10 common mistakes people make when starting an online business

Today, we turn our attention to the common mistakes and the traps we often fall into when starting new businesses.
Here are some points to keep in mind when you start out so you can achieve sustainability of your digital project faster and smoother:

1. Lack of knowledge about digital marketing and its tools

Digital marketing is a living, breathing organism – there is something new every month. It uses a huge range of tools and platforms and luckily many of them are free and extremely useful for any type of business. There are also a wide range of online trainings that can help you get to know your way around.

Here is a list of some useful sources:

Digital Garage – https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalengarazh
Google Analytics – https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/
Google Academy for Ads – https://landing.google.com/academyforads/
Facebook Ads – https://www.facebook.com/business/learn

2. Wrong choice of partner

If you are planning to start an online business, the most important things to have is 1)a well-built and optimized website that responds quickly to your users’ needs and 2)for you – to have a CRM system that allows easy management of orders and inquiries. You can always trust in proven platforms like WordPress, Magento, OpenCart, etc., as well as partner with a developer to create your site from the ground up.

3. Unrealistic expectations

Anyone can create a website and expect the orders to come rolling in right away, but things are not quite happening this way. Starting an online business requires users to become familiar with your brand/service/product. You must first generate a critical mass of traffic to the site to see how users respond to what you are offering and interact with it. You will need to run ads on different channels and do not expect them to start bringing sales your way immediately. After all, before placing that order online, each of us checks the comments and reviews for the site, whether there is any business information, and more.

4. Lack of USP

The unique selling proposition is especially important when starting a business. What is that different and special thing you are offering to users that distinguish you from the other existing stores? What will be your competitive advantage? Why choose you over proven sites with a large selection of products? Think about this before launching your marketing campaign, as it would play a key role in communication and allow you to “steal” clients.

5. You do not know your customers well

When building a site, choosing product designs or even the color of the logo, you need to know who your shoppers will be. Write down exactly what your “ideal” customer would look like and you can even give him a name. Point your thinking into making the right type of people like your work and make sure the design of your site is the right design for them.

6. Lack of strategy at the start

The initial traffic to each new site is usually paid. After all, no one knows you yet and writing your domain directly is unlikely. Don’t expect to have a profit and great direct traffic from the get-go. This will take time.
A major mistake with startup businesses is the limited budget and the desire for orders raining down. Paid traffic requires you to plan a specific budget to run your campaigns. Here, we recommend that you come up with a clear strategy for how you will grow your business in 6 months, rather than go with “Let’s see how the first month will go and then decide if we will continue”.

7. Unclear user path to purchase

Imagine you start running campaigns, invest funds into a budget, bring in a lot of traffic to the site, but see users leave it right away… Most probably this is due to a poorly built homepage that does not meet visitors’ expectations and does not convey them into taking the action you want them to take.

8. You are not familiar with good SEO practices

When managing a site, it is advisable to get acquainted with what element of your site is important to be indexed better by the search engines and have more organic traffic, as well as what do words like meta titles and descriptions mean and how they should be filled in.

9. You do not accept specialists’ advice

When you approach a digital agency or a marketer, they are the specialists who should help you in your endeavor and in improving your performance and results. Listening and trying to assist them is vital.

10. Daily changes to campaigns

Your ad campaigns need some time to collect statistics. We do not recommend daily changes. If you are in doubt about a message or image, do beta testing for 3-4 days before pausing one of them.

Surely this is NOT a guide to how to run a successful online business, but it is a list of things that might help you get started. If you need any help or advice, feel free to email us.

The Worst SEO Mistakes Businesses Make

The Worst SEO Mistakes Businesses Make

If you are managing a business of any size, you have undoubtedly realized that in today’s dynamic marketplace there’s no way you can win without a relevant digital presence. However, simply going online won’t be sufficient and you should think and invest in the right efforts that would lead to tangible success. In the meantime, while you are working on the optimization of your website, for instance, you better be aware of the basics and avoid the worst SEO mistakes businesses usually make.

The Biggest Technical SEO Mistakes

At first, search engine optimization (SEO) was all about technicality. With time, Google and other search engines improved their algorithms and made them less dependent on the back-end and more dependent on the quality of the content. However, some aspects still matter and they are very easy to implement and fix.

Poor Internal Architecture and Link Structure

The internal website architecture is the base on which your entire site is structured and determines the distribution of your traffic. As top pages usually get the most link juice, what content you put there, how you format them and connect them with the other parts of your site is crucial. Additionally, when crawlers start indexing a website they move from page to page through the internal links. This makes deeply hidden pages less authoritative and encourages fewer conversions. That is why, one should be very precise when developing the internal link structure and building redirects, like 404 errors or duplicate content could have a devastating effect on your ranking. What you need to aim for, basically, is having all your webpages at most 3 clicks away from the home one. And if your current situation is different and you plan on improving your links now, then you can submit an XML sitemap at the end, encouraging the search engines to reassess and reindex your site.

Too Slow Loading Speed or Lack of Responsiveness

The simple truth is that if your site is not working properly, the chance that it’ll be ranked well is very low. As loading time is a major factor in website abandonment from the user’s point of view, especially in mobile, search engines require pages to load fast, preferably in under 3 seconds. And as slower websites translate not only in the lower ranking but also in lower conversion and worse user experience, you have a further incentive to shorten the loading time. Additionally, with people searching more and more mobile and being almost always connected to their phones, the responsiveness of websites became a must. If you want to gain more insights, you can rely on the PageSpeed tool of Google, that would facilitate the optimization process. If you aim at solving the problem though, the best you can do is getting a hosting provider nearer to your target market.

Some of the Biggest Strategic SEO Mistakes

While the technical aspects are a necessary prerequisite for a well-optimized and well-ranking website, as mentioned above, they are in no way sufficient and the strategy behind your SEO efforts is what would make a difference. So make sure to avoid those mistakes, as well.

Choosing Wrong Keywords

If you’ve followed all the rules when optimizing your site, building links, and creating campaigns, but you still see no results, then most probably you are aiming at the wrong set of keywords. The problem here could be complex. You may be optimizing for too broad terms or too popular ones, which hardly give results for small and medium-sized businesses. The easier you can do to avoid this problem is relying on efficient keyword research tools like the ones provided by Google Analytics and ahrefs. Another issue could be the overreliance on long-tail keywords and any attempt to fit them in anchor texts or content pieces. And the biggest problem could be a lack of insights into what your prospective customers could look for and find on your website.

Creating Low Quality Content

Once you’ve figured out the right keywords, the worst mistake you could make is creating content for the sake of creating content only. With Google improving its algorithms every day, it is now looking for websites, which add and deliver value to the end users. Thus, the quality of the content uploaded matters much more than the availability of certain keywords and is where you need to put the focus. Create content, which is extensive and informative. Add the details you could not find elsewhere. As pages with less than 200 words unique content are not indexed at all, you will aim at the higher quantity while insisting on the quality, as well. And then work on evergreen topics that would make your effort relevant for the long-term, attracting both users and link in the future.

Not Targeting the Right Audience

Finding your target is just as important as setting your keywords right. And the most common mistake here is surely having a too wide audience. There is no way you can deliver value to all people browsing the web and if you attempt to bring “everything to everyone”, you are at the edge of delivering “nothing to no one”. So, either take the conventional marketing approach and create your Buyer persona or just keep asking yourself what your ideal customer would be and what he or she would be looking for.

The most essential SEO mistake: not optimizing and auditing your site

Search engine optimization is clearly a continuous effort. So doing it for a week or two will be just as inefficient as an avoiding one of the mistakes mentioned once. So invest some time in defining clear goals. As SEO is complex and requires a good understanding and sufficient expertise so that your objectives could be translated into a strategy and actionable steps could be implemented to improve your digital presence, never hesitate to hire a professional. Only then you will be on the right track.

Sources:
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/worst-seo-mistakes/245363/
https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/common-seo-mistakes-to-avoid
https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/10/25/5-the-worst-seo-mistakes-clients-make
https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/seo-mistakes/
https://www.greengeeks.com/blog/2016/12/20/13-worst-seo-mistakes-to-avoid-at-all-costs/
https://smartblogger.com/seo-mistakes/
https://www.mentionlytics.com/blog/20-worst-seo-mistakes/

What is White Hat SEO & How it Helps you?

How White Hat SEO Relates to Higher Conversion Rates?

With search engines gaining a lot of recognition and people relying on them more and more often, the appearance of your site and your business on their result pages has become crucial. Thus, search engine optimization (SEO) has turned into a core digital marketing technique and the most efficient mean of attracting organic traffic. However, not every SEO strategy is ethical and right and not every effort will lead to higher conversion. Therefore, you better know the difference, so that you can achieve more with your investment.

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

In the land of search engine optimization, there are two general paths – the white hat and the black hat one. The white hatters are led by the pursuit of quality. They understand that what search engines value most today is what end users value most, too, and that is quality. Therefore, they optimize the sites so that their entire performance is better – higher speed, better architecture, good partners’ links, useful content, and much more. On the contrary are the black hatters who do not care for the end users and the guidelines set by the search engines. All they care about is impressing the machines and manipulating the rules to get some short-term results and rankings. And as you can imagine, cheating doesn’t set all your marketing efforts on the right track.

Why is Black Hat SEO Dangerous for Your Business

Though fundamentally wrong, black hat SEO yielded some pretty good results once. Now, Google has updated and improved its algorithms so well that the results of such SEO practices could be just temporary and in the long run, the site could be heavily penalized with its ranking being lowered or even completely removed from the index. That is why, there are certain pseudo-SEO techniques that you need to avoid at all costs like purchasing links, creating duplicate content by using materials from other sites for your own, creating fake accounts and attracting fake links, or reporting your competitors for spam, when they’ve done nothing wrong. Of course, there are many more creative ways to manipulate the system that you better avoid. As a rule of thumb, do nothing that doesn’t add value to your end user and you cannot go wrong.

What are White Hat’s Best Practices?

Once you’ve realized that white hat SEO is the way to go, you better get to know its core and most efficient practices.

Valuable Content

Valuable content is undoubtedly key for better search engine rankings. Create an article about a certain topic, which is more informative, descriptive, and extensive than all the materials of your competitors and Google will, for sure, appreciate that. With the goal of outperforming competitors by adding more value to customers, the skyscraper technique for content creation emerged. Based on your keyword research and the insights of what your prospective clients search most often, find topics they may be interested in and study them and the available resources in detail. Then, create a material which is more creative, more well-thought, and more comprehensive than any other and you will not only attract more users but also you will easily get more links.

Link Building instead of Link Buying

In the world of search engine optimization, links mean authority and generally, the more you get, the better your ranking will be. However, this applies only to quality links – links, coming from websites with good domain ratings (DR). So today, the idea is no longer to get a high number of links but to get a good amount of quality ones. This automatically means that buying links in bulk is not an option. Therefore, aim at attracting links from websites, which are close to you in terms of topic and reach, build partnership relationships with their editors and negotiate links only on the basis of quality and relevance. And here again, the quality content is the key to success. If you have a page that brings a lot of value to the general audience, other websites would love to link to it.

Optimized Site offering Good User Experience

A couple of years ago, SEO was all about technical optimization and the user experience didn’t matter that much for the ranking. As Google optimized its algorithms, the design and the usability of the pages, as well as the overall user experience, started making a substantial difference. Therefore, always put yourself in the shoes of your users and clients and think about their experience on the site and how it could be improved. Having a good UX is not rocket science. And if you are not 100% sure about something, never hesitate to conduct an A/B test.

How does White Hat SEO Contribute to Conversion Rate Optimization?

In order for your marketing strategy to be implemented successfully, all its elements need to be integrated and to work together for the common business goals. And in the bag of digital marketing tools, the SEO and the conversion rate optimization are among the most closely related ones. The well-done search engine optimization modifies the feel of your site and improves the overall user experience. And this, on the other hand, leads to the higher conversion rate you are aiming at.

Sources:
https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/white-hat-seo/
https://leadtoconversion.com/blog/how-your-seo-company-may-be-killing-conversion-rates/
https://optinmonster.com/white-hat-vs-black-hat-seo/
https://azibyaqoob.com/whats-the-main-difference-between-white-hat-seo-vs-black-hat-seo/
https://ahrefs.com/blog/white-hat-seo/
https://seo-hacker.com/comprehensive-white-hat-strategy-wont-penalised/

What is SEO & Why Your Business Needs it

7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs SEO

Most of the businesses are already aware that they need SEO for better and stronger digital presence. And if they still do not know what SEO stands for, they must have lost touch with reality. The search engines have become the go-to place for information of every user all around the world and companies of any size can earn visibility online through optimization for these same search engines (SEO). But the good news is that SEO is actually beneficial for many more aspects of your business. Here are some of them:

SEO’s Good for Your Customers

The final objective of every business should be bringing value to the customers. People enjoy navigating well-structured sites and more than anything they like finding useful information on the web. So, a site that is good for the user is good for the business, too.

1. SEO Improves User Experience

Google improves its algorithms every day and is now capable of distinguishing positive and favorable user experience. The search engine wants its users to be able to find the information they seek, in a few clicks and, if possible, on the first SERP (search engine results page). Thus, sites aiming to rank well end up delivering a quality user experience, which is a total win-win for the brand.

2. SEO Facilitates Mobile Searches

With people being always connected and searching for everything on the go, the mobile access and user experience have become super important. There is no way your site could rank high if it is not well optimized for the search engines. But once you have some serious SEO techniques implemented, your mobile presence will surge. In addition, local SEO will make sure that people in your area will find your business first, which can turn into store visits, emails, phone calls, direct online purchases, or another form of engagement.

3. SEO Ensures Quality Content on Your Site

As Google is getting smarter, it focuses more and more on content and value. The architecture and design of your site do matter as well as all the technicalities, but if you do not provide valuable content that the user seeks and enjoys reading, then you would hardly rank well. Thus, a fundamental SEO practice is the content optimization. Start building a good content profile now and you will utilize its returns for a long time.

SEO’s Good for Your Business

Separating your customers and your business seems unnatural, so the good news is that SEO benefits both. Implementing search engine optimization best practices, you will see the results and returns in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions soon.

4. SEO is Efficient and Ranks You on Page 1

People are searching about anything and everything, which makes search engines one of the most heavily used sites and the go-to place for information, advice, business, entertainment. Therefore, optimizing for search engines is not going to disappear or deteriorate in importance soon. On the contrary, it is going to remain the major technique for ranking your site on page one. And the fact that too few people go to the second page in the busy and hectic everydayness is widespread. So, while SEO works so efficiently, and it surely does, you are only losing if you are not using it.

5. SEO Increases Traffic, Engagement, and Conversion

The fact that SEO brings a lot more traffic to your site is logical and self-explanatory. The good thing about SEO is that it builds on value and its outcomes (the optimization on your site, link building profile, etc.) do not disappear. Thus, SEO brings not only more clicks and page views but higher engagement, as people navigate easily through the well-optimized sites and find useful content. And the engaged users more often than not convert into engaged customers. Therefore, within only a couple of months using SEO, one can notice the difference.

6. SEO is a cost-effective long-term investment

Surely, in business, it is all about the money. Or in other words, it is all about the return on investment (ROI). Well, SEO scores decently in this category, as it is relatively cheap. The direct impact on sales and profits may not be so easy to trace, but the higher conversion rate only logically follows the better online presence and brand image SEO brings. And the best thing is that once you stop investing in SEO, what you have done and achieved will still be there, working for you. And while SEO requires consistency and is a never-ending process, its impact lasts for at least a couple of years.

7. SEO is What Your Competitors Do

If you ignore what your competitors do, soon you will have no competitors, as you will be left behind. And if you do not invest in search engine optimization, while everyone in the industry builds better sites and connections to improve its rankings, you will soon have no chance to rank well and will lose a huge amount of potential customers, simply because you are not utilizing one of the best tools out there.

Sources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2014/03/26/7-reasons-why-your-business-should-invest-in-seo/
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/
https://www.mainstreetroi.com/the-top-8-reasons-your-business-needs-seo/
https://www.business2community.com/seo/6-reasons-why-your-business-still-needs-seo-02115284
https://businesstown.com/7-reasons-business-invest-seo/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-long/your-small-business-needs_b_5691621.html

How local SEO works and how it can boost your business?

How local SEO works and how it can boost your business?

Search engine optimization has been increasingly important in an environment where people are almost always connected. Moreover, we tend to use the search engine for various reasons like work, entertainment, information, curiosity, etc. constantly. You can see the statistics yourself, but some people reach around 76 queries a day.

What’s Local SEO?

The search engine optimization (SEO) is among the most efficient digital marketing tools and is developing together with the development and growth of search engines themselves. The improvement of Google’s algorithms inevitably leads to more efficient and value-creating SEO practices. This specialization has led to the differentiation of local SEO.

Local SEO Definition

Local SEO is about optimization of a website so that they can rank well in local searches. Those searches are either based on users’ location or a specific term like “near me” or “in London”. The fact that local SEO matches the business with the target audience in its region makes it especially important for B2C companies. Most often, those searches are made through a mobile device and the mobile local searches are increasing with 146% year over year with 1 out of 2 ends up in store visit. This shows what a remarkable impact good local SEO practices may have on your conversion and profitability.

Local SEO Goes Beyond Search Engines

The first part of local SEO is closely connected with the search engines. For example, Google has created its Google My Business platform that is a central hub for the company’s details online. Namely Google My Business provides details for Google searches and Google Maps, for instance. Creating an optimized listing is a must and a starting point. However, local SEO goes beyond that and is closely connected with good site optimization.

How Does Local SEO Work?

Often, people believe that local SEO practices coincide with SEO ones, but the truth is that this branch of digital marketing has very specific rules.

Competition and Local Keywords Research

Every successful local SEO campaign starts with competition research. You need to know both who your rivals are, where they are located, and what is there competitive research and you need to know what digital and SEO strategies they pursue. Only after that comes the next critical step and, namely, the local keyword research. Here, we are looking for terms that reflect the intent of your local customers.

Content Creation and Optimization

Once you’ve completed the research stage, you can pursue with actual optimization of your site for a local audience and searches. The keyword list already created must be studied carefully and specific and appropriate keywords must be included in the basic elements of every page (title, meta description, heading structure, etc.). Sometimes, you may figure out that you could rank better locally with infographic or video. In those cases, it will be more than useful to invest some time and efforts in further content creation and development.

Link Building

Last but not least, your local SEO campaign will be successful only if you manage to develop a strong local link profile. Links, in the search engine world, are a symbol of trust. The more links you have, the more trustworthy you are. Therefore, when trying to rank well locally, you need links from local, but authoritative websites. Building such connections and relationships is a long-term process that will yield results for years. So, do not underestimate it.

What is Google My Business and When Do You Need It?

Google My Business is the platform that stores information about the business: location, working hours, photos, reviews. It is verified and reliable. And while one in two people who search locally, visit a store the same day, you better invest some time and effort into creating and managing a proper Google My Business listing.

Directories: the Other Place You Can Get Your Business Listed Online

Other local business listings are also crucial for the successful local SEO, as they contribute to authority and ranking and, therefore, revenue. However, it is very important to choose the directories very carefully and not try to get listed everywhere, but only where it makes sense.

Why Does Your Business Need Local SEO?

Small or big, your business does not merely need SEO, but it needs local SEO, especially in a world of constant searches and the diminishing value of advertising.

Local Customers Search Local and Mobile

You want to go for a dinner tonight. Or you want to buy a new lawnmower. What are you going to do? Go online and search for the best restaurants in the area and research the lawn mowers options, prices, and selling points around. And even if you are the best restaurant in town, if your online presence is not locally optimized, you will remain unnoticed. People search local and mobile and to reach them, engage with them, and satisfy their needs and wants, you need to be there and you need to be prepared.

Great Return on Investment and Conversion

Local SEO is among the digital marketing tools with the highest Return on Investment (ROI). You claim your business online, you optimize your site, you facilitate reviews and constant communication with clients, and build connections with fellow local businesses. You, therefore, engage more with your customers, but also through an enjoyable online experience improve your conversion rate.

Local SEO Facilitates the Review Process and Customers Trust Others’ Feedback

When designing your marketing campaign, you should no longer look at your customers as an audience. Rather than that, you need to look at your business and your clients as a community. And in this community, honesty and trust are what matters most. And local SEO allows the facilitation of crucial processes like feedback, reviews, and communication. Listen to the wants of your customers and you will, no doubt, win their hearts (and loyalty).

Sources:
http://heroicsearch.com/how-local-seo-works/
https://www.brightlocal.com/about-local-seo/
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233158
https://yoast.com/what-is-local-seo/
https://moz.com/blog/the-local-seo-illusion