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Decoding Digital Week 3 Launching Marketing the BusinessFERGAL COLEMAN: And we're off.
COMPUTER VOICE: The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen only mode.
ANDREA HALLIDAY: Welcome everyone, again, to Business Victoria's Decoding Digital program, where you can learn how to become a digital leader in your industry. I'm Andrea Halliday from Business Victoria, and thank you for joining us for the third webinar in our series. We are halfway through our program, and I hope you're finding the material stimulating, informative, and of benefit to your business growth.
I also hope you've all either had a chance to tune in to the webinar or Google Hangout sessions, or you've taken a look at the videos on our YouTube channel. All links to those recordings are on the Business Victoria website. This week, we are looking at launching and marketing the business.
And today, Symphony3 will be looking, in particular, at developing and implementing a content marketing strategy, getting our fictional business, OzCrafters found on Google. So, therefore, implementing a search engine optimization plan. And using social media to get OzCrafters brand shared and talked about by their customers. Again, we're joined by Fergal Coleman, Director of Symphony3. Welcome, Fergal.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Thanks, Andrea. I hope you- you probably gave up buying shoes last week and went and started buying furniture online, did you?
ANDREA HALLIDAY: Of course! I'm inspired by the furniture.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Good to be back.
ANDREA HALLIDAY: Thank you. And also welcome Ryan Smith from Symphony3.
RYAN SMITH: Hi, Andrea. Good to be back. Unfortunately I don't have any great gags like Fergal.
ANDREA HALLIDAY: Thanks for that. And also this week we're welcoming Sohal from Symphony3's Mumbai office in India. Sohal is an SEO and online strategist, with over five years' experience in the digital space. Welcome, Sohal.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Thank you, Andrea. Good afternoon everyone. Good to be here.
ANDREA HALLIDAY: Thanks for joining us, I really appreciate it.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Thank you.
ANDREA HALLIDAY: I'll now hand it over to Symphony3 to begin. Please feel free to ask questions throughout the webinar or at the end. The recording and slides will be made available to everyone after the webinar. Don't forget to check back in on Thursday, for our next Google Hangout at 12:30, where this week we'll be taking a hands-on look at Twitter. So at this time, it's over to you, Ryan.
RYAN SMITH: Thanks, Andrea. We'll crack right on. We've got heaps to get through today, as always. We're trying to cram a lot into four weeks, so we'll get right into it. As always, please do ask your questions in the question box. We have a couple of polls lined up for you, and Fergal is manning the Twitter questions today, so try sending him some tweets as well and keep him on his toes. I like to keep him busy.
FERGAL COLEMAN: You might just share your screen there, Ryan.
RYAN SMITH: Sorry, everyone. Hopefully everyone can see the screen there. So in the context of the overall program, today we're into week three. It's going very quickly. And we've got a website ready to go, and now we're really going to be looking at how we can market the business, get traffic back to our website, and really engage our audiences.
And I encourage you to check into the hangout this Thursday. If you haven't done one of those yet, this week we're talking about Twitter. And that's where we're really doing our hands-on stuff, in terms of using the tools, given we don't have so much time to do that in these Tuesday sessions. It's really important that you do check into those as well.
So last week we looked at building an online eCommerce website for OzCrafters. And we went through the whole process with that, from creating a website brief for your developer of for your own internal use, helping you through the decision process of choosing a CMS and an agency for your website. And hopefully you've all gone away and had a look at the decision matrix to work through that process.
We looked at some design and function requirements, and some of the trends we're seeing in those areas. And we also had a bit of time to jump into the back end of business catalyst, and look at what the CMS looks like there, and how that translates to the front-end design of the website. And we'll get in there as well a little bit today with Sohal and look at some of the SEO stuff we can do back there, as well.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think it's important, Ryan, just to add that today, if people have got questions, through today, that we are manning the questions. And I'm sure they'll be coming thick and fast, but I'll be manning those, so don't be afraid to get involved.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely. While we've got Sohal here this week, Fergal gets a bit of an easy ride, so we've got to keep him working. Our focus today is really on three broad areas. So firstly, Sohal's going to take us through search engine optimization, which is really about how do we just get ourselves found on Google and other search engines as well, but Google is the largest and most influential search engine that we see.
Then we're going to talk a bit about content marketing, which is really about how do we create online content that will help build our brand awareness, really engage our audiences, and build some credibility, and ultimately help us convert sales. And then finally, we're going to quickly look at social media. The hands-on stuff is happening in the Hangouts, but today we want to talk about how do you go about choosing the right social media for your business, how do we amplify our content with social media, and really engage our audiences.
And I think this is really important to reiterate right here from the start, that these tools are all really interrelated. Content marketing, social media tie in heavily with your SEO strategy. And your social media is really the amplification of your contents, and they all work hand in hand. So we have to have them all as part of an overall strategy, which once again, comes back to our customer journey. We'll keep reiterating that, but important to say it first up.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah, and Ryan, I'd go so far as to say, increasingly, content is almost the platform upon which you build your social and your SEO plans and strategies.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, I'd like to add to that, Fergal. That's so true. Before it was about writing a short piece of- maybe a single paragraph, and trying and getting links back from all different websites. Now it's more about writing good content for your customers and Google rewards you for that.
RYAN SMITH: Great. So, I know Fergal, before we kick off with the SEO today, we just want to touch briefly on some business processes. Today's a good time to talk about it, given we've got Sohal, he's visiting our office in Mumbai, and it is 6 o'clock in the morning there. So I sympathize with you, Sohal.
And we're able to have this discussion live. So things like the Cloud have really changed the way we've been able to do business. And the level of infrastructure that we need in order to do the everyday business things that we once needed quite a lot of plans, organization to do.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think that's right. And I don't want to dwell too long on it, Ryan, but we did, I think, in the original blurb say we'd get into online tools and processes. And due to time constraints, we probably won't delve into it in too much detail. But certainly when we started this business four years ago, we very much wanted it to be flexible.
I'm from Ireland, Phillip, yourself, from Australia, Sohal's from India. And we like to have the flexibility that we can travel and work, I guess, to suit our lifestyles as much as anything else. And as a result, we put everything on the Cloud. So we don't have a server in the office, and that really gives us a lot of flexibility in our business and how we deliver things. So I thought today is a good example of that.
We've got Sohal over there, who's traveling back to Mumbai. He's normally in the office here. He can still log on using his Google Apps, all the tools that he uses here in the office. And similarly, whenever we get new employees here or in India, given we're on the Cloud, it's very easy to add people. So we use Xero to run our accounts here. We also have Xero running in India for our India accounts.
Both offices are in constant contact using Google Hangouts, for example. And then obviously using things like webinars, we're delivering services to clients. The other thing we have is instead of a server, we use box.com or box.net to share all our files both internally, but also with clients. And that gives us real flexibility and collaboration ability with clients, between our different offices. So I think today was a good example of that. So I thought- I just wanted to digress for two or three minutes and show people how it works in reality, I suppose.
RYAN SMITH: Right. Thanks, Fergal. And I guess people can fire out questions around those things to you as we move on. Just really conscious of time today. So before we dive into the specificities of SEO and content and social, I wanted to do a really quick overview of the different kinds of traffic we might have coming into our website. And this will be relevant for both this week and next week when we look at Google Analytics.
So if we're referring to organic traffic, we're talking about any traffic coming to us from search engines. So the majority of that will be from Google, but it may also include traffic from search engines like Bing or Yahoo. When we talk about paid traffic, we're talking about paid search terms coming from, say, Google AdWords, or Google remarketing, Google display advertising, so the ads you see around your search engine results when you do a Google search.
Referral traffic is coming from links that are on any other website on the web. It may be some classifieds, you might pay or volunteer to be on. It might be referrals from other websites or blogs. It might be someone writing about you in an article on a news source, for example. So once again, that kind of traffic, as well as social traffic, are really important when we talk about SEO.
Search traffic is coming from any social media source. So whether it be Facebook, Pintrest, Twitter, the list goes on. Direct traffic is coming straight from your browser. So you might type the URL straight in, you might select it from your bookmarks in your browser, or copy and paste the URL into the browser.
That's what we call direct traffic. And then email, really important if you're doing things like email newsletters. You expect to see more email traffic coming in to your site. Just really important to do a quick overview there.
And previously, in the customer journey that we went through with Google in week one- we're not going to dive back into this, because we have looked at it before, but I think it's a good time to have a reminder that the customer journey isn't linear. So I'll be talking about being found on search engines today, we're talking about content, we're talking about getting traffic back to yourself through social media. This doesn't always happen in the same order, and it doesn't always mean that someone searches and then purchases at the same time.
These things will happen over the space of time, and might happen in different orders, depending on your business, your industry, and your customers. So it's a good time to revisit this Google customer journey tool, and look at where the Google search, and the social media, and the email, where they all fit into your customer journey for your business.
Now it's probably time to really throw over to Sohal to start talking us through SEO. So, do you want to give us a bit of an overview of what we mean when we talk about SEO, and what is the process involved?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Thanks, Ryan. SEO is more technical than we call it. It's really the process of improving your website and content to make sure you get found on search engines such as Google. When your potential customers are searching for your services and are typing in those words into that search box on Google, you want to make sure that your website is appearing higher than the rest. By making some improvements, or a whole sort of pool of them, Google starts rewarding you and starts making sure that your website comes higher up the rankings. So that's really the process about search engine optimization, without getting too technical.
RYAN SMITH: Again, so on the surface it sounds quite simple, Sohal. We'll probably find out otherwise. So in terms of why it's important- and you might talk us through these diagrams here- having that front page visibility is really vital to being found on search engines.
SOHAL KHATWANI: So true, Ryan. So if you look at the diagram on the left, where there's a heat map, as you can see the red is where people are clicking. Now of course, most people would be like, that's pretty obvious. But the question here is, what keyword are they actually clicking for on that? So it's not necessarily that you have to rank for keywords that are really high.
For example, if you're a law firm, you don't want to be ranking for lawyer, because it's too generic. You probably want to be, accident lawyer in your suburb or in the locality that you're servicing. So as it goes higher, people tend to click more. That's really what the diagram on the left is saying. And as you drop down, the clicks become less.
On the right there's another diagram showing that the first position always gets the most clicks. But it's interesting to see is as you drop down on the first page, you're almost nonexistent. So even if you are going to optimize your website, look at keywords that actually will make your customers convert.
So what we call them as keywords that, when they are on the customer journey, where they're actually looking to buy. And you can have different types of content that you can create. So those are really what those diagrams are saying.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely. And we'll come back to content in more detail, Sohal. So when your- say you have a client come to you, Sohal, and they're looking for some guidance on SEO. You would generally break it down into three broad areas. Do you want to talk us through those?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Sure, thanks. The first area is- so this is very broad. Every SEO person or people who conduct SEO campaigns have a different structure, but this is generally what we have seen work really well. So the first one is content layout and optimization. It's really how you structure your content on your website.
Do you have a clear title for your content? Are you using bullet points? Are you using images to support that content? Video? And making sure that you're adding the right words, and they're the keywords that people are searching for.
The second thing there is what we call crawlability. Which is really, can Google access your website. So there was an example where we had a customer, or someone came to us, and they did a lot of good content and optimization. But they didn't realise the developers had blocked their website from Google.
So whatever they were doing, they were not seeing any benefits. So you need to make sure that your site can be seen by Google. And there are some tools we'll touch on that gives you better insights.
The last one there is backlinks. This is a bit more- some people call this a bit more old fashioned, but I still believe it is very important. Because if you do get a good link from news.com.au or a really high quality directory or another service provider, and they link back to your website, Google sees that as a positive. And especially the linking back to your website for your services or the keywords that you're looking for.
And with social media, that's also changing. I think recently Google announced that it would start what we call indexing Twitter links back for your website. So social media is gaining more importance, and the linkbacks as well.
RYAN SMITH: Right, so we'll dive into the content structure and optimization there. When we talk about content, there are a number of ways we can dice it. Do you want to talk us through, firstly, how we go about focusing on a topic, or our expertise?
SOHAL KHATWANI: As business owners, all of you would have a very good understanding of what your services are, what exactly you want to offer your customers. So you have to keep that in mind, and start making a simple list of keywords or topics that you think would be valuable to your customers. But when you are also making that list, you also have to look at search engines and understand, to a certain extent, how these- understand that information.
So for example, if I typed in Dove- and we did a bit of work with Dove previously- if you type in Dove, do you expect to see the bird dove, or the skin care products? The same thing goes with Apple. I would say most people who type in Apple expect to see the computer company, and not an actual apple on Google. So you need to keep this in the back of your mind, and actually try and understand how Google understands your content, as well, and try to make it- simplify it so that even your customers can understand it.
RYAN SMITH: If we're thinking about content, Sohal, one of the first things that many people would do is actually do a bit of keyword research. And I know, once again, it's something that's changed quite a bit over time. But what are the benefits of keyword research, and why would we go about it using a tool such as Google's keyword planner?
SOHAL KHATWANI: A keyword planner is a good starting place to actually understand what people are searching for, and what sort of search volumes you can get. Previously, maybe say five, six years ago, people used to look at keywords exactly. You know, choose three keywords. It could be custom furniture, custom designed furniture, and just keep on sticking that into the content, and expect to get traffic.
Now it's more moved towards topics. You want to write about custom designed furniture, but you want to write about where the timber is sourced from, you want to write about the quality, you want to write more naturally. But still you need to understand that if you are a business selling custom furniture, you want to go to the keyword planner, or a tool like this, and actually see what sort of searches are there for your keyword. And start generating, or planning, content around that.
So from this next slide, we can see we've typed in custom furniture over there. We've got an average monthly search, which is of 390. So if we just look at the first line, it's pretty OK. Competition is a bit high. And then there's a suggested bit for advertising.
And as you- it is a process of reiteration, so you have to keep on typing different content. You may start a bit more high level with furniture. But if you look at custom design, as you can see- the location, Sydney, Melbourne, that's also getting imported. So this is a good starting point to start with.
And it's not necessarily your target, only that keyword, you can add more information. So you could do, if you're selling it cheaply, you can say cheap custom designed furniture in your suburb. You can say quality, you can say rare. You can use all these different keywords that make sure that people are searching for that exact term. You could use colors in this sense. And you can get a basic understanding of the keywords to use on your content.
RYAN SMITH: So is it general rules, Sohal, where we'd be aiming to get a term that has a high number of average monthly searches, and a lowest possible level of competition, in an ideal world?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yes, that's an ideal world. If you see something that's got high monthly searches, low competition, that's a good keyword to target. But again, it all comes down to your business, and your customers. So if it is right for you, then that's the first point of starting. That's right.
RYAN SMITH: Right. So when we look at a web page, Sohal, there's a number of elements that we want to optimize in terms- this comes down to the layout part of the content, and how to structure the content on our page. There's a number of ways we want to structure the information to optimize it for Google. Do you want to quickly run us through what those are?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Sure. So, the diagram on the right is an ideal page structure. Again, it's just ideal. Most CMS would be following a structure like that. So if you look at the first box on the top right, the title and meta elements, that's more for Google. And that runs in the background.
If I come down straight into the page, you can see there's a clear title, Chocolate Donuts from Mary's Bakery. There's a list over there with some images. There's an option of social media sharing. There might be a video. It is accessible.
So you have to think about using all of these as much as possible within your content. So that it sort of explains it clearly to your customers. So that's really what the page is talking about.
RYAN SMITH: So you mentioned meta tags, meta titles, there, Sohal. These tend to sit in the background of our website, and Google certainly reads them. And they appear to our end user when they conduct a Google search and we show up in the results. They're not actually visible on the web page itself.
I'm actually going to get in and show everyone how these work in the back-end of the OzCrafters website. Do you want to talk us through- and one thing we'll be providing as well is the best practice guide after the session, which will help people implement this on their own websites. Do you want to talk us through meta titles, meta descriptions, and why they're so important?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, sure. So it's along with Google, Google reads this first to understand how your website, what the content is about the page. But it's also sort of a call to action for your customers who are searching on Google. Any one of you that search, whether intentionally or not, you'd notice the title first, and then you'd see a bit of a description below. So take the time to make sure that it explains the page.
There are certain guidelines, in terms of length, to follow. But try and make it as- try and use as many keywords as possible, without sounding too- what we call keyword stuffing. And make it appeal to your customers to have to click on. So that's really what, that's really what meta titles are used for.
RYAN SMITH: So what we might do now, Sohal, is we've got a page open in the business tail of CMS for the OzCrafters website. And I might get you to talk me through how I can go about optimizing the SEO metadata and the title and the URL for this page for Google.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, sure, Ryan. So the first thing you want to look over is the page URL, which is the second one over there. You've just got custom over there, so you probably want to try and put the keywords in there. Again, you do custom-design-furniture.
The reason I say a dash in between is because putting them together is not good practice. Or, leaving spaces is not good practice for search engines generally, from what we've seen. So try and put your keywords in there.
And that's what people will see, as well, on search engines. And Google will pick that up. If you see the SEO metadata, which is the next option over there, you probably want to put in your target keyword, or key phrase. So we put custom design furniture over there.
And you could have- generally it's recommended to have a primary keyword, that's the main word you're targeting, followed by the title of the page. And then your business name. So we'll just stick with one for now. But if you put- yes, you put the bar over there, followed by your business name.
OzCrafters website, or OzCrafters Australia might be better, because you are going- it's sort of a bit more localisation. Google understands that you are actually based in Australia. For a page description, we've noticed and we've seen that asking a question upfront works well. So maybe, looking for custom designed furniture? Could be the first sentence to start with.
And as you can see over there, I'm trying to put in the keyword, or the word that I'm targeting. And then maybe, we design custom furniture using local timber for you. So we're not stuffing it with just custom designed furniture. We're sort of- Google is smart enough to understand where the keywords- or where parts related using local Australian timber.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Just a question. I've got a couple of questions coming in here, Sohal, that are probably relevant to what you're doing at the moment. One from Brett. Should each page of your site contain unique meta information? We have an established website that isn't exactly optimized. That would be huge task to retrofit all the metadata.
So my understanding is just to- to lead into that, is that you optimize pages as opposed to websites. Would that be correct?
SOHAL KHATWANI: That's right. Well, if you say optimized pages, if I can correct you there, it's more like you can't choose to optimize one page. You try to have to look at doing it on most of your pages. But Google still automatically- and this has been changing over- Google picks up the page description based on the content, sometimes, as well.
So this is more of sort of a- we're telling them what we'd like to show. But if you have a page that has a thousand words, and there's a number of different content, depending on the search term, Google may actually change the page description. So ideally, yes, it would be good to have unique page descriptions there but some- we've seen some businesses just leave them blank, or just write clear content and let Google pick them up on their own.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great. Second question, from Alan Robbins. I'm interested in only a small catchment area, so small specific geographical area. Is it possible to have only a specific geographical area that you Google Market in? And I guess there ad words, which we haven't touched on here, but maybe answer that question in the context of SEO, Sohal.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Definitely. There are certain things we talk about in terms of local- localization is one of the top factors that are coming in to Google. So you want to make sure that in your content you're writing the areas that you're looking to service. You're getting on Google My Business and actually listing your business with Google, which we'll talk about a bit later, and actually saying the areas you're servicing.
And using a lot more local information. There are certain meta tags which are probably too detailed, that you could use for this webinar right now. That you could actually tell that they're servicing those areas in the background. So yes, there are certain things you can do to target only local service areas as well, or to Google that that's where you want to rank more for.
RYAN SMITH: So if we move on, Sohal, and do interrupt me, Fergal, if there's more questions in there if we haven't answered them. In the body of the page content, there are certain things we can do to the structure of the content there, as well, to make it more friendly for Google. Things like subheadings, using the correct meta tags, bullet formatting, things like this.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Exactly. And having a clear title, again, of the page that matches your URL. There's a bit of a science, but there's also a bit of an art to it. So you need to try and find a balance. And there's no real right or wrong. You have to write naturally, but try and use these elements as much as possible.
So there we go, Ryan, let's put in what we call a subheading. So Google will pick that up as well. Which is really a question. So someone says, how do I design custom furniture? You're most likely to show up a lot more for this page because you've got it as a subheading. And then Ryan's writing in a bit of content, and you put bullet points over there.
And maybe some images, an image to explain or show your factory, and a video to support it. But Ryan, if you just scroll down there- because I'm concerned about time as well- just at the end of that page, one thing that lots of people sort of forget to do, is to put a call to action at the end of the page. So if you are taking all the time to put in the effort to make content, and write it, make sure you make it as obvious as possible what you want your customer or the reader to do.
So we want them to submit an inquiry here. It could be anything. It could be download your eBook. It could be sign up to a newsletter. You want them to give you details in some way or another, so that you capture that lead. Which eventually, by using social media, SEO, is likely to become a customer over time. So just wanted to touch on that.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Just a quick final one, then. A question from Dana, Sohal. And I should be able to answer this, but I just can't remember. Dana uses WordPress, and she's wondering, is there another name for SEO metadata in WordPress? She says there isn't a space for SEO metadata other than for images on WordPress.
SOHAL KHATWANI: So to answer that question, by default WordPress doesn't give you SEO metadata options. But there are plug-ins that you can use for SEO metadata. Once you add that plug-in to WordPress, it'll start giving you the options to actually add the SEO metadata. So I think Yoast SEO is the most popular one for WordPress. That's Y-O-A-S-T. That one seems to do pretty well, and it's free to add to your WordPress website.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yoast, Y-O-A-S-T, is that right?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, I believe it's Yoast we can- Yoast SEO. But if you Google as well, Yoast SEO plug-in, I think that's one of the top few that you'd see.
RYAN SMITH: So quickly, to summarize there, Sohal, if we look at the title of our web page in the top nav bar there, we can see that our updated title and the name of our business is in that title. Our URL structure is nice and clean. We have a nice heading hierarchy. About H1 header for the main page title, an H2 header for our subtitle within the page, and our dot points are showing up nicely formatted there.
If you were to have any images, we'd want to do things like assign alt-tags. But we probably should keep moving, just because we are really pushing through today. Thanks for walking me through that.
The next element of SEO that we talked about at the start was crawlability. Do you want to really quickly give us a run through crawlability? And I think some of these things are quite quick to set up, but really, really important and often forgotten.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yes. So, again, you want to know whether your website's being seen by Google. So Google offers a free tool called Google Webmaster Tools. If you have access to your site code, or if you are working with your developer and designer, it should take them no more than five minutes.
What it does is tell you how your website is performing in Google, tells you if there's broken links, tells you how your mobile site is performing, which is a new thing that they've come up with. So they actually tell you whether your site is mobile enabled, and how it's performing. Really good tool to have. It's a must have, that we add on all websites, especially because it's free and it's offered by Google.
RYAN SMITH: Great. URL structure, we did address that before. Some more examples in there that, once again, are really important.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Keep it clean, so Google can read and understand it as well.
RYAN SMITH: Cool. And external site maps. Site maps, once again, pretty quick and easy to do, but really vital.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah. Without getting too technical about this, most CMS will have a site map in the background. Maybe for WordPress, if you download the Yoast SEO, it would give you an option for a site map. It's really a table of contents about your website.
And Google tries to go there, as well, to see that they've not missed out on any pages. Really easy to set up. Most CMS would have them. If you don't, you could use something like this, which is a free tool, and just add it to your website.
RYAN SMITH: Right. And submitting our website to Google, is this something that's really important we do, but also important that we don't do it too often, as well, Sohal?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, that's important. This is more for people who already have a website, and are looking to- going for a redesign or making a lot of changes. And they've done a lot of changes. It's always good to submit your site once you've done a major overhaul.
If you change a page title, or a meta description, don't do it. But if you rarely change your site design and content, you may just want to make sure you submit it to Google faster, so that they get picked up and there's no broken links on Google, and so forth. And you can do this directly from Webmaster Tools as well now.
RYAN SMITH: Great. So backlinks, our final broad section of SEO, and this will tie in quite closely with the content and the social media things we'll discuss. Quickly, you want to just talk us through backlinks, Sohal? And also how these have changed, because they have changed quite a bit in recent times.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Very true. Again, going back in time, maybe the last five years, 10 years, you would create a small piece of content and you'd go to all these article directory websites and all these free websites where you could submit it and start creating links back to your website. So previously, it was quantity that mattered. Now it's quality.
So if you do 100 of those, or if you get one from say, The Sydney Morning Herald, or The Age, or some really big, quality website where they're featuring your business, you may want to ask for a link back. That holds a lot more value. And Google sees that as them saying that your business are experts in this service or product. And they start giving you ranks for that.
And the same thing with social media. The more people share it, though it's not technically- Google doesn't say that it counts much. But we've noticed that it helps. The more shares you get, the more link backs as well. So that's really what we call backlinks.
And I think the next one is a tool you can use to spy on your competitors, if you wanted to see why they're acting a bit higher than you. It's not only based on this, but you could put in their URL, and see where they're getting links back from. It could possibly- it may be the local newspaper website.
It could be another place where they can actually write an article or offer their services at a minimum cost to get a link back. So there are certain things you can do. And use something like Open Site Explorer to get more information there. Just a heads up, it is free to a certain amount, and then I think they do charge you to use it more.
RYAN SMITH: So a bit of a do's and don'ts list there Sohal. I know there are people out there who are trying to get you to buy backlinks, and go about inauthentic ways of creating backlinks. And Google has gotten smart enough now to really penalize you for these kinds of activities.
SOHAL KHATWANI: That's true, Ryan. And I wanted to tell everyone, heads up, don't focus too much on the back links, like, I need links, I need links. By focusing on your content, and quality content, the links will come. And I think, Ryan, you'll touch on that on the next. So do have a plan, in terms of, if you are going for conferences, association, use social media.
Avoid text like, click here and read more, where you can. Sometimes you have to use it. Great content that people want to share a link to. Infographics, videos, eBooks that they want to share, and get them back to your website. Include your keywords in your links and URL. Don't, because we've seen very negative effects, buy links.
So there are services for that, that say, I'll get you 1,000 links for $10 or $100. Don't do that, because if Google picks that up, they could possibly take out your website for 90 days from their search engine. And if you continue to do that, they may take it out completely. And there are other schemes as well. Avoid outsourcing your backlinks. Try to write the content naturally, and the links will come. And create unique content, really, for your customers.
RYAN SMITH: Great. Last thing on SEO. And we might have to take some questions, perhaps after the session, just for the sake of moving through the content now. Mobile, we're actually seeing Google now start to reward or penalize sites based on their accessibility for mobile, Sohal.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, Google has clearly said that we prefer mobile-enabled websites, and responsive websites. They quite clear- they came out with it, I think, earlier this year, if not late last year. So having a mobile site is as important as ever. Especially if you want to rank for location-based searches, or searches while people are on their phone.
Shall I maybe jump to the next one? Google My Business, so this used to be called Google Places. But now Google has put everything into Google My Business, which means that it's really your business in the eyes of Google. And that's your own listing that you can capture. I think there's a lot of information about that. Google is really friendly and helpful to getting that set up.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Sohal, we had a quick question which kind of relates to this, about keeping up to date with changes on Google. Matt Cutts, who works for Google, is that the best place to keep up to date with all these changes that are happening?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, Matt Cutts is usually the guy who tells us what's going to happen in the next month or two. He gives hints, in terms of what's happening in the field of SEO. Bruce Clay is another one. Bruce Clay Blog, moz.com, is another one. And Search Engine Land. These are the three or four that I've really found have good content and really keep up with the SEO changes and the landscape.
RYAN SMITH: Thanks.
SOHAL KHATWANI: I won't get too much into SSL. But if you notice that some websites you visit, if you're on Chrome, the bar turns green, and some they don't. Google's also starting to say that we prefer websites with that. And your customers also feel more confident if they're going to input their detail and they see the green bar.
Local search, we talked a bit about that. But it's a Google thing then we're going to emphasize more on local results. And video. So Google is starting to assign more weight to video, because they know that you've taken the time and effort to actually build or create a video.
And with the way smart phones are now, you know, you could easily create a pretty good high quality video. We do use one of the cameras in the office to create short videos for our blogs. And we've not got too many complaints about the quality, and I think they do pretty well.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, absolutely I don't think there's always an expectation for 100% professional quality, Sohal. You're better off to go to do something, than to try and do it 100% perfect. Which I guess ties in quite nicely to content marketing. So thanks heaps for all your SEO insights, Sohal. We might keep you there for some questions at the end, as well. I'm sure there's plenty coming in.
If you're going to have a textbook definition of content marketing, it's any marketing that involves the creation or sharing of media, publishing of content in order to acquire and attain customers. Put more simply, we're essentially trying to build trust and credibility with our customers or potential customers.
We're trying to add value to customers. I think that's really important, and Fergal will come back to adding value, and why that's important. I don't think people are willing to give us their time anymore, or their attention, unless we're going to actually give them something for that. We're trying to attract traffic back to our website, really, and then generate inquiries, generate downloads, generate sales, whatever it is we're trying to do with our websites.
And we're trying to build some social credibility as well. So if we create really good content, in turn, people will talk about that, share that on social networks, they'll share that with their peers and will help build social credibility. One thing that's really good to talk about up front is that we can create different kinds of content for different parts of the customer journey.
Sohal touched on that as well before with SEO. If you think back to the customer journey we created in week one, some people be unaware of our brand, some people might be aware of us but they're trying to evaluate our services or products, decide whether to purchase. Other people might have been buying from us for years, but they still want support, they still want information from us on how to use our products or services.
So we can create pieces of content that service those customers at different points on the journey. And, just worth mentioning too, content is a vital component of your SEO. Sohal's talked about how we have to create content around the right things, how we have to structure it in the correct way. Increasingly as well, Google doesn't want to see a static page- or a website with pages that never change.
They want regularly updated, fresh content. So creating content regularly, and creating valuable content and relevant content, really important part of our SEO strategy as a whole, too. And it also becomes a fairly central part of what we share and talk about on social media. So in many ways your content marketing strategy is very central to what you do online.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah. The one thing you're missing there, Ryan, that we discussed earlier on- not missing, necessarily, but trust and credibility, I suppose to build on that, is trust and credibility in your field of expertise. It's important that what you're blogging about and writing about is related to your field of expertise.
What is it that you want to be known for? What is it that you want to build trust and credibility around? I think it's really important to reiterate that that's a key to doing this stuff well. To get- to see business results.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely, Fergal, you're correct. And we'll look at that with the sweet spot model. And it comes back to what Sohal was saying as well, in that we're finding the right IT terms for our customers. And always tying all this stuff back to our customer personas and our own expertise.
So here's a bit of a hypothetical example of how this content might work for OzCrafters. We might have a potential customer, Joe. He wants know which timber is environmentally friendly for Australian made furniture. And he's doing this to inform his potential purchase decision. He's quite an environmentally conscious person.
So he goes and Googles eco-friendly furniture timbers business Australia. And as a result, he comes across an old OzCrafter's blog, which will tell him the three eco-friendly Australian timbers. He clicks through to the blog, has a read, finds it quite insightful. And just out of interest, browses through some of the products and the dining tables listed on the OzCrafters website.
Maybe a month or so down the track, when he's gone through a bit more research, he calls the workshop to talk about a custom-made table with Frank. And he also shared that article with his friend Liz on Facebook, who might be interested, and as a result might share it with a range of other people. This is one of many scenarios that might play out.
But the key- the piece of information that originally started that journey was actually giving away some information for free, providing some value. I guess that asks the question, Fergal, what makes good content? And there are many models out there on what makes good content. We still come back to really simple one quite often, from our friends at Vantage Marketing.
Which is about finding a common ground between being digestible- and by digestible, we don't necessarily mean short. We find that long articles, long blogs, are increasingly performing really well. But even just the format, or the way- the medium in which you deliver it. So splitting text up into nice readable sections with subheadings, using images and using videos where possible, as well.
Solving a problem- so, this is similar to delivering value. You don't have to solve a massive problem every time you create a piece of content. But if you're not providing some kind of value to a customer, there's so much content on the web now, that you might really find it hard to get people's attention. So you need to deliver some kind of value.
And then, as you said, Fergal, it should be in line with your strategic competitive advantage, or your expertise. The things you're talking about should be relevant to what you do as a business, and what you do really well.
FERGAL COLEMAN: That's right, Ryan.
RYAN SMITH: So, a really easy starting point. If you're just starting off, you're not sure where to start, just get a piece of paper and write down five things your customers might want to know. And quite often, you'll be able to pull at least a few pieces of content out of those five questions.
What are the five questions that people ask you all the time, that you find yourself answering week in, week out? Give that information away. Find a way to format it into a piece of content and put it out there. If people are finding that information useful, then chances are they'll consume it, and not only that, they'll share it with other people.
There's a lot of people who feel a little bit uneasy about giving away some of their inside information. Feel like they're giving away their secrets to competitors. But the truth is, there's very few secrets on the internet. And if you're not going to provide them with that information, it's quite likely they'll find it elsewhere.
So you're better off being the business that's going to build that credibility and trust, start that relationship. And hopefully when it comes time for them to pay someone to take it a step further, to buy a product or to use your service, you'll be front of mind, and you'll be the business they choose.
There's a couple of other places we can use online to try and get some ideas, or narrow down our content topics. They're not an answer to all you all your problems, but they can help get the creative juices flowing. Buzzsumo is one good one. You can type in topics or things into Buzzsumo. You get a certain number of free searches a day.
And it'll actually list the articles and pages on the web that've had the most shares on social media around those topics or keywords. So this will, if you've got a few ideas floating around, this might give you a feel for what's worked for other people. And it doesn't mean you go an flat-out copy exactly what they've written. But it'll give you a feel for which parts of that topic people are more interested in, which parts they find most useful.
Similarly, Quora is another online social tool. People ask questions around a whole range of topics. You can find almost anything on there. And they crowd-source the answers from other people on this tool. You can similarly use LinkedIn groups around your given topic.
Doing a search on here might help you find specific questions that people are looking for answers to, and this will help you work out where you can deliver value to people, where there's gaps in their knowledge, where they're finding it hard to get information. And you could be the entity to provide that information.
So when I was putting together the context of this webinar, I was searching, how do I write great content for SEO? And straight away, there's a whole bunch of questions there. So it gives me some idea of questions that could potentially address for the blog that people would find useful.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah, and Ryan, just to add to that, I think next week we go through analytics. You can set up analytics to see what people are- how they're finding you, keywords. They're finding you obviously on Google, what they're putting into the search bar, the search box on your own website. And that'll give you clues, as well, as to content that you can write that would be of interest to your customers.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. It's an ongoing process. And we always want to be measuring and then tweaking as we go to make sure we keep improving. So if anyone's watched a TED talk in the last year, Fergal, I'm guessing they've come across the notion of storytelling, and how big this is in online content.
There are a lot of researchers proving that stories active parts of our brain. It activates emotions, and actually helps us retain information, remember it over a longer period of time. So if we just deliver information, facts and stats, straight up, people might find it quite interesting at the time, but they're less likely to remember it than if we can package that information into a story and deliver it in that manner.
So if we can integrate stories from our experiences, stories from our clients' experiences, case studies, people are far more likely to engage with this content and remember over a longer period of time. So it's always really good to keep that in mind, how we can go through that process when providing our content.
Another thing is images and videos. We keep saying it, but it's proven that, on average articles or pieces of online content that include images or include videos do get shared and do get consumed more than articles that are purely big chunks of text. So always try and think about how you can be integrating some media into your blogs or into your articles, just to break them up a little bit, make them more visually appealing, and deliver the information different ways. As we keep saying, as well, infographics work really well.
Evergreen content. I know I'm racing through the stuff here. Evergreen content is the notion of creating content that lasts for a longer period of time. It's a resource that people can come back to and reuse.
So there's definitely room for content that's timely, that might last us for a day or two or for a week, or for a month. Evergreen content is based around the industry principles, or the building blocks, of what you do in your expertise. And that's going to stay relevant for a longer period of time.
So you might have to tweak or update it a little bit in the future, to keep it relevant. But really, we should be able to put this somewhere on our website or share that on social media, and get people to use it regularly more than once, or to really share it. In the case of our endorsers, Fergal, we get people to come back to these and use them again for their business over a period of months or years.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think that's right. I mean, if you've got good content, and it resonates, and after two or three years if it's still relevant you can update it. But there's no harm putting it out there again on your social media, if it's still relevant, and useful, and valuable to people to read.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, and we don't want to do this with every piece of content. There's definitely an appetite for current, small bites of content. But it's good to have a mix, and think about how you can create resources that are going to service people's needs over a longer period of time.
And after you've had a good think about what's going to make good content, and formulated some ideas, you should always put it down into a plan. And we're going to give you this template at the end of today. Studies have shown that simply documenting your content plan, and putting it down on paper, just the act of doing that makes it more- gives you a higher ROI, just because it helps you stick to your plan.
It's really easy for this stuff to fall to the back of the to-do pile unless you've really got a plan that you're going to stick to. So assign yourself an author, assign someone to review it, even if it's a potential customer, who you trust. Give it a due date to have a draft done, a publish date that it's definitely going to go out, document your topic, document what the details of the content are.
These last three checkpoints are really important too. So what keywords that have come up from SEO research are you going to target with this piece of content? Who's the target audience? If it's not targeting one of your key customer groups, then it's hard to see how it's going to generate much value for you. And you should always have a call to action.
So you're going to get the customer to buy from every single piece of content you produce, but you should be asking them to do something as a result of what they've just read or watched or listened to. So in this case, we've got an article about five timber furniture case tips that we're going to put out there to help support our existing customers. And to help people to look after their furniture.
We've got some key words. We're targeting our customer persona of Claire Smith. And we're going to ask her to- we're going to ask our customers to tell us their own care tips via social media, and create a bit of discussion and a bit of talk about it on social media. Which, Fergal, I guess leads us into the social media communication types. And we've just lost Fergal there. So I'll-
FERGAL COLEMAN: Sorry, Ryan. You might have me there now. I need to put the other mic on mute. What I was thinking, we might throw the poll out there to people, Ryan, to have a look at whether- who has a documented plan.
RYAN SMITH: OK, sure. We're only going to give people 20 seconds to fill that out, because we are way behind time. OK. And we can stay back a little bit to answer questions at the end there, as well.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah, I've had quite a few questions come through. So we'll get to those after- probably after 1:30. We are going to talk about some of the social media stuff now, but we may need to pull the social media stuff across to next week as well. Because I'm keen to try and keep within the time frame for people.
RYAN SMITH: Right. So I might just close that poll down, there, Fergal, and share out the results. 90% of you have no documented content plan. That's probably what we'd expect, actually. A lot of people still haven't got that far. So take the template, and take some of those tools later today, and start going through that process, and mapping out some ideas. It's a good place to start.
FERGAL COLEMAN: And Ryan, you might throw up the second poll there. It might help us frame some conversation around the social media. Curious to know what social media tools people are currently using. So again, I'm going to throw that out to- keep everyone here busy, I suppose.
RYAN SMITH: OK. Good to see we've got plenty of results coming in for LinkedIn, Fergal. Hopefully we've pulled some people onto the group.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah.
RYAN SMITH: So LinkedIn.
FERGAL COLEMAN: That's right. So maybe give it another couple of seconds, and then we'll open it up for everyone to see. You might want to close that and show it to everyone, Ryan.
RYAN SMITH: So yeah, quite interestingly, Facebook 72%, LinkedIn ties it around 72% as well. Now my question to people who are using Facebook will be around whether you're doing advertising on there. If you're not doing any advertising on Facebook, I don't think you're going to get to see the benefits that you might have been seeing in the past. So really important that we do that.
LinkedIn, we went through it, the real power, particularly, we think, in the personal LinkedIn profiles. And make sure you get not just yourself, but everybody in your business on LinkedIn, and then connecting up with customers and partners.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great.
RYAN SMITH: The 60% of people there that aren't using Twitter yet, Fergal, great opportunity for them on Thursday to learn a bit about Twitter.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Absolutely, Ryan. We did have one question come through on Twitter today, which is great, but we encourage you to use Twitter. Again, it's a really powerful tool, I think particularly for the B2B companies. So for ourselves, Ryan, LinkedIn, our blog, and Twitter are probably the 3 key tools that we use.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Now let me run ahead- and I know we're cutting across each other- and just cover this really quickly, Ryan. I might come back and touch on this next week, because it probably deserves a bit longer time. But it's really important if people are going to use social media. There's probably two things they need to get their head around.
One is the network effect, and that's how people connect up with each other. And we'll touch on this during our Twitter session on Thursday. And then the second measure that we use, the second framework we use, is the social media communication types. And we find that a lot of small businesses, they're just fixated on outbound communication, which is the talking.
And we think there's actually five types of communication, of social media communication types. First one is internal, which is used internally of social media. And Ryan, you'll show us an example soon. Particularly in large organizations, real opportunity to break down silos between departments using social media.
The next one is listening. Listening is- we talked about it earlier on. If social media's a conversation, well then the old adage that you've got two ears and one mouth for a reason, still bears truth. So you should be listening twice as much as you talk. For example, we use a tool called Spread Social to listen to what people are saying directly to us, to monitor keywords people are talking about, to see what our competitors are up to, and to see what our customers are up to. And to just do general monitoring of the industry.
Talking, you've gone through, Ryan, in detail. It's all about content and sharing it on our social media channels. So that comes back to good content released to the right people at the right time.
Support is people actually coming and asking us questions. And increasingly, we do that on Facebook and Twitter. Classic example there, in the office here when we're having problems with our telcos, be it Optus or Telstra, we tweet them, we don't get on the telephone. Because we're just not going to wait online. We know if we get on to Twitter we'll probably get support that'll be quicker. So if you're going to use these tools, expect people to communicate with you in the same way.
And then finally, engaging in energizing. And this is when we do a really good job, and we get people talking about us. So this when we get our customers, our clients, our partners, to start sharing information for us. And indeed, sometimes creating content for us. So I know you're going to show us a few examples, Ryan. And I've gone through that pretty quickly, but we may come back to it next week.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, I think we can revisit some of this stuff next week if we need to, Fergal. I'm just going to jump through this customer journey bit. In terms of choosing the right social media for your business, Fergal, you should come back to your customer journey. And pulling out the parts there that seem to be most vital to your business, and starting with the most important. And then adding on over time as you have more resources and the time to do so.
So you mentioned internal communication, Fergal. And Yammer is a pretty widely used tool. There are a few more out there. But especially for larger organizations, it's a really good way to encourage some collaboration across departments. Even just for a small business like ourselves, it's a good way to facilitate some discussion that doesn't get lost in email chains and attachments.
It allows us to interact more openly, more like a social media platform, and share some great resources. Even with our Mumbai offices as well, we're allowed to share information between each other quite well there. It really-
FERGAL COLEMAN: It doesn't cost us anything.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, always helps. Listening, we use platforms like Sprout Social, Fergal, which is a paid solution. A lot of people opt for Hootsuite as well, which is now the free platform that you can use to listen to multiple social media tools at once.
In the case of OzCrafters, we might pull up some Twitter and look at some hashtags like woodwork, or start doing some research around hashtags and geographic regions. Listen to what our competitors are talking about, listen to what our customers are talking about. Who are the key players? Who are actually writing about this stuff?
So it's always important to be listening to what people are talking about on social media. And that should also help feed back into your content plan, what you should be writing about, what people have interest in.
Facebook. Common place people like to talk. If you tuned into our Hangout last week, you will have heard us talk about how it's harder to get heard on Facebook now, organically. You increasingly will have to actually promote some of your posts. But the people I see do really well on Facebook generally have created a formula and stick to it really well. And it's really about their customers and their expertise.
My favorite example is always the Acoustic Centre just in south Melbourne. They've created their own segments that they consistently put out on Facebook, whether it be daily or weekly. They have a session called 'What's That, Josh?', where they upload a simple video demonstrating one of their products each day, and helping people understand its different features. And then every day they have a customer of the day, where they put the onus back on their customers, what product they chose and why.
And once again, this comes back to storytelling. And they'll have a story about that customer, and why they're buying that product. It works really, really well. I've seen their engagement grow exponentially over the last couple years.
Support, always a really overlooked area on social media. And we find YouTube to be a great place to deliver this. So GoPro are a great example. They've got entire channels on their YouTube account dedicated to their customers, who are at all different levels of using their products.
Whether they've just started, and they're a beginner, or weather they're advanced and doing some really advanced stuff. So you don't need to have entire channels, but you can create some simple videos that will help your customers look after or use your products.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think another example, Ryan, is the LinkedIn group that we're running for this session here, where people can get in and ask questions as well. So it's not difficult to do.
RYAN SMITH: Absolutely. And then engaging. We found Pinterest to be a really interesting tool recently, Fergal, and I think you first alerted me to it. This trend is that people who are creating things or designing things, are increasingly getting customers to browse on tools like Pinterest and create their own boards of things they like, or that inspired them.
And then the designer themselves can actually use that as inspiration to influence their design for that particular customer. So in the case of OzCrafters, they might get a custom design customers to give them examples on Pinterest of things they like, using searches and hashtags. Might also work for people like landscapers, painters, interior designers, architects. A lot of inspiration there that you can use to actually engage your customers.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Absolutely.
RYAN SMITH: So we rushed through that, Fergal. We might open up for questions while we- given that we've just ticked over the hour.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Yeah. We went through the social stuff quite quickly. But if you haven't been logging on to our Google Hangouts, we've done, well, two of them now, we'll do another one on Thursday where we do get hands on with some of this social media stuff. And then as I said, we might come back and touch on some of this stuff again next week.
So a couple of questions that we had come through. We had Linda ask a question via Twitter. Thanks, Linda. Linda and Tim have been busy on Twitter, which is great to see. She asks, is it good to have your website on free business directory websites, like TrueLocal and Hotfrog, as far as SEO goes? So I might open that up to you, Sohal, if you're still with us.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, thanks, Fergal. I think, yes it is good to have it. Now in terms of whether you're looking for rank back, as in whether it helps you rank higher in Google, I doubt that that happens. But you'd like to list your business because- on a good directory websites, because lots of people go straight to directories to find products or services as well.
I've not really seen a big SEO benefit to it. Some of them say it is there, because anyone could list it over there, as long as they have the right information. But it is good from a visibility perspective.
RYAN SMITH: Good.
SOHAL KHATWANI: In my opinion.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Next, SEO. So Brett asked a question earlier on. How do images and their descriptions relate in terms of SEO? Can Google read text in images?
SOHAL KHATWANI: Google- so when you say text in images, Google can't actually read text in images. But what they do for that is they give you an alternative, which we call an all tag, or all text. So when you actually upload an image to your website, the first thing you want to do is name that image correctly.
So you don't want img12345. You'd rather put, our warehouse in Essendon, or wherever you'd say. Our warehouse in any suburb, firstly. The second thing you want to do is add what we call alt tag, which is really a description about that image.
Google goes there to read what the image is about. And when people actually search on Google, sometimes when you see images coming up, it's not because they've actually read what's that image, or seen that image. It's because of what the alt tag actually says about that image.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great. Another question from Dana. I have several unnatural backlinks. How do I know which ones they are? Don't know if you can answer that, Sohal.
SOHAL KHATWANI: I'll try to answer that. Google actually tells you- with Google Webmaster Tools, they actually tell you which sites are actually linking to you. And they do, I think they do tell you which sites you should stop linking from, or be asked to devalue. So Google actually says, OK- because sometimes, suppose we wanted to harm your competitor, or do something wrong, and you started to use someone to create all backlinks to their website that come from low quality sites.
You can actually go into Google, when you have Webmaster Tools, and say, hey, I didn't ask for all these backlinks to come to my website. I've been spammed, or these links are not something that I'm actively pursuing. And Google will take that into consideration. So the same way, they also tell you- from Google Webmaster Tools, it can tell you which links are there.
And as far as judging what's a good quality link or not, tools like that SEO- oh, sorry, the Moz Explorer, actually give you some indication in terms of how the URL is, or how good the link is, as well. So hopefully that helps.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great. Another question from Brett. We have an agency eMagazine that contains some original articles around travel tips, et cetera. Would posting some of these key articles on our website be beneficial? Would it discourage people from subscribing if the content is available online? So I'll put that one out to you, Ryan.
RYAN SMITH: Oh, well that's a question of your business model, I guess, as much as anything, Fergal. In terms of your content strategy, yes, I certainly think there would be some benefits in taking some of that content and putting it potentially in a blog or a section of your website. Depending what format your eMagazine is in, if it's in a PDF or something that's more offline, Google might not be able to read that very well.
And I would think of your blog, maybe, as a way of giving people a bit of a teaser that actually subscribe to your magazine. So you might not put out 100% of the content, but by putting some of it out there, making it more shareable, more accessible, you might be able to pull in some new customers who will appreciate your content, and hopefully subscribe in the future. So I think you just have to be reasonably strategic about what content you put on there, and how much you give away, and what, in terms of your business model, what is the benefit you're offering them by subscribing to the magazine.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think the other thing that people do, Ryan and Brett, is you see a lot of authors out there that actually use their blog as a way of creating content, and honing content to use in an eMagazine or in and eBook. And certainly that's another way to think of it and say, right, well we will create our blogs, we'll put the blogs on our website, and then we're going to collect the best of that and put it in an eBook that we might make more presentable.
We might put more images in, and make it available to people. Different ways to do it, but certainly, in our own business, we do try and reuse content in various ways. So we'll write a blog about a particular content piece.
We may do a video to go with that. We may do a slide show, set of slides that go with it all. I think you can carve content up in different ways for the different channels or the different audiences that you've got.
I don't know if we have any more questions. I might just put it out to the group. Has anyone got any final questions? OK we've got a question from Donna. Any advice for a new business starting out with blogging? Ryan, I'll give you that one. Given our monitoring, we have so many tools here.
RYAN SMITH: Yeah, I think if you're starting as a new business, you're probably already doing the things we did in Week one, like your SWOT analysis. You're looking at what your competitors are doing. I would start by doing some of your research, in terms of looking at what content your competitors are writing.
You've done your customer personas. You've thought about what information they're looking for, and you've thought about the five questions that would be most important to them. That's always a really good starting point to get you thinking in terms of what the customer's looking for. And then use your tools like Buzzsumo and Quora.
Get some ideas on paper, and then put them down into a content plan. Get some drafts written, and some feedback from someone. And then put them out there and start sharing them. And use your analytics, which we'll look at next week, to figure out what's working and what's not working.
It's pretty hard to get this stuff right straight off the bat the first time you start doing it. So that's where your analytics are really important to help you hone in on it over time. It's a really continual process. Even now, Fergal, we find sometimes it's hit and miss. You've just got to keep working at it.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think that's right, Ryan. I think I agree with what you said there. I guess the whole purpose of these four weeks is to give you that advice, Donna, and hopefully you'll pick and choose the elements in here that you think are most appropriate for your business. But yeah, start top down.
Who's your customer, as Ryan says, and what is it that they want to read about, I suppose, if we boil it down to a simple sentence. I don't think- I think that's it. I don't know if we've got anymore. I'll maybe give it another 10 seconds or so, Ryan, to see if we've else coming in. So next session is Twitter on Thursday. So-
RYAN SMITH: Yep, so- Fire away, Fergal.
FERGAL COLEMAN: So you might want to give us a quick overview of what we're going to cover there, while we wait for maybe one or two more questions.
RYAN SMITH: Yes. So that last poll we ran, Fergal, tells us that 60% of the people in here today haven't- or aren't using Twitter currently. So that tells me that some of this will be for beginners, but we'll try, as always, cover a range of things. Including the basics and how the platform itself works, and some of the tools.
And we'll delve into a bit of hashtags as well. People are often a little bit confused by hashtags. And then we'll also cover some of the newer trends and the newer tools that we're seeing pop up on Twitter in the last few months, or even just this year, so that those of you who've been using the tool a little bit longer will hopefully get some new tricks as well.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great. There was one final question, actually, now that I think of it. I think I must have deleted it though. Apologies, Brett. Your question was around whether you should be doing some of this SEO stuff yourself, or whether you should be engaging an external person.
I think, Sohal, that that really depends on the business, the internal resources and skills you've got available to you. I know in our business we do the whole thing for some people, and there's others who just want the strategic advice, and they go and do it themselves. Don't know if you have any insights there to add to what I've just said.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, no, Fergal, I agree with you. It really depends on your business as well, and the resources. So we do work- we've worked different ways, and we've seen other companies also work different ways. But most of the things that we showed you here today, if you have the time, you should be able to implement them.
And once you start doing them, they sort of become routine. And you start getting used to making sure that you have clear titles. You do some of the small technical things, and you start getting a bit more comfortable with some of the key SEO principles. But if you are going to- of course, if you're short on time, and you really want to get some assistance, that's also a good option. But it really depends on the overall resourcing and the time that you have to actually go through this.
FERGAL COLEMAN: I think the same question can be asked about content as well. And some people do it, source their content. I think you have to be really careful with outsourcing content too much to people. It's all right to get a hand with it, but authenticity is important. If you're going to write about a topic that you're supposed to be the expert on, it's best that it's written, in my view, by you or somebody within your organization.
Because what you're trying to do is build your own credibility. And often it's a good way to work through what you know, and articulate what you know, because that helps you to articulate it to clients in a face-to-face way. So I think that was it. Ryan, is there anything before we finish up? Did you have anything else to add?
RYAN SMITH: No, I think we'll leave it there, Fergal. We've covered a lot today. Maybe we'll open it up to cover some of this again next week, if we need to. And just please, everyone, do feel free to send in questions for the Hangout on Thursday.
FERGAL COLEMAN: Great. Thank you, Ryan.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Thank you, everyone. Thanks, Ryan, Fergal.
RYAN SMITH: Thanks for getting up at the crack of dawn, Sohal.
SOHAL KHATWANI: Yeah, thanks. It was good.
FERGAL COLEMAN: And hopefully we'll see everyone on Thursday.