Like it or loath it, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a necessary part of your online marketing strategy.
Many believe it involves gathering together a list of keywords, sticking them into a website and people will find you.
Sadly it doesn’t work like that, which is why so many businesses are getting it wrong.
People also have the view that SEO is incredibly complex and time-consuming. In truth, it’s not. Granted, it takes a bit of getting your head around it, but the on page stuff is easy to grasp, although you will need a web designer who understands SEO to get all the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff right.
The problem is many can’t be bothered to invest the time it takes to get to grips with what needs doing, and that’s when it all goes horribly wrong.
So, what are the most common SEO mistakes that small businesses make?
Identifying the right keywords is vital.
That doesn’t mean stuff like luxury, responsive, professional, innovative, etc.
Keywords/phrases are the things you type into Google’s search box when you’re looking for products and services. That means it’s time to slip your shoes off and slide your feet into your customers’ shoes for a while.
You have to think like them and not like someone who already knows you exist and what you do.
2. Broad is wrong
The chances are you have a lot of competitors in the online world. Therefore ranking for generic keywords (such as copywriter, lawyer, web designer, etc.) is going to be super difficult.
The best way to be effective is to keep your keywords and phrases narrow.
Let’s say you sell dog collars. But not just any old collar, expensive Italian leather dog collars. Yours is a very niche market, so optimising for ‘dog collars’ isn’t going to work.
It’s a very competitive term, so you probably won’t rank very high. Plus, you’ll end up with a high bounce rate because the vast majority of the searchers will be looking for cheap and cheerful collars and not niche, uber expensive ones.
That’s why your main keyword/phrase should be ‘designer Italian leather dog collars’. There will be less traffic for these longer keywords, but that means it’s also less competitive and the traffic you get will be highly targeted and more likely to convert into paying customers.
3. Website content
Now you have traffic you have to be able to turn it into paying customers.
Check through your content. Have you used the words and phrases from your keyword research list? Are they in your URLs, page titles and first paragraphs? Has each page been optimised for a different term?
The one thing you must not do is stuff your keywords into every sentence. Above all your writing should be natural. Use your keywords in your page title, headings and opening paragraph, but also mix in synonyms. Plus, it’s wise to not only use your keyword/phrase in its entirety, but also broken down – so, yes use ‘designer leather dog collar’, but also make sure you use each word separately within your text.
4. Site and content maintenance
Another big part of SEO and one constantly overlooked, is the maintenance of your website.
Broken links, page load times, duplicate content and missing tags will all attract black marks and will affect your rankings.
The content on every page (and this includes your blog posts) must be unique and relevant to the targeted keywords.
5. Ignoring SEO altogether
For some business owners, SEO is just too much like hard work.
There aren’t enough hours in the day and what’s the point anyway? You don’t sell through your website; it’s just there for information.
If that’s how you think, you’re missing the point.
People research before they buy and that means turning to Google (other search engines are available).
By ignoring your SEO, you’re ignoring a vast swathe of potential customers looking for what you offer.
Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to do your SEO, there are plenty of companies out there that can help you. Granted, SEO suppliers vary in quality, but provided you do your research, you’ll find the right fit for you, your business and your budget.
Don’t switch from one company to the next when it comes to your SEO needs. Locating a professional search engine marketing is your hidden gem. They are the behind the scenes provider that keeps it all moving forward. You have products or services and there is a market out there for them. They are the bridge that brings you to each other.
Unfortunately, not all is fair when it comes to what you will get from such a company. They can promise you this or that, but if it isn’t in writing, it may not materialize. It can also be difficult to measure the level of success with what they offer. They can give you reports, but you have to make sure they are unbiased and credible.
Do your homework and be diligent in your search for professional search engine marketing. Learn about companies and what they have to offer. Find out about the level of expertise and creativity flowing through it. The size of the business can also be a factor to look at. You need to know those working on your account are going to continue to be motivated.
Be Clear with your Expectations
Don’t let the lines of communication become blurred when professional search engine marketing is concerned. Remain clear about what you can expect from them and how they will provide services for your business. Don’t get lost in the shuffle, you should get reports from them at regular intervals.
It is also a good idea to talk with your professional search engine marketing company regularly by phone or with an in person meeting if possible. Such meetings can be a great time to share with them what you have on the horizon. You may be expanding your line of products or services and they can use such details to help them create more outreach with your niche market.
Learn About in House Tactics
Find out what you can about the in house tactics for any professional search engine marketing company you are interested in working with. What is the process when a new company needs assistance? How are they going to ensure your needs get met both now and in the future? What types of training do they offer for their employees?
Creativity is at the core of such work, what is done to promote that? Do employees have to get approval from a supervisor before they can share their ideas with a client? You also need to find out what the process is if you have a concern or a complaint. Hopefully, you can go through the proper channels and get it all resolved.
If you can’t, they need to know they will lose the account. There is no reason to continue business with a company that isn’t making your business a priority. When they know they have to work to earn and keep your business, it will make a difference.
Increase your Services
Once way to show your gratitude for successful professional search engine marketing is to increase your services. Once they have proven they can assist you with getting results, you should be seeing more profits coming your way. Put some of them back into expanding the SEO they offer for you. This is a wise investment that will keep your business moving forward.
At the same time, it provides more business and more money for that entity to work with. They will be able to continue offering you cutting edge services when they have the right tools, techniques, and training in place for their employees.
It’s no longer unusual for ageing Britons to experience their fourth generation of progeny. While healthy seniors live longer in their homes, they may wish to move.
Throughout the developed world, advances in nutrition, hygiene and medicine have led to longer lives and greater independence for seniors. While this certainly is welcomed as good news, it nonetheless also introduces a different dynamic in national economics and social planning.
To understand the impact of the UK’s ageing population, it helps to confront some key facts:
1. Over-65 age group already up – Between 1982 and 2007, this age group increased by 16 per cent, growing from 8.5 million to 9.8 million Britons.
2. Over-65 age group will get even bigger – By the year 2032, there will be a 66 per cent increase in the size of the 65+ age demographic.
3. Over-65 age group will be almost one quarter of the population – This increase by 2032 will put retired people at 23 per cent of the population.
4. Over-85 increasing the most – More than 1.3 million people are in this “oldest kid” category, double what it was 30 years ago. Almost none work and therefore are entirely dependent on pensions, family and the public coffers for support.
What’s particularly significant, from an economics standpoint, is that the ratio of working people to pensioners has gone down since the 1980s and will continue to decline short of a new baby boom. Currently, there are 3.2 working people for every retired person in the UK, but that number will decline to 2.8 by 2033.
Those are facts that address the pension system. But what’s less reported is how our surprisingly healthy seniors might contribute to the country’s protracted housing shortage. Former Planning minister Nick Boles went on record in 2013 by stating that it was the elderly, more than immigrants, who are placing the greatest pressures on housing needs in the UK. Which provides interesting news to those who consider alternative investments, such as senior housing, for their asset growth potential.
“Our population has grown and we have not built enough houses to keep pace with it,” Boles said, as reported by the Daily Telegraph. “It’s important to remember the majority of that population growth has not been as a result of immigration. The majority of that growth, about two thirds, has been as a result of ageing.” He goes on to point out the plethora of families that now have four generations – and that they don’t all live in the same house.
Addressing a part of this problem is the Campaign for Housing in Later Life (CHLL), an organisation launched in 2013. Notably, only 1 per cent of Britons live in retirement housing; this compares to 17 per cent in the US and 13 per cent in Austria. Given the ageing statistics cited above, there is a need to increase the kinds of developments that are appropriate for this age group.
If those options were available and attractive to seniors, it could free up the estimated £400 billion worth of homes they currently occupy. Often, that means one person occupying a much larger home than they need. The Demos think tank (a cross-party organisation) published a report in 2013 that details how almost 3.3 million properties – two million of which are three-bedroom homes – could be freed up for occupancy by younger families. The sales of these homes would also free up cash to supplement seniors’ overall wherewithal. The report also emphasizes that new, seniors-designated housing needs to be appealing; only about 150,000 retirement units exist in the private sector currently.
CHLL maintains that planning regulations stand in the way of developing more senior housing (which, it bears noting, involves a mix of communal and private quarters, with on-hand staff to provide assistance as needed).
Relaxed planning processes, allowing more local control, has helped increase housing stock in the UK, as property fund management companies are now able to more confidently buy and develop land for residential construction. Public policy also includes better lending strategies, such as the Help to Buy scheme, making first-time and upgrade purchases more accessible. The CHLL advocates for a broader application of Help to Buy that will enable lower-income seniors to qualify for senior housing.
Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer to peer, digital currency system, designed to give online users the ability to process transactions via digital unit of exchange known as Bitcoins. In other words, it is a virtual currency.
The Bitcoin system was created in the year 2009 by an undisclosed programmer(s). Since then, Bitcoin has garnered huge attention as well as controversy as an alternative to US dollar, Euros and commodity currencies such as gold and silver.
Rise to Popularity
Bitcoin had not attained much attention in the world of business and finance before the year 2009. It rose to prominence in the 2011-2012 period when it gained over 300%. Bitcoin has had a 400% growth in its value since the August of last year. As a result, venture capital firms and investors around the world continue to pay importance to the cryptocurrency.
In the first half of 2014, venture capital firms invested $57 million in Bitcoin in the first quarter, followed by another $73 million in the second quarter amounting to a total of $130 million, which is 50% greater than last year’s total of $88 million. This is a complete contrast to the scenario in 2012 where Bitcoin firms amassed a relatively meagre sum of $2.2 million.
These statistics prove beyond doubt that Bitcoin is worth your investment, which begs the question, how can you buy and invest in Bitcoin?
A guideline for novice investors in Bitcoin
The easiest and least complicated method to invest in Bitcoin is by purchasing bitcoins. There are a lot of established firms, mainly in the US as well as abroad, who are involved in the business of buying and selling bitcoins, abbreviated as BTC.
If you are living in the U.S. then Coinbase is the place you’re looking for. Coinbase provides it’s clients with BTC at an estimated mark up of 1% over the existing market price. Residents of the United States have the option to sync their Coinbase wallets with their bank accounts. As a result, future payment transfers are made hassle free. This company also gives you the option of automatic bitcoin buying from time to time. For instance, if you’re interested to purchase $50 in bitcoins at the beginning of each month, Coinbase allows you to set up an auto buy for that amount.
Be mindful of the terms and conditions before you begin to use this service. If you have subscribed to an automatic bit coin service, then you will not be able to control the price at which the BTC is bought every month. Note that Coinbase is does not function as a Bitcoin exchange i.e. you buy and sell the coins directly from the firm. Since the firm has to source the coins from other buyers, you may face delays or disruptions when laying orders during fast market moves.
BitStamp suits the requirements of a conventional bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin acts as an intermediary which allows you to trade with other users and not the company itself. Here the liquidity is higher and you always have a good chance to find someone who is willing to trade with you. There is an initial fee of 0.5% which can be reduced to 0.2% if you trade $150,000 in a period of 30 days.
Alternative ways to purchase Bitcoins
Exchanging isn’t the only method of investment in bitcoins. Local Bitcoins is often used to buy BTC offline. The website is designed to link potential buyers and sellers. The bitcoins are locker from the seller in an escrow and can only be released to buyers.
Buying bitcoins offline isn’t always very reliable or safe. Hence it’s preferable to meet the sellers during daytime and let a friend tag along with you just in case things go south.
Bitcoin is not just a modern trend. Venture capital firms consider Bitcoin to be a decent substitute to conventional currency in the long run. There are cointless ways for you to enter the sphere of bitcoin investment. As mentioned before, Coinbase, BitStamp and Local Bitcoins are the most popular channels for investing in bitcoin in the United States. Do your homework and find out which avenue ticks all your boxes.