How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords ad?
It seems like a simple question, right?
You have probably heard of the phrase “pay-per-click” (PPC advertising) and it makes sense for the most part, especially as a compliment to SEO services.
Your advertisement shows up on Google and you pay each time someone clicks on it.
But how does Google determine how much you spend each time someone clicks on your ad?
In today’s post, we’ll provide a simple explanation for how Google AdWords works.
By the end of this post, you’ll know how you’ll be charged for ads, the different factors that affect your budget, and insights you’ll need to create your own successful Google AdWords campaign.
Factors That Affect How Much You’re Charged for a Click on Your AdWords Ad
Before we dive into specifics on using the Google AdWords platform, let’s talk about some of the different factors Google uses – either directly or indirectly – to determine how much you’re charged when someone clicks on your ad.
In essence, Google AdWords is a “pay to play” platform. If you outspend your competition, your results will appear first. In some cases, it makes sense to spend premium amounts for a click:
If your product has a high price or has a high customer lifetime value (CLV)
The more competitive the service or product you want your website to appear for, the more it will cost.
What factors determine competition? Here are a few:
Commercial intent – Products or services people are searching for because they are ready to buy have “commercial intent.” These keywords (the phrase typed on Google related to the product or service) receive lots of attention from advertisers. Example: Red Men’s Nike Shoes Size 12
The number of advertisers – This relates to the first point, but the more advertisers who want to promote a similar product or service, the higher the cost per click (CPC) because the advertisers will try to outbid each other and drive up the price
The bids themselves – Google uses an auction system to display ads. The behavior of the group of advertisers who bid on keywords changes depending on the word, the industry, and other factors like personality
You can infer why some industries have a different average cost per click than others.
Lawyers and consumer services are at the top. Both make sense in their own way. Lawyers can spend more because the price of their service is high. While the consumer services industry has lower priced products and services, the commercial intent is higher.
Before you create an AdWords campaign, do your research on industry benchmarks.
Better yet, you can work with us to create aPPC strategyy from scratch:
To further answer the question, “how much are you charged for a click on your google ads ad?” it’s important to talk about strategy. Your PPC strategy is one of the major factors for how much you’ll spend per click.
In Google AdWords, you can both set track different metrics like:
Max CPC – You can set a cost-per-click amount you aren’t willing to exceed
Total Budget – You can set an amount for the total amount you want to spend per day, per month, or for a longer period of time
Impressions – This is the number of people who see your ad
Click Through Rate -This is the percentage of people who see your ad and then also visit your site
When you put together an AdWords campaign, you have to keep the metrics in mind while creating your strategy and altering it.
We will walk through the details in a bit, but here are some potential scenarios to consider:
If your impressions and click through rate are low, you aren’t spending enough relative to your competitors
If your impressions are high but your click-through rate is low, your ad might not be persuasive enough
An ad with a high click-through rate, but a modest CPC and number of impressions could mean you can spend more because you have a winning ad that will convert when you increase your bid
If your ad has a high click-through rate, but people don’t engage with your website once they visit it, you may need some design or content upgrades to make your service or product more attractive
When it comes to answering the question – How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords Ad? There are a lot of factors to consider.
Your best bet, learn the basics and start a PPC campaign. Experience teaches you more than any blog post will.
Let’s talk about the basics. Then, let’s talk options. We can help you set up a custom PPC plan based on your businesses needs that will help you attract people who want your product or service.
The Basics Behind Creating a Successful Google AdWords Campaign
When you create ads for Google, you need to research keywords.
What are keywords? Keywords are words or phrases people type into Google when they’re searching for stuff.
Google keeps track of important data about keywords:
Monthly Volume – This number tells you how many people search for a keyword every month
Competition – Google bases this number off of how aggressive the bidders are
Average CPC – This number shows the average amount of money you would need to spend to get a click
Google provides a tool called the Google Keyword Planner where you can see this data and make decisions about which keywords to use for your campaign:
You can use this tool along with good old-fashioned brainstorming to come up with potential keywords to use in your campaigns.
Creating Your PPC Ads
After doing your research, you’ll have a group of keywords you want to target during your campaign.
If your business has multiple services or products, you will want to separate the keywords you targeted into groups based on the different types of products or services you have.
These are called ad groups:
Each ad group will have its own individual set of keywords:
When you visit the campaign settings, you can set a daily budget and a bidding strategy:
The dashboard provides useful tips to help with your campaign. You can choose between manual options where you can set your own bid prices. You can also use Google’s ‘smart bidding options’ which allow you to choose your budget and leave it to Google to make the best use of your money.
For each Ad group, you can create different advertisements to display on the search engine. Make sure to use appealing media in your ads like pictures and logos. If you need a new logo, you can hire a logo maker at an affordable price.
Google uses a quality score measure to determine how likely your ads are to get click-throughs. It also uses your quality score to determine your placement. An ad with a high-quality score and a lower bid could show up higher than an Ad with a low-quality score, but a higher bid.
“Web design best practices” isn’t just a buzz phrase.
In any profession or skill, understanding the best core methods can help you create the best results.
When it comes to creating custom websites, the final product is always different, but each site should have some traits in common.
These traits are important for user experience. They’re important for getting your website to appear on search engines. They’re even important for paid ads.
Together, they’re important for the growth and health of your business as a whole.
Some of these web design best practices are technical. Some are guiding philosophies to keep in mind. All of them will help your business have a website both you and your visitors love.
The #1 Web Design Best Practice
Each time we meet with a new client, we always ask this question:
“What purpose do you want your website to serve?”
Or this variation:
“Why do you need a new website?”
Sucess in business or life, in general, comes from understanding why you’re doing something in the first place. When you don’t answer the question beforehand, you don’t get the best results.
You’ve been to a website like this before. When you visit the site, it doesn’t make an impression on you. You’re not sure what to do next. The company’s mission isn’t clear.
It’s just a website.
If you have a website already, think about the impression it has on your current visitors. Is your purpose clear? Do you have a unique selling proposition to share? Do they know what steps you want them to take?
When you work with a full-service marketing agency like MLT Group, we can help you answer those questions.
The answers can be simple things like:
Finding qualified employees
Getting more traffic and leads
Informing the customer about your product that requires research before purchasing
Demonstrating your expertise in the industry
Building your brand
The process doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to occur.
While you’re thinking about the ‘why’ behind a website for your business, let’s dive into some specific best practices.
UX design, per the Interactive Design Foundation: “is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.”
You can dive deep into the topic of UX and discuss different aspects, but the key is to figure out how to create a great user experience on every page of the website.
The elements on each page can vary, but include things like:
When we work with clients, we discuss these elements in-depth, but they’re all results of the user experience you want to provide.
If you do the process backward and piece elements together without understanding what you want to achieve, you often achieve nothing.
Your homepage is the most critical page of your website because it’s the first thing people see.
Internet visitors are picky and will leave your site quickly if your design doesn’t entice them to view more. This is bad for multiple reasons. One, you don’t want visitors to leave your site right away because, duh. Second, if people visit your site and leave right away, it can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Each time a visitor comes to your site and leaves right away, you get a “bounce” which is something Google doesn’t like to see.
So how do you come up with an attractive design that makes people want to click through?
Here are some of our homepage design best practices.
Put Your Best Stuff Above the Fold
When someone comes to your homepage, they won’t necessarily see or scroll through all of it. Depending on their desktop screen size, they’ll see what’s “above the fold.”
Here’s an example:
For your website design, make sure you utilize the important areas of your homepage that appears above the fold.
Header and Banner Space
Your header and banner space is usually a wide horizontal space that goes across your entire screen. There are many different ways to design this space and add content, but you want to make sure to add your most important information in this area.
These elements can include:
Deals and discounts
Unique selling propositions
Call to actions
Here’s an example of an e-commerce store that features a discount deal in their banner space:
Here’s another example of a company who shows their unique selling proposition with a call to action (CTA) to go to an important page on their website.
Some industries, like real estate and custom home building, utilize images to show off the quality of their work.
When you work with a design and digital marketing agency, you’ll go through a question and answer process to figure out the most important aspects of your business. Then, those aspects will be incorporated into the design and adworcontent.
Graphics and Buttons
Visual cues help people understand what to do next.
Graphics and buttons take the guesswork out of decision-making for your visitors and make your website look more professional and fun.
“Break out boxes” are a classic example of great use of graphics. Break out boxes are graphics that feature and link to important pages on your website.
Here’s a good example of them:
Always think of ways the content on your site could be represented with graphics and images instead of text alone.
Interior Page Designs
Your interior pages are all the other pages on your site besides the homepage.
The most common interior pages with unique designs are:
product category pages
unique individual pages
With each page, you should set an intention for the desired result you want to achieve.
There’s a theme here – always put your visitor in mind before you design a website page.
We work with our clients to create a strategy for each page on the website. We start with questions like:
What do you want visitors to do while on this page?
How do you want visitors to feel while on this page?
What impression do you want to provide when visitors land on this page?
Let’s take a look at some of our clients’ websites and break down the strategy behind their page designs.
Each of their products — studs — has a wide variety of variables for each part. On the product page, we added a menu for the visitor to select the material, thread size, and length of their stud. Then, the product page automatically generates a part number to order the exact product:
Visitors can find the exact part they need. Other stud welding providers may ask to look through an entire table of numbers to find their part. This design strategy saves time and gives the user the impression they are working with a large company who can handle all their needs.
The sidebar menu also helps visitors find related products they might also need.
Product Category Page Design
Poppi Italian Leather sells custom handbags imported directly from Italy. Each handbag type is carefully selected and grouped into categories:
Each product photo uses high resolution, color balanced, and enhanced photos to make sure the custom quality comes across on the page.
Custom Individual Pages
Some pages are one-of-a-kind unique.
That’s exactly the type of design we created for 12 For Health — a health and wellness company.
They have a program called the 12 Habits of Health. For the 12 Habits page, we created a custom rotating gallery to feature snippets describing each habit:
The design also includes important statistics that show the importance of adopting healthy habits.
The color palette evokes positive emotions associated with a healthy life. The interactive style speaks to a sense of activity, which is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.
If you use a specific focus and intent on each page you create for your website, you’ll guide the user experience to help the visitor find what they need and achieve your desired outcome at the same time.
Aside from specifics for the homepage and interior pages of your website, there are some general web design best practices you should always follow.
Consider SEO and Content Marketing As a Web Design Best Practice
The way you design your website has an impact on how well it will rank in search engines for a number of reasons. That’s why it’s important to have a digital marketing plan in place to decide how the content will work within the frame of the website. There are also specific design techniques you can use or avoid to help your site’s SEO performance. When you work with a smart digital marketing agency, they’ll take a large number of factors into consideration. Here are some important elements to consider.
Often, the longer the content on your website, the better. The search engines want pages with as much information as possible. This has to be balanced with the design of your website. You don’t want readers to feel overwhelmed by your content. Fortunately, there are techniques you can use to weave the content into the design in a way both search engines and users will enjoy.
Subheadings (H1-H5) help break up the copy and give your reader a mental break between paragraphs.
You can add images between content areas and even wrap them around the text of your website to enhance the way your content looks on the page.
Here’s a great example:
Create Panels for Different Topics
Let’s say you have a service page that has multiple sub-services underneath it. You can make each section of the service look unique by creating a panel for it.
Here’s an example below:
Take a look at this page. It has 500+ words of content, but it doesn’t feel like 500 words. From the user’s perspective, they’re seeing great information carefully woven into the design:
Build Your Website to Convert Visitors into Leads and Customers
Getting traffic to your website won’t make a difference unless you convert that traffic into a lead or a sale.
Your website design should have multiple areas with calls to action (CTAs).
CTAs come in many forms.
Contact/Request a Quote Forms
In addition to displaying your phone number on your website, you want users to be able to contact you by email.
You can create forms and place them in high-traffic areas of your website. This will give them the chance to reach out to you if they have questions or want more information.
Email Newsletter Sign Ups
Email marketing is still one of the top channels for communicating with customers and potential customers.
To get visitors to sign up, however, you have to go above and beyond adding a form to your sidebar that says “Sign up for our newsletter.”
They need a reason to sign up and they don’t want to feel like they’ll be receiving a newsletter — they want value.
How do you both provide and communicate that value?
Here are some tried and true techniques.
Offer Something Valuable for Free
You can offer visitors a valuable resource and ask them for the email address.
Examples can include:
Access to deals and discounts
A free email course
Quiz with answers
Check out this example of a giveaway in exchange for an email:
Notice the following:
The headline and description for the give away are focused on the visitor
The signup form is prominent – not tucked away in the sidebar
Use of compelling copywriting to persuade the visitor
Give Them a Sneak Peek of What’s Inside
Notice the phrasing for this email signup form:
This copy answers the question “what’s in it for me?” up front
Strategically Place Your Sign Up Form
You want your email sign up form to appear where visitors are most likely to engage with it.
To some, this comes in the form of a pop up:
Although many people don’t like them, numbers show they work.
If you want to be less aggressive, you can create an “exit intent” pop up that only appears if the user is about to leave the website.
Often, you want to embed your signup form in an area that’s clear, visible, and obvious, like the banner space area of a page.
Many people still want to call your phone number directly.
You can use the header space of your website to display your phone number and add it in other relevant spots like your footer, contact-us page, and even at the end of your blog posts.
This is just a short list of the web design best practices you can use to create a website both users and search engines love.
A clear digital marketing plan from start to finish makes a world of difference when it comes to the success of your website.
Also, in today’s landscape of wary users who are worried about their privacy, failing to have a secure website causes people to have a negative view of your brand.
In today’s post, we’ll provide a quick and simple explanation on SSL certificates, give you specifics on why you need them, and provide the best options to resolve the issue asap.
So, What the Heck Is An SSL Certificate?
Think of an SSL like a padlock.
Your website is your home. Your visitors are the guests. The SSL locks the door to keep unwanted visitors from entering.
Your home — website — has many transactions, data, and information flowing back and forth.
SSL certificates were originally made for financial transactions, but they can also be used to create secure connections for other activities like exchanges of personal information, form submissions, and more.
We won’t bog you down with the details, but SSLs ‘encrypt’ — or block — important information from people and hackers with bad intentions.
At a minimum, it makes sense to have a secure website regardless of the specific reasons.
That was the thinking a while back — having an SSL is the sensible (but not required) thing to do.
Now it’s required — if you want your website to succeed that is.
Allow me to explain why.
The #1 End All Be All Reason to Have an SSL
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a minute.
Say they visit your website and glance at the top left corner of the window and see this:
Or, what if they click the top left corner to investigate further and see this:
Your site may or may not be secure.
Your sire may or may not be compromised.
Contrast this impression with another website in your nice that does have a secure website:
Safety, security, and a padlock icon vs. “the website might be secure, but visit at your own risk.”
Visitors are becoming savvier every day. Some even know what an SSL certificate is and won’t trust a site that doesn’t have one.
You need to have a secure website because the trust between you and your customers or potential customers is vital.
If your website isn’t secure right now, it’s likely you’ve lost at least one potential customer because they visited your site and saw it had security issues.
The sad part? Oftentimes the websites without certificates aren’t harmful or malicious in any way. They simply don’t have the right security measures installed. Either way, in the eyes of web browsers your site can be seen in the same category as a potentially malicious site.
You could stop here and decide to get an SSL installed for that reason alone.
Still, there are even more reasons why this security measure is vital.
Google Doesn’t Trust Websites Without SSLs (Anymore)
It’s been four years since this announcement. Think of how much more prevalent ideas like privacy and security have become. We’d wager it’s bigger than the “1 percent” of their algorithm they mentioned in the statement above.
How long has it been since you redesigned your business’ website? Has your business grown in that time? How has your business changed? Does your current site reflect this? While some studies suggest sites should be redesigned every 2 years, there’s no definitive rule on how often you should update your web design. However, if your site is looking dated, doesn’t reflect your business’ growth, or isn’t running as well as it should, you can be sure it’s time for a redesign.
When updating your web design, it’s hard to know where to start. Sifting through web design trends, best practices, and different utilities is overwhelming, especially to the uninitiated.
We’re here to help with a few creative web design ideas that can help you narrow down what won’t just look great but work best for your business’ site.
1. Keep things Simple
Is your site looking a little cluttered? Even big business sites are struggling with cluttered sites that leave visitors feeling the pains of information overload. When visitors get overwhelmed on your site, they’re more likely to leave, costing you sales. Instead, consider a more minimalistic design that prioritizes only the most important information and has a simplistic, easy to navigate site map. When visitors land on your site and know exactly what to do and where to find the information most important to them, it leads to a better user experience and more sales for you!
2. Have a Mobile Design
We can’t stress this enough—your site should be designed and optimized for mobile. Usage on mobile devices is only growing and sites that aren’t mobile optimized are being left in the dust. If you’re ready to redesign your website, make sure you also get a mobile design that’s properly optimized. This makes it easy for visitors to use your site on mobile devices and is also a positive SEO and PPC ranking factor.
3. Change Defaults
If you have a template site, change the defaults to mix things up! With just a few clicks, you can totally restyle your website, and give it a fresh new face that is more modern and better reflects your business. Just make sure to develop this new style across the entire site, rather than just a few pages.
4. Research New Utilities
Things have changed since you last designed your site and there’re a rainbow of utilities you can implement on your new site. Everything from video chatting features to customer review utilities are easy to implement on your site. Do some research on the different utilities available and which ones would most benefit your site and your business’ goals.
5. Look Outward for Inspiration
Even professional web designers face creative blocks. Look at Pinterest, articles, and your competitors’ sites to gather inspiration for your new site! What are other sites doing well? What could they do better? This will help you refine your image, so you can implement the ideas yourself or better communicate them to a professional. Remember though, you’re designing the site for your visitors, not for yourself. What you personally like may not always be what’s best to attract your ideal audience.
Web Design Made Easy
When redesigning your site, partner with the professional web designers, builders, and SEO professionals MLT Group. Our team will work with you to understand your business, goals, and needs to design a custom website that not only looks great but is easy for visitors to use. From design to build, we’re your web development partner and make the process as easy as possible.
Ready to redesign your site? Contact our creative team today at 507.281.3490 or email@example.com to get started!
Should you be on social media? If so, which channels? Does social media marketing matter in your industry?
Perhaps the most important question is what will digital marketing actually do for your business?
You want to take your business to the next level, but you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment.
Before we dive into specific answers to each question, let’s start with this premise.
Digital Marketing is a Tool to Grow Your Business
At MLT group are digital marketing goals for you are simple.
We use digital marketing to help you find more customers, increase your brand awareness, and engage your visitors.
Instead of starting with digital marketing tactics and going back towards the needs of your business, we start with your business goals in mind and create digital marketing solutions to meet your needs.
The best digital marketing campaigns are customized because one size fits all solutions don’t work in business on or offline.
In our guide, we’ll discuss some of the individual components of digital marketing and give you the insights you need to make an informed decision for your business.
Why Digital Marketing is a Necessity for Minneapolis Business Owners
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second.
He or she is looking for a product or service you offer.
What do they do next?
Do they grab the nearest phone book? Look in the newspaper?
No. Either on their desktop or phone, they go to searching for information online.
They go to Google and enter the service or product you offer into the search box. When they see the results, do they find your business?
This is someone with either the curiosity or intent to buy your product or service.
From a logical standpoint, it seems like a no-brainer to display your business in front of people who are already looking for what you have to offer, right?
If the idea of putting your products and services in front of people who are actively searching for them isn’t enough, consider some startling pieces of data:
Not only do these techniques need to be used on a single page of your website, rather for each page of your website.
This is where working with a smart digital marketing company comes in. At MLT group, we take the guesswork out of your hands and do the heavy lifting to make sure each page of your website makes Google go gaga for your Minneapolis business.
On-site SEO is just the beginning. You must also use different techniques to show the search engines why your site deserves the top spot.
Google uses links to determine how much ‘authority’ your site has.
It considers a link from another site to yours as a vote for the quality of your information. In digital marketing terms, we call links from another site to yours ‘back-links’
To increase the authority of your website, you want to get as many backlinks from quality sources as possible, because they increase two important metrics:
Domain Authority – This metric measures the authority of your entire website
Page Authority – This metric measures the authority of a single page on your website
To gain our current level of authority, we had to earn links from 107 different sources.
Link-building is an art form, one that doesn’t come easily to business owners with little digital marketing experience.
We’ve built a network of reputable sources in various industries to help our clients gain the links they need to boost their authority and climb the search engines.
How does it work? Sparing you the nitty-gritty details, we reach out to our network to find reputable places on the web that feature businesses like yours.
If you work with us, you can focus on running your business while we focus on getting the right websites to notice it.
Research, Tracking, and Strategy
Research, tracking, and strategy are important before during and after you launch your SEO campaign.
Pre-launch, you need to make sure you’re using the right phrases in important areas of your website.
For example, you may consider yourself a ‘maid service’ but the phrase ‘house cleaning’ might receive more searches per month.
Once you find the key phrases you want to use, you’d perform on-site optimization and begin your link-building campaign.
You’d want to track the following important metrics to measure growth over time:
Positions of target keywords – Even a well-optimized page will take time to reach page 1 on Google, so it’s important to know where the pages on your site stand in the beginning. This helps set expectations and keep you focused on long-term growth.
Traffic – You’d expect to see your traffic numbers grow over time. Quarterly measurements provide solid data.
Traffic sources – Traffic can come direct, via search engines, from social media, or from people clicking on links to your site from other sites.
MLT Group Provides ‘Done for You’ Tracking and Reporting
We consider an SEO campaign mature after 12 months and measure the progress of important key metrics each quarter.
We provide our clients quarterly ‘scorecards’ giving them an easy to understand snapshot of their site’s SEO progress.
Imagine you’re working with us on an SEO campaign after 12 months.
You check your scorecard to find many of your services ranking on page one.
Your traffic has improved quarter over quarter, meaning more leads and customers to your business.
You notice a service doing well but in need of a little love. What do you do? You simply speak with one of our digital marketing specialists and we alter your strategy, implementing several micro-techniques you’re unaware of but get the results you want.
That’s the power of working with a digital marketing company.
Keeping up with your digital marketing on your own and running a business is a tall task. Why not work with a professional?
Case in point, Search Engine Optimization is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Strategy # 2 – Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is different than search engine optimization (SEO).
With SEO, you can perform techniques on your own or work with a Minneapolis digital marketing agency to get traffic through your website from ‘organic’ search rankings.
Organic simply means you didn’t pay for the search results. As we discussed earlier, Google uses a variety of techniques to choose which pages show above others.
Search engine marketing involves the use of paid listings, which can come in many forms.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Take a look at this search engine results page (SERP).
At the top, you’ll see the paid listings (PPC), move further down and you’ll see the organic listings:
You’re probably wondering how pay per click advertising works in comparison to organic search techniques.
Here’s the way to look at both.
Pay per click advertising does work, but it isn’t as effective as ranking your website using SEO.
Why? Because the click-through rates are much lower.
Think of your own user experience. How often do you click on advertisements?
With PPC advertising, you can spend your way to the top of the results. With organic search, you must earn your spot, which is why they’re more trustworthy and convert much better.
The benefit of PPC advertising over organic SEO is the fact that PPC can provide instant results.
Since an SEO campaign can take up to 12 months to mature, a PPC campaign can help you get traffic, leads, and sales in the short term. Many companies opt for using PPC while their organic results improve.
How Pay Per Click Advertising Works
Pay per click advertising involves bidding dollar amounts (per-click) to get your business to show up in paid listings.
You can create a PPC campaign and set metrics like:
Bid amounts (the highest you’re willing to spend to receive a click for ‘x’ term)
Ad groups – these groups contain the keywords you want to target for the campaign
Each campaign will have a set daily budget limit, and you pay each time someone clicks on one of your results that appear for one of the search keywords you targeted.
The highest bidders get the top results. You must decide whether the terms you want to target are worth the cost-per-click (CPC).
This can be based on the price of your product, the number of leads you can convert to sales, and potential conversion rate of the page you send the ads to.
If you do use a PPC campaign, the following techniques will help them perform their best.
For your campaign to be effective, you must make sure to use the right keywords as part of your PPC campaign.
How do you find the right keywords?
A few techniques are:
Competitor research – You can use tools like SEM Rush to see where your top competitors are spending their money on ads
Google Keyword Planner – The Google Keyword Planner is a tool provided by Google to give you important data such as average bid amount, traffic volume, and competition (example below)
Brainstorming variations – Once you have a sample of keywords you find through the keyword planner, search for variations of those terms to see if they are viable too
You can then use this data to come up with a comprehensive PPC plan.
After setting your target keywords and budget amounts, you can run a test period (one to two weeks) and check the results to answer important questions like:
How well are the ads converting to leads/sales?
Are you spending too much/too little for your target keywords?
How does your click-through rate stack up against your impressions?
These insights provide information you can use to alter your strategy over time.
If this sounds like a tall task, you can rely on a Minneapolis digital marketing agency like MLT Group to handle the process from start to finish.
Enter your information below and we’ll send you a free digital marketing audit
Many smart SEOs know the benefits of a solid content marketing campaign.
The search engines want to provide the best results to users and it analyzes content to help make that decision.
Content marketing comes in many forms, but it’s the process of creating content that gives users what they want, is optimized for search, and persuades your readers to take the desired action.
So what forms of content does content marketing encompass?
Page content – From homepages to category pages to service/product pages and more, each page on your site can be used to attract visitors
Blog posts – You can use your blog to cover a wide variety of topics related to your industry
Social media – We’ll discuss in-depth soon, but social media can be an effective content marketing tool to build your brand and even convert casual visitors into loyal audience members or customers
Email marketing – Email is another useful channel to communicate with your audience, share informative content, offer promotions, and more
Media – Videos, infographics, photos, and all forms of media count as content marketing even though they aren’t in written form
These are just a few examples of content marketing. It’s an all-encompassing term that covers any aspect of communicating with your audience.
If you decide to work with us, we can explore each option in-depth. For now, let’s talk about how to create a successful content marketing campaign regardless of the medium.
How to Create An Awesome Content Marketing Strategy
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second.
What impression will they have about your business when visiting your website?
Does your content answer their burning questions and address the problem they need to be solved?
Can they find the information they need quickly?
Will they stick around to check multiple pages of your site because they’re informative and persuasive?
Is your offering clear? Do they know why they should choose your business over the competition?
Do they feel like you understand not only their needs but the means with which they like to interact with your type of company?
Is it easy for them to engage with you?
These are the questions you need to answer before you create any piece of content.
Once those questions are answered, you can create a content marketing campaign that works.
Content Marketing With MLT Group
When you work with MLT Group, we collaborate with you to understand both your business goals and the target audience you serve.
Then, we conduct research to decide the best types of content to create, which channels to use, and a strategy to continue drawing in new visitors while keeping your current audience engaged.
Instead of treating content as an afterthought, we consider it a core piece of your digital marketing strategy.
Without content that reflects your brand, engages visitors, and works toward the desired result, you’ll end up with wasted time, effort, and money.
This is why choosing the right digital marketing agency in Minneapolis is important. You need to know they have the expertise and resources to help you grow your business with content marketing.
Our company puts you in touch with one of our SEO specialists to create the perfect campaign.
Then, we work with our staff of SEO content experts who can write content both humans and search engines love.
We’ll distribute your content across the right channels and track the results to make sure your traffic, brand-equity, and other important business metrics are seeing steady growth.
Digital Marketing Strategy # 4 – Design and Build
When you think of words like digital marketing, SEO, content marketing, etc you don’t necessarily think about the way your website is designed and built.
These two factors are critical to SEO success for many reasons.
At the end of the day, Google’s number one priority is giving their users the best experience possible.
Again, putting yourself in your users’ shoes, imagine how they view your website.
Does your design look professional? Does it match the impression of your business you want to portray?
Is the site navigation simple and easy to understand?
Does your site appear and function well on a mobile device? Does it load quickly?
Designing and building a website with responsive coding, SEO-friendly coding, a simple-sitemap, and clear calls to action (CTAs) showing the visitor where to go or what to do next are all hugely important for digital marketing.
Let’s look at some of the important digital marketing and SEO factors related to design and build.
Design and Build Related Digital Marketing Metrics
Search engines keep track of the following factors that are informed by design and build:
Mobile friendly – Your site must be mobile friendly or it won’t receive favor on search engines, period, because Google has switched to mobile-first indexing
Bounce rate – A bounce occurs when someone visits your website and leaves right away. Slow loading websites, unprofessional looking design, and difficult to understand navigation can cause more bounces, which harms your SEO
Dwell time – The longer a visitor spends on your website the better. Professional design with effective calls to action and simple navigation can keep visitors on your site longer
Crawlability – Search engine bots ‘crawl’ through your website to find pages to ‘index’ or place on search engine results. Your sitemap, link-patterns, and site errors (or lack thereof) affect crawlability.
As a full-service marketing company, we keep your digital marketing goals in mind from start to finish, including design and build along with content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, and all other forms of digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Strategy # 5 – The Suite of Additional Strategies and Services
When you work with us, we focus on providing the best solutions for your business.
This is why we’ve created an ‘a la carte’ menu of services where you can see exactly how much each service costs, how it benefits your business, and information on if the service is a good fit.
SEO, content marketing, SEM, and design/build are all core services almost any business should employ.
The following list includes services that can add even more value to your business.
Social Media Marketing
You know your business should be on social media, but which platforms do you use, how do you use them effectively, and how do you know if social media will provide good ROI for your business?
Working with a digital marketing agency will help you answer those questions in-depth.
There are two forms of social media marketing you can use — free and paid.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linked in have paid advertising platforms you can use to promote your business.
You have many options to target potential customers like demographics, interests, geography, and more.
You can pay for impressions (simply the number of people who see your ad), clicks to your web page, or even more advanced metrics like email sign-ups, video views, page likes, and more.
There is a lot of opportunity to do well with paid advertising on social media right now because it is a newer industry, which means (for now) the costs aren’t as high as PPC ads on Google.
This is a section that deserves an entire guide of its own. The simplest way to understand the breadth of paid social media marketing is to talk to us.
Organic Social Media Marketing
Similar to SEO, you can create content for social media on your own or work with a team of experts at a digital marketing agency to help you.
The key here is to remember that social media isn’t just about likes, comments, and shares.
Just like SEO and other digital marketing techniques, it’s first and foremost a tool to help you grow your business and brand by giving users what they want and love.
There are many aspects that go into a social media campaign, but here are some useful tips:
Promote all blog content through social media to give it extra reach
Share interesting and informative tips with your audience
Use creative forms of media like video and infographics
Update your pages regularly
Gear your social media content toward a certain result and use strong calls to action
Online Review Campaigns
Did you know that the number of positive reviews your website gets affects your search engine rankings?
Positive online reviews also let potential customers know your brand is trustworthy and provides quality services or products.
We can help you create a review building campaign to reach out to your customers and generate positive buzz around your business.
Email marketing is still one of the best marketing channels because it provides direct access to your customers and potential customers.
You can use email marketing to:
Share useful tips and information directly with your audience
Offer promotions and discounts
Sell directly to your customers (after educating them about your product)
Encourage your audience to share your brand with their networks
We can help create custom messaging, design, strategy, and implementation to use email to reach your business goals.
From creating corporate videos and commercials to creating logos to making infographics to creating custom graphics to use in your content, we provide a wide array of media services to add flair to your digital marketing campaigns.
Our marketing strategy services help to create a full marketing plan for your business.
We can help you define your target audience better by using in-depth market research techniques and tools like surveys, data-driven research, and interviews.
We can help you craft a unique selling proposition, tag-line, and promotional messages.
We’ll help you cover every aspect of your marketing campaign from budget amounts to recommended channels, target campaign launch dates, the frequency of messaging and promotions, and much more.
Some companies come to us with a good idea of where their marketing needs to be and we provide the right solutions. If, however, you need a ‘ground-up’ solution requiring a digital marketing agency that works just like an in-house marketing professional that handles everything, we’ve got you covered.
Digital marketing is a tall task.
As a business owner, you already have a ton to focus on.
Why not work with a digital marketing agency that helps you save the time, headache, and frustration of having to be a marketing expert for your business.
We have the expertise. You have the drive and ambition that made you a successful business owner.
Let’s work together to build a successful digital marketing campaign. Fill out the form below and let us provide a custom plan to help you grow your business.
Some business owners see content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) as two separate techniques that may or may not be used together. It’s no surprise as to why; business experts have long pitted the two marketing techniques against each other, trying to determine which is superior. We’re here to tell you that not only are SEO and content marketing both essential to your overall marketing strategy, but these two techniques actually work hand in hand.
Today, we’re going to dispel the myth of SEO vs. content marketing and show you how the two techniques work together to help you gain visibility, improve your rankings, and market to your target audience.
Here are three reasons you should integrate your SEO and content marketing strategies.
1. They Overlap:
SEO is typically defined as specific, keyphrase-based marketing, whereas content marketing addresses broader concepts and ideas.
Although these are different techniques, they overlap in many ways. Think of it as SEO and content marketing having a “conversation” with one another. SEO requires certain things like using keyphrases and content. Content marketing meets these requirements. For example, you’re trying to rank for the keyphrase “custom flower bouquets.” To fulfill this part of your SEO strategy, you need original content that uses the keyphrase. Like a team, SEO states what is needed while content marketing delivers, both techniques complimenting each other.
2. Gain Backlinks:
Part of your SEO strategy should be getting quality backlinks. How do you get backlinks? Have great content other sites want to link to! Whether it be another industry leader linking to your blog or a visitor linking to your service page, backlinks can give your site a great SEO boost. But without engaging, useful content, you won’t get the backlinks you need.
3. Maintain Consistency:
To be effective, both SEO and content marketing require consistency. Just like you can’t set up your business and let it run itself, your SEO and content marketing strategies require consistent maintenance and engagement. Search engines like Google want to see your site is active with frequent updates, new content, and growth. Just another way that these two marketing techniques work hand in hand.
If you haven’t integrated your SEO and content marketing strategies, there’s no doubt your business will suffer. When working together, these marketing strategies can achieve maximum impact.
Ready to take your SEO and content marketing strategies to the next level? The professionals at MLT Group are here to help. With extensive experience in SEO, content marketing, SEM, and a dedicated team, we can create and implement an integrated strategy that helps your business achieve its goals. Give us a call at 507.281.3490 or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around since 1997 and continues to play a major role in how companies market themselves online. SEO drives traffic by helping sites achieve higher ranking on search engines. As with most technology SEO has evolved in the last 21 years and will continue to into the foreseeable future. According to Brian Dean at www.backlinkco.com Google uses at a minimum 200 separate factors to rank a website for relevant searches. Not all ranking factors are created equal and some play a much larger role than others when looking at SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). Some key ranking factors used in Google’s algorithm are domain age, title tags, header tags, relevant content, length of content and page load speed.
The ranking factor I am going to focus on here is page load speed.
It makes sense that Google uses load speeds as a factor when ranking websites. The faster a website page loads the better experience the user will have. In contrast, slow load speeds will frustrate users, and cost you in search engine ranking. This is true for Google Adwords campaigns as well. Additionally, a slower load will likely lead to a much higher bounce rate, which according to some SEO experts, will negatively impact your search rankings as well. According to Google research, the chance of a bounce on your website increases by 90% when a page loads in 5 seconds compared to 1 second. If the site takes longer than 10 seconds to load a bounce is almost inevitable.
Below are some factors that can lead to slow load speeds.
1. Sub-standard (cheap) web hosting.
2. Size of images. Images should be optimized (sized) for fast loading.
3. Videos hosted on the website. Embedding videos on your website using an external video player like Youtube will help to decrease overall load time.
4. Code Density – Basically the cleaner the code the faster the load.
5. Too many plug-ins. If you are using WordPress as your CMS this is something to keep an eye on.
6. Too many file requests.
In July of 2018 Google confirmed mobile load speed as a major ranking factor in mobile search results. With the increase in mobile usage, this is a more critical marketing imperative than ever. Statistics show that over 50% of all Google searches were done on mobile devices. 42% of Business to Business searches are done on mobile devices throughout the research and purchasing process.
According to Google, in 2017 70% of mobile web pages took 10 seconds or more to fully load content. As referenced above, slow load speeds can almost guarantee a high bounce rate and far fewer conversions. A page load speed of three seconds or less is what Google experts say mobile website should strive for. Longer than that and you risk a much higher bounce rate and much lower conversion rate.
Rather than just tell you the positives of our services and the negatives of others, we’ll give you the full picture when it comes to the custom vs template website debate.
Before we jump into the comparison, let’s take a look at some of the custom websites we’ve built at MLT Group
Custom Websites By MLT Group
SEMA Equipment is a John Deere manufacturer with multiple locations and a customer base of thousands in the Southeast Minnesota area.
The custom features on their website include:
A data feed that populates a dynamic product inventory
A custom backend admin for updating advertisements, newsletters, photos, and more
This is a robust website with thousands of pages, which means SEMA relies on our expertise to make site updates and improvements for things like UX, SEO, and order processing.
Schreier Industrial services helps manufacturing businesses improve their processes. Our custom website design and color scheme help represent the company’s core values including precision, expertise, and rapid improvement.
If you click through to the website, you’ll see custom animations for banner images, body images, text, buttons, and more.
Hip for Homes provides a perfect example of a simple small business website with unique features. Our favorite piece of the website is the homepage, which includes model home imagery describe each facet of home HIP provides products and solutions for.
Before we dive into the comparisons of custom websites vs template websites, notice that each of these websites are unique. They were created with the combined knowledge an expertise of forward-thinking business owners and design, development, and digital marketing professionals.
Template websites have a wide variety of functionality and features. From WordPress themes to more customizable drag and drop templates, you can do quite a bit with these templates, but they also come with drawbacks.
Let’s start with the pros.
Take Less Time to Launch
Many template websites can be set up in a single day. A template website will require significantly less time to get up and running than a custom website.
The design and most of the coding is already done, so once you develop content for the site, input your logo, and add images and content, you’re well on your way to completion.
Generally, template websites are less expensive than custom websites.
WordPress offers hundreds of free themes you can use. Premium WordPress themes like Genesis Themes can range from $100-$500 or more.
Often, you can find site affordable site hosting, which can work well for businesses who don’t get a ton of traffic. Some companies, like Bluehost, offer hosting for as little as $3.95 per month.
Your costs also depend on who is implementing the template and how much manipulation needs to be done to the template design, potentially adding $1,500 plus to the cost.
Don’t forget monthly hosting and the cost of writing content for your site. Still, the final cost of a template site is likely to be considerably less than a custom designed site.
You can choose from thousands of different templates from hundreds of different companies.
The templates themselves can be customized to a degree. For example, here’s a screenshot of a demo page from Studio press:
This is not how the site would look when you buy it. Instead, you have options to configure the homepage with different button styles, images, captions, menu layouts, etc.
Also, many template website companies have built support features to make their offering more robust such as:
Email marketing tools
Done for you landing pages
Bull drag and drop builder functionality
Membership site integration
If you choose to buy a WordPress theme, you can customize your site even further using plugins, which are applications that add different types of functions and features to your template website.
If you have a very low budget and just want to “get something out there,” you can definitely go the template route.
Before doing so, however, take a look at some of the downsides.
While you can customize certain features, you don’t have nearly as much control as you would with a custom website and a team of designers and developers who can help you make updates to it.
Here’s a list of features that aren’t easy to add with a template website:
Membership site functionality
Event registration with payment processing
Custom graphics and placement
This is a short list of the hundreds of different features that are more difficult to add to a template website.
These changes can be done, but who is going to make them?
A template website is perfect for someone who has a lot of time on their hands, technical knowledge, and the willingness to fail and go through frustration in order to get the end result.
If you’re a normal business owner who needs to spend the majority of their time working on the business itself, consider the implications of using a template website that only you have control over.
If there’s a glitch, you are the one contacting support to figure out what’s wrong with the website. Need to make a change? Either you’ll make it or you will have to hire a freelancer or web company to make the change anyway.
Contrast this with a custom website built by a team who understands your needs. If you work with MLT Group and need to make an update to your website, you simply pick up the phone or email us, we fix it, and you can continue to work on your business.
Did you know that many template and hosting solutions provide security as an add-on?
If you buy the base package your site may not be covered against security risks. Why is that important?
Hackers often target popular template solutions because they know there are many users to exploit. Make sure to check if your website solution comes with SSL encryption, captcha, backup, and more.
All too often, business owners who use low-cost template solutions can experience nightmare situations like their entire sites crashing and databases disappearing. Then, when these issues occur, they have no one to turn to for help other than the support of the template company, which may or may not be great.
The biggest drawback of having a template website — for a business owner who wants to stand out in their industry — is the fact that you may have an identical site out there.
Does having a website similar to others in your industry provide a competitive edge?
You can go to lengths to make sure you choose a template others in your industry haven’t, but nothing is guaranteed.
Branding is an important factor in digital marketing because strong brands get better recognition on search engines and on social media.
Using a template website — while efficient — isn’t going to grow your brand’s presence.
Although content creation isn’t part of the development process for custom websites or template websites, it’s important to mention for one reason.
Our agency provides content creation services along with custom web development. Why is this important?
If you opt for a template solution, you have two options — hire a freelance writer or write the content yourself. With the freelancer option it’s possible — although not guaranteed — to have great content for SEO. The drawback is now you’re having to work with a separate contractor while working on your website at the same time, which means you have less time to spend on your business.
Now that we’ve explained the pros and cons of template websites, let’s discuss the pros and cons of custom websites and explain when our services would make the most sense for your business.
Custom websites aren’t the only player in the market anymore. With increased competition, it’s our job to show you why our option makes sense for your business.
And that’s the key. All things considered, a custom website might not be for you. That’s okay. We want to work with the right businesses and take on projects that are a good fit for both of us.
If you’re already convinced, go ahead and fill out the form below for a free consultation:
Now let’s start with the pros.
Design & Branding
If you’re the type of business owner who likes to share the uniqueness of your business and have input on the way your brand is communicated, it’s wise to go with a custom website.
When choosing to go with a custom-built website you have control over all the aspects of the design, branding and call-to-actions.
Your design can also evolve as your business evolves. You’ll have access to a team of marketing professionals who can provide insights for your business over time. Perfect example — we helped many of our clients re-build their sites to be mobile-friendly after Google announced it would no longer prioritize non-mobile-friendly websites.
Working with a smart agency gives you the reigns to your site while also having an intelligent guide to help you navigate the course of business.
Custom built websites can grow as your business grows. If you need added functionality, a custom website can allow the developer to add this over time without the potential limitations of a template website. This is important for certain businesses like e-commerce websites.
We can also build highly advanced websites for businesses who need complex solutions like HIPPA compliant databases, thousand plus member membership websites, and online courses.
Your business is unique because you, the business owner or the marketing professional in the business, is unique.
Do you want a website that reflects your brand and only your brand?
In business, unless you have an unlimited advertising budget, a unique brand can be critical to your business. Combine that with the way we interact with businesses online, and having anything less than a stellar looking site can turn off your target audience.
On top of our custom design services, we offer full-service marketing — meaning we can help you with any and every digital marketing need you have from SEO to social media to marketing research and more.
Not only do we build custom websites, we provide custom solutions to help you grow your business.
We sit down and talk with you to understand your needs. We craft a plan as a team to help you stand out among your competition online.
Working with an innovative agency means you can work on your business instead of in your business.
We’re your strategic partner, meaning we care about growing your business just as much as you do.
That being said, there are a few drawbacks to custom web design.
Custom-built websites generally have a higher cost than template solutions. While you might have to spend more, you’re getting a more quality product.
If you’re truly cash-strapped, however, it might not be wise to spend thousands of dollars on a website. Custom websites are best for established businesses with solid revenue who want to take their marketing to the next level.
Time to Launch
A custom-built website typically takes longer to build. This is because we go through several quality control measures from start to finish to make sure your website is error-free, branded perfectly, and stands out in a sea of websites. If it isn’t worth 12 weeks of your time to create a great site, custom websites might not be for you.
We recommend looking at your business needs, website users, and your overall online marketing goals to help you choose the right direction for your business or organization.
If you’re curious about custom websites, let’s talk. We’ll give you a free no-obligation site audit and proposal to see how we can help with your online marketing.
Above all else, SEO is a tool to grow your business.
When you put your business in front of people who are interested in your product or services, you’ll get more engagement, leads, and sales. It makes sense, right? Think of your behavior on Google. You use it constantly and it often leads to purchasing decisions.
You look something up, find the result that seems to match what you want (usually in the top three results), then you visit the page to see if the information is a right fit.
Sometimes it is. And sometimes it isn’t.
Maybe the site you visit loads too slowly and you don’t want to wait.
Perhaps the site looks unappealing and unprofessional so you don’t trust the business.
Maybe you land on the website and can’t find the information you’re looking for.
Now, think about a search result that does meet your standards. The site probably loads quickly, has a professional design with interesting media, and gets you the exact information you need.
A Minneapolis SEO expert looks at SEO services from every angle — not just the technical stuff — and focuses on the end result first.
It’s easy to throw around jargon like rankings, traffic, and conversions. It’s harder (but more beneficial) to understand the goals and target audience of your Minneapolis business then craft an SEO strategy around their needs.
At MLT Group, this is exactly how we perform SEO.
How Can You Tell You’re Working With a Minneapolis SEO Expert?
Here’s your first clue…
You found us by Googling “Minneapolis SEO expert” or something similar. As the famous saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”
Seriously though, we understand your concerns when it comes to SEO services.
You might know a little bit about SEO services, but you’re not an expert. You need to be able to understand the services you’re getting and how they benefit you. There are a lot of Minneapolis SEOs out there, meaning that some will be better than others. How will you know which one to choose?
A good digital marketing agency can easily describe it services and help you understand the process from start to finish.
Continue reading, decide if we’ve done that or not, and you’ll know the answer.
The Exact Breakdown of the SEO Services We Provide
There are many factors that determine where your website appears on Google. Some experts say there are up to 200!
Let’s break down the main factors that affect your site’s ranking on Google and discuss how our services can help.
Research is the first step to a successful SEO campaign.
You need to know what people are searching for online. You need to know which key phrases — terms people type into Google — drive the most traffic.
After compiling data, you have to decide which key phrases work best for your business based on a number of factors:
Relevance– A key phrase with high monthly traffic but low relevance — meaning it doesn’t describe your business well — won’t work for your business
Competition – Based on the authority of your site, you must determine which phrases make sense to target at different stages of your campaign
Intent – Different key phrases have different intent and represent different stages of awareness, e.g., “shoes for sale” and “price for red Nike Air Jordans size 12”
At MLT Group, we use the following techniques and tools to find the right key phrases for your business.
We Talk to You
It’s a mistake to jump in and start working on your SEO campaign without understanding your business first. Before we begin any research, we’ll sit down with you to discuss the aspects of your business that will dictate the type of campaign we create.
We’ll ask you questions like:
What are the goals for your business in the next 6-12 months?
Who are your customers? What are their demographics? How do you acquire them? What makes them tick? Where do they hangout online?
Who are your main competitors?
What’s the geographic service area for your business? (This is key for Local SEO)
What are your services and how do you prioritize them?
What does a successful campaign look like to you?
And much more.
Knowing these key details helps us achieve the stated goal above – using SEO services as a tool to grow your business. These details are much more important than metrics.
This process begins before you decide to work with us, too.
We provide a free site audit that tells you everything you need to know about your websites SEO performance, we’ll talk to you about your business, then we’ll see if our services are a good fit for both of us.
We’re in business to make revenue, of course, but it matters much more to us to first find out if and how we can help you. We don’t use pressure tactics because we’re genuinely curious about you and your company first and foremost.
Sound good? If so, go ahead and fill out this form right now and we’ll start the free audit process right away:
Did you know there are tools that tell you exactly what key phrases your competition ranks for, how much traffic they receive, and the links pointing to their website?
With the help of tools like Ahrefs and Moz, we can discover all the above. Once we compile the data, we can create a strategy to emulate what they’re doing well and find the opportunities they missed.
This will help you rank above your competition. b gyg
Competitor research is one facet of the key word research we perform.
What is key word research? It’s the brainstorming process of finding which words people use to search for your product or service online.
We use tools and techniques to decide what content to create, in what order we should create it, and the exact steps required to make website pages that Google loves.
When you work with us, you’ll get an easy to understand report that gives you the ‘why’ behind our strategy and allows you to make informed decisions when you weight in on the campaign.
After we create your SEO strategy, we’ll use the following techniques to help rank your business on Google.
On Site Search Engine Optimization
Google uses an algorithm — a fancy math equation — that programs ‘crawlers’ (think robots) to index information across the web and decide which pages to rank above others based on a number of factors.
The higher you rank, the more people view and visit your website.
While smart, the bots can’t quite decipher content at a human’s level (although they continue to get closer), so they use certain identifiers to understand the sites they visit.
Let’s walk through each section of a perfectly optimized web page.
It’s been said many times before — content is king. First and foremost, you want your site content to be useful and deliver the type of information the user expects.
Back in the day, you could get away with adding lots of keywords to your content, regardless of how well they fit or how useful the page was. Not anymore. Thanks to the Penguin update, sites that rank on Google must have content that meets the users needs.
We take our research and use it to create content both readers and search engines love.
When creating content for your site, we use these key techniques:
Add your key phrase early in the content (first page or paragraph)
Use your key phrase a few times in the content (but don’t overdo it)
Add related key words to give more context to the crawlers
If your business targets a geographic location, we make sure to mention it in your content and tags (good for Local SEO)
We provide as much depth as needed, add useful content like media when it applies, and focus on providing a great user experience.
This is important. Too often, SEOs will create content just for search engines. This makes for robotic writing that doesn’t provide value for the reader. Out of any strategy we use, writing for your readers first is the number one strategy.
Google keeps a tight lock and key on their algorithm and smart marketers have to make educated guesses about what works. When Google does state something officially, though, you must take it into account.
Look at Google’s main recommendation — straight from the horse’s mouth — here:
Next, consider the way we’re talking to you right now.
Does it sound like a sales pitch?
Is it using a bunch of unnecessary jargon and metrics that confuse you?
No to both. As best we can, we’re explaining our services in-depth, helping you make a smart decision, and talking to you like a regular human being.
That’s all you need to do to create great SEO content and that’s what we’ll help you do if you work with us.
At MLT Group, we have a staff of dozens of writers with experience in many niches. We’ll work with you to create SEO content that reflects your business and makes visitors want to engage and ultimately buy.
Each page on your website has a space in the code to enter a tag that tells the crawlers what your page is about. You’re only allowed a certain number of characters per tag, so it’s important to put the right key phrases in the tag.
Here’s an example of a Title Tag as it appears on a search engine results page (SERP) that appears after you search something on Google:
Your meta description also shows up on the SERP and it’s a key factor in optimizing your page, but not for the reason you’d think.
There’s a persistent SEO myth that Google takes the keywords you use in your meta description into account as a ranking factor. It doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean your description isn’t important.
This is where SEO with business strategy in mind comes into play.
Your meta description should be treated like an irresistible advertisement for your business that gets people to click through to your website.
Add special offers (if you have any) to your description
Study the descriptions of paid ads (these appear at the top of SERPS and will have an [ad] tag next to them). Why do this? People who spend money on ads are going to take the time to make sure they’re compelling.
Create a strong call to action (CTA) to entice them to click through, e.g., “get your free no-obligation website audit today “
Metas are important for two reasons.
First, of course, you want people who find your site on Google to click through to it.
Second, Google uses click through as a ranking factor to decide the order in which pages appear.
They do this because Google is interested in providing the best results for users.
Here’s a good example to illustrate:
Let’s say the number two result has a more compelling description — meaning more people are clicking through — than the top result.
Why continue to display the top result at the top if user behavior shows people like the number two result more? It makes sense to switch them.
Thanks to one of Google’s recent updates, Rank Brain, this is exactly what’s happening.
An aside on Google’s continued updates: while industry standard techniques still work great for SEO, Google is trending towards serving up the best content.
This means your business can compete with more — technically — authoritative websites if you create the most compelling content possible.
A smart agency goes above the standard techniques alone and focuses on every aspect of promoting a business.
That provides an added benefit, too. Being persuasive, compelling, and informative isn’t just good for SEO, it’s good for business period.
Alt tags are pieces of code that describe images.
The site crawlers can’t look at an image, per se, so they need a little help. Your alt tag provides a spot to tell the crawler what the photo is about, which gives you additional SEO credit.
Using the right keywords in your headings helps the crawlers know more about your page. The more the crawler knows about the page, the more likely it is to rank it.
Headings also help organize information and keeps pages from looking boring and tedious from having large blocks of text.
Good headings provide an SEO benefit in another way, too. Google tracks how long people stay on your website. They figure if people stay on your site for a while, you must have great information.
It also tracks ‘bounces’ which means people visit your site and click back out of it immediately.
Which type of page is likely to keep you reading longer — one with organized headings that help you find the information you need or a giant wall of text that looks like it will take a ton of effort to understand?
On each page of your site, you want to link to other relevant and related pages on your website. This sentence is an example of an internal link.
Linking to other pages on your site is important. When a crawler visits your site, it uses links to find more relevant pages.
Done incorrectly, and the crawlers might miss important information on your site, fail to index it, which means those pages won’t rank on Google.
Your page url is the link that shows up in your web browser:
The url for this blog post is – https://www.mltgroup.com/blog/minneapolis-seo-expert
This link has good structure for SEO because:
It uses the target keyword we are trying to rank the page for
It tells the user what the page is about (this is important because it appears on the SERP as well)
It’s concise – long URLs that don’t describe the topic are bad for SEO
When creating URLs for our client’s site, we keep these items in mind, e.g., creating a link like http://multisourcemfg.com/services/cnc-machining/ (this is a term people in the target audience understand.
Additional On-Site Optimization Techniques
These items are also key for creating an optimized page:
Optimize for loading speed — Google doesn’t like to rank slow loading pages
Save image files under names with key phrases, e.g., Minneapolis SEO Expert.jpg — This aids the alt tag
It means you want other people to visit that page or reference it. If you want other people to visit the page, the page must have important and useful information.
To this day, the number and quality of links pointing to a page on your website is one of the top factors that determine where your site appears on Google.
Each time a website links to yours, it’s like a ‘vote’ telling the search engines your site is worth visiting.
This is where link building comes in.
We help you get more links to your website to give your site more authority.
We achieve this in a few ways.
Create Content Assets
If you create great content, people will naturally want to link to it and use it as a resource. As we’ll explain below, there’s leg-work that goes into finding sites that want to link to you.
Before that, though, you must make sure the pages on your site are worth linking to.
We use the techniques we described above to make pages worth visiting, thus worth linking to.
Buying links from spammy site directories no longer works.
You can, however, get good links from finding quality directories.
What makes a directory quality:
Manual review – A good directory has people who will actually look at your page to determine if it’s worth linking to. Spammy ‘pay to play’ directories don’t have these quality controls.
Relevance – A spammy directory will often feature your business next to something completely unrelated like a gambling website. Good directories are either industry based, e.g. a trucking company association, or location-based, e.g. a local chamber of commerce
We find directories that feature businesses from your industry. We submit your site for consideration, they review the quality of your site and post the link if it meets their standards.
Often, there are related sites who would link to you if they knew who you were and you had content worth sharing.
We offer outreach services to gain links to the content we create for you.
How does this work? We will reach out to other related businesses on your behalf and send them a pitch on why your content is worthing linking to and how linking to it will benefit their site.
For example, we may share an informative article on fire damage restoration with an insurance company. This gives them a useful and relevant resource their clients might need.
The benefit for them is that they don’t have to spend time creating content themselves.
Our outreach process might include other strategies like reaching out to journalists looking for an expert’s opinion about your industry or offering to create a guest blog post for a related business in exchange for a link.
Linked gained through outreach are the highest quality because they take real effort and relationship building to get.
If you decide to work with us, you’ll receive a report showing you exactly how many backlinks your site is getting with details on how they’ve affected your site’s performance.
If your business has been around for a while, information about it will start to populate the web.
Some directories will create pages for your company without asking you.
Actually, this happens often.
Here’s where this can turn into a problem.
Information about your business will change over time. You might move locations, change your phone number, change your hours, change your website’s URL, create & delete social media profiles, etc.
If these changes aren’t monitored, you can have inconsistent information displaying online, which has a negative impact on your SEO.
This is especially important for Local SEO because the search engines track the consistency and uniformity of your business information online. Mainly, the name, address, and phone number of your business (NAP).
Again take Google’s thought process into account. If your NAP information is inconsistent, why would Google want to rank your website?
This would confuse searchers, which is the opposite of what the search engines want.
Also, consider the impacts an inconsistent profile has on your business.
How does your brand look if someone searches for your business online, calls the provided phone number, and gets a disconnected message?
They’re probably not going to keep digging to find the right information. They will look for another company.
In addition to hurting your brand reputation, an inconsistent profile will literally cause you to miss out on potential sales. No good.
Here’s how our online identity services work and why they’ll benefit your business.
We will add your correct NAP into major businesses directory aggregators like Localeze and FourSquare.
These larger directories populate information on smaller directories, helping you create a consistent profile across the web.
We also monitor the overall health score of your online identity profile and make sure to find unclaimed listings, duplicate profiles, and listings with the wrong information.
Remember when we told you links back to your website count as a “vote” for the quality of your business and its content?
There’s another type of “vote” we help you build called a citation.
You earn a citation anytime your business is mentioned online, regardless of whether or not it’s in the form of a link (although certain citations provide links).
Citations can come in the form of social media mentions, reviews, and listings on directories (although the large aggregators find directories and build citations, there are always more to find and claim).
We help you build citations for your business by reaching out to relevant areas online and promoting your business to earn these important relevance signals.
Citation building is also the cornerstone of a solid local SEO strategy.
These citations help you show up in the ‘map pack’ which are those prominent map-based listings you often see on the SERP (example below):
Citation building and link building creates a potent combination to help rank your business online.
We won’t dive into a ton of details here because technical SEO can be very complicated.
Here’s the short version.
Your site performance affects your SEO. A site with performance issues will hamper an SEO campaign even if you do everything else right.
If you work with us, we’ll monitor your site for factors including but not limited to:
Broken links – Broken links — links that point to an expired page — hurt your user experience, which hurts your SEO. We have tools to check and fix those links.
Redirects – Anytime you remove a page from your site or change the URL, you must redirect the old URL to a new one because if you don’t, your page will show an error message called a 404
Loading speed – The way you add images and media to your pages, structure the code, and develop a site architecture can all impact how fast your site loads. We work to keep your websites loading as quickly as possible.
Simple Reporting to Help You Understand Your SEO Campaign Performance
SEO can get confusing … fast.
This is why we try to share the performance of your campaign in the simplest way possible.
We do this because we know you don’t have time to become an SEO expert. You need to work on your business.
We also know that, although many factors and metrics contribute to SEO, you want to understand a few key things about your campaign and you want to know that it’s working.
Our reports include easy to understand information like:
How many people are visiting your site through Google and whether that number is increasing or decreasing over time and by how much?
How many leads you receive directly from Google searches, e.g., phone calls and contact form submissions
Where your website is ranking for important key terms related to your business
Simple reporting helps you understand if our campaign is helping you reach your business goals, which is the only real metric that matters.
You’ll receive automated messages each month and a more in-depth report for each quarter.
After you receive your quarterly report, we’ll schedule a phone or in person, meeting to review it, help you understand it, and answer your questions.
While in-depth, this guide shares exactly what we do, how we do it, and why our services will benefit your business.
Why pull back the curtain and show you our techniques? Because we believe transparency is vital.
You need to be able to understand our services.
You need to work with a company you can trust, not because we say we’re trustworthy, but because we plainly and simply show you how trustworthy we are.
We love helping business owners because we’re passionate businesses owners ourselves.
SEO is one of the best marketing techniques you can use for your business and educating our clients while helping them not only builds stronger businesses, but stronger business owners too.
Your business is successful because you’re in expert in your field. That’s why you went looking for another expert to help you with your online marketing.
Meet with us and you won’t have to wonder if we’re Minneapolis SEO experts, we’ll demonstrate it for you in a way that’s undeniable.
That’s a bold claim, but we’re a bold company who stands behind our work. Connect with us and you’ll see.
You’re at the end of a 4,000 + word guide because you’re interested and curious.
Here’s what you do next. Fill out this form below, receive a free audit in the next 48 hours, and see the expertise for yourself.
See you on the other side. We can’t wait to connect with you.
You know what’s great about running a small business? You’re the boss! What’s not so great? You’re probably working on a smaller budget than your competitors. That doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the same marketing techniques bigger businesses use. Take video production for example. While a TV commercial may be a big financial commitment, there are plenty of other ways you can take advantage of video production that are just as effective.
Why Small Business Video Production is Important
Why should make room in the budget for video production? Visual media garners more attention, gets more shares on social media, and is more engaging than text or print media. You also get a lot of bang for your buck; videos can be shared on different outlets like social media and your website and reused over time.
Although many businesses do well with online or print marketing, if you can take your marketing to the next level, reach new audiences, and create an engaging message by incorporating small business video production into your strategy, why wouldn’t you?
Different Types of Videos that Won’t Break the Bank
When you think of video marketing, you probably imagine a costly TV commercial, but there are different types of videos that you can incorporate into your marketing strategy that won’t break the bank.
Whether you’re a new business or promoting a new product or service, introduce yourself to potential customers. Make sure to include the name of your business within the video, along with contact information and a brief description of your services. Including a welcome video on your home page is a great way to quickly engage and introduce visitors to your business. They are also great for establishing your brand or story. They don’t have to be complicated or elaborate to be effective.
There may have been a time when aerial videography was out of reach for everyone except big budget studios, but those days are long gone; even small businesses can use aerial videos in their marketing. Aerial videography can be used for almost anything! It’s great for showing off large facilities, exhibiting beautiful landscapes, capturing event footage, and so much more! Using drones for aerial videography makes it more affordable than ever. Just make sure you’re working with a licensed drone operator!
Want to welcome visitors to your business before they even step inside? Consider a tour video! Whether you’ve moved, remodeled, or you’re a brand-new business, creating a tour video of your building is a great way to introduce viewers to your business, show off your space, and get them excited for a visit! Get your team involved too; introduce your staff members in their workspaces in the video. This gives your video a personal touch and helps to begin forming a relationship with viewers.
While air time is expensive, you can still create a high-quality commercial without the budget busting price tag. Instead of creating a commercial for television, create one to be shared online! Publishing videos online is free and there are plenty of outlets on which to share them, allowing you to get more mileage out of your video.
Do you own a venue that hosts events? If you’re not advertising that with event videos, you’re missing out. Special events such as weddings, festivals, and concerts offer plenty of visual opportunities that can make for a stunning video. You can even incorporate aerial videography to get shots of large crowds.
The Only Limit to Small Business Video Production is Your Imagination
Have a unique idea for your marketing video? We can help! MLT Group has been providing small business video production for over 30 years and we’d love to help you with your project. Whether you need a licensed drone operator or post production help, we’ve got you covered. If you can imagine it, we can make it happen.