How do SME take advantage of digital marketing opportunity?

The internet is a big place with several SMEs competing and many organisations with bigger budgets. So where to start?

Let’s take a look at the best places to start.

Firstly, one of the main drivers of traffic to your website will be through search engines. This includes Google, Yahoo and Bing but let’s be honest, it’s pretty much all about Google with their huge market share. But you shouldn’t ignore other search engines because they can still send potential customers to your website. For the purposes of this article though, let’s focus on Google.

There are two main ways to drive search traffic to your website:

  1. Organic search (also known as natural search)
  2. Paid search (also known as PPC which stands for pay-per-click)

Organic search comes from the results which are determined 100% by Google’s algorithms. These algorithms are driven by various signals which Google uses to work out how reliable your website is and how relevant it is to a searcher who is using a particular keyword.

Google doesn’t reveal the full list of signals because they don’t want website owners manipulating the signals and appearing at the top of results when they don’t deserve to. The best way to maximise organic SEO is to look at the services of  . You would be best advised to use the services of a digital marketing agency if you are looking for someone to do this.

In terms of paid search traffic, this comes from adverts which are placed at the top and bottom of Google search results. Here is an example and note the word “Ad” below:

Google uses an auction system to determine who appears in these slots and in what order they appear. There a lot of signals which go into this but there are three main signals which we’re aware of and optimise for:

  • The quality of your website
  • The quality of your advert
  • How much money you’re prepared to pay for a person to click through to your website

The final one is a big factor which means that some industries are more expensive than others. For example, anyone who wants to appear for keywords related to “car insurance” will pay more money per click because the value of a customer to a car insurance company is much higher.

One advantage of paid search is that you only pay Google when someone actually clicks on your advert. As long as you have a well-optimised advert and campaign, and a strong website, you stand a good chance of turning visitors into customers.

So what do you actually do? Let’s look at a few tips on organic search. As mentioned, there are numerous signals that Google looks at to determine who appears at the top of organic search results and some of these aren’t in your control. You would be best advised to use the services of a digital marketing agency if you are looking to employ someone to do this.

But there are three main areas that are in your control where you should spend time on.

The Technical Performance of your Website

If your website doesn’t provide a good experience for visitors, then Google can detect this and they will be reluctant to send traffic to you. A few ways that you can provide a bad experience includes:

  • Slow loading of your pages. No one is going to wait for your website to load!
  • Difficult to navigate pages. Users need to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
  • Low quality content such as containing bad spelling, plagiarised information or grammar errors.
  • Your website not displaying correctly on a mobile device which makes things hard to read and click on.

To try and prevent issues such as this, try the following:

  • Use this free tool from Google to uncover any issues that may be slowing your website down. You’ll get a list of suggestions from Google which should be implemented as soon as possible.
  • Register your website with Google using their Search Console. Once you’ve verified that you own your website, Google will give you information about your website and also suggest on how to improve the performance of the website.
  • Review each of your pages and make sure that your content is well-written, unique to your website and describes your services or products accurately. Also include content for customers with problems related to your services or products.
  • Use the mobile friendly testing tool from Google to see if your website loads correctly on a mobile device and if it doesn’t, please speak to your webmaster to correct this issue.

The Content on your Website

The second main point to think about is the content on your website. Remember how many websites there are out there and how many competitors you have? You need to do your best to make your content stands out and be better than most of your competitors. If Google can see that you provide better content for your visitors which helps them, answers their questions and makes them engage with your website, then this will help your organic search performance.

The first step is to make sure that each and every one of your product or service pages does a great job of describing the product, has great images or videos and answers the questions that a visitor will be asking. You may also consider publishing client reviews using services such as Reevoo or Feefo.

You also need to think about what content you can provide beyond your product and service pages. Can you create a guide which helps solve a problem for your customers? One great examples is the neighbourhood guides from Airbnb which is very well written and beautifully designed.

Ask yourself what problems your customers usually have and what questions they will be asking as they move along the purchase journey.

Links from other websites to yours

Finally, we have links from other websites. These play a big part in Google rankings. This is when someone places a link on their website which, when clicked on, leads to your website. These are very important to Google because they are essentially recommendations from other people on the internet that you have a good website – otherwise they wouldn’t link to you.

For example, if you’re looking for a plumber, you’re more likely to use someone who has lots of recommendations right? This is the same principle Google uses to view links online.

In terms of how to increase the number of links pointing to your website, there are many ways to do this. If you’re new to it, I’d recommend getting started by:

  • Looking for industry bodies, local associations or trade associations who have sections on their websites where they list companies and link to their websites.
  • Look for industry websites who allow guest columnists from time to time and see if they’d allow you or a member of your team to write for them.
  • If you have friends who have websites, ask them if they will link to you. While you want to focus on relevant links, the odd one from friends is unlikely to hurt!

One word of warning – you need to focus on good quality links from other websites. Avoid companies promising to create numerous links for a low cost. These are often of very low quality and cause more harm than good.