How do I improve the Google ranking of my business in Derby?
How do I improve the Google ranking of my business in Derby?
This post is about a communications campaign we directed, incorporating blogging, newsletters and social media.
It's designed to give you an insight into the process and how you could do the same for your business or charity at low or no cost.
A bit about SEO first
SEO (search engine optimisation) was an important part of the campaign, hence this note.
It is a part of marketing focussed on increasing visibility in search engine results.
Most traffic to your website will be driven by search engine results, and internet users generally start surfing with a search query (the words you type in the search box).
This is important, because this traffic is targeted - people are looking to solve a need and you may have the answer.
If you are invisible or very low in a search engine result, you are potentially missing out on publicity, revenue and exposure.
By arranging and editing your content properly, you can help search engines return better results - preferably capturing more visitors for you - ahead of your competition.
For more on Search Engine Optimisation, check out the MOZ Beginner's Guide to SEO.
The Mountain People (TMP) www.the-mountain-people.com
Training and fitness for Scotland winter mountaineering
Run a communications campaign leading up to an event to engage participants and influence their attitude towards the business
Increase likelihood individuals will recommend TMP to others
Increase sense of excitement in individuals going into the event
Individuals feel better prepared
Outline of how it was meant to work
These were the basic steps to the campaign:
Ensure participants were on the company Mailchimp maillist
Design and schedule an attractive weekly e-mail over six weeks leading up to the event
The key article would click through to the full SEO-rich blog on the website
Engage participants via social media
How do I go about planning?
This is one of the nuggets from the Government Communication Service (GCS) campaigning resources.
It gives you the essential framework you need to plan, deliver and review your campaign.
Along with EAST (a framework to apply behavioural insights), one of the other acronyms the GCS has developed, the OASIS planning framework greatly helped to define the key aspects.
It boiled down to these elements:
Key content would focus on preparing people practically (fitness, weather and conditions, kit)
Use high quality images images throughout to inspire people and create anticipation
Encourage delegates to engage on Facebook to create community dynamic
Send campaigns at weekends to give people chance to digest them. Additionally, a six-week lead-in allows time to prepare practically
As you can see below, we front-loaded the campaign with the key content.
This was generally a long-form blog article on The Mountain People website.
The articles were very rich, not only in terms of the advice given to participants, but also the keywords that we wanted to pick up on in Google.
Create traction around your maillist
Your maillist is the one place where you have complete freedom to speak to your audience.
Unlike social media, you are not competing with the world and his wife to get your message across; there are no algorithms working against you; people are (mostly) on it because they believe in you and want to hear what you have to say.
A maillist is therefore an excellent channel through which to deliver content to you audience, as well as drive traffic to your website.
It's remarkably simple to set up a maillist with something like Mailchimp and then start sending e-mails (termed 'campaigns' in Mailchimp).
Over six weeks leading up to the event, I planned, wrote and edited a series of weekly Mailchimp campaigns along with a team of contributors.
Newsletters can produce good conversion rates
Overall the weekly content did very well. The average open rate was 67% and the click rate 34% - the industry average open rate is 21%.
The overall conversion rate, factoring in those who opened and clicked, was a whopping 20%.
In marketing terms, good conversion rates are rarely above 5%.
This shows the power of delivering relevant content to a targetted audience.
Engage key influencers to boost your influence
During the week of the post, it enjoyed incredible attention, with a spike of almost 500 pageviews, as you can see above.
This was because of the integrated actions on Facebook, where we looked to engage key influencers.
In the event, a popular blogger who is active on Facebook and Twitter mentioned the article and published it on his blog.
Key point - think about who are the key influencers in your niche that could give you some exposure.
Make your content 'evergreen'
After the event and over the rest of the year there has been a gradual increase in web traffic to the main blog post, 'Training and fitness for Scotland winter mountaineering'.
This demonstrates the enduring relevance of the post to a targetted group of people. It is likely that it will experience a spike in the winter months when more people are active.
This post is now what is known as 'evergreen content', which means because of its enduring it will continue to attract traffic each winter when people's thoughts turn to training and getting fit for winter mountaineering.
Scores on the doors
The performance of content on Google is known as its Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP).
Overall, the campaign's main post currently ranks in the top 10 results for a number of key searches:
#1 for 'fitness for scotland winter mountaineering'
#1 for 'fitness scottish winter mountaineering'
#3 for ‘how to train for winter mountaineering’
#6 for ‘how to prepare for winter mountaineering’
Were it hasn't scored so well is where 'training' replaces 'fitness' and for fragment searches, such as 'training scotland winter mountaineering'.
This perhaps reflects the way that the posts were optimised, but also how people search for content.
The bottom line is that you should always test and compare results in campaigns and make incremental changes, based on what the data trends tell you.
From the horse's mouth
At the end of the trip, we conducted a client feedback survey to gauge how the campaign had influenced the audience.
The results were positive, and as you can see below, participants were highly likely to recommend TMP to others - a good Net Promoter Score.
The campaign did well in other areas too, so laid a positive foundation for future projects.
The campaign was based on best-practice as laid down by the Government Communications Service (an arm of the UK government's Civil Service).
You can find excellent materials and resources on the GCS' campaigns webpage; the GCS overall is excellent at publishing best practices and guides.
This campaign was obviously not a project for a Derby business, but the principles all apply and can easily be transferred.
Undertaking a campaign won't magically improve your SEO overnight - it takes time. As you can see from the results above, changes took place over months.
You need to be committed to content as a business, as the campaign relies on delivering this to your audienece.
You can't carry this alone, or expect your poor, unfortunate marketing manager to do it all either.
We hope you've enjoyed this week's blog. If you've got a website or a branding need, do get in touch - we'd love to chat and see how we can help you!