- The battle of the media giants and tech companies
- Facebook - a different beast
- Strong dependency on one online marketing channel alone is bad
- Growing your own website's visibility
- Post content regularly on your site
- Have good headings. Have relevant headings
- Use internal links
- Keep your image sizes slim in size
The battle of the media giants and tech companies
In the news a while back, a battle was growing between the Australian Government and both internet giants Google and Facebook. Fortunately, both Facebook and Google managed to strike deals to avoid shutting down their services or part of it.
With this proposed law, it would have meant that both Google and Facebook would have to pay media companies for using their content. Google's position with Australian news media ended up being that they were willing to pay for news.
Still, the proposed law's specifics as they were would have broken their business model. Particularly around news companies wanting advance notice if the search algorithm is going to change.
Knowing this in advance would mean news companies could unfairly adapt to this algorithm and get better search results, an advantage no one else has currently).
Fortunately, Google has been able to strike a deal with most major news media companies, presumably in a way that meets the news media giant's needs while avoiding doing any severe damage to their algorithm.
But what's quite scary is that Google initially said that if they couldn't meet an agreement that works for both parties, Google would have pulled the plug on search in Australia. Yikes.
Facebook - a different beast
Facebook, on the other hand, is different. They don't have control over what people decide to share in their news feeds. Yes, Facebook can take something down after the fact, but this would mean they would still involuntarily end up being charged for any news company's content they decide to post on Facebook.
Facebook did what any company in their position could do at the time; they pulled all news content from users and organizations in Australia. Fortunately, they, too, were able to strike a deal with the Australian Government that works, and Australia now has news back in their Facebook feeds.
However, it is worth noting that the original move by Facebook to pull news content in Australia resulted in a massive drop in traffic due to this move. Something SEO experts and news media companies noticed very quickly.
So this leads us to our point.
Strong dependency on one online marketing channel alone is bad
Being very heavily reliant on social media for a substantial portion of your marketing efforts for your business, especially if you own and run a business in Perth, is not such a great idea.
Imagine for a moment that suddenly Facebook pulled the plug on Australia completely. How much of your current incoming customer inquiries are generated directly or indirectly as a result of Facebook?
Facebook is a very specific, very unique and viral, and extensive marketing tool.
So with that said, think of your current marketing plan and make sure that you are growing your customer base in other ways.
Growing your own website's visibility
Since we're about designing websites for people in Perth, we encourage you to focus on improving your own website's visibility.
You want to give people a reason to visit and, better yet, return to your site. Sites that are well designed, load fast, have plenty of helpful information, and show up in relevant searches (rather than irrelevant searches) is an absolute must.
Set up a newsletter if you can, start collecting subscribers who might be interested in topics you and your business would like to write about. Of course, don't spam them, but regularly, perhaps once or twice a month, email them something useful. And make sure you have the means to allow them to unsubscribe so that you abide by the relevant spam act laws.
Post content regularly on your site
Post content on your website often too. This not only helps provide more value to your customers (if the content is good), it can give them a good reason to return to the site for more. Search engines treat this as a positive too.
If search engines can see that you are regularly updating content on your website, it means the site is fresh, updated, not stale, stagnant, and collecting dust.
Backlinks can also be an excellent strategy to help improve traffic to your site. Reach out to other website owners who have some relevance in some way to what you do, or complement what your site is about. Offer to write a guest blog with permission to link to your site.
However, keep in mind that not every site with a backlink to your site is always good. Search engines could see the domain name of one site as highly credible, popular, and legit. In contrast, the domain of another could have an abysmal reputation or have very little traffic or credibility.
Linking to your site from every site you can get your hands on won't do your site any favors. So be mindful and selective as to which sites you want to gain backlinks from.
Have good headings. Have relevant headings
Behind the glossy front of a website, there are different things search engines make sense of when trying to work out how all the information on your site is structured. And one of those things is headings.
In the web design industry, we call them H tags. An a H1 tag, more specifically, is something a search engine is going to look at when trying to decide what a webpage is all about to catalog it to show up in the right search results. So, for example, let's say we have a mechanic in Greenwood.
Suppose they had a H1 heading on their homepage that said 'Expert service with a smile.' That's not telling Google anything, other than there's a service of some description and that there's a smile. Someone searching 'service smile' or 'service with smile' for argument's sake might see their site show up.
Only, that's not where we want a mechanic in Greenwood to show up. Instead, we could set the H1 heading on the home page to say 'Car repairs and car service in Greenwood' Now we're getting specific and relevant.
Google will now understand the page has to do with getting your car repaired and/or serviced, and they are located in Greenwood. Now anyone in Greenwood (and yes, even in neighboring suburbs nearby) searching for a 'car service' will have a better chance of seeing that search result show up.
Use internal links
Another good sign and strategy to improve search results for your site is to include links on your pages to other pages of your site.
If a user is interested in something, and they click through, and the content on the following page is interesting enough, and they click through again to another, and so on, that shows Google the content on that site must be good.
So that would also improve your search results. It's showing people aren't just visiting your site and then leaving after 30 seconds, having never seen any other page.
That's called your bounce rate - the percent of people who will not click through to another page and bail from the very same page they arrived on.
Keep your image sizes slim in size
Another thing you can do to improve your search results is to ensure your pages load fast. One contributing factor is the file size of your images. If you have images that are way too big in file size, that slows the page loading of your site's pages right down.
Ideally, you'll want your site's pages to load in under 2 seconds. Anything longer than that will start impacting your site's SEO (search engine optimization).
You can do a couple of things to ensure any images you upload are slim; one is by using a free service like tinypng.com, which can reduce image sizes for free (under five MB per file).
Another is by using a caching service. Image caching, in a nutshell, is where a copy of an image is saved for re-use. That way, people who visit that website don't have to wait for images to download every time they visit the page. Most web host providers have this as a service, and it's always a good idea to check with your web hosting provider if that's something they provide.
If you are using WordPress for your website, you can also use a few good free plugins that will provide some level of caching for you.
This list isn't all-inclusive, of course, as there are many other ways you can improve your website's visibility. The lesson at the end of the day is this: We are incredibly dependant on using social media to connect with and communicate with others, but it's not the only way to get the word out.
And if and when the light switch gets turned off for Facebook in Australia, you'll want to be in a position where you are still getting plenty of visitors to your site and generating lots of opportunities for your business.