Why Press Releases are Still Good For Your SEO

press-release-seoPress releases used to be a great way to improve your SEO. However, in the past couple of years (and this is since 2017), Google has devalued the value it used to place on these press releases. Internet marketing companies and SEO agencies were quite unhappy about this as they lost a great SEO avenue, but press releases, if written properly and not for spam value can still have a positive impact on your internet rankings.

If your press release, article or even blog gets picked up by a newspaper or magazine with a wide readership this will enhance your customer base and the value of your article you have just written. If the publications website has a strong page rank this will in turn improve your search engine rankings through trust. Back linking to your website like this, is the foundation of SEO and this type of natural, organic linking is what it’s all about. So make sure when your writing an article it has to be professionally written.

Its Easy to Get Your Press Release Turned into an Article by Writing Clever Copy

Many editors, PR agencies as well as journalists can receive hundreds of articles and news items per day. The trick here is to make your article stand out and scream: ‘read me’! This is harder than it looks, but following are some simple hints to help your article leap out off the page – these tips will either make or break your article.

Issue Press Releases & Articles that are Newsworthy

Is the information that you are sending out worthy of any news article? Does it really have something important to say? Is there merit in the content that can be substantiated by facts? All these need to be considered before submitting this? Again, ask yourself are readers going to want to read this and what are the benefits that this content will provide? Sending a random press release out in the hope it gets syndicated, strictly for SEO purposes, is a waste of time. In fact, it can go against you. Irritating and bombarding publishers with content will surely aggravate them. These guys are time poor, so make sure what you say is compelling.

A great rule of thumb here: its better to send an article out once every two weeks than one every week. Quality over quantity is the mantra here.

Newsworthy items of interest that you should write about include:

  • A new product launch that is going to benefit many people – think pharmaceuticals or medical, even a service that is going to be very popular.
  • An opening of a school, shopping centre, anything that is going to raise the publics interest.
  • An event for charities, or organisations that the public need to know about.
  • Has an employee of your company achieved something significant?
  • Has your business won an award or been recognised as an industry leader?
  • Have you started an new area of your business or just opened up a new retail outlet ( this is good for local publications)

Don’t Waffle on – Be Relevant and Short

Your press release should be between 500 to 700 words and the first paragraph needs to get to the point. Readers need to skim the first paragraph and know exactly what the whole article is about. Because journalists read so many articles, its best that this opening paragraph has clout, influence, sway and weight.

Waffling on and creating articles to fill in space, especially if you think that the published article will help with SEO, will not get published. Avoid needless hype and exaggeration. It’s a complete time wasting exercise and I’m sure that you have better things to do with your time, like run your company.

Try To Use Actual Statistics, Photos & Videos

The more real you can make your article the more likelihood it will get published. Adding statistics, photos or even one better, videos are more true to life and will, by their very nature have more of an impact and this will be more likely to get it published. Journos love these kinds of add-ons so if you think that words are enough, then think again.

To add spice to any PR Release you might want to add a graphic, such as an infographic. These help readers digest information quickly and make the article more palatable. This is a growing trend and it is a good idea to get your graphic agency to design a cool looking infographic for you. It’s in your best interest to reach out and attract as many readers as possible. If they like what they see they will also share it on their social media which is a SEO bonus.

Here’s an interesting statistic for you. An imbedded image in an article will increase user engagement by 22 percent and having a video will double this. Bear this in mind with any marketing you do.

Check Your Spelling!

I really don’t have to elaborate on this point. Spelling mistakes with grammatical errors are going to be the death knell of your article. Seriously, if you are going to spend the time writing something, then the least you can do it go over it for punctuation and spelling errors. It’s a no brainer.

The point to take away from this blog article is: Give your press release the best fighting chance to get published by keeping them pertinent, succinct, engaging and most of all error-free. If you think that you would like to try to have a go at this yourself, but feel a bit intimidated, start off small. Create one article that you feel is interesting and see how that goes. Perhaps publish on of your blog articles which is a good thing for SEO and your overall online rankings as well.

There are a few online PR sites where you can publish your articles but start with these few:

www.prnewswire.co.uk/

and

www.pr.com/

Again, be careful with how many articles you submit per site as this may look overly spammy. Try to vary and diversify your releases with different sites around the web. Again, the more relevant your article the more likely it is to be picked up and syndicated naturally, which is the best thing for your online profile.

The guru Barry Schwartz from SEO Round Table says at around the 1 minute 40 second mark that the only benefit your going to derive from PR releases is exposure and brand recognition. if people are actually going to those sites. So what you can really take out of this ( and I am writing this blog article around 3.5 years after initially publishing it) is that PR sites have little of no value when it comes to your SEO. Google does not place a high value on these sites and it’s basically not going to help one bit in the SERP’s. They used to be a great way to push rank but as usual Google wised up to this and has now devalued all PR links to the level where they are basically useless. Point to take out of this is try other avenues unless the link comes from really good newspapers or High Value websites. If your in Sydney and want real value try to approach local papers, I’m thinking the Wentworth or Southern Courier or North Shore Times etc etc. Getting them to publish an article or news about your business on their sites is gold. Rule of thumb here is the tougher it is to get published, the more valuable the link will be.

 

How to Avoid Getting Completely Ripped Off by SEO companies

Are you still scratching your head and wondering what’s been going on for the last couple of months with your SEO agency. You paid them you trusted them, they said all the right things, but nothing happened, except you now have a lighter wallet.

seonegativeThere are many SEO agencies in Sydney and you can easily find them on Google, who are going to quote you unrealistic and ‘too good to be true’ prices when it comes to handling your search engine optimisation. They will gladly take your money and do absolutely nothing when it comes to ranking your website on Google. Basically, they are out to rip you off with no moral conscience or business ethics. These are the types of players that bring the SEO industry into disrepute and give all us good guys ( who practice white hat SEO) a very bad reputation. This is unfair for people like us who play by the rules and offer a genuinely good service that can really help your business become more successful.

There are hundreds of scam artist out there looking for their next victim. These people can be based in Sydney or overseas and you will never ever know unless you are prepared to meet with them and know what the danger signs are. Knowing these will help you prevent getting ripped off.

Following are some things to keep front of mind and be very aware of when speaking to your next prospective SEO agency:

1) There are so many SEO companies that say they have a Sydney presence when in fact they are based in Thailand or India, be aware of this. I actually got cold called from one of these companies the other day who said they were in Sydney and when I asked to meet with them they said they can’t and when pressed further they eventually admitted they were overseas. These guys are real scammers so keep your eyes open. It’s preferable to deal with a local company. At least one you can visit in person.

2)  Don’t do everything via email. Get them to come in for a chat which will give you a better idea of their work ethic. Meetings are a great way to judge character and to tell if your going to get ripped off. If they want to do everything via email and are not even prepared to Skype you avoid them. These people are killers for small business.

The basic rule here, if you are going to avoid getting ripped off is to not align yourself with any SEO companies that offer:

  •    SEO guarantees and page 1 rankings within 60-90 days or pay on performance SEO
  •     Monthly SEO fees for around the $500 mark if your in a highly competitive niche.
  •     Instant SEO quotes over the phone without doing any kind of keyword research or industry analysis.
  •     Yearly or half yearly MUST sign contracts with no exit clause.
  •     Ex Google employees working in the company –  this is a huge trick and as I’m sure you can imagine why would a Google employee go an work for a SEO agency. The chances of this are very remote and highly unlikely
  •     If they do not offer any type of content marketing, website audit, social media marketing and are just focused on link building. This is very dangerous and know that this type of strategy is considered very old school.

Lets examine each point individually so you have a better understanding of what to look out for:

SEO Guarantees

In the perfect world, businesses can offer warranties and guarantees on their products or services. Unfortunately, Google is the third wheel here and is in charge of the ranking process. All an SEO company can realistically provide is the vehicle that helps your website rank. This is because Google makes all the rules and can easily and without any prior warning change them at any time. Guarantees of page 1 positioning is really a scam and sold to you to lull you into a false sense of unrealistic security. Again, unfortunately, if you believe in it hard enough, and are told it time and time again, it still won’t make a difference.

Google has their hand on the controls and no amount of positive thinking or over promising of guarantees will change this fact. Also, if companies say they will work till they get you on page 1 for free if they can’t rank you within 6 months, again stay well away!

These are all scams and designed to fleece you of your money.

Cheap Monthly SEO Fees

These guys are out for the fast buck. Their aim is to quote low, get you in and do little or no work. Its simple math, if they are going to be charging you such a low SEO price, how many hours are they going to spend on your website and optimisation?

SEO, if done correctly takes many man hours. The simple fact of the matter is that $500 is just far too cheap. Might as well throw the money down the toilet. Whilst $500 per month may not be a lot of money, if this is done in large volumes, then it becomes quite profitable for some SEO agencies who prey on the naivety of small businesses.

Instant Ball Park Quotes

Over the phone are done to surprise you with ‘so called’ great value packages and then they sign you up and lock you into a contract. $500 x 12 months = $6000, which is a lot of money, if you are getting no results. Be very careful if your SEO company tells you that they are offering special packaged deals at these silly prices.

Lock In Contracts

This has been addressed but I will go over it again. If you are in a contract paying your hard earned dollars every month for nothing, this is going to be financially draining with no return on investment. Not only are they difficult to exit, but think about all those lost opportunities and clients you could be bringing into the business – if only you had made the right choice from the beginning!!

Non of these SEO companies have ex Google employees – why on Earth would they leave a high paying, powerful role in Google to work in a SEO company. Yes, there may be a 1 off occurrence but the chances are very slim – these kind of statements are an outright lie – be careful if you read this or they tell you this!

Focusing purely on link building

This was a popular method many years ago but Google is looking for a more holistic approach to your internet marketing. Link building is fine if they are from relevant, trustworthy sites but this is now becoming less important. Agencies must be looking at all your digital assets such as copy, user experience, social media and your site structure. This is not so simple and only s select few will be able to have a thorough understanding of all these essential components. If the people your speaking to go on about link building and nothing else this is a really bad sign. Content and link building are the way to go so make sure they offer this service.

So What Should You Take Out Of This?

Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, simple as that. Paying a fair and respectable price for your SEO service is the best marketing move you can make for your business. If you prefer to take the low road and go for the cheaper option where guarantees are dangled in front of you like candy to a child; all we can say is you have been warned.

Tips to Improve Your Website Conversion Rates

In the online world purchasing decisions are made within a couple of seconds. Your website has a few moments to make an impact or get a response and this is why conversion rates really matter when it comes to your website design and user experience. If the customer doesn’t like what they see, they will exit the site and most likely go to a competitor. Remember, it’s really easy to hit the exit button. People are not loyal and your website needs to convert these people into paying customers very quickly.

Conversion is king when it comes to website strategy

Not an easy task but following are a few great tips to optimising your website so it is performing at its very best and converting as many people who visit your site as possible.

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

conversionrateseoCRO is the technique used to convert as many website visitors into paying clients. Ideally you want a reaction or signal out of your visitor and these can vary depending on your conversion goals. Some people want you to sign up to a newsletter while others want you to complete the online inquiry form. There can be dozens of these conversion points throughout your website and it’s the job of your design team to work out a strategy that will increase the rates of conversion and in turn your sales.

Conversion rate optimisation also involves reducing web bounce rates. That is, site exits from the home page or they page they land on. Website stickiness and site exploration is what converts users the logic being; the longer they spend on your website and the more they interact and engage with it, the higher the probability of an inquiry. If you want to succeed online and make money from your website then CRO is a vital and extremely important component of your digital marketing campaign.

Why Does your customers need a conversion focused website?

There are many components of the website that need to be optimised for conversion. Websites can be broken down into various components and each of these need to be looked at:

  • The check out process for an eCommerce website – it needs to be simple, easy to use and allow customers to buy the goods with a minimum of fuss and distractions. You want to eliminate all road blocks when it comes to buying a product. Nothing annoys people more than having to register their name and email address at the check out. Let then continue the process as a guest without all the hassle and you will find that your sales will start to improve. It’s a nightmare having to verify emails and go through the whole headache just to buy some clothes for example. CRO makes everything so much easier.
  • If you require users to fill out a form – auto population of forms is a great idea.
  • Newsletter sign ups need to be done so that the client feels they can opt out at any time. Plus with all site wide forms ( inquiry, contact and subscription) they need to be super simple to fill out and email off.
  • A lot of people will land on a website and not know what to do. yes, there are people out there in the world like this and will need to be guided to the end goal. Its the function of conversion rate optimisation that will enable your customers to find what they are looking for within seconds. Think of it like a shop front. You wouldn’t put any barriers to entry at the front door, so why would you do it on your website?
  • People are essentially time poor and they’re probably doing their shopping on the way to work or in their lunch hour. You website must have loads of conversion points that enable site visitors to make the purchase, booking or inquiry easily. Time online is a valuable commodity and your don;t want to waste it. People would prefer to watch their Facebook feeds or check their Instagram accounts rather than messing around with your website figuring out where to go. This is the reality of the digital would in 2018!

All of the above are necessary functions of a website and need to be continuously fine tuned and improved for better conversion. You can always check the effectiveness of your CRO by using your Google analytics. If bounce rates are up, then it’s back to the drawing board. If they are down, then job well done. But, never rest. You should always be studying your competition, looking at web trends and making constant improvements to the user experience.

Conversion rate optimisation tips

1. Simplify all web processes.

The more complicated your website is, the higher the chances of site abandonment and bounce rates. Simplify everything, make the web journey as easy as possible and the rewards will be there.

Point to consider include:

  • Make sure the web layout is simple, uncluttered and clean – avoid flashy images, over use of colourful graphics, pop ups and animating banners.
  • If you want information, keep it under 4 fields: name, email and web address & phone number. Anything more like your cats name or date of birth, passport number is just overkill and a real pain in ass.
  • Do not give too many choices and options. Guide your customer, never let them guide you or offer opportunities for site exits. Remember, it’s your site and you need to control the flow of your customer.
  • Lengthy scrolling down massive pages with too many images are a site killer – keep it all within the top half of the page.
  • Never make users sign up or join if you want them to buy something – make this optional NEVER compulsory. There is nothing worse than having to verify emails right before your buy the product. It’s a pain and you never know what they are going to do with your information. Just like buying at the retail level – you want to be in and out quickly. Signing up and joining clubs whilst good for some, is very inconvenient for the majority of the population. In fact the ABS reports that 92% of people will not proceed with the check out if they are forced to join up.

2. Lengthy Loading Speed Will Destroy Your Website

This is a no brainer. Minimise download times and website speed to a few seconds. Anything more and you can kiss your customers goodbye. Add to this, Google looks at site speed when it comes to your SEO ranking and site speed/download times become a real issue. If you have been using a  SEO company in the past that has not addressed site speed then you need to look at changing your SEO team. This is a critical issue and these guys should be onto this from the get go. It’s really the first thing that they should be looking at. Have a look at what the Google guru Matt Cutts say about site speed and how it can affect your rankings.

If your website has too many images, flashing banners, large graphics, then you need to measure site speed – there are tools out there for this, but it’s best to leave it to the professionals who will know to optimise your site so it’s super fast and very Google compliant.

Loading delays, watching the wheel spin for 30 seconds before the site loads is going to have a serious impact on your business – be very aware of this and do everything you can to keep your site lightening fast. Remember, slow websites equate to poor performance which equals disastrous conversions. You know exactly what I am talking about here. How many times have you hit the delete button whilst waiting for a site to load?

Some great points to note:

  • Significantly downsize each individual web page – limit graphics and text – keep them manageable.
  • Optimising all of your images so they are very SEO compatible.
  • Ensure your hosting response times are quick – servers should ideally be based in Sydney – if you have hosting outside Sydney consider switching providors as soon as you can.

3. Mobile Web Design Makes Life Simple

Mobile traffic from iphones and handhelds are expected to increase seven fold by the year 2018. Too add to this, statistics show that this mobile market is way more impatient than the traditional desktop user and if your site is not super efficient and a click away from buying then they are exiting. Responsive sites and individual mobile sites (.m) are going to play an increasingly important role in the user experience and ultimately in your web conversions. This mobile reality is here and conversions are only going to get worse, the longer you delay the inevitable. Most websites are now mobile friendly especially if they are built using a WordPress CMS.

4. Update old website content

A lot of people forget to change or tweak old copy and websites can tend to become out dated or irrelevant which will affect the way people engage with the site. If what they’re reading sounds like it was written 10 years ago, this may affect trust and put some doubt in customers minds about the legitimacy of your business. Look at ways to refresh copy whether it’s an old blog post or a key heading on the home page. Keeping your website fresh is an important key to better conversion rates. On top of this it will help with your SEO.

5. Clean up dead or broken links

Over time links die as web pages get deleted or become obsolete. The last thing you want your customers to be doing is clicking on a link that takes them to a non existent page. Clean this up quickly. There are heaps of free tools you can use but try: https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/broken-link-checker/

So ask yourself this question? Are your website conversions suffering because you have been too lazy to do anything about it or you really just have never thought about this issue? Contact us today to speak to one of our online marketing professionals for a FREE consultation on improving your conversion rates. CALL 02 9360 8514.

In many cases the fixes are quite simple and can be done really easily but like everything else in the digital space this requires loads of constant attention and monitoring. I suggest you treat this as a matter of urgency as you could be spending a fortune on SEO and getting lots of visitors to your site without sales improving. This is more common than you would think and the people that actually do something about it are the ones that benefit.