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July 30, 2014
Google+

Why small businesses should use Google+

online marketing for small businesses in Geelong

With 327 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) as reported on December 18, 2013 by Business Insider Australia, Google+ is not quite the size of Facebook with its 1.15 billion MAUs. However, Facebook has been around more than a decade, while Google+ was launched just three years ago in 2011. While it currently sits behind Facebook, Google+ has already outpaced Twitter in terms of MAUs.

Consider this: Approximately 95 percent of global Internet users use Google to search for what they want, whether it’s a nearby restaurant or a how-to tutorial. Considering Google+ is a Google product, then the likelihood of Google+ overtaking Facebook in terms of MAUs, along with every other social media platform, is as enormous as the search engine itself.

It might not be the most popular just yet, but we already know that Google+ is the single most powerful social media tool small businesses can use to boost their online presence. Why?

  • Google+ is a Google product, therefore if you use it effectively and link it to your website, it has a spectacular impact upon your Google rankings! Google favours businesses that use Google products to promote their brand, funnily enough…
  • It can be integrated with other powerful Google products such as Google My Business and YouTube which will boost the online presence of your business even further.

If we personally had to choose just one social media platform to use, it would be Google+. Whether you “Like” it or not, using Google+ is more beneficial for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) than Facebook. By all means use both, but please, we urge you to get on Google.

Tips:

  • You must set-up a PERSONAL Google Account and Google+ profile first.
  • You should then set-up a Google+ page and My Business profile for your business in the same account – similar to setting up Facebook Pages, you should have a personal profile first in order to set-up a business profile – you can then “switch” between profiles seamlessly.
  • Check a listing for your business doesn’t already exist – many Google business listings were created using old Yellow Pages data. You should be able to claim and manage the listing in your existing Google Account, or request admin rights.
  • Remember – one account for ALL OF GOOGLE.

WAIT – what is My Business?

Google My Business recently replaced what used to be known as Google Places for Business as well as the Google+ Pages Dashboard. If you already had a Places for Business account you were automatically upgraded to My Business back in June when the changes occurred. So you do not need to sign up again or do anything other than use My Business to manage all your business information in the one place as it appears in Google.

This includes your information as it appears in your Google+ profile, your business’ address on Google Maps, phone number and business hours. Make sure the contact information in your My Business profile matches the information on the contact page of your website – Google will recognise the two match and acknowledge your efforts to provide consistent information by boosting your website’s rankings!

Based in Geelong, GOOP provides online marketing strategies and assistance to help small businesses achieve success with their online presence. Contact us for enquiries about how we can help you navigate Google+ and other online marketing tools.


July 18, 2014
GOOP, clients and finalists

Geelong Small Business Excellence Awards

GOOP and clients finalists in 13 out of 20 award categories

Geelong Small Business Excellence Awards

GOOPers: Karl Morris, Amanda Ferry, Bruce Lawson and Courtney Buchanan

It was fantastic to see so many wonderful small businesses being honoured for their efforts and achievements last night at the Geelong Small Business Excellence Awards, held at The Pier.

The awards presentation started strong for GOOP and our clients and the trend continued throughout the night, with many of our clients being finalists in their category and even winning one of the categories!

The first award of the evening was the Customer Service award and GOOP was a finalist along with E.L Photography, West End Real Estate and Dewey Creative PTY LTD.

Through to the fourth award of the night and Harvest Recruitment and Geelong ActionCOACH Hugh Bowman were finalists in the Human Resources award.

City to Coast Stainless was a finalist in two awards, the Small Business or a Division of a Business award as well as the Trades and Services, Manufacturing, Export and Construction award.

The Home Based and Micro Business award was a highlight with Sara Taylor Photography taking out the award with Geelong ActionCOACH Hugh Bowman and West End Real Estate both finalists for the second time that night. Sponsored by Webforce5, a Melbourne-based web developer, it was heart-warming to see three out of the four finalists were Geelong-based GOOP clients!

Leopold Swim School were finalists in two categories, the Family Business award and the Health and Well-being award. E.L Photography was also a second-time finalist in the Emerging Business award, a great achievement as a first-year entrant.

Saddle On Riding School was a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility award, a new award this year. EmbroidMe Geelong was a finalist in the Commercial Services – Large award as well as the Large Business or Division of a Business award.

We were happy to be second-time finalists in the Commercial Services – Small award, along with Dewey Creative PTY LTD, HR4 Business and Harvest Recruitment. HR4Business was also a finalist in the Best First Year Entry award.

The big one, the Powercor Business of the Year award went to Boundary Bend, a premium producer of extra virgin olive oil in Australia owning two well-known brands, Cobram Estate and Red Island.

Congratulations from the team at GOOP to all our wonderful clients who were finalists and won an award. It’s a rigorous and lengthy process so just to attend on the night as an entrant was an achievement in itself.

A huge congratulations of course goes to the winners in each category, a prestigious award and something to be proud of. Take a moment to enjoy your success before getting back to work and thinking about next year’s awards!

Geelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence Awards

elphotography.jpgGeelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence Awards

Geelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence Awards

Geelong Small Business Excellence AwardsGeelong Small Business Excellence Awards


June 25, 2014
Online marketing strategies

Facebook for small businesses

Do you have an online marketing strategy? Don’t get lost in the jungle, plan your Facebook posts!

In 2012 it was announced Facebook was the world’s “third largest country” in terms of size, with one billion active users engaging with the social networking website. As of December 2013 Facebook was still the world’s most popular social networking site, with 1.15 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs), nudging out YouTube with 1 billion MAUs.

Facebook enjoyed its 10th anniversary on February 4 this year. In a statement on the day, Mark Zuckerberg wrote:

“It's been amazing to see how all of you have used our tools to build a real community. You've shared the happy moments and the painful ones. You've started new families, and kept spread out families connected. You've created new services and built small businesses. You've helped each other in so many ways.”

Facebook is about helping, sharing and connecting. Therefore, if you are a small business owner using Facebook to promote your products and services, are you helping, sharing and connecting or just sell, sell, selling?

As Zuckerberg aptly stated, Facebook is a tool for building a community. And building a community takes time, persistence and planning.

With well over one billion MAUs on Facebook, it’s not enough just to be there. As a small business owner, you face the daily and weekly task of being present in a way that targets your audience, engages them and encourages them to stay and share your content.

Throughout the month of June, on our own GOOP Facebook business page, we have been posting tips about how small businesses can use Facebook effectively.

We urge you to plan your Facebook posts as part of an online marketing strategy (which should include blogging on your website and other potential tools such as eNewsletters). Here is a summary of our top tips for using Facebook to market your small business:

Ensure your Facebook Page is set up correctly.

online marketing strategies

There are (currently) six types of Facebook Pages available to choose from when you set up a new Facebook Page. You can choose from local business or place, company, organisation or institution, brand or product, artist, band or public figure, entertainment, cause or community. It’s SO important you set up your Page within the correct category so you can properly target your audience and allow them to use the applicable features (i.e. checking in if your business is primarily a place). If you think you have your Page set up incorrectly, you can edit your category in your Page’s settings.

Once your Page is set up correctly, start with a strategy and plan your Facebook posts.

If you want more interaction, you need direction. We recommend devising a simple yet clear online marketing strategy which includes a calendar of topics for your blog, eNewsletter and social media platforms. Trust us, it will help. If it doesn’t, we can help you.

Always make sure you RESPOND to followers.

Respond in a timely manner to anyone who comments on your posts or sends you an inbox message. If you manage a business Page you should check your notifications and messages at least once a day. If a client walked into your shop and asked you a question, would you ignore them? (We hope not!) So don’t ignore them online! If you need further encouragement, the more interaction your Page gets (comments) the further the reach will be. If you get a curly question you’d prefer not to answer where all can see, simply provide your businesses phone number or email address and ask them to call for more information. So long as you respond in a professional and timely manner, most people should understand not everything can be answered/organised/purchased via your Facebook Page!

Make sure you are posting relevant content!

While posting a variety of topics is great, make sure you don’t stray too far from the essence of your business. For example, if you are an electrician, it doesn’t make sense to post tips about fitness. Similarly, if you are a fitness coach it doesn’t make sense to post marketing tips for small businesses. Yet we see this type of things on business Pages all the time! Think before you post – is it relevant to your audience who are following you because of what YOU do? It all comes back to having a strategy and planning your posts.

Remember to link back to your website from time to time.

Your website is your asset and you own it – you want to drive traffic there when the opportunity presents (note: YOU are the opportunity-creator…). Depending on how active you are on your website with blogging, posting a link back to your website once a week is acceptable and once a month is ideal. Post a link to your blog or another relevant page on your website on your Facebook Page with a short description about it!

Use Facebook’s Power Editor to create call-to-action posts.

Power Editor is great for those occasional posts which really are designed to sell or promote something externally (i.e. on your website). Create a post with a specific call-to-action button, including “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Book Now”, “Download” to encourage users to take a desired action.

If you are a not-for-profit, take advantage of Facebook’s donation button app.

online marketing strategies


online marketing strategies

This is an app you have to install on your Facebook charity page, which you can customise and move into prime position. It allows users to click on the button and donate money to your cause. This can be a powerful tool if it is managed well (like anything).

Update your cover image and profile image.

Don’t let them become stale! Your profile image should be your logo, so users can easily identify your Page. Your cover image can be used for marketing purposes and can be interchangeable. We update our Facebook cover image on a monthly basis in line with our 12-month marketing strategy. However, you may want to update your cover image quarterly. Your profile image should really be your logo, so you only need to update this when you update your logo.

Make the most of branding opportunities.

online marketing strategies

While custom tabs such as Twitter, Instagram, Portfolio, etc. have recently moved to the left-hand side of your timeline and are less than prominent than their previous home at the top of your Page, they still present a valuable branding opportunity. Have a graphic designer design thumbnail images for your custom tabs which ties in with the rest of your branding. Make sure the designer checks the current pixel dimensions allowed by Facebook for the custom tabs, as the parameters are strict.

We specialise in helping small business owners tackle Facebook and other online marketing platforms with clear and simple strategies. Contact us to book an online marketing workshop for your small business in Geelong.


June 4, 2014
Panda 4.0

Google’s latest algorithm update: Panda 4.0

What is it and why do we care?

Panda 4.0

You can’t trick Google. Well, you can, but only for a short while. And the short-term gain is never worth the long-term pain, and expense, of a Google penalty. Google has become the global authority on information – it is a modern day super-library. And just like old-school libraries, there are penalties for misusing the system. We’d bet that any small business owner would rather pay an old-school monetary fine than suffer a Google penalty banishing their website to the page-six-wasteland of search results and beyond (that is an approximation, but a good one at that).

How does Google penalise misusers of the system? Google engineers are constantly searching for ways to ensure only the best results show up for users when they search for what they want. They do this by creating programs and formulas – named “algorithms” – to deliver the best search results for users.

“Best result” websites contain clear, concise, genuine and unique information, relevant and working links to other pages internally, and high-quality (non-spammy) links to and/or from other websites also held in high regard. (There are websites built purely for the purpose of “back-linking” to other websites to try and boost rankings, this is seen as spammy practice and Google shuts down these types of websites and websites related to them with speedy vigour).

Think of an “algorithm” as a computer-robot problem-solver which is fine-tuned to identify specific clues in order to give you the answers to your questions (or searches). Google’s engineers look at trends of how people search and use this information to formulate new algorithms. If you need further explanation of algorithms and how the “search” works, re-visit our blog post: Geelong small business marketing - preparing for Google’s algorithm updates in 2014.

On that note, Google has released its latest algorithm update. This is big news in the tech world because when Google releases an algorithm something’s going to change. Usually, it’s the rankings of websites with poor-quality content and dodgy backlinks – bad for them but good for us.

As a web developer with a growing client base our aim is to produce high-quality and resilient websites that will stand the test of time and a slew of algorithmic updates.

The latest update is called Panda 4.0. The first Panda algorithm was introduced in February 2011 and has been most recently updated in May 2014. The “Panda series” of updates is aimed at targeting websites with low-quality content, subsequently pushing them down the list of search results, making way for websites with clear, concise, genuine and unique content and links.

So, what is the resounding message and top points to come from Panda 4.0?

High-quality content is KING (or Queen, whichever you prefer really)

This means the copy on your website reflects your businesses values, products, services and location/s. The content is strategic, specific, unique and relevant to your audience. There is no duplicate content and no repetition. Each page is focused on one product/service/topic and has relevant links to other internal pages.

Content is Search Engine Optimised (SEO) but not keyword stuffed (literally)

To rank in Google it is necessary to incorporate keywords relating to your products and services combined with your main geographic location. However, if your content is obviously “stuffed” with keywords, your website will not be favoured. Unlike the 80s, less is now more.

Blog on your website

Google is big. Google gets hungry. You know what Google loves? FRESH CONTENT. The best way to do this is to blog on your website. This allows you to add fresh content to your website on a regular basis which Google can chew up and spit into its giant index of information. We wrote a blog about why you should blog on your website, you should read it if you require further blogging encouragement.

We can’t stress enough that all of the above is best tackled with a good, reputable web developer who will put your needs first, and secondly with an online marketing content strategy. It doesn’t have to be hard and it’s not as scary as it sounds. Give us a call for more information.

GOOP is based in Geelong, servicing small businesses Australia-wide.

Posted by Karl Morris. Karl is the Managing Director of GOOP - web developer and online marketing specialists based in Geelong, Victoria. Servicing small businesses Australia-wide.

Google+


May 28, 2014
Using images on your website

Why small business websites need images

What do your images say about your business?

small business websites Geelong

Picture this, (pun intended) you are at a point in your life when you can finally afford to build your dream home (see above...). You’ve worked hard to get to this point and you want your dream home to be architecturally designed, environmentally friendly, modern and functional. You start searching online for “green home builders” and “designer homes” to create a shortlist of builders you want to contact.
Google brings up its millions of search results in around 0.32 seconds and you start clicking through the first few options. Here is what you find:

  • The first website is for a green home builder. Their website has lots of great information about energy ratings and who their trusted suppliers are. They have a “projects” page on their website, but it has no pictures of homes they have built.
  • You click on the next website in the search results list and the page you land on has a big beautiful image of a home this builder has built. The project details are clearly listed underneath. The home looks stunning, there are modern pillars, interesting angles and big windows (which it says in the description are “north-facing”). You click through the rest of their portfolio and other image galleries on the website. This is the sort of builder you want to work this, the pictures speak for themselves and your dream home is calling!

Professional and well-placed images on small business websites add interest and credibility. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for many clients, we find images of their products and/or services play a major role in generating qualified business. Images are compelling, if you like what you see you are more likely to take the action desired by that business, i.e. pick up the phone and call them, visit their store, purchase products online or engage their services.

Images tell a story about your business, who you are, what you do, where you do it, what you sell...what do your images say about your business?

Design is included in the cost of developing a GOOP website. Once your website goes live the design will remain relatively untouched until you decide to upgrade your website with a redesign (for many small business owners, this will be at least three or more years away). This means any images you choose to be part of the design will also remain relatively untouched. Gallery, catalogue and shopping cart images are interchangeable at all times.

Therefore, it is important to consider whether you want our web designers to use images as part of your design. If you do, we strongly recommend hiring a professional commercial photographer to take pictures of your products, business and/or services (in action). We say this for two main reasons:

  1. Professional photographers understand how to best represent your products, services and/or business using lighting techniques, placement, rule of thirds and more. They want your business to shine in the photographs and will work hard to ensure this.
  2. Our web designers need the biggest, best-quality images you can possibly provide us with. Small and/or poor-quality images are difficult for our web designers to work with because they often can’t be enlarged to fit the design (they can go “grainy”). A professional photographer will provide high-resolution photographs ideal for online use.

Even doctors’ surgeries and financial groups bode well to use professional headshots of their team for staff profiles rather than shady smartphone snaps.

We can source stock photos which can be purchased by you and used in the design of your website, however we cannot promise these same photos will not be purchased by other companies in the same industry as you and used on their websites. A good professional commercial photographer will give you ownership of the copyright of your images, meaning others cannot use them without your permission.

Our web designers would much prefer three spectacular images rather than 30 poor quality ones. So, when deciding on images to use on your website we implore you consider the adage ‘quality over quantity’. Oh, and it’s true – bigger really is better.

Based in Geelong, we build small business websites and offer help with online marketing. Need a website? Give us a call...


May 1, 2014
Do you have a strategy?

Geelong online marketing services

Geelong online marketing

Why all small businesses should have an online marketing strategy

You’re a small business and things are kicking along nicely. You’ve got your logo, established branding, and you have a website. You may even have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or other social media platforms set up for your business. These are all tools to help market your products and services and what you do with them is what’s important. So what next?

As a small business, we know there’s so much to consider – why, what, who, when, where, how?

Why market your business online?

  • What’s your purpose?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Where should your focus be?
  • What to write?
  • When to post?
  • Who will write the content?
  • How do you know if it’s working?

An online marketing strategy will help you determine all the above, and hopefully more.

It’s true – you need a plan. Start your strategy here:

Why market your business online?

Print media is declining, and fast. Newspapers, magazines and print advertising are feeling the sting of free and fast information online. An article posted by Nic Christensen on mUmBRELLA on February 14th, 2014, states “most of Australia’s major metro mastheads have once again posted double digits declines in the last round of print circulation figures.”

Derek Thompson from The Atlantic posted about this back in 2012, musing that newspapers and magazines need to invest in online, “…otherwise, one hopes that rich people continue to be fond of paying for the production of great writing on bundles of ink and paper.”

Marketing online allows you to reach an unprecedented audience and success is actually measureable (Google Analytics, Facebook insights, Google reviews and more). Furthermore, once you invest in a good website, most online marketing activity can be done by your business for free. It doesn’t cost anything to post on your website’s blog, or to schedule strategic posts on Facebook.

What is your purpose?

There’s little point simply going through the motions if you don’t have a purpose. You need to ask yourself what you want to get out of your online marketing.

You may want to build brand awareness, connect with your client base, reach new clients (and more importantly, attract them to take desired action), boost your ranking in Google for certain keywords and locations, or maybe you simply want to teach your clients something new every month and build your reputation as a leader in your field. You purpose shouldn’t be to sell, sell, sell – but rather to share, inform and inspire.

Who is your audience?

Who purchases your goods and services the most? Is it stay-at-home mums, trades, hairdressers, fisherman, teenage girls, football fanatics, backpackers, bridal couples, book clubs? Any online marketing strategy needs to identify their audience in order to produce content that is not only appropriate, but engaging for this audience. Your audience is your target market – who you want to engage your products and/or services.

Where should your focus be?

Part of your strategy should be determining which platforms you will use and where your priorities lie. Your website is your asset and you own it, so keeping your website up-to-date by blogging should be your priority. You do not own your social media pages, but they are great for building brand awareness and your reputation.

Then you need to decide which social media platforms are most relevant to your business. Facebook and Google+ is relevant for all businesses and might be enough to start with. Determine only the most relevant channels to engage your audience – i.e. LinkedIn is appropriate for an accountant, lawyer and other professionals. Pinterest and Instagram are excellent for photographers. Master a couple of platforms first, and expand later.

Write down the platforms you plan to use in order of importance, i.e. blogging on your website, eNewsletters via MailChimp (or other email marketing program), Google+, Facebook, Twitter.

What to write?

Producing content for a public forum can be scary – no doubt. Building a strategy should include determining what to write about. This requires some brainstorming on your part, and a good way to go about it is to block out an hour or so, bring in some staff, and look closely at your products, services, points of difference, events coming up you may be involved in and anything else relevant to your audience. For a 12 month plan, you will need 12 overall topics. Once you start brainstorming it is likely you will have more topics than months! Your monthly topics can be broken down into weekly subjects – i.e. if you are a restaurant and your monthly topic is focused on a new seasonal menu, your weekly topics could be: sourcing local produce, what ingredients are in season and being used in your new menu, matching a new menu item with a wine, and a tasting note from the chef to introduce the menu. Make sure you include some pictures of the new meals available to spark people’s interest.

If you a plumber a monthly topic should not ‘plumbing’, but something more specific such as solar hot water systems, in which case you could discuss suppliers, warranties, installation and benefits.

When to post?

You need to determine when you will post on your business blog, and when you will schedule Facebook posts. Your strategy may be to write one blog post per month, and three Facebook posts per week. You may send eNewsletters weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on your type of business.

You can determine the best times for social media posts through trial and error – schedule some of your social media posts for the morning, some for evenings, and some on the weekend and have a look at which ones receive the most interaction.

Who will do it?

It needs to be clear who will be implementing your strategy, and how long it should take them. If you are doing it yourself, make sure you stick to the strategy and mark things off as you go. Allocate a set amount of time per day or week and make sure it gets done. If you are delegating or employing a staff member to do it, ensure they understand what is expected, have access to the strategy, and you communicate with them along the way.

How do you know if it’s working?

Check Google Analytics for your website regularly. Blogging consistently with quality content including keywords and your target location should boost monthly website views. You may find certain trends emerge as more people view your site, such as a higher percentage of mobile device users, in which case you should consider a responsive website.

Watch the interaction on your Facebook page, Page Insights helps you track likes, post reach, visits and more. Other social media platforms have some form of statistical evidence or recommendation system so you can track how you are performing. However, unlike Google Analytics, social media statistics should be taken with a grain of salt as success is more subjective. If people are interacting positively and more frequently with your business profiles, this is a good indication people like what you’re doing.

Don’t forget, it’s ok to ask your audience for feedback! Send a newsletter or update your status and ask what they want to know about your business.

Online marketing can be daunting – even for qualified marketing professionals. But anyone can do it, and having a realistic strategy is the first step.

We provide the option for half day marketing training with clients, to help identify appropriate social media platforms and a comprehensive 12 month marketing strategy.

Based in Geelong, GOOP provides online marketing services for businesses Australia-wide. Contact us for more information about how we can help market your business online.


April 10, 2014
Your website is a marketing tool

Why should I blog on my website?

Online marketing

This is a question we are often asked. Many people think once their website is online, all they need to do is wait for customers to call, email, shop, enrol, etc. This is not the case – once you have a website up and running, this is actually when the fun (and work) begins!

Neglecting your website after set-up is like setting up a Facebook page for your business but then never checking your inbox, notifications, comments, likes, posts or reviews! Except the difference is your website is your asset and you own it, you do not own your Facebook page (and you have invested money in your website, whereas Facebook is a free tool). Yet all too often we see businesses powering on social media but not adding fresh content to their website as a priority.

Blogging on your website is one of the most powerful tools available to business owners to market your business and boost your Google rankings. The best part is, if you do it yourself, it’s free!

You do need to invest in a website with a blog function installed internally in order to be able to do this. What does this mean?

We are not talking about a blog that is separate to your website, we are talking about blogging on your actual website. Because if you set up a blog somewhere else, your website won’t benefit from your marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. What you want is to produce high quality content that is relevant to your target market/audience on your website so people are drawn there, not to an external source, which doesn’t showcase all your products, services and contact information. Once they reach your website (generally via a Google search for the relevant product or service in a specific location), they can view all the vital information about your business and be compelled to contact you (your phone number should be highly visible across all pages on your website).

Strategically blogging on your website will help new clients find your business in a Google search. A strategy should help you identify gaps in your search rankings and therefore encourages you to employ a more holistic approach to boost your site’s overall rankings.

When we say “strategically blogging” we mean adding blog posts that are in line with your overall online marketing strategy, not just adding blog posts ad hoc for the sake of adding posts – perhaps because you know you should (but not why you should).

Having a blogging strategy helps you determine what topics you want to cover (i.e. how to sew a cushion cover), when you want to cover them (i.e. in time for Mother’s Day), and what keywords and locations you will add for SEO (i.e. Geelong cushion covers).

We have very simply broken down why you should blog on your website into two main parts:

1. Creating quality content for marketing purposes

First and foremost, your blog is a valuable marketing tool, which allows you to market your business by adding fresh content on a regular basis. You can communicate the value of specific products and services to your target audience. This could include posting projects you have completed and the value they added for the client – i.e. “We installed an environmentally friendly composite deck to replace a faded wood deck, which needed constant staining and maintenance. The composite deck never needs staining and has a 15 year guarantee, saving the client time and money.”
It is important you consider what you think your existing clients want to learn about your business, compared with what potential new clients might want to know about your business. Add value for your existing clients with some helpful tips and information – i.e. how to care for their product, instructions for a DIY project, or a favourite recipe. You don’t have to give away all your intellectual property (IP), but aim to give your clients insight, hints, tips, and instructions they might not otherwise have had access to.

2. Blogging for SEO

This is definitely a main reason why you should blog on your website as SEO content will help drive new traffic to your website (remember that new clients do not know your business name yet – therefore they are searching a product or service in their location). We advise that you work on your marketing strategy and creating quality content first (as mentioned above) followed by implementing proper SEO technique. If you don’t have a strategy and your blog content is too thin or generic, adding keywords will have a lesser impact, and in some cases, can even have a negative impact. Once you have an online marketing strategy to guide your blog topics and content, then you can add your keywords for SEO.

We believe a holistic approach to your online marketing strategy is the best way to get results (which is clients finding you online and then taking the desired action – i.e. picking up the phone, purchasing your products, re-enrolling online or whatever is applicable to your type of business). This means identifying the most appropriate tools to reach your clientele, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

However, blogging on your website is one tool every type of business can benefit from in terms of marketing and SEO – and that’s why you should blog on your website.

Need help getting started? Contact us – we can help you design an online marketing strategy for your business, which includes blogging on your website. Don’t have time? We can create a strategy and blog for you.


March 25, 2014
Geelong small business websites

The GOOP team

Geelong small business websites

Each GOOP team member helps build a specific piece of the puzzle that makes up your website

It takes a team of tradespeople to build a house. The process starts with an architect who plans and designs the layout of your house based on your needs. The architect will provide you with a detailed plan so you understand the structure of your house, including how many rooms you will have and their layout.

Once you’ve agreed on the plan your house is built in stages. First, the concreters pour the slab, preparing the foundation your house will be built on. Then the frame goes up, and so on. Each stage requires a different skill-set from different tradespeople – carpenters, electricians, plumbers and more. They all contribute to the final product, which should be a structurally sound and functional building.

Would you hire just one or even two people to build your house from start to finish?

When you pay money for an asset you expect a team of professionals to ensure each component complies with the relevant standards, combining aesthetics with functionality.

Building a website is no exception. A good website is built by a team of people who are experts in their area. A one-person web developer cannot provide all the components that make a website work – research, strategic planning, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), copywriting, design, development, reporting and ongoing support.

The GOOP team is made up of individuals who can perform the specific tasks needed to build a website that works.

Our team includes:

Researcher/strategist

This person is responsible for compiling all the information about a business including their products and services, contact details, competitors, websites and designs they like, and much more. This helps our team understand how you want your website to look, feel, read and function.

They are also responsible for conducting strategic research into the highest searched keywords (using a proven process) relevant to the businesses product and service offerings. The keyword list will be used by our copywriters when they write the SEO content on your site.

Part of the strategy includes building a sitemap for your website. This shows how your site will be structured – main menu pages, sub-menu pages, and in what order. It shows the hierarchy of the essential features to appear on your website.

Our strategist follows up with the client to make sure we have all the information and materials we need including your forms, logo, collateral, photos, and more.

This process is vital in helping to set the foundation your website will be built on!

Copywriters

Our copywriters are trained in how to write copy that is genuine, reflects the feel of your business, promotes the image you want to your targeted audience, and includes keywords and your geographic location for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

All GOOP copywriters use the same process to ensure our sites rank in Google consistently well. Part of the copywriting process is adding meta data to each page on your website to optimise individual pages for SEO.

Designers

GOOP designers understand how to represent the core offerings of your business visually and in a user-friendly way for the online environment.

They keep up with the latest website design trends including responsive web design, which is fast becoming the standard. Our designers work to simple and effective design principles – clear phone numbers and addresses on every page of your website for retail businesses are just some of the simple elements we incorporate.

Developers

Our web developers take the content and design and make them function across various platforms – phone, tablet and desktop devices. Each website is custom built to suit the needs of the client, their business, products and services.

Maintenance

Once your website is live, this is really when the fun begins! Our team provides ongoing maintenance and support for your business to make the most of your asset. We can provide training to teach you how to use the essential features of your website, including how to blog on your website, how to resize images correctly, how to update content on your pages, and more. We have a library of instructional documents we can send clients or talk you through what you need to do. If you get stuck, we are only a phone call away for help.

Part of our team’s commitment in maintaining your website includes running backups, ensuring your Content Management System (CMS) and security is up-to-date, and much more.

Reporting

We base what we do on data, evidence and proven processes. Reporting is an essential part of the process to ensure your website is working for you and your business.

Once your website is live, we submit your sitemap to Google in order for your sites pages to be indexed. Approximately six to eight weeks after your site goes live we will run a report on how your website ranks in Google, you will receive this report with instructions on how you can maintain your ranking and even boost it.

We are based in Geelong, servicing small businesses in Ballarat, Bendigo, Perth, and more across Australia. Please contact us to discuss how our team can build you a website that works!

Posted by the Managing Director of GOOP, Karl Morris. Karl's mission is to provide trusted website design, development and SEO services for small businesses in Geelong and around Australia.

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March 21, 2014
Online marketing Geelong

Guest blogging: spammy or SEO-effective?

Guest blogging used to be an ideal method for building relevant, quality links to your website.

Unfortunately, heavy exploitation of this trend for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has resulted in Google considering linking back to your website as a guest blogger spammy practice.

However, guest blogging is not dead. Writing genuine content on relevant websites still adds value for brand awareness, and builds your reputation as an expert in your field. These two things are good for business and you should continue along these lines if you want to guest blog.

If you do link back to your website as a guest blogger, or if you are promoting clients on your own blog and want to link to their website, you can avoid issues by creating “no follow links” – these are links that work (i.e. take you to the website) but don’t act as spammy links.

We love this article by Matt Cutts for more information about how guest blogging started out as authentic and then became spammy practice: The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.

Read Google’s Webmaster quality guidelines.

Learn how to use rel="nofollow" for specific links.

Please note: we have used "no follow" links in this post.

Posted by Manging Director of GOOP websites, Karl Morris. GOOP is a website design, SEO and development business based in Geelong, servicing Australia wide including Ballarat, Bendigo, Perth and more.

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March 14, 2014
Geelong SEO

Does your website target Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Trusted SEO services in Geelong, servicing Australia-wide

SEO Geelong

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is needed – if you have small business website it is an actual need. Remember, new clients don’t necessarily know your business name yet, so if the copy on your website isn’t optimised with keywords about your products and services, new clients won’t be able to find you in a Google search.

However, SEO can be done well and it can be done not-so-well. Not-so-well-done is actually worse than not at all, because just like a customs officer at a major airport, Google has already identified you and doesn’t like what’s in your baggage.

This makes it difficult to return with the same name and the baggage certainly has to go, or at least be repacked.

SEO Geelong

It’s the same principle with your website, if Google has found your domain name to be housing dodgy SEO you can be banished to never-never land (page six and beyond). In some cases, repacking your keywords and blogging on your site will help boost you back up the rankings. However, in more severe cases you may need to rebuild your website on a new domain name and start again.

Bad SEO is dangerous and if Google allows one not-so-well-done site to slip through the ranks, it sets a precedent for bad practice. If bad practice is allowed and even favoured, then why have rules, or algorithms? Why even bother searching for what you want because it will all just become a keyword-stuffed mess. That’s exactly what Google doesn’t want – because their aim is to provide you with the most relevant search results, not the dodgiest.

So, how do you choose an SEO company that produces real results that last by enduring Google’s algorithmic changes (aimed at rewarding the good and genuine)?

It really pays to do your research when you choose a web developer – it will save you a whole lot of heartache, time and money.

Once you’ve got a list of companies providing website design, development and SEO in your area, take a look at their portfolio on their website and if they don’t have a portfolio, don’t go there.

Look at their clients and the websites they have built for them, do you like the look and feel of their websites? Do they give you a good impression of the businesses?

In terms of SEO, check how they rank in Google. To do this, look at the core of what the business does and where they are based – i.e. business coach, based in Geelong. In which case you could search “business coach Geelong”. The first page is ideal, the second and third pages are still acceptable (especially in really competitive industries and large towns.).

Page one GOOP client:

SEO Geelong

Do this for a couple of the businesses and see how they are performing. Then, the ultimate test, how does the web developer itself stack up?

If the company is not practicing what it preaches, that’s a very bad sign.

Search terms such as “website design Geelong” and “web developers Geelong” and the result should be favourable – page one or two at the furthest.

SEO Geelong

SEO Geelong

Things have changed – while laborious SEO used to get results, not so anymore.

Read the copy on the web developer’s site and if it sounds awkward and repetitive, it’s probably SEO stuffed and not genuine. Yes, websites are written so they can be found in Google, but before that they should contain sincere information about the business itself. If you write naturally about the core of what a business does, the keywords should organically flow and fit into the copy anyway.

We aim to promote the essence of your business, strategically adding keywords as a secondary focus.

If you’ve been a target of bad SEO, give us a call. We are based in Geelong providing small businesses with websites that work Australia-wide.

Posted by Karl Morris. Karl is the Managing Director of GOOP - websites that work. GOOP provides website design and development including SEO for small businesses Australia wide.

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March 7, 2014
Small business websites

Does your website target keywords, SEO copy and Meta data?

Not all websites are created equal. If your website isn’t strategically targeted to your audience, then it’s probably not working to its greatest potential for your business.

A website that works (i.e. ranks highly in Google, gets your phone ringing, gets people shopping for your products online etc.) targets keywords, SEO copy and Meta data.

A website without those three things is really just like a fancy document that you’ve put online! It might be well written and it might even look fantastic, but really, you’ve just thrown a needle into the worlds largest a haystack.

There are millions of websites on the Internet (actually it’s more like a billion of them), so how are your potential new clients meant to find your website simply by the fact that it’s there? They won’t.

Here’s why every GOOP website strategically targets keywords, SEO copy and Meta data…

Keywords

Small business websites Geelong

Keywords are highly searched terms and when coupled with a geographic location, helps Internet users pinpoint a product or service closest to them – i.e. “Civil engineers in Geelong”.

We conduct research to compile a list of strategic keywords to be used on your website to help you rank on Google for what you want to be found for. Although many of the keywords for your website will be common sense – reflecting your products and services – we always use a program to nut out the most searched words from the list. This means your final keyword list is backed by data and we know people are searching for your products or services using these specific terms.

Remember that Google indexes your websites pages based on what people are searching for, so in order to be found your website must include these highly searched terms.

SEO Copy

Small business websites Geelong

SEO copy is the content on your websites pages – i.e. what is written on your services page to describe the services you provide.

Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, the most important thing when writing a website is making sure the content is genuine, relevant, unique and reflects the essence of the business.

Yes, keywords must be included in the copy on your site – but they should not be the absolute focus.

Our copywriters are trained in SEO and understand how to write compelling content so that your website also ranks on Google. We focus on content that reflects the topic which is about the keywords and we add them as a secondary focus.

Meta Data

Small business websites Geelong

What is Meta data? The Meta data is the descriptions we use behind the scenes of your website for SEO, they are also the descriptions that show up in search engine results (see example below). We adhere to the strict formulas levied by Google and use your keyword list to strategically optimise each of your pages.

Even though this data is not visible on your website it is imperative to your website ranking well and will show up in Google’s search results. Every GOOP website has purposefully written Meta data on every single page.

Small business websites Geelong

If your website does not target these three essentials, give us a call: (03) 5222 4220.

Posted by Karl Morris. Karl is a passionate small business supporter and the Managing Director of GOOP - the leading provider of small business websites in Australia. A GOOP website is the most powerful, cost-effective and measurable advertising available to small business. 

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February 11, 2014
Small business websites

WEBSITES WITH THE LOT

What are the ingredients of a GOOP small business website?

Small business websites

You know those takeaway ads where the burger looks perfect (fresh bun, crisp lettuce and just the right amount of mayo…)? Tantalised, you go and buy one but it turns out to be a slopped together mess. That’s just not satisfying!

Think of your website like a burger. The best burgers are made using fresh ingredients and are put together with love. A bad burger is stale and doesn’t deliver on its promise of mouth-watering satisfaction.

At GOOP we use only the finest ingredients put together by our locally sourced staff to build a website that looks great and works!

Everything we do is researched, planned and implemented with attention to detail. Here are the layers that make up your GOOP website:

Research

Our process starts with some serious research. We ask who your competitors are and take a look at their websites. Then we look at websites of businesses in the same industry who rank highly on Google.

We look at other websites in your industry (that may not necessarily rank well) with good menus, layouts and overall designs.

We conduct structured research on design, content and keywords for every business, every time, so we can bring together the best design ideas with the highest ranking keywords.

Strategic planning

This is where we determine the structure of your website – the sitemap. Using information about your products and services, we plan the order of the pages, sub-menu pages and news categories for your website. We decide which keywords will be page-specific and which ones will be used overall. This is the basic skeleton of your website which will be fleshed out with the design and content. This is an important step in making sure we optimise individual pages for relevant Google searches.

SEO

We make sure we use the most searched keywords relevant to your products and services and combine these with your main geographic location. This factual data is based on our proven reporting processes.

We optimise individual pages by adding specific keywords to the Meta data and content on every single page. We also use the identified keywords throughout the copy on your site and link them where relevant.

Copywriting

Our copywriters are trained in SEO and understand how to add and write new content so that your website ranks on Google. We keep up with the latest Google algorithm changes that affect how we write our sites. One of the most important things when writing a website is making sure the content is genuine, relevant and unique.

Design

While we always incorporate certain elements for functionality (such as your phone number on every page), every design is unique. Our designers use your business logo as well as any collateral or promotional material to design a website that reflects the look and feel of your brand.

Development

Our web developers take all the ingredients and put them together with love. They take the design concept and bring it to life using technical skill and precision. We keep up with the latest and greatest CMS versions and other technological advancements which allows us to offer responsive web design (and who knows what in the future!).

Each website is custom built so that it is Google-friendly, user-friendly and remains true to the design concept. Our web developers will also submit your site to Google so that it is ready to be indexed, searched and found!

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is added to every GOOP website as standard practice. This tool is essential in monitoring your website. You can track which pages people are landing on, how long they are staying for, what devices people use to view your site and much more.

This kind of data can be used to make improvements to your website. For example, if you have a high percentage of mobile and tablet device users viewing your site, you should consider a responsive design so your users get the most out of your site.

Support

We offer training and support so that you can manage your website and its content. We want you to take ownership of your website and have the knowledge and understanding to keep it up-to-date. With your GOOP website you get support after your site is built and instructional documents for Google Analytics, CMS editing and tips for updating your news.

For confident web users, we can support you to take it to the next level.

Please contact us for website enquiries. We are based in Geelong, servicing Australia-wide for small business wesbites.

Posted by Karl Morris. Karl is passionate about providing quality digital marketing solutions to small business. It's not about the website. It's truly about client acquisition. It's making your phone ring with potential customers. Simply putting up a website is not good enough for small businesses. You need to do the research and planning. Then not only implement the site but follow it up and track its performance against agreed criteria.

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February 10, 2014
Social media marketing

Social media marketing for small business

Driving Facebook traffic to your website

We love Facebook, but we love websites more. Why? Because a website is your asset and you own it. You do not own your Facebook page.

It makes sense then to try to drive your Facebook traffic to your website, not the other way around.

One really simple way to drive Facebook traffic to your website is to post a link to a blog post you have written or post a link to a product or services page on your website. The topics should all tie in with your overall marketing plan and be relevant to your audience (remember the principles of content marketing)!


February 5, 2014
Google updates

Google Maps changes requires you to update your Google Places information

Action required before February 21, 2014 to keep your Google Places listing

Google is constantly in the evolution stage – adjusting their Google products according to search trends and advancements in technology (i.e. responsive websites).

Google Maps has undergone changes and as a result you will need to update and submit information about your business in your Google Places account. Your Google Places listing is vital to your business being found by clients on Google – it shows your Google map, type of business and more.

Google Places

If you have received an email from Google asking you to update your Google Places information – it is not spam and you must take action before February 21, 2014 or risk losing your Google Places listing (note: this is bad).

You need to login, review and submit your information to keep your business listing live on Google.

The sooner you get onto it the better – some changes to information, such as your business address, requires verification with a new pin which will be sent to you from Google. Once you receive the pin you will need to sign in, verify your information and finally submit your data.

We have compiled an instructional PDF to help you update your information: Google Places instructions

GOOP will be providing more information on Google Places and Google+ accounts in the near future.

Please make sure you read our newsletters and follow us on Facebook for all updates and instructions.

By Karl Morris. Karl is fascinated by the online evolution and the impact this is having on small business marketing dynamics.

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January 10, 2014
Geelong website design

Website design trends for 2014

Website design is a form of visual communication that aims to project a message to a targeted audience. For example, if you are a builder focusing on high-end designer homes, your website should project this image to potential clients with a sophisticated look and crisp images of your work – nothing cartoonish or cluttered.

The process of building a website that works starts with research, strategic planning and ensuring the content (which includes Search Engine Optimisation) communicates the essence of a business and their product and service offerings. Then comes the design – how to best represent the core offerings of the business visually, and in a way that is conducive to user-behaviour online. The development stage takes the content and design and makes them function across various platforms – phone, tablet and desktop devices.

Just like cars, computers and phones – websites are in a constant state of evolution, along with science and technology. As soon as one variation comes out, the next is already being developed. Website design trends have evolved along with the software that helps us build sites and the hardware used to view sites. Responsive web design is the perfect example of this.

Visual communication and website design is not just about “how it looks” – it is about how well it communicates a message to your target audience and how easy it is to navigate. The look, feel and functionality of a website is intertwined.

With this in mind, we take a look at website design trends for 2014:

Responsive design

Website design Geelong

This year will see responsive websites become the standard as more people use the Internet on a wide variety of devices, more often. Responsive websites are the most fluid type of website, growing, shrinking and adjusting depending on the size of screen you are viewing it on. It is the most user-friendly design possible, allowing clients to view your content with absolute ease.

Clean design

Website design Geelong

Responsive and clean design go hand-in-hand. By “clean” we don’t just mean how it looks – which should be simple, uncluttered and sophisticated – we also mean the functionality. A clean website not only looks great, but is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it easier for clients to find what they want, faster.

Flat design

Website design Geelong

Easy on the eye and easy to use, flat design is minimalist, refined and fits in well with clean and responsive design. With responsive design on the rise, the less clutter the better – websites need to be quick and easy to read, especially on smaller screens. Flat design also allows a page to have a focal point – whether it is a hero image or text – without being overpowered by other elements.

Visual storytelling

A set of great, relevant images on your website is a powerful tool in telling the story of who you are and what you do. You can sing ‘til the cows come home about your incredible custom steel fabrication projects – but if you don’t have images to back up the words then your credibility can get a little lost amongst the text. Bigger, better, clearer and more professional images take your website and credibility to the next level. Another component to visual storytelling is infographics. Done well, these will add value, interest and help to tell a story about a specific product, service or otherwise.

Based in Geelong, we service small businesses Australia-wide for website design. Please contact us to discuss your business and your needs. The design of your website will depend upon what you do, who you do it for and what you want your website to achieve for your business.

Posted by Karl Morris - Managing Director of GOOP websites. Karl is passionate about helping small businesses be found online with websites that work!

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