Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 simple steps: Part Three

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Start Ups, Websites

Welcome back for Step 2 continued!

STEP 2: REFINE

 

8. CONTACT US

Interestingly your Contact Us page is one of the most important across your site. This is where your customers can get in touch with you and ask their questions.

You want the ability to communicate with and find you to be as flawless as possible. There is nothing worse than stumbling across a business you’re really interested in, only to find that there is nowhere you can get in touch with them!

You want to make sure that your contact us page is easy to get to from anywhere on your site and that visitors can get in touch with the right people in your company. Like my social media links I like to have access to our contact us available wherever you are on any page

There are a few things you can add to you contact page to make it really easy for someone to get in touch and lower that bounce rate:

  • Having an email account that matches your web address. What I mean here is instead of a yourbusinessname@hotmail.com or yourbusinessname@gmail.com consider getting an official email account: info@yourbusinessname.com or hello@yourbusinessname.com. It adds an element of professionality to your business.
  • Make sure your email address is a link. I know it sounds crazy but if a user has to copy and paste your email address into their composer they are less likely to get in touch. If you make it into an email link this means when you click it, a new email will automatically open in their default mail app with your email address already in the ‘To:’ line. It skips a step for the user making them more likely to get in touch.
  • Instead of or as well as you can have a Contact Us Box with whatever fields you like in it for enquiries. That enables users to write their questions then and there. This will turn into an email and be magically pinged to your inbox so it cuts out the middle man entirely making communication more direct and instantaneous directly from your visitors browser.
  • These days there are also apps or plugins you can get to link directly to your Facebook Messenger account. Contact methods are building more and more everyday and (even though from a business management perspective it can be a complete nightmare having to check a million digital mailboxes) different avenues of communication is exactly what your customers are looking for, from the traditional phone number to Instagram messenger.
  • If applicable, so if you’re a shop, a performance or rehearsal space, a café, basically any business with a fixed location, add a map to your website. Again, it’s pretty simple to embed Google Maps into your page so it’s completely interactive. You can also have maps in a myriad of different colours and designs nowadays so you can find the right map to perfectly compliment your company’s branding.

The easier it is for people to get in touch with you, the more time they will spend on your site, and the higher your search engine ranking.

As your company size increases, you’ll noticed the same questions and queries cropping up. At this point, to save time and, as an added bonus, improve your SEO you may want to add an FAQ pageto your site.

9. FAQ

A Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQ) will both save you time answering emails and increase your SEO.

You want this to be easily accessible so create a link wherever you have a contact us form or page and anywhere your customers are likely to want to get in touch and ask questions.

An FAQ page will inevitably grow as your business grows so you want to make it as efficient for users to find the answers to their questions as possible. I like to add page anchors to FAQs. Then dependent on how many questions your FAQ contains I will either begin with a list of questions which link to the answers further down the page, or a contents of categories which link to questions which link to answers.

Not only will this make your FAQ help your clients but it also means the questions can appear multiple times on a page, without being spam, so it will play in your favour when boosting SEO.

So be sure to remember you Keywords and Keyphrases when composing your questions and answers.

As an FAQ is frequently updated it also shows Google that you are still active. Remember, the more you update your site the higher your ranking.

10. FORMATTING

The way that you format content on your site is integral to your SEO.

Remember: SEO Bots scan your website’s code. They don’t see all the pretty features or pictures you’ve carefully displayed, they only read the HTML and CSS coding which translates into what your page looks like. So to Google it looks a little something like this:

SEMrush post code

Luckily these days you don’t need to be code fluent to create your website, but you should have a basic understanding of what certain things mean and how they are seen by Google in order to appropriately rank you.

For example, the size of your header has an impact on how Google ranks the importance of the statement within the header code. Header styles in html coding rank from 1-6, one being the largest and most important, so be sure to really consider your keyphrases and keywords when creating headers.

Specifically, in your code you’re looking for: h1 h2 h3 h4 h5 h6…

Font Size also affects the way your content is read by Google bots.

This doesn’t mean you should put everything written on your site in size 100! You still need to consider page readability. If it is easy to read people will spend more time on your site digesting your content.

Think about your Target Audience here too. What age range is your main focus? It may sound silly but if you’re targeting aged 60+ you may want to think about enlarging all your font sizes so when a user visits your site they can immediately read your content, on any device, without having to fumble around their house looking for their reading glasses. This will decrease your bounce rate and hence improve your google ranking.

Font formatting can also have an impact so if you put some of your content in bold or underlined Google can see that this particular bit of text is more important than the bits around it.

Whilst researching for this article I can across the Pasadena Playhouse Website and discovered they’ve had their own font designed. Not on is it gorgeous, but it means Pasadena Playhouse will be all over their coding whenever the font style is used. This is absolute genius for their SEO!

Make sure you always check your format on multiple devices! What looks brilliant on a desktop may look awful on a mobile device and vice versa. Most website builders and templates have systems in place to adapt your website for mobile devices so usually navigation is the same, if not better, on a mobile or tablet. But it is always worth a check none the less.

Keep your copyright up to date! There is little that I find more annoying than when a website has included copyright in the footer only for the year to be out of date! Say it reads 2018, visitors and Google Bots could be led to believe your website hasn’t been updated in two years. Google will lower your ranking and your visitors will leave thinking you’re no longer up and running! Nightmare! It takes a few minutes and is a once a year job, so get on it!

Finally, you want to be sure to keep your page visually stimulating. Add Images, GIFs, Videos, clickable maps, anything that will increase engagement levels on your site

It is important to remember this though: (as of yet, at least) Search Engine Bots have no way to interpret how videos and images might link to your keyphrases and keywords. All they see is a page of code!

This means how you name and detail your visual content is integral to boosting your SEO.

11. NAMING YOUR FILES

Like I said Google will not interpret your picture of a plush auditorium and rank you higher for the keyword ‘Theatre’. This is why it is so incredibly important to RENAME YOUR FILES. Name it ‘auditorium theatre.jpg’ and then Google will know what the picture is of!

If you start doing this from the beginning of your website production it is easy to get in the swing of it but if you haven’t it can be a proper faff and take bloody ages but it is so worth it.

(And I will be the first to admit it is something I know I am lazy with on my own site, but when you’re a one woman business machine it can eat into your entire life!)

I can almost guarantee (mainly because it is such a faffarooney) very few of your competitors will have done this! If you want to check if they have you can go into their code or often just hover your mouse over the top of the image to learn what it is called.

You can also add alt tags (or alternative tags) to your images. These add an additional detailed description to your image (and look a little bit better in the box that appears when you hover over an image on a webpage). This will also benefit your SEO. With the added detail you can really put your keywords and keyphrases to good use.

Ideally you wanna do this on your social media too! Especially if you’re going to embed images and videos into your website.

It’s exactly for this reason that Video descriptions are so important. Even if you embed a video from YouTube or Facebook the description for that video will be embedded into your code too.

Same goes for any documentation on your site. Google will glaze over a file called 847238962397846.pdf but if it’s called Birmingham-art-gallery-and-museum-events-risk-assessment.pdf they’re gonna take notice.

 

12. URL STRUCTURE

It’s important to remember your chosen URL is unique to your site and can be incredibly important when boost your SEO.

It used to be the case that the more common URL you had (.com or .co.uk) the higher your page would rank. This is starting to change.

I have a client who has recently bought the URL www.onlytogether.cymru. This is the name of their up and coming art project and the location it will take place (Wales in Welsh). As a project exploring Welsh heritage this is the perfect URL for both their website and the site’s SEO.

Think about this when designing each individual page to your website. For example, if the URL to your About Us page is www.yourbusinessname.com/about-us Google will know exactly where to direct people if they want to learn about you! If it reads www.yourbusinessname.come/Fhsdjfdsos8676etg9frwrESFHUE& Google won’t have a clue.

There are different ways you can set up your URL structure but in general practice it will auto name to whatever the title of the page is, so keep in mind your keywords and keyphrases when developing page titles.

13. ONLINE STORE

Do you have an online shop or sell merchandise through your website? This is another great way to boost SEO.

Each individual product can have its own individual page and, as I have mentioned, the more pages you have the higher your SEO.

Believe it or not there is a reason that Amazon is so successful and it has a lot to do with its website design. So, if you want ideas for your own product pages, pull them from the masters:

  1. Product Title with Image and Options: Here we see ‘Shakespeare in Love’ on DVD, the formats it can be purchased through (VHS, Prime Video, Blu-Ray and DVD) and the price difference along with a very brief product description.
  2. Add to Basket or Buy now: These immediate options make purchasing quick and easy meaning users are more likely to carry out the transaction.
  3. Share on Social: Like I’ve said before (and probably will again) include links to your Social Media everywhere! They also have an option to email it to a friend which covers all possible demographics looking at Amazon.
  4. Add to Lists: Specifically think Wish List, if your client can’t afford it at present build in an option for them to save it somewhere on your website so should they stumble across it again they get the option the buy it straight away!
  5. Special Offers: Give people even more of a reason to buy additional products.
  6. Other Sellers: Is it sold cheaper elsewhere on Amazon? They’ll let you know and even help you to check out other buyers.
  7. Items Frequently Bought Together: The first of Amazon’s upsale campaigns! They pick the top item which is bought with the item you’re viewing and give you the option to add both to your basket at the same time.
  8. Customers Who Viewed Also Viewed: The second upsale strategy. They’ll show you other products viewed around the same time by other customers.
  9. In Depth Product Details: This goes into detail of the technical specifications of the product similarly to an FAQ, answering all and any questions you could possibly have about a product in one place.
  10. Customers Who Bought Also Bought: The third upsale approach found further down the page. This shows you what users who actually bought this also bought.
  11. What People Viewed After Looking At his: I’m sure you’ve notice by now but all of Amazon’s upsale tactics are very similar! It is all their way of encouraging browsing and site interaction.
  12. Prime Video link: An advert for a slightly different service Amazon provide but is still relevant to what the user is viewing.
  13. Customer Reviews: Visitors put a surprising amount of faith in the opinions of others. Customer reviews are a great way both to boost your content and inspire purchases.
  14. Sponsored Advert: Whether you’re promoting something else available on your site or it is linked to another business who have requested advertising space on your page, it can be a great way to improve income and SEO.

How exactly will all of this improve your SEO? There are a multitude of ways:

  • All of this adds detail and content to your page and can be frequently updated.
  • The content itself includes a lot of repetition which is great if you have some of your keywords and keyphrase in there. Google is more likely to notice you but it won’t register the activity as spam!
  • The longer a user spends on your site the higher SEO, so the detail all on one page means the user will stay on it for longer and the mass throng of links to elsewhere in your site means even if they leave the page, chances are they will remain on your site.
  • Everything is linked! Again, we will discuss the importance of links in part 4!
  • If you are completely registered with the ins and outs of Google Analytics you can work out how much your website is actually making with regards to transactions and income, the higher your income the higher your ranking.
  • Again, think about your formatting and naming images! All of which will boost SEO.

  

14. GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Install Google Analytics! It is crazy simple to do whatever platform you’ve used to build your website. What better way to get Google looking at your website than embedding html coding which means Google has to look through your website!

Seriously! It’s a no brainer!

15. FAVICON

Finally, add a Favicon (or a Site Icon)! What’s that? It’s the little logo that comes up next to the website title in the tab of your browser. Although it won’t necessarily boost your SEO directly, (unless you name the image for one of your keywords of course) it does legitimise your sight. By looking all official visitors are more likely to stay on your site for longer, consuming more of your content and improving your Google Analytics which in turn improves your SEO so it’s a win.

Sites without favicons are a serious pet hate of mine so if I come on your site to see you haven’t put one on there be I shall be electronically wagging my finger at you!

Come back soon for the final instalment!

Any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

Make an SEO Plan for your Arts Business in 3 simple steps: Part Two

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Digital Marketing, Websites

STEP 2: REFINE

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

  1. YOUR HOMEPAGE

And the very beginning of your website is your homepage!

This is generally the first impression people will get of your website and business therefore you want to make sure it is clear from the offset exactly what it is you do. You also want to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to interact with.

There is a super cool feature on Google Analytics where you can bring up an image of your homepage to figure out exactly how users are interacting with you site so you can learn what’s working and what’s not. (Don’t worry, I will be doing some Google Analytics posts in the near future!) It will also illustrate where they aren’t clicking. These are the areas you want to improve.

  1. CALL TO ACTION

Do you have a call to action button on your home page? This is a link which you draw attention to as somewhere you really want people to click. Facebook pages have a call to action button in the top bar which you can set to engagements like:

  • Contact Us
  • Subscribe Now
  • Donate Now
  • Check Out Website

call to action button facebook

As you can see the call to action button stands out over the other places you can click on the page, but it is still in keeping with your company branding.

Are you trying to sell tickets? Consider a prominent What’s On Button. Running a blog? Get people to check out your latest posts. Building an email database for future project? Have a Subscribe to our Newsletter. You get the point.

You don’t have to limit call to action buttons to your homepage either. If you have a page dedicated to a specific show or exhibition you may want to put a call to action button that says ‘Buy Tickets’ to encourage users to take the next step. Do you have some exciting news? Add a share now button to enable people to upload a link to your news straight onto their social media.

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s a good idea to ensure your links to social media are visible too. Social Media is such an inherent part of people’s lives with the average user spending 2 hours 24 minutes on it daily according to TechJury. So ideally you want your audience to be able to find it wherever you are on the site. I like to put it both in the header and footer so that your visitors can find your social wherever they are on the website along with including share options on posts.

You want to consider adding call to action buttons or statements like ‘Join Us’ or ‘Share Here’ to encourage continued interaction.

I’ll talk more about making links in Step 3 next month. (That’s right, links are so integral they get their own section!)

Remember, social media is one of the best ways to organically grow your company so add it in whenever you can.

  1. LOAD TIME

The other key feature about your homepage is how long it takes to load.  We live in a widely impatient society and, on average, if your load time is longer than seven seconds, you’ll lose a third of your visitors, crazy right?

How can you make your site load faster? To start with if you have images or videos on your homepage you may want to consider lowering the file size or video resolution. If you have built your site through WordPress there are plugins that will help your pages load quicker to. The best free plugin I’ve found is called WP Fastest Cache. It has a ridiculously easy set up that will immediately increase that website load time and decrease your bounce rate!

  1. COMPANY TAGLINE

Have you come up with a slogan or tagline for your business yet? You know, like ‘McDonalds – I’m lovin’ it’ or ‘Nike – Just do it’, well sort of anyway.

When you are considering your company tagline be sure to keep your these in line with your keyphrases and keywords. For example, The Arts Business Tagline is:

‘Marketing and Business Advice for the Creative Industries and Beyond…’

I’ve got marketing and business in there so that will help my instructional blogposts rank and ‘Creative Industries’ will help me hit up the right area of work. It’s working both for my business and my SEO.

Your tagline can appear all over you site without being perceived by Google as spam! Obviously, don’t over do it, us it sparingly and appropriately.

 

  1. BLOGPOSTS

Believe it or not Blogs are still the best way to boost your SEO.

Google’s bots are designed to consume text-based content and since AI hasn’t evolved enough to understand the content in videos or photos (not yet anyway) it means that writing is still one of the only ways to properly improve your search engine position.

You don’t need to name it ‘Blog section’ or anything, I know it can be a little difficult to slot this in seamlessly to your website without contrasting with your brand (unless you are a blog). So, jazz it up a little. It could be where you upload news or stories as well.

When writing your blogposts make sure you’re always thinking about how to pull together your article and your keywords and keyphrases.

The length of your blogposts is heavily debated. If you’re looking for a ballpark figure, make sure you keep it between 300-400 words as a bare minimum and 700-800 as an average.

You may think that surely the longer the blogpost the better, but remember you want to keep people engaged with your site and a ten thousand word essay on ‘How to Thread a Sewing Machine’ is unlikely to ever be read from start to finish.

If you’re struggling to think up new content for your blog there are plenty of places to find inspiration:

  1. Start by bringing it back to you and your company. What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? The reason you started your business. That something, something you have that no other company does. Maybe you’re the only children’s theatre company that teaches comedy in the UK. Develop content around that. Think autobiographical too, don’t be afraid to share your story if it is relevant to your business, after all so much of your business is about the entrepreneur who began it.
  2. Another great place to find content ideas is to have a cheeky stalk of what your competitors are writing about. You can pull content directly from their posts (not in a plagiarism way FYI, find your on spin on it). Maybe they’ve written a post about the best 10 monologues for actor’s straight play auditions. You could write 11!
  3. You should also look at what is currently trending in your industry or just in the world that could affect your business. Maybe there’s a new technology that could revolutionise your production, or maybe there’s a mass pandemic which has closed down the world… Whatever it is just make sure you stay ahead of the curve so that your content is current and interesting. This will play into favour for your SEO.
  4. Think about guests posting on your blog. You could pay them, or trade services or even sell it to them as an incredible idea to reach a wider audience. Not only is this true but, in trade off, it will also help you reach more people. You are essentially tapping into each other’s database of followers and getting seen by a different crowd.

I know I rant on about this, but consistency is so so so so so important, especially when you are establishing yourself in the arts and you have limited time and resources.

So, don’t start off all guns blazing posting three article a day if this isn’t something you can maintain.  Both Google and your followers will think you’ve disappeared and hence your ranking will go down. Start once or twice a month. Remember, as your business grows so will your resources, and if your resources build you can increase your content. As far as I know Romeo and Juliet wasn’t written in a day.

Think carefully about each of the titles of your blog posts too. Think about that alluring clickbait that gets you every time (I myself am a sucker for: Child Actors: What do they look like now?). You want people to spend as much time on your site as possible so make your titles seductive.

I like to think of Buzzfeed as my muse when I’m coming up with titles for my posts. I can spend hours lost under their listicles spell. Basically, you want your articles to catch the gaze of your audiences and encourage them to read more.

Really not getting the traction you want with your titles?

Consider A/B testing.

This is when you set up two versions of your article with exactly the same content but different titles. This will help to give you an idea of what style of titles grabs more attention. The longer people stay on your site the better your google ranking so you really wanna home in on this.

Finally, you want to encourage as much interaction with your blog as possible so think about adding share now buttons to each post for whatever social media platforms you’re on. This way they are linking to you from a different site increasing your audience and SEO.

Think about turning on the ability for users to add comments or reviews to your posts too. It increases interaction with your page and produces new content without you having to write it.

If you are worried about trolls then heed this top tip (which I will admit is from RuPaul):

Don’t block trolls, they’re sneaky and it will simply rile them up more. Just silence or hide them. That way you can’t see them! And I like the idea of them being off in cyberspace somewhere having a rant to themselves!

  1. UPDATES

Updating your page is also a great way to improve SEO. Another excellent reason why adding new pages for blogposts is so useful. Frequent updates on your website and social media shows Google that you are active, dressed up and ready to party.

There are countless possibilities for adding content that isn’t a blog post. Things like adding customer quotes or stories, embedding videos, creating online galleries… let your imagination run wild.

If you’re just starting off and building your own website there are some people out there who would recommend you hide yourself from search engine bots until you’re up and running, rather than have them see it incomplete… well they are wrong.

FOLLOW THIS ADVICE INSTEAD…

Set yourself up a landing page. This will act as an advert for your new company. You can include links to your social media here and a subscribe now button so that customers will be able to be the first to visit your website when it’s up and running with the added bonus that you start to build yourself up an email database.

Then start to create your website in the background.

If your website needs a fresh new look you can use this nugget of wisdom too. By building your website ‘behind the scenes’ it means that your customers can’t find your new pages and get distracted by half finished, unformatted pages, judging your professionalism by these standards. But just because your customers can’t see work doesn’t mean Google can’t.

Search engines love it when you upload new content, and when else are you uploading more content than when you’re setting up or updating your website! That’s the time that everything is new (and shiny). Those bots will eat up the new information and spit you out higher in their results.

Remember to keep reintroducing keywords and keyphrases in your updated content. But don’t take the mick! For example, some scallywags out there would encourage you to do things like put white text on white background repeating your keyphrases over and over. This may trick the bots for a while, providing quicker ranking results but once they’re onto you, you will be punished by plummeting down the ranks where you’ll be so low it’ll take most your life to climb back up that ladder.

That’s right… Google knows EVERYTHING.

I know that was a lot of information to throw at you in one go! That’s why I’ve split step 2 into two posts! I don’t want to completely overwhelm you!

So, come back in a couple of weeks for the next instalment!

Any questions or want use to create an SEO plan for you? Contact us or leave a message in the comments.

APP OF THE MONTH: SEMrush

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Start Ups
Name SEMrush
Product Description For all your SEO needs! Any stats you could possibly need to know for your SEO Report and the quickest way to research if your SEO efforts are working and how you can improve your strategy.
Availability The best way to access SEMrush with all of its functionalities is directly through your browser. There is also an app available through Google Play Store and Apple App Store which can be used to track your existing projects.
Key Features ·       Analytics and Advertising: Unlike Google Analytics SEMrush can also tell you all about your competitors SEO and online advertising strategies and how well they’re working out.

·       Backlink Analytics: Assess your backlinks (incoming links on other peoples’ websites to your own) to see who is linking you from where and how successful it has been. In addition you can learn where your competitors have backlinks too.

·       Keyword and Keyphrase Research: Find the right words to improve your business’ ranking on search engines and how these change, dependent on countries you are active in.

·       Product Listing Ads: Understand Competitors best performing products and how this can be utilised in your business.

·       Traffic Analytics: The who, what, where, when, why, how, of the users visiting your page.

·       A/B Testing: Loads of ideas and practical guidelines for setting up A/B Testing on your website.

·       Projects: Set up a specific campaign for your website(s) with the exact information you want to track, from keeping an eye on your google position to scheduling your social media, available live to you whenever you want it.

·       And so much more information that can help you to monetise your business online.

Prices and Plans Price plans can be pretty expensive (ranging from $99 – $399 a month) so to access all its power you would ideally need to be a large scale business looking to expand further, but it has loads of free features so long as you set up an account.
Biggest Pro It is perfectly to the point and beautifully laid out to make the information quick and easy to read and understand.
Biggest Con You only get 10 searches a day with your free plan so make sure you’re strategic and leave yourself some time to write your plan.

 

Want to learn more about SEMrush and how to build your own SEO Report, click here.