We can’t say that we’ve seen it all, but have certainly seen a lot. Each month, Frasca Digital conducts a number of digital audits for new and prospective clients. From manufacturer’s in the lighting industry, to local medical marijuana doctors in Maryland, our exposure to a wide variety of industries helps us better understand which approaches to SEO works consistently, and which strategies may be industry-specific.
Regardless of industry, the business leaders and marketers we interact with usually come to us because they’re frustrated or want to solve a problem. They want results now, but don’t really know where to start or which path to follow. They want to grow, but this type of decision making for marketing is sometimes treated as a leap of faith.
We are always humbled the amount of learning we obtain from each audit we do, and we know where these business owners are when it comes to these topics.
We get it – this stuff is not easy, but you know you need these elements to help your business grow in the modern marketplace.
So, we decided to put this article together; not only as a way to validate circumstances and frustrations, but to also have some direct conversations on where you may be and what might be holding a company back from experiencing its true potential.
#1. You’re not getting SEO results unless you’re actively doing SEO
We’ve had a lot of people ask if their “SEO was alright.” The thing is, most of these people didn’t have an SEO strategy in the first place.
Sure, you can optimize your website based on SEO best practices (ie: mention a certain keyword, include external/internal links, etc.), but that’s nowhere near enough to get you to rank on Google.
In order to drive SEO results for your website, you need to:
- Do keyword research and identify keywords you want to target (between 100-400 depending on the niche)
- Build your landing pages around these keywords as opposed to the other way around
- Write blog posts (if you’re doing global SEO) targeting the keywords you found
- Optimize your site architecture by doing continuous internal linking
- Build backlinks to your website
Oh yeah, and a lot more.
What I’m getting at here is, SEO in 2021 is not something that “just happens” to your website. It’s something you have to work for both actively and deliberately. Success in SEO does not come without consistency, tenacity, and a lot of patience.
That said, moving on to #2:
#2. Not all marketing channels are going to be relevant for your business
There are dozens of marketing channels you can use these days. Instagram ads, SEO, Google ads (PPC), and so many more.
The thing is, though, that not all of these channels are going to be right for your business or your stage of growth.
For example, a lot of people with very fresh businesses (think, almost no customers or just opened within the last 6- 12 months) were asking how to do SEO.
Well, the right answer here is that, chances are, you shouldn’t. Kinda weird coming from a firm that literally makes money from providing monthly SEO services, but we’ve learned that not everyone is a fit for SEO, and that’s ok!
For a new business, the most important thing you need to do is drive customers today, not next year. Heck, a majority of new business or start-ups we speak with don’t even have a website yet.
Unless you have a lot of private equity or capital, your business won’t survive until your SEO kicks in. Without this windfall of wonderful cash, you may be force to think more short-term with instant gratification rather than investing in SEO for a longer term play.
In such cases, you’re better off using marketing channels with a more short-term impact. E.g. PPC ads, social media, direct outreach, and so on.
#3. Your website has to build trust
Waaaay too many websites we have audited looked extremely shady – both on the front and back end.
- They had almost no information on who the person/team behind the website or brand was
- Their backlink profile was all spammy or cheap links
- The business had no customer reviews or social proof
Let’s run through a quick scenario to paint this picture:
I want to work with an accounting agency. The first thing I would do is check out their “About Us” page and see who’s the team running the firm. You know, do a little scuttlebutt before I commit years of my life to these people.
But if their “About Us” page is just generic copy-paste drivel with no team information, there’s zero chance I’m going to reach out to them. Why? Because people want a human being behind their brand. People crave this sense of connection before feeling comfortable with taking any relationship to the next level.
Want to build some authority and credibility on your website? Here’s what you can do:
- Add client testimonials. Don’t have any? Go offer your service for free or at a discounted rate to a business that you think you can help.
- Add an “About Us” page with your team on it. Don’t have a team/are a solo founder? That’s totally OK – just frame your website copy around a solo founder.
- Add photos of yourself / your team. Your clients want to work with real people – not faceless, nameless websites.
- Be as specific as you can about your services. If you can make the client understand what’s the exact work you’re doing for them, they’re almost as good as sold.
And don’t forget – get some reviews from these people on Google, Yelp!, Glassdoor, or any other social channel or company directory people refer to. The more reviews, the better your keyword rankings in SEO, and the more likely people are going to deepen their connection with your brand.
#4. Generic e-commerce websites don’t work
Let’s be real, if I want to order something online, 95% of the time I’ll just order from Amazon. Why? Because EVERYONE knows, for a fact, that:
- The delivery will be fast
- The price will be good
- I’m going to get quality support if I need it
The main keys to success with e-commerce? Predictability, convenience, speed, and customer service. There are many, but we feel these are a good place to start with an e-commerce website.
We also see that business leaders do not want to spend a lot of money creating a website because they think, “If you build it, they will come.”
And in a post-COVID era, that’s really not a bad assumption since e-commerce sales are up astronomically.
Now, if you want others to order from YOUR e-commerce store, you really have to invest the time it takes to work on your brand.
Start by asking yourself this: “Why should I order from YOUR website instead of Amazon?”
If your site is a list of random drop-shipping products you scraped together, I ain’t ordering.
If you’re selling random household stuff (which I can get faster from Amazon), I ain’t ordering.
On the other hand, if your store is built around a type of product line (e.g. you’re selling Japanese streetwear clothing, bacteria-killing light bulbs, or even organically made men’s skincare products), then that’s something a bit more unusual and interesting.
The point is: you may have a lot of products or good value props, but if you don’t stand out from the others or offer something that Amazon doesn’t have, chances are you may need to challenge yourself further to understand where the opportunities are.
#5. If you’re in a competitive niche, you have to differentiate your product/service
We would never suggest that their company is in an oversaturated niche. We truly believe that if you’re good at what you do and passionate about your business, you’ll stand out even in a very overcrowded niche.
That said, to make that happen, we do strong believe in the need to differentiate your product/service, and even your brand.
We like to keep these starter questions in mind:
- What makes your product better?
- Is my product cheaper or more expensive than my competitors? Why?
- Why would someone buy from me?
- Is it packages nicely and easy to use?
Let’s say, for example, you have a cryptocurrency or blockchain blog. You won’t be able to compete with big media in terms of how fast or well you cover crypto news. Content is king, and there’s probably a slim chance that you can produce and share content as well as these firms.
Subsequently, chances are, you also won’t be able to outrank them on Google (unless you’re going to spend a TON of money on link-building or PR).
So, what can you do to stand out with your blockchain blog?
Here are some examples:
- Cover crypto topics in simple English. Most blockchain content is very hard to understand for an outsider. Help solve that problem.
- Cover crypto topics in your native language. Most crypto content on the web is in English, so this could be a good way to niche down.
- Cover niche crypto projects big websites don’t talk about as much.
- Do breakdowns of white papers of big projects. Most people don’t want to spend 3 hours reading a white paper, so you could do videos that summarize them.
In short, your product and your content around that content should be unique enough to where people see you – and your product – as an authority.
#6. It’s 2021 – there’s no excuse NOT to write good content
Around 10 years back, you could maintain a blog audience with subpar content.
Today, literally everyone and their grandma writes blog content (heck, even my mom has a blog…). Businesses, freelancers, bloggers, e-com stores, agencies – they all have a blog, and they’re all publishing content with regularity.
With so much content out there, you really need to create exceptional content in order to stand out, and consistently produce content in the form of a weekly or monthly cadence.
So, what’s does good content look like, you might ask?
For starters, good content is:
- Well-written and easy to read
- Jam-packed with graphics and images
- Includes examples and case studies
- Well-formatted. 2-4 sentences per paragraph – avoid long blocks of text
- Written with an audience in mind
Feeling stuck with SEO, Website or Marketing as a whole?
Believe us when we say that being experts in all of these fields is more than a full time job. And when you’re running a business and responsible for more than just one department, it can be challenging to make time for growth. This is exactly where Frasca Digital can help.
Contact us today and let us do a free digital audit of your website to help you understand where you should focus your resources on. Worst case scenario is we roast your website and provide guidance on where to get started or where to go next.