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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Magnifying glass with the acronym SEO in it in a dark background

 

Everyone needs Search Engine Optimization.

 

Search engine optimization is a constantly evolving area of expertise. Even before the rapid changes brought on by the pandemic, we would see daily or weekly updates on SEO strategy.

 

Every business owner knows that showing up on the first page of Google is important to getting traffic and therefore customers to their website. Google has held the dominant search engine position for years, still accounting for over 85% of all searches done online.

 

Avoiding search engine optimization and relying on word of mouth or print advertising is no longer a feasible option for reaching new generations of consumers who make most of their buying decisions online.

 

Trust REM to help you with your SEO

At REM, we help our customers to get noticed online. Part of that process, after building you a beautifully designed website, is optimising your site to show up in search results. We work hard for each of our clients to improve their PageRank on a steady basis.

 

To keep up with the constantly changing world of SEO, our team must be constantly learning from the SEO community. The process is even more difficult because the main companies, like Google, don’t give out their ‘trademarked’ information.

 

When Google releases an update to their search algorithms, the entire SEO community braces for the impact. Then the SEO managers start to discuss the changes and see what affects the updates have had on their sites.

 

There have been multiple times where SEO updates have completely changed a sites PageRank, but when you look at the official update, there won’t be anything that should affect the site. We do wonder sometimes if Google tries to sneak out unofficial updates, this is always a hot topic of discussion in SEO groups.

 

So how do we do it?

First, our team is fully trained on all the basics of SEO. Having a complete and thorough grasp of the fundamentals is important to start playing around with the nuances of SEO.

 

If you need to brush up on specific topics relating to the world of SEO, we can’t recommend the site Search Engine Journal enough. Anyone doing digital marketing should read the SEO articles on this site.  The main link to the site is: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/

 

However, beginners should start by reading their SEO Basics eBook:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-guide/?itm_source=site-search&itm_medium=site-search&itm_campaign=site-search

 

Follow that with this post on the basics for a successful SEO campaign. This post will also start to bring all the basic concepts into focus and show you how to apply them to your site:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-basics-to-be-successful/343811/?itm_source=site-search&itm_medium=site-search&itm_campaign=site-search

 

Once you have the basics down

Okay, you’ve read through all the basics. Now it’s time to start to narrow down your knowledge to the area that is going to help your site the most.

 

Ask yourself what your site needs first. Should you focus on Mobile SEO because all your clients visit your site on their mobile devices? Or perhaps Local SEO should be your focus as most of your customers live within your immediate vicinity?

 

Here are some examples of the menu options on Search Engine Journal’s site:

  • ENTERPRISE SEO
  • GOOGLE ALGORITHM UPDATES
  • INTERNATIONAL SEO
  • LINK BUILDING
  • LOCAL SEO
  • MOBILE SEO
  • ON-PAGE SEO
  • TECHNICAL SEO
  • VERTICAL SEO

 

Obviously, if you have the time and inclination, you should try to read all these sections as they can be very helpful to your overall understanding of SEO best practices.

 

Google algorithm updates

This is a quick list of sites we read just specifically for Google Algorithm updates. Each time a new update comes out, you might need to adjust your SEO strategy or update your site to meet new requirements. If you don’t, you could suddenly lose all the SEO work you’ve done.

 

 

Daily blogs for the latest updates

Here is a list of the websites that we visit each day for the latest information. Some sites don’t update daily, so it’s good to have a large list of favourite sites, and then you should have some new information everyday.

 

If it does seem quiet, don’t get complacent, the next Google update could result in hundreds of posts that you need to read. So, if it’s quiet, use that time to hone up on fundamentals or explore new areas of interest in the SEO field.

 

Search Engine Journal

“Search Engine Journal is dedicated to producing the latest search news, the best guides and how-to’s for the SEO and marketer community.”

 

This is easily one of our favourite resources. The articles are well organized and easy to read and understand. In fact, this is the first site I give to our marketing team. If you can’t grasp the concepts on this blog, you’re really going to struggle with SEO overall. Remember that REM can help do your SEO for you if you are already frustrated by this point.

 

Semrush Blog

“Semrush's digital marketing blog is an innovative resource for content strategy, content marketing, SEO, SEM, PPC, social media and more.”

 

Semrush is best known for its suite of SEO tools that can help you to do keyword research, site audits, and other key SEO tasks. The Semrush blog has a huge amount of very helpful SEO knowledge which you can learn from even if you don’t use their software. They do a good job of giving general advice which isn’t specific to just their tools.

 

Search Engine Land

“Breaking news, updates, insights, analysis and guides covering SEO, PPC and all things search from the Search Engine Land team and subject matter experts.”

 

A top site for getting the latest trends, breaking stories, and cutting-edge news in the SEO world. We highly recommend following the site or their newsletter so that you get notifications as soon as new content is available.

 

The Ahrefs Blog

“The Ahrefs Blog. Expand your SEO and marketing knowledge with detailed tutorials and case studies. The benefits are obvious: free, passive traffic to your website, month after month.”

 

A highly popular SEO blog, Ahrefs has been around since 2011. The author, Tim Soulo, has written top SEO content for years. He has created some of the most shared content and some of his posts can generate thousands of links, comments, and shares. If you want to learn about SEO, you need to be reading this blog because your competitor probably is.

 

The Moz Blog

“The industry's top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights—all in the name of helping you level-up your SEO and online marketing skills.”

 

The Moz blog has been around since 2004, but it welcomed new management around 2014. The site has evolved into a top resource on the web for anything related to online marketing. The main focus of the site is definitely SEO, and it is the home to the largest online SEO community. This is a great blog and community if you want to be an SEO superstar.

 

Search Engine Watch

“Search Engine Watch provides news and information about search engines and search engine marketing. Search Engine Watch was started by Danny Sullivan in 1996.”

 

Search Engine Roundtable

“A well-rounded view on search engines and search engine marketing from five segments of the Web population represented by senior members of the major SEO/SEM forums on the Internet.”

 

This blog does a great job of keeping you up to date on the conversations and news happening behind the scenes in the world of SEO. The site curates the most interesting threads (conversations) taking place in SEM (search engine marketing) forums on the web. They bring in experts to summarize the threads and provide even more detail.

 

Neil Patel’s Blog

“Your #1 resource for digital marketing tips, trends, and strategy to help you build a successful online business.”

 

If you work in the field of SEO, marketing, or blogging, then you have probably already heard of Neil Patel. His articles are very easy to read, and he breaks down complicated process into easy-to-digest nuggets of SEO goodness. We highly recommend reading and watching as much of his content as you possibly can to up your SEO game.

 

Yoast SEO

“Yoast helps you with your website optimization, whether it be through our widely used SEO software or our online SEO courses: we're here to help.”

 

Yoast is a very popular SEO plug-in for WordPress websites. If your website is built on WordPress, there is a high probability that you are using Yoast for your SEO. REM uses a CMS called [email protected] which let’s you do SEO optimization without an additional plug-in, but for WordPress users this is the best option available. Luckily, the blog covers all SEO issues and trends and not just ones specific to WordPress. It is still definitely worth the read.

 

Backlinko Blog

“Backlinko is an SEO blog that focuses on actionable SEO tips, strategies and case studies.”

 

This blog used to have more regular posts until it was recently bought out by a larger competitor. The blog has a wealth of knowledge in the past articles, including some of the best blog posts on how to optimise and write content for SEO.

 

Raven

“The #1 Source for Internet Marketing Agencies. We write tips for digital marketers and we create beginner through advanced guides for search engine optimization.”

 

Searchmetrics

“In our blog we write about current issues in the areas of online marketing and SEO and show interesting statistics and trends.”

 

Cognitive SEO

“We have written and optimized - for our own blog or other pages - thousands of articles and SEO friendly blog posts in the last 10 years.”

 

Google Search Central Blog

“The Google Search Central Blog is where you can find official Google Search core algorithm updates, announcements of new Google Search features, and SEO best practices. Subscribe to our RSS feed and get the latest updates in your favorite feed reader.”

 

In Conclusion

We hope this article has helped give you a viable resource of blogs to follow as you work on your SEO journey. The sheer volume of content and the constantly changing best practices mean that you need to know most of these tactics to be competitive with other sites.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of how much work this could be, remember that REM can help you by doing your site’s SEO for you. Our costs are designed to fit most budgets and the SEO work is completely hands-off so you can focus on selling or other important areas of your growth.

 

Speak to your REM Sales rep today, or use our contact form to speak to our Marketing Director to get started on how to get your site noticed online.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

3D illustration of a device with website statistics

 

Ranking higher in Google is a common marketing goal many businesses have, but in 2022 it can be more challenging to achieve than ever before.

 

That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in gaining higher rankings, you just need to implement the right strategy to help you get there. Here are some tips and tricks to help increase your rankings.

 


 

1.  Move your focus to user experience

Hard-to-use websites that are inaccessible and difficult to navigate are a sure-fire way to frustrate users within seconds and lead them to visit other sites in order to address their needs. Error pages, confusing site structures, messy pages, and dead links are all aspects that can potentially drive audiences away from your website if you don’t look for these issues and address them head-on.

 

Comb through your site to find the problems and barriers that make it a challenge to navigate easily. Optimize your content for mobile, break up chunks of text into shorter paragraphs, and keep headings brief and easy to read. Fix any dead or hanging links and tidy up your sub-folders.

 

Improving these barriers can help improve your rankings and decrease your bounce rate. Contact REM to get a new custom business website design that converts visitors into sales.

 

2. Incorporate targeted keywords into your content

Keywords are arguably one of the most important aspects for you to focus on when learning about SEO. Keywords combine what people and Google are looking for by isolating the most common search terms. This is where you come in.

 

Incorporating keywords needs to be done with care and an understanding about where to include them without throwing them in as much as possible with no real strategy or goal in mind. Google Ads can help you discover your broad search intent, and including keywords in your copy should feel natural, not forced, so be strategic with how you implement them into your website to gain the most success.

 

Book a free no-obligation consultation with our Marketing Director to discuss how REM’s marketing team can help you with Keyword Research.

 

3. Generate backlinks

Generating backlinks is a crucial aspect of SEO performance. If you’re not familiar with the process of back-linking, it refers to other websites linking to yours in a post, article, etc. It is an effective way to help improve your website’s traffic, as people are more likely to visit if they click on an external link through another reliable domain.

 

Organic links can be obtained if you’re prioritizing high-quality content with a people-first mindset. This can help you gain the trust and respect of others, and lead to other industry members referencing your site. You can open up this process to include:

  • Testimonials
  • Guest blog posts
  • Implementing shareable content
  • Become listed in industry directories

 

4. Introduce routine site audits

Regular site audits can help you determine how your website is performing and if it’s as user-friendly as possible. Site auditing can also flag issues you may have missed or overlooked, like broken links and slower loading times.

 

REM can perform an Online Presence Audit which includes a website audit and site speed testing. Contact our Marketing Director or your sales rep to book an Online Presence Audit today.

 

5. Speed up your website

The functionality of your website will directly impact the consumer experience and can influence whether they stay on your site. You want your content to speak for itself but to do that your site needs to be accessible and quick when users access it. We live in an instant information society where people want answers and solutions right away, so it’s imperative that your website meets these standards.

 

Now is the time to declutter your site remove anything that might be slowing it down. Delete old plugins, compress images, and clean up your code.

 

6. Make your page title and meta description better

First impressions are important. Your page title and meta description will be the first things your audience ever sees and can influence whether they decide to click on your website. You should be able to easily edit these two aspects without too much hassle, but there’s some points to keep in mind:

  • Your page title should not run on too long – keep it between 30-60 characters
  • Similarly, your meta description should not exceed 160 characters
  • Incorporate a target keyword
  • Be unique and think outside of the box

 

7. Learn the importance of internal links

Internal links refer users back to other pages on your website. This is an excellent way to encourage users to stay on your site and engage with your past content. Linking related posts in an article, for example, can provide audiences with the information they’re researching for without leaving your website to search elsewhere for the information they need.

 

8. Write quality content and improve past posts

The content you write should be SEO-focused and created with the intention of effectively educating and communicating with your desired audiences. Since SEO is an ongoing process, it’s important to look for ways you can keep improving what you post.

 

This can mean going back and looking through old articles, blog posts, etc. and finding little ways you can make them better. Look for missed opportunities to implement keywords and internal links, and enhance readability, having an evolving content strategy that critically analyzes the performance of past posts can be hugely helpful in creating more successful SEO-driven work in the future.

 

REM can help with content writing services, editing and even just how to pick the right topic for your posts. With the correct, evergreen content, a blog post can be useful to visitors (and search engines) for years!

 

9. Use short, descriptive URLs

This is another way to easily improve your on-page SEO. Tweaking your URL structure can make a big difference in the appearance of user-friendliness on SERPs. Because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to do, just remember to keep URLs readable and concise, and use keywords when possible.

 

Note: If you do change the URLs on your site, remember to setup 301 redirects so that you don’t lose any Google rankings you’ve already earned.

 

10. Continue to learn about SEO

SEO is a constantly evolving discipline that requires a strong dedication and ongoing learning. It’s crucial to keep yourself in the loop and to stay ahead of trends.

 

There are countless resources available to help you continue your SEO education, so put all of those tools to good use and continue to implement the strategies you learn about in your SEO journey.

 

To give you an idea of how important this is, our Marketing Director reads 40-50 posts each week to stay up to date on the latest in SEO and Digital Marketing.

 


 

Secure your SEO success

This post is just the beginning with the endless ways you can work towards improving your SEO and securing success. Try implementing these tips into your SEO strategy, and you’ll see higher rankings in no time.

 

Remember that if you don’t have the time or internal resources to complete these tasks in-house, REM can provide digital marketing services that work within your budget to help you achieve your goals get noticed online.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Business man using a laptop

 

Designing and building websites is our game, and we love it. We believe in our customers, what they do, and how they do it – our goal is to provide them with the platform that they need to be successful. Aside from their websites, a key component to their success is recognition, in the digital era that we live in ignoring Search Engine Optimization (SEO) could be detrimental to a business.

 

One of the most frequent questions that we get when a site goes live is “Why don’t I show up in Google searches?” The answer isn’t that easy, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to SEO rankings and I’m here to tell you, it’s not something that can happen overnight.  Optimizing your website, social media platforms and brand recognition are the key components to your success, each of which requires constant review and effort. Search engine optimization is a long-term investment, and if you start early your return will be fruitful.

 


 

Out with the Old, In with the New.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past where search engine indexing was driven by adding meta tags and descriptions to your website. You would choose a handful of keywords that best described your business and used the to drive traffic to your website. Don’t get me wrong, keywords are still very important to your website, however they are no longer the main driving force.

 

Gone are the days of individuals typing in one keyword into a search engine to find specific products or services. Consumers are now using search tools like Google Now and Siri to find what their looking for, which leads way to the concept of “Natural Language Search.”

 

“Natural language search allows users to speak or type into a device using their everyday language rather than keywords. Users can use full sentences in their native language as if they are speaking to another human, leaving the computer to transform the query into something it can understand.”

 

When building a plan for your search engine optimization, you’ll need to shift your focus from individual keywords to broader, ever changing, natural language searches.

 


 

How long does it take?

In a recent blog from Josh Steimle at Forbes.com a comprehensive bird’s eye view of what your SEO plan entails is showcased, and we couldn’t articulate it any better than this:

 

Month 1

Research and discovery, website audit, keyword strategy, and planning. If research and discovery can be done quickly, then technical changes may start being made to the website within the first month. In other cases, a thorough research and discovery phase can last more than one month.

 

Month 2 

Begin technical SEO work, that is, making modification to the website based on site audit results. In some cases, the website needs to be overhauled, and this of itself can take months. Other SEO activities such as working on the link profile and building content can be done at the same time the overhaul is happening. If you find yourself in this overhaul situation, you’ll be doing “SEO” but you still won’t be seeing any results at all, since the changes being made will only start to have an impact once they’re finished.

 

Month 3

Start focusing on content creation. Blogging, FAQs, whitepapers, articles, expanded product and company information, etc. Ideally you would have started on this right after the strategy and planning, but often budgets restrict what can be done at once, and so a technical overhaul needs to come first. This being the case, you might start seeing some improvements in rankings by the end of this month. If those rankings are translating into leads or sales then even better, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them yet.

 

Month 4 

Continued content creation, technical optimization of the website, and development of a healthy link profile (which may include cleaning up low quality links). By this month you could expect to see a marked increase in rankings, traffic, and lead generation. It won’t be anywhere close to the improvements you should 12 months into your SEO efforts, but it should be significant enough that you know SEO is working.

 

Month 5 

By this month or perhaps earlier in the process you may have started incorporating social media management into your plan to amplify your content and increase direct traffic to your website. This can lead to a healthy, natural link profile, and of course generate leads in and of itself. You would continue with content creation and perhaps engage in some PR or media outreach. You should be seeing more and more traffic coming in from SEO at this point, and your leads should be growing as a result.

 

Month 6 

If your traffic has reached 5,000 visitors per month or more by this point, you could benefit from adding conversion rate optimization to your efforts to improve how the traffic you’re receiving converts into leads and/or sales. From this point on, your activities may be consistently focused on content creation and promoting that content, or you may be doing things that are more creative. The specific activities can vary greatly depending on what type of company you are and what kind of website you have.

 


 

It's a Long-Term Investment

As you’ll note from this plan provided by Josh Steimle, SEO practices are a long-term investment and when you have a plan in place and a team to support and guide you through the process, you’ll start to generate leads.

 

This is the success we want from you, feel free to reach out to us to help you get started and build out a plan to boost your SEO efforts.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration depicting people analyzing and compiling content on a laptop

 

Now that you understand the basic elements to building a website for your small business, the next step is to zero in on two areas of your website that can be overlooked and shouldn’t be: Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

 

Before we get into the nitty gritty, one thing you must ask yourself before building out your content and making SEO plan is:

 

What is the purpose of your website?

 

Knowing the purpose of your website is crucial, it will help you create content that delivers the message that you intend. Do you want your website to be simple? Do you want your website to be a large eCommerce platform? You need to clearly showcase what your company is all about. This allows you to create a site that isn’t convoluted and filled with nonsensical information. It allows you to present only the information that you need while sticking to your brand.

 


 

Icon depicting text, images and layout for the web

 

Content

What is content? It is anything and everything that you place on your website to inform potential customers about your business. Now that you have decided what you want to receive out of your website, you’ll need to build out content for multiple pages. Each page on your website should have a specific purpose that is directly linked to certain characteristics of your business. Here are some tips to help you craft your content.

 

Know Your Customer

In a previous blog post we discussed how to develop a buyer persona. Understanding the characteristics of your website audience will help shape the way you create and present your content. Remember, you can also have a secondary buyer persona and you don’t want to forget about this group as well. As you draft your content keep in mind who your customer is, detail your content to attract and keep their attention while visiting your website. This will benefit you in the long run and assist your sales process.

 

Use the Inverted Pyramid Model

If you haven’t heard of this yet, the inverted pyramid is a form of presenting information in writing, and it’s been around for decades. It suggests that you provide the most important information first, then as you make your way down the page you provide more specific information to support your message. For more information on the pyramid method take a look at this article.

 

Be Clear

It’s incredibly important that right off the bat you are extremely clear about what your business is all about. In a concise statement let the viewer know exactly what your business offers. If you look at REM’s home page, you’ll notice the first thing that you read is “We Provide Business Web Design & Development.” Our viewers know exactly what services and products we offer.

 

Keep it Simple

Remember, your content shouldn’t be paragraphs of information. The key to creating content is keeping it simple and easy to read. Your website should not act as an encyclopedia of your business, you want to keep it simple and concise. This includes the sentence structure, according to the Technical Communicators Association, a common plain English guideline says a sentence should be an average of 15-20 words. This will help your audience stay engaged with your content.

 

Write for the General Public

Depending on the business that you are in, one thing to keep in mind is that your audience will likely have no idea what you mean when you use industry-specific vernacular. You are the expert in your field, but this does not mean the individual that is viewing your website is. The rule of thumb is to create content for someone at a grade 7-9 reading level.

 

Add Calls to Action

Within your content you should strategically place calls to action, they are best used when they match the information that you are reading about. For example, on REM’s home page we have a “Blog Teaser” you will see teasers of our 3 most recent blog posts and as you scan over them you may see something interesting – there’s a “show all posts” call-to-action button right below the teasers to take you to our blog page. On our Website Design page, there is a call-to-action button that takes you directly to our Contact Us page that gives you all the options to get in touch with us.

 

Imagery

In addition to text, you want to make sure that you’re making use of imagery on your website. Placing pictures on your website assists in presenting your brand as well as informing the viewer about your company’s products and services. When building websites for our clients, our designers typically request images from you to showcase what your business is about. It’s always preferred and better to use your images, however stock photography is always an option.

 


 

Icon depicting data analysis on a web page

 

Search Engine Optimization

Now that we have some general rules to abide by when you start drafting your content, we can’t forget the importance of investing in SEO practices. When REM designs and builds sites, we keep SEO practices in mind and our content management system (CMS) supports SEO updates. Each one of our sites have predetermined titled tags based on the style of your website, there are areas within [email protected] that allow you to add meta tags and descriptions on the website as well as your web pages. Here are a few more tips for you while building and implementing your SEO strategy.

 

Keywords

Thinking strategically about keywords in your page content is a great start. Having them scattered throughout your website is even better if they are placed strategically. When selecting your keywords, you want to make sure your keywords are specific to your business. Another thing to keep in mind is build your list of keywords based on what your potential customers would be searching for. With a keyword dense website, you increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines.

 

Keep It Current

Another great practice to increase your ranking is consistently updating your website. After you’ve spent all of this time building content and having it designed nicely, odds are you don’t want to make significant and multiple changes to it. Don’t worry – you don’t have to! Blogging is a great option to identify your website as being refreshed. If you’ve never blogged before, have no fear it’s easy! Blogging is meant to be an informal way of connecting with your audience, teaching them about your products and services and sharing news about your business. Blogging is also another area where you can apply business specific keywords.

 

Linking

Adding links to your website content is also beneficial for your SEO rankings. You can use internal and external links. Internal links are those that you add to your content that link to other pages on your website. External links are those that redirect your viewers to other high-quality websites. Be sure the links that you create on your website have a purpose and are done thoughtfully. For more information on how to achieve proper linking on your website for SEO purposes, I suggest checking this article out.

 

Optimizing Images

As we previously mentioned, imagery on your website is a great form of content to express and provide variety to people visiting your website. However, it is very important that your images are compressed and optimized to render quickly upon your web page loading. If you have large, high-resolution images that you’ve added to your website, they may take longer to load – this can damage your search engine ranking significantly. Another great trick you can apply to your images are adding alternate (aka ALT) tags and captions that are keyword specific.

 


 

Final Thoughts

When you’re working on building a website for your small business, you need to take the time to make sure your website not only depicts your brand, but also your business. You need to make sure it’s user friendly and easy to navigate, concise and informative. Your content should be drafted strategically, easy to read and keyword dense.

 

At REM Web Solutions we have all of the tools to get you moving. It’s what we’re good at and we’ve built the software to prove it. Our CMS [email protected] allows you to add content, images, links and so much more with ease. Our designers work with you to ensure your brand is expressed through the look and feel of the site, they help you create a layout to ensure your content can be easily interpreted. Our developers work tirelessly to ensure your website functions the way that you need it to. Our customer success team will guide you through the entire process by providing training and answering questions throughout your lifetime with us.

 

In addition to these services, REM has a great marketing team that can help you implement all of these tricks and tips in the correct way to ensure you launch a website that not only looks and functions great, but brings you business.

 

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

3D Illustration of a computer with office and website-related icons around it

 

It’s been over a year of some businesses struggling to stay alive as a result of the pandemic. This year has taught us how to restructure our teams, building work from home infrastructures, taking every precaution in the book for essential workers that are required to physically be around each other. This year has truly taken a toll on our businesses, unfortunately some were forced to close their doors, but many were able to adapt, and with the inevitable changes that we face moving forward we see new opportunities and new businesses rising from the ashes of COVID-19.

 

As we continue to soldier forward, now more than ever is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business’ online presence. Do you have one? Do you have social media accounts? If you do, are you easy to find? Are you attractive to your target audience? Are you reaching your target audience? These are a lot of questions I know, but having an online presence is the most important thing you can do for your business today and it’s extremely important to make sure you’re doing it right.

 

Websites

I know this sounds strange, since most companies do have websites, but it’s something that we need to bring up, having an updated website is incredibly important these days. Here are a few questions I suggest you ask yourself in regards to your website:

  1. When was the last time you did a redesign on your website?

  2. Is the information that you have on it accurate with the services and products that you have to offer?

  3. Is your site responsive – meaning does your site automatically change based on the device it’s being used on?

  4. Is your contact information up to date?

  5. Do you have links to your active social media accounts on your website?

  6. How are you ranking in terms of Search Engine Optimization?

  7. Is your website AODA compliant? Should it be?

  8. How are you informing your clients of changes on how you do business?

These are all very important questions that you need to be asking about your website, and if you don’t have a website yet, these are most definitely questions that you want to ask when designing your new website.

 

Search Engine Optimization

This is one of the most common questions that we are asked about from our clients and prospective clients: “How do I get my website to show up on Google’s first page?” Search engine ranking is one of the most sought-after results and there are things you can do on your website to help increase your ranking such as having a responsive website, blogging, redesigning your content to ensure you have proper heading structures in place, and optimizing images that you have on your website. If you’re looking to boost your ranking, give us a shout – we’re here to help!

 

Social Media Marketing

The concept of social media marketing for businesses has really taken off over the past year. Businesses have turned to social media applications such as Instagram and TikTok to attract potential clients and highlight their products and services. Are you making the most of these applications to help generate business?

 

eCommerce

In a previous blog we touched on some of the eCommerce tools that we have available to you, with the increase of curbside pickup methods, businesses are now required to offer their products available to purchase online and picked up at a specified date and time. We have built solutions to help businesses meet the needs of their customers – allowing them to browse online, request quotes, and make purchases. This functionality has almost become an absolute requirement for the survival of businesses.

 

In conclusion the reality of face-to-face interactions is dwindling and it’s incredibly important that the world can find you online, not only should they be able to find you, but they should be able to KNOW you based on your website, social media, SEO and eCommerce platforms. Having a well-rounded online presence will directly increase your sales and we’re here to help you make sure you’re well prepared to tackle the new normal of business. Aside from our tools, our team is here to support you throughout your journey, make educated recommendations, provide you with industry knowledge to help increase your profits and guide you through your marketing efforts.

 

If you’re an existing client and are looking for suggestions on ways that you can improve your online presence, or if you’re a new business looking for some guidance feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We want to help you be the best you can be!

 

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Infographic showing the brand triangle: price, quality and customer experience

 

As you continue to lay the foundation of your Unique Selling Proposition another thing to keep in mind is where you fall in the Brand Triangle. What is this unheard-of triangle you ask? Well, it’s what we use to start the conversation of how you define the most valuable selling point of your business, from there you’ll be able to clearly develop marketing tactics that accurately reach your target audience. 

 

When attempting to sell products and services most business owners make the following statements:

  1. We make the best product / created the best solution

  2. Not only is our product/service the best, it is also the best price on the market

  3. We provide the best customer service

This sounds familiar right? Majority of the time these three statements are made by business owners because they truly believe that they are the best at what they do or have. The main problem here is found in the term “majority”. If most people feel this way about what they are selling, this increases your competition in your go to market branding strategies. If everyone is saying the same thing how are we as consumers to decide?

 

This is where the brand triangle comes into play and works by helping you provide clarity to potential consumers as well as internal departments of your business. Up until this point you have likely positioned yourself in the middle of the triangle, in a sea of businesses that believe the exact same thing as you. The secret is to move yourself towards one of the three points of the triangle, which are:

  1. Price

  2. Quality

  3. Customer Experience

This practice can be quite daunting – deciding how you want your target audience to feel about your what you’re selling and understand your market position is a big step and shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Let’s dive into some examples of each position on the brand triangle, hopefully it will help you decide where your business should be!

 

Price

A great example of how a business markets on price being their main selling point is Walmart. If you’re choosing to compete on price, you’re telling everyone that it’s the price of your product/service that makes you great and is why your potential customers to choose you. Walmart has done a fantastic job building out their branding strategy to solely focus on price. For example, if you open a flyer or view commercials, order online via their website, the main advertisements are “Always low prices”, “So. Many. Rollbacks” etc. When choosing to shop at Walmart one is not concerned about the quality of their purchase or the customer experience that they are receiving. People know what they are getting – products for low prices, anything beyond that is a bonus and is normally acceptable by consumers because that is what they are expecting based on the messaging they have received.

 

Quality

If you’re choosing to brand your product based on its quality, you’re offering up information to your target audience solely on how good your product or service is. For example, Apple: can you remember the last time you saw an Apple product go on sale? It’s a rare occasion and when it does happen, the sale is generally a minimal dollar amount off. Apple has positioned themselves as a brand that sells quality products and consumers are willing to pay a high dollar amount for it. Their focus on using the best technology and materials for all product lines and accessories inform their consumers that the quality of their product is the best on the market. You’ll also note that customer experience is not something they brand themselves as having the best of. How often do you walk by an apple store and it’s packed to the max inside with lines out the door? This is because their consumers are willing to give up the customer experience aspect of it, their willing to put aside the hoops they must jump through to get their product, and it works!

 

Customer Experience

The final position that you can take on brand representation is experience, and this means that you’re there for your consumers. Let’s take a look at a store such as Home Depot as an example. There is an array of products available to you that range from different prices and quality. However, the one thing that sets home depot aside is their customer experience. When you visit a home depot in each department there is at least one individual to assist you, you can ask them questions about what you’re trying to do and they’ll guide you through the process, make recommendations and help you stock up with what you need. They’ll load your cart for you, rent vehicles to make your job easier and much more. You’ll notice that Home Depot and their employees pride themselves on being there to help their customers.

 


 

Once you determine where you fall on the brand triangle, it will help you define your Unique Selling Proposition, and build out your marketing plan. Take the time to identify where on the triangle is best suited for your business, products/services and your customers and start building out messaging. Once this has been completed, please note it is imperative that you stick with this brand, go all in and don’t divert from how you market yourself!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of floating desktop computer with statistics and other things around it

 

I remember the first time I heard SEO I was thoroughly confused, what does it mean? How does it work? As I started my journey of attempting to make sense of Search Engine Optimization, I found myself utterly confused, mainly because I had very little knowledge of key terminology. I wish I had taken a moment to understand the vernacular used as it would have been a great help. That being said, we compiled a list of terminology for your review, when you’re having SEO discussions; I hope you will feel slightly more informed than I did.

 

Please also note, the key terms below and their corresponding descriptions were not created by myself - I wish I was that good! I have compiled this list using the following sources, check them out for more terminology!

 

MOZ - https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/seo-glossary

 

PATHFINDER SEO - https://pathfinderseo.com/guide/seo-glossary/

 

SearchEngine Journal - https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/seo-glossary-terms-definitions/#close

 


 

Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages

De-indexed: a page or group of pages that are removed from Google’s index.

Indexing: The storing and organizing of content found during crawling

Intent: what users really want from the words they typed into a search bar

Organic: Earned placement in search results opposed to paid advertisements

Query: Words typed into a search bar.

Ranking: Ordering search results by relevance to the query

Search Engine: is a software program that is designed to carry out web searches

SERP: Is an acronym for “search engine results page” – what you see after a search

Traffic: when users visit your website

White Hat: Search engine optimization practices that comply with Google’s quality guidelines

Black Hat: Search engine optimization practices that violate Google’s quality guidelines

Bots: these are what scour the Internet to find content, a.k.a crawlers or spiders

Cache: a saved version of your web page

Cloaking: showing different content to search engines than you show to human visitors

Engagement: Data that represents how searchers interact with your site from search results

JavaScript: A programming language that adds dynamic elements to static web pages

Navigation: A list of links that help visitors navigate to other pages on your website

Sitemap: A list of URLs on your site that crawlers can use to discover and index our content

Alt text: Alternative text is the text in HTML code that describes the images on web pages

Anchor text: the text with which you link to pages

Header tags: An HTML element used to designate headings on your page

Image compression: Making image file sizes smaller without degrading the image’s quality resulting in a faster speed of page loading

SSL certificate: A “Secure Sockets Layer” used to encrypt data passed between the web server and browser of the searcher.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The rate (expressed in a percentage) at which users click on an organic search result. This is calculated by dividing the total number of organic clicks by the total number of impressions then multiplying by 100.

CMS: Is an acronym for Content Management System. A web-based application that lets people create, upload and manage digital assets

Content: Words, images, videos, or sounds that convey information that is meant to be distributed to and consumed by an audience

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets describe how HTML elements (e.g., colour, fonts) should appear on webpages and adapt when viewed on different devices

Google Analytics: a free web analytics program that can be used to track audience behaviour, traffic acquisition sources, content performance and more

Keyword: A word, words, or phrase that an SEO professional or marketer targets for the purpose of matching and ranking for what users are searching for

Meta Tags: information that appears in the HTML source code of a webpage to describe its contents to search engines.

Responsive Website: A website designed to automatically adapt to a user’s screen size, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop or mobile device

Title Tag: An HTML meta tag that acts as the title of a webpage. This is typically the tag search engines use when displaying search listings. It should include strategic and relevant keywords for that specific page

User Experience (UX): The overall feeling users are left with after interacting with a brand, its online presence, and its product/services

Content is King: An often-used phrase which emphasizes the importance of content to search engine optimization. The search engines value content because it’s proof of your relevance and expertise

Mobile-First Indexing: In 2018, Google started crawling and indexing web pages based on the mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop version

 

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Illustration of a superhero brand character

 

Welcome back to our Marketing 101 series! In our last blog we discussed Buyer Personas, what they are, why they are important, how to use them, who benefits from them and we briefly touched on when you can use them. Once you’ve developed your Buyer Persona, the next step is to figure out how to intrigue them – we do this using the Unique Selling Proposition.

 

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

Your Unique Selling Proposition is what you use to communicate to your target audience. Within this proposition, you will define what you’re selling and why it’s exclusive to your business. In other words: why choose you over another business?

 

What’s your problem?

The key to creating a succinct unique selling proposition is having a clear understanding of who your target audience is. Once you have created your buyer personas, you should be capable of understanding what they want and build a narrative that identifies the problems you’re solving for them. During this process, you should always keep in mind what the specific buying behaviours are of your target market. Using this knowledge will allow you to develop a statement that will persuade a buyer to choose you.

 

What’s in it for them?

Aside from buying behaviours, another piece of the proposition puzzle that should be identified are the benefits. Yes, you have a great product and here are the reasons why your customer should choose you over a competitor. What is it that you offer that sets you aside? Is it customer support? Low prices? Do you have a quicker turnaround time, are you more flexible? Are your products and services versatile? Take a step back and stack yourself up against the competition and clearly define what the customer has to gain by choosing you.

 

Take an oath.

Now that you’ve identified the problem, explained how you’re going to solve it, presented the benefits of choosing your company the final bit of information that you should relay to your potential customers is your commitment to them. Taking ownership and an oath to ensure their satisfaction is crucial. It provides your customer with ease of mind knowing you’re invested in their success.

 

Break it down!

At this point in the process you’ve likely created a paragraph worth of words and this is where things get tricky. For the unique selling proposition to be effective, you’ll need to rework it down to 1-2 sentences. Why? The proposition is meant to act like an “elevator speech” it should be used constantly throughout your marketing campaign. Having a short and concise message allows you to portray your proposition clearly and effectively for potential customers to easily digest.

 

Here are some great examples of unique selling propositions:

 

FedEx Corporation
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

 

Mars, Incorporated
The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

 

De Beers
A diamond is forever.

 

Ben & Jerry’s
We make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way.

 

Page Eleven Paper Goods
This is not your ordinary datebook.

 

Show it off

Now that you’ve created your unique selling proposition it is imperative that you make use of it anywhere and everywhere. This statement is your brand, it defines your business, your products and services and it is what customers should think of when they hear your business name. From inception during sales, on your website, social media, marketing campaigns etc. you proposition should be front and centre, and why shouldn’t it? You’ve invested blood, sweat and tears (hopefully not too much) creating representation of you and your business – wear it proud!

 

How do we fit in?

When creating your website with REM Web Solutions, our designers will ensure that your unique selling proposition is displayed perfectly on your website. We will also do our very best to illustrate your proposition through the design, by choosing reflective colours, images and much more. Our development team promises to build a site that will reiterate your proposition to your potential customers as they navigate information that is presented to them. Our customer success/support team will tag along throughout your journey with REM helping you apply best practices on how to convey your USP using our standard modules.

 


 

At the end of the day, I’d like to think our Unique Selling Proposition is “Customer Success Comes First” it’s the phrase that makes us who we are and collectively, every day, we are working towards customer satisfaction. If you need some help building out your marketing plan, feel free to contact us and we can help point you in the right direction!

 

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Illustration of a woman in front of a large computer screen with online shopping

 

When creating your marketing plan, or any plan for your business, the first question typically asked is “What/Who is your target market?” At a glance it seems like an answer that is quite easily cultivated based on the product or services that you’re selling however it is one of the most critical elements to your business. Buyer personas are developed by building a clearly defined picture of your customer based on their background, demographic, behavioural tendencies, needs and interests. The creation of buyer personas is crucial for the success of your business and we’re here to help break it down for you.

 

This seems like a lot of work! Is it worth it?

Drafting your buyer personas is lot of work, but the return on investment is truly worth your time and effort. Here are just a few examples of how a clearly defined buyer persona is beneficial to your business’ key departments.

 

Sales/Customer Success

Sharing buyer personas with your sales team not only educates them on their target market for lead generation, it gives them leverage to steer their conversations with potential buyers throughout their sales cycle. Understanding who they are speaking with allows them to start building a relationship of trust and comfort with a potential customer. This also holds true when it comes to customer retention, when customer success teams are tasked at renewing contracts having a separate buyer persona for existing customers can be extremely beneficial when crafting communication to solidify extended business contracts.

 

Product/Service Development

Pivot! Pivot! Sorry I couldn’t resist the Ross Gellar reference. More often than not a clear buyer persona leads to revising your product or service offerings, historically this practice was more relevant to start-ups when entering their market for the first time. With the onset of Covid-19 and the continuous rise of technological advancements there are far more barriers of entry that business owners face nowadays. Your buyer personas arm your product/service development teams with a tool that allows them to re-evaluate what you’re selling and make necessary modifications to increase customer satisfaction and sales.

 

Marketing

If it’s anyone that is going to benefit from a clear and thoughtfully articulated buyer persona, it’s going to be your marketing team. Knowing who your customer is, their interests, buying habits, where they are in the world, what they enjoy in life allows your marketing team to craft communication to potential and existing customers strategically. Whether it is building content for your website, creating posts on social media or expanding promotional offers to generate interest – the buyer personas become the foundation for your marketing efforts.

 

I’m in! Now What?

Research… research… and more research. The best way to start building out your buyer personas is to conduct research on individuals or companies that you would classify as being potential customers based on your product/service offerings. These are some great starting points.

 

Customer Interviews

If you have them, use them. Existing customers are a great source of knowledge, and typically are more than happy to chat with you about your products/services. Not only are you giving them an opportunity to provide feedback, but you’re also spending the time with them and building your relationship. Existing customers can provide you with insights on your offerings that you may not cross your mind, especially if you don’t use them on a daily basis yourself.

 

Sales Team

Talk to your sales team, they are on the frontline of the battlefield and are well positioned to provide you with a wealth of knowledge on buyers. They are networking, listening for queues and taking in what customers are looking for. Have a monthly touch base with your sales team to stay on top of trending consumer behaviour, competitive advantages that you can capitalize on. Your sales team is a great resource aside from business development.

 

Scavenge for Data

There is an abundant number of online resources available to you for consumer data. Depending on your market, https://www.statista.com/ is a good resource. Also don’t forget to research your competitors, knowing how they position themselves and define their buyer personas can lead to competitive advantage recognition for your company.

 


 

Now that you know what a Buyer Persona is, give it try! Take some time building one out, use your team for reference and ideas, and do your research. There is a plethora of online templates that you can choose from to help get you started.'

 

If you would like to know more feel free to reach out to our support team at [email protected] and we’ll get you in touch with someone who can educate you on the services that we offer to help boost your marketing efforts as well as share information on how [email protected] can be used to better reach and attract potential buyers.

 

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Woman using a computer in a home office

 

2021 is a new year with new rules and unfortunately some of the rules aren’t helping our businesses. With COVID-19 still looming among us a lot of companies have been forced to adapt to a new normal such as online ordering, curbside pickup, virtual meetings, webinars, events and so much more. In our region we have lost many small/medium size businesses in 2020 and there are plenty continuing to struggle.

 

Our goal is to do our best to help you persevere. Having a well designed and developed website could be the key to helping you through the surge of online interactions. REM Web Solutions may be able to help you out, with tools such as our newsletter and blog modules you can reach your clientele keeping them informed of product/service offerings, discounts and things happening/changing in your business.

 

In addition to communicating, our media collections help highlight your work, the product and eCommerce modules allow you to showcase and/or sell online. If you’re not selling products you can make use of our events module that allow your clients to register and pay for online seminars, classes etc.

 

As your business adapts, we’re here to support you through the changes. If we don’t have an REM standard solution for you, our team of designers and developers are equipped to build custom functionality to help you achieve your business needs.

 

If you have any questions about how we can help feel free to reach out; we’re a chatty bunch and would love to hear from you!

 

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