, responding to messages, uploading photos or videos, retweeting interesting news items or running competitions. As long as you make sure you also have an admin login for your social media accounts, you can post your own thoughts whenever you feel like it and so your followers will get a good mix of off-the-cuff comment, corporate messages, news and views.

Let me tell you how we work with one of our clients, who travels around the world a great deal. He gives us regular updates by email when he can get online, then we turn that content into smaller posts, with photos if he has some, or with photos we supply. Occasionally he’ll also post stuff himself and he’ll sometimes reply to the contacts he knows best. Sometimes, we’ll get a question that we can’t possibly know the answer to, “Which hotel did you stay at in Sydney?” In which case, we’ll drop our client a quick email or ask him next time we talk to him, so we can reply on his behalf.

As long as you work closely with an agency who can give you a dedicated account manager who understands your business and your objectives for social media, and who also – crucially – has a good feel for your personality and how you’d talk to people on social media channels, there’s no reason why you can’t delegate this marketing activity to someone else.

Share your experience of delegating social media with us, good or bad, we’d like to know your views.

Don’t be an anonymous ‘egg’ on Twitter

Don't be an anonymous egg on Twitter

Don't be an anonymous egg on TwitterIf you’re on Twitter, it’s really important to fill in the Bio section. You can use up to 160 characters so make good use of them.

Your bio should include words that will help people find you if they’re searching on Twitter for companies or people that provide the services and products you provide. For example, if you’re an accountant, make sure you include accountancy words and your specialisms in your bio, eg “Accountant, Tax Specialiast,” etc. It’s ok to say you’re a fun-loving mother of 2, but if you’re using Twitter for business, get some key business terms in there as well, otherwise no-one is going to find you. Mine is: “Digital online marketing, web design & build, marketing expertise: SEO, social media, email marketing. Co-owner of Insight Group Marketing & amateur pianist.” There’s quite a lot you can get in there so make the most of it.

Another reason to make sure you fill in your bio is to help them decide whether to follow you or not. If they see a tweet they like or see that you are following them, they’re going to look at your profile to see what you’re about. If you haven’t got a bio, how will people decide if they want to follow you?

Twitter Egg

And finally – you absolutely MUST have a photo of yourself or a logo of your business. If you don’t upload a photo, Twitter will just substitute the anonymous “egg” image, so people will think at worst that you’re trying to hide, or best that you’re just incompetent. That is not going to make them want to follow you. So get a nice head and shoulders shot of yourself and upload that, so people can see who you are. This also helps when you’re at networking events as people can recognise you if they’ve been tweeting with you.

Social media management – where to get help

If all this Twitter stuff is too much for you to cope with, give us a call or drop us a line – we’d be happy to answer any questions or help with your social media management.