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Why your business should be listed in online directories

As part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) and web design services we offer to clients, we add their business details and website links to online directories, which are called “citations” in SEO lingo. Think of sites like YellowPages, TrueLocal, HiPages, HotFrog, and the like.

Sometimes our clients say that they get most of their business from word of mouth, referrals, a particular partner, and so on, and ask whether they need the online listings at all. But there are many reasons for having them, some of which actually have nothing to do with SEO or web design services, and are simply good business practices. Here’s a brief outline of those reasons.

1. Trust

It’s a well established fact that the more your brand is seen, the more a customer will inherently trust you. This makes sense, because people are more comfortable when they’re familiar with something, than a completely new or different experience. Having your business in as many (high quality, local, and appropriate) online directories as possible means that you can be seen by potential customers more easily, which builds that trust. This can be especially useful for longer-term searches; for example, if someone searches for a product or service they need today, sees your brand a number of times, puts the search on hold and looks again in a few months, they may remember your logo/business, and trust you more than the competition.

2. Reputation

Many online directories have a verification system to ensure businesses are who they say they are, but many don’t. It’s also not foolproof; anyone can create a listing with a business name and phone number, and have that number verified automatically by the directory listing system. In other words, your competitors could create a listing under your name, and then direct the traffic to their own websites or even deliberately make your business sound incompetent. Your reputation could be tarnished very easily, so creating your own listings ensures that your underhanded competitors can’t.

3. Accuracy

Another potential issue with online directories is that many of them can automatically generate listings for businesses, by gathering your business details from other directories or sources. When this happens, you’ll normally have the option to claim the listing as your own. But until then, your details could be out of date or incomplete.

A recent study from BrightLocal found that 93% of consumers are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories, and a whopping 68% of consumers would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in those directories. Creating/claiming your own listing means you can update it as your business changes. If you’re working with an SEO company in Brisbane, or have someone providing other web design services, they can probably help give you more details on how to claim those listings.

4. Visibility

SEO isn’t just about getting traffic to your website. It’s about increasing your business revenue, so it’s easy to get bogged down in thinking about seeing your website ranking high in Google. But online directories, if nothing else, offer an easy extra way for your business to be found online. Potential customers can find you either in search engine results pages, or when they directly search for local businesses on the directory sites themselves. Some of those sites may actually be ranking higher in Google for your business name and other searches, than your own site, so why not get the free traffic?

5. Backlinks

In SEO, one of the keys to improving a website’s visibility online is through backlinks. This basically means the number of websites that link to yours. Google is pretty clever, so firing off your website address to every possible other website is usually a bad idea; it’s important to pick and choose the right websites for backlinks. Many of the larger online directories, and especially local ones, have great online reputations, so when you create a listing on those directories, search engines consider this a thumbs-up for your website. In turn, this helps your own website rank better in search results.

As you can see, there’s no downside to creating directory listings (if done correctly), but plenty of potential benefits. Not just for your SEO campaign but for increased sales conversion rates, customer satisfaction, reputation management, and more.

GO Creative is an Australian SEO company which offers corporate web design services with all staff based right here in Brisbane, and with 20 years’ experience, we’re happy to have a chat and help your business grow. If you need a hand improving your online presence, get an instant quote today. You can also get a free SEO audit within minutes!

Is Search Engine Optimisation suitable for every business?

I had lunch with a colleague a few days ago, and we were talking about the services GO Creative offers to its clients. One of those is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is the process of improving the ranking of a website in search engines (e.g. Google) for particular search terms. The goal is to be more visible, which gets more traffic to the website, and ultimately to increase the number of enquiries or sales.

We ended up discussing whether SEO was the right choice for small businesses (and, in particular, micro businesses). There are lots of things to consider, but we basically both reached the same conclusion.

There’s no “one size fits all”

At the end of the day, there are various reasons why a business might engage an SEO provider to help increase enquiries and sales via their website. But many SEO providers will take on every client who comes their way, even if there are better options available.

At GO Creative, our team of Brisbane website developers and marketing specialists asks lots of questions up front so that we can understand your business. It’d be silly to offer a solution when we don’t even know what the problem is. For example, some businesses are looking for a quick spike in sales and are prepared to pay more for that — so we’d be more likely to recommend Google AdWords (pay per click advertising in Google) instead of SEO. If they weren’t so concerned about a quick return on investment, and were more focused on improving the visibility of their brand, social media may be the way to go.

But we need to know all of the variables before we make a recommendation, so we run through a questionnaire with all of our clients to make sure we have the full picture.

Why SEO may not be suitable

An SEO service may not be suitable for some businesses due to:

  • a very limited marketing budget
  • an extremely competitive industry where results may take longer than the business can afford
  • operating in an extreme niche, which means there aren’t enough Google searches for their products or service
  • already engaging heavily in content marketing, and SEO won’t offer enough additional benefits
  • a very low quality website which needs to be redeveloped before commencing any marketing activities.

Calculating your return on investment

The easiest way to work out your “break even” figure is to simple take your average lifetime customer profit, and work backwards from the SEO budget. So if you’re considering spending $1000 per month on an SEO service, and your customers are worth $500 in profits, you’d need to get two new customers per month from the SEO service to break even. It may take a couple of months for the results to emerge (that’s just how the SEO process works), so take that into account as well. Your selected Brisbane website developers or digital marketing agency may be able to help with other variables as well.

In summary

For many small businesses, SEO is extremely cost-effective and really helps them grow. For others, it’s just not the right option. Marketing agencies who push SEO on every business as though it’s some kind of guaranteed path to success is a negligent approach. This is how small businesses get burnt, thinking they’re putting their money into a service which is going to bring them a solid return on investment, but that’s not always the case.

There’s no guarantees when it comes to marketing; you have to weigh up all of the options and see what works best for you. Phone us today on (07) 3333 2932 for a free chat, or get an instant online quote to see how our team of Brisbane website developers and digital marketing experts can help your business grow.

How will changes to Google’s star ratings system affect you?

It goes without saying that just about every business could do with more traffic to their websites, which is why so many business owners engage our company for website design and management services. When you work with an agency who specialises in both WordPress web development and related marketing services, such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you can rest assured that your rankings and traffic will increase over time.

So what has this got to do with Google’s star ratings?

Well, even though you may have a wonderful WordPress site with the very best web development underpinning it, if you don’t have a handle on your online reputation and presence in search engines, you could be in serious trouble.

Why can Google’s star rating lose you customers?

For a long time now, Google has used a star rating system, where 1 to 5 stars can be shown next to each website address in the search results. When you use our SEO services, this is one of the optimisation techniques we pay attention to for our clients.

These stars are based on the quality of the reviews your business receives on their Google+ page, and until recently you needed at least 5 reviews for these stars to show in the search results. Now however, Google has reduced this to 1 review, so you’re instantly visible as soon as anyone leaves a review.

While only needing one good review will now give you a 5 star Google rating, one bad review can get you just 1 single star, and we all know that shoppers pay attention to these star ratings. It’s a no-brainer to say that if a shopper sees two websites in Google — one with 5 stars and the other with 1 star — they will opt for the 5 star website every time.

This is why you need to encourage as many reviews as possible on your Google+ page, so that if by chance, you receive a negative review, it will be counter balanced by all of the good reviews. This is something we regularly put into practice with our clients, as just one of the strategies we include in our website design, website management, and digital marketing services.

Get more positive reviews today

If you want to stop worrying about your rankings, why not engage our website and SEO services and get an instant quote online?

Reputation management: how to deal with negative reviews

GO Creative offers professional website and SEO services to our clients in Australia, so every now and again we come across bad customer reviews on our client’s websites. When we contact the business owners, many of them want to simply ignore the bad reviews, but this isn’t the best idea for either your business or for SEO purposes.

A poor review is an opportunity to engage with your customers, acknowledge the problem and offer a solution. As a website consultant, we know that this positive engagement not only increases the trust factor of your business, but it also helps with SEO, because you are answering questions and interacting with customers on your website.

Website design and SEO can only go so far to improve your sales and profits, it is how you respond to negative reviews that can make a big difference in the long run. After all, your customers don’t have to buy from your business, and if you ignore bad reviews and the problem keeps resurfacing, you will lose customers.

Tips on managing bad online reviews

You might not think that website and SEO services would include responding to bad reviews, and to be honest, they don’t. We simply monitor our client’s websites and contact our clients when it is needful, and a bad review is one of those instances.

As a website consultant, it is important for us to reinforce to our clients that when they respond to poor reviews online, everyone is watching. This means that you should be professional and caring, rather than confrontational and argumentative. Don’t take it personally and always focus on finding a solution for the customer’s complaint.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, the customer simply isn’t happy and wants a refund or a replacement. It is your job to resolve the problem to the customer’s benefit, otherwise you risk losing other potential customers who feel that you didn’t deal with that customer well and it might happen to them as well.

GO Creative is an Australian web design company that offers both website and SEO services to our clients. Call us on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

Pros and cons of displaying social media feeds on your website

In Australia, we have noticed that despite giving our clients super-fast websites, after a while many of them become quite slow to load. Since our clients come to us because we are not only experienced in WordPress web development, but we are also a leading web design company in Australia, we decided that it was our duty to investigate this phenomenon. What we found however, might surprise many of our clients, because the main culprit is social media feeds.

Social media feeds contain content that is fed in via hyperlink from another site, such as Facebook, where the posts on these sites are replicated on our client’s sites. Even though our WordPress web development services include the provision for social media networking, we don’t automatically add in these feeds during the design process.

Pros of using embedded social media feeds

Any good website design firm will tell you of the benefits of using social media networking to increase your rankings. You can use social media feeds to show the search engines that you are constantly updating your website (great for increased rankings) and that you are a good source of useful information. This also encourages followers, because they can follow your social media pages directly from the embedded feed and you don’t need to replicate the same content on your website (saving you time).

Cons of using embedded social media feeds

On the other hand, the extra scripts from these third party sites really slows your site down and you can’t compress them or alter them in any way to make your site faster. More importantly, the design of these feeds might not fit in with your branding, and they can not only distract visitors from your call to actions, but stop them from visiting your other pages, because they simply read your social media feeds instead.

When you pay good money for professional WordPress web development, it doesn’t make sense to slow your site down with social media feeds to the detriment of your business.

If you need a new professional website built for your company, call GO Creative – the leading web design company in Australia – on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

How to maximise the value of your website traffic

Are you struggling to bring in more visitors to your website? What if we told you that you may not need to?

As a provider of search engine optimisation (SEO) services, we know that the lifeblood of a website is traffic. To achieve this, businesses will generally use any combination of Google AdWords advertising, SEO, social media, and other media channels. However, getting more people to your website is only part of the job.

Maximising the value of every visitor is where you can seriously start to build brand loyalty and improve your profit margins. Here are two ways to achieve this:

1. Get repeat visits to your website

How often have you surfed the net looking for a particular product, and sometime after that you see an ad for that product on Facebook? This is known as “remarketing”, and is a very successful way to encourage previous visitors to return to your website to make a purchase. Remarketing is simply a way of working out what brought visitors to your website in the first place, then presenting them with your ads as they continue to browse other sites on the Internet.

Any good digital marketing agency will include remarketing in their offerings, because most visitors don’t buy on their first visit, and need time to do more research before making their buying decision. Remarketing to these visitors gives them this time and brings them back to your website when they’re ready.

2. Convert more visitors into customers

One of the most important factors in conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is your sales funnel and this includes the design, layout and navigation of your website. Visitors now want fast websites with relevant and concise content, a clear menu system and full security. All of this means that you need the best hosting packages, a fast checkout process, and an SSL certificate for an improved customer experience.

Are you getting the most out of your website visitors?

With a limited budget, hitting two birds with one stone is an excellent business decision. Leveraging the expertise of a professional SEO agency can increase your value for money by bringing in more traffic and increasing your profits, using well established remarketing and conversion optimisation techniques.

Want to find out more? Get a free online quote now.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and is it worth the money?

Without exception, search engine optimisation (SEO) is vital to everyone with a website (if they want to take advantage of potential extra traffic, anyway). This is why it is important to learn as much as you can about SEO and if your budget allows, to hire a consultant who offers affordable SEO packages, where everything is taken care of for you.

SEO can be time consuming, in both coming up to speed on what needs to be done, and in actually doing the work. This is why many business owners outsource this part of their marketing strategy, investing in monthly SEO packages. It’s simply not worthwhile to spend countless weeks, months, or even years, working on your SEO strategy when you could be focused on your core business.

But what is SEO, and why is it important?

Put simply, SEO improves your website’s ranking in search engines, such as Google. It makes your website “tick the boxes” for search engines, while helping customers actually find your website as well. Any good SEO provider will also aim to improve your website itself (such as the design, content, and features) to ensure that you don’t just bring in more visitors, but convert those visitors into customers.

What’s involved in an SEO program?

There are two distinct aspects to it. There’s “on-page” and “off-page” SEO, with the former focused on improving your website’s content, architecture and HTML code in the background. The latter is focused on ensuring your website can be found through various means, such as on social media, business directories, and other reputable websites. Both of these components of SEO are an ongoing process, because search engines change the rules frequently, and this means that something that worked for you yesterday may not work tomorrow — or may even see you penalised. Therefore SEO isn’t a “set and forget” service and needs constant management.

What about paid advertising?

That’s all well and good about SEO, but what if you want to use paid advertising platforms, and social media marketing, to bring in website traffic?

Well, the first reason to look at an SEO package, in addition to the other options, is that putting all of your eggs in one basket isn’t a great idea. Marketing strategies involve a lot of experimentation; what works for one business may not work for another.

Secondly, if managed by a professional, the return on your investment from an SEO package should be quite substantial.

Most businesses use a mix of paid advertisements and SEO to increase traffic to their website, and this works well. In fact, doing the right things (such as making your website more user friendly) as part of your SEO campaign will benefit your advertising campaigns, and vice versa.

Let’s start growing your business today!

Being on top of your SEO is one great way you can increase traffic, sales and profits. If you want to chat further about how our SEO packages can help your business rank higher in Google, phone us on (07) 3333 2932 or get a free instant email quote.

How to register a Facebook address for your business

As a successful SEO agency in Australia, we know that social media is an essential part of any sound marketing strategy. Facebook is, of course, one of the more popular social media platforms available for small businesses. The problem is that not many business owners understand how to set up a business page in Facebook and even less know how to choose a custom address for their page.

Instead of sending visitors to a long and complicated Facebook address, such as ‘facebook.com/pages/Berts-Coffee-Shop/5389125’, you can send them to ‘facebook.com/BertsCoffeeShop’. Ask any SEO agency in Australia and they will tell you that this shorter, customised Facebook name is easier to remember and looks a lot more professional as well. It’s also easier to fit onto your marketing materials and business stationery, and so on.

Selecting your username/address

To customise your Facebook address, you need to have at least 25 “Likes” on your Facebook business page. You can only change your address a limited number of times after you’ve created it, and it can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a full stop/period.

The old address you were using (the long and ugly one) will automatically redirect to the new, shorter one. So this means that they’ll both still work.

Steps to customise your Facebook URL

  1. Go to facebook.com/username
  2. Click on ‘select a username’ and select the name of the Facebook page that you want to customise.
  3. If you have more than 25 LIKES for this page a box will appear where you can enter your new username/address.
  4. Click on ‘check availability’ and if your username is available, you just need to tick a few more boxes and you are done.

You can now give your new Facebook address to your customers, and use it on your marketing materials.

For help setting up, designing, or managing a social media page for your business, phone us on (07) 3333 2932 or get a free instant online quote – we are a leading SEO agency in Australia specialising in online marketing for small businesses so we can help with anything you need.

Quick website jargon busters

As a leading digital marketing agency in Brisbane, we know that the Internet can be a very confusing place, especially if you’re just getting started with marketing your business. That’s why it’s so important for business owners to understand website terminology. This knowledge can be relevant to the numerous decisions about marketing, planning, and design, that lead to the success of your business.

To help you navigate the jargon minefield, we’ve put together a few terms to help get you started.

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language): HTML is the name of the code used to create websites. It’s used to provide basic information about the structure and function of pages and content, including text, images, hyperlinks, form fields and buttons. Websites can’t function without it.
  • Hyperlink (Link): Basically, anything you click on that takes you somewhere else is a hyperlink. A hyperlink can take you to another part of the page you’re already on, to another page on the same website, to a page on another website, or a popup window (and so on). A hyperlink can take the form of a text link, menu item, button, or image.
  • Keyword (Key phrase, search term): A keyword is a word or phrase that an internet user may use to find related web pages on an internet search engine. For example, if you visit Google.com and search for “website companies Brisbane”, this entire phrase is called a “keyword”. It doesn’t matter how many words there are; it’s always referred to as a keyword.
  • Search engine: This is a website used for finding information on the Internet. Google is by far the most popular search engine, but Yahoo and Bing are also popular.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving a website’s chances of being found by users when they use search engines, such as Google.com.
  • Domain or URL (website address): This is the address of your website, and the end of your email addresses. Every website has a unique domain/address (also sometimes referred to a URL). For example, our URL is https://go-creative.com.au.
  • Hosting: This is where your website and related settings are stored. Web hosting companies offer storage space and various other resources, usually for a fixed monthly or annual fee.

If you need a hand with anything or have anything to add to our list, phone GO Creative, the leading digital marketing agency in Brisbane on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free instant email quote.

Need help updating your website? Check out our customised training packages.

One of the most common problems we see at GO Creative is that many business owners don’t keep their websites updated, because they either don’t have the knowledge or the time. The result is that once we hand over their new website, they seem to flounder around for a while, adding new content intermittently, forgetting about SEO and generally not making the most out of their website.

To fix these problems, we have a range of training packages, that are designed specifically for businesses who need guidance and advice on how to keep their websites updated and ranking well on the search engine results pages (serps).

What training packages do we offer?

We can customise any of our training packages to suit your individual needs, but in general, most business owners want help with understanding how to use WordPress, with written manuals for their staff and with keeping their website optimised for the search engines.

  • WordPress training: Essentially we can design a training package that shows your employees how to add content to your website, how to schedule content, add videos and images, and create additional categories. Our training can be undertaken in person, online, using the phone or via remote desktop software.
  • Manuals: We can also give you hard copies of your WordPress training or any other specific training that you have requested from us. These manuals help to back up our in-person training, and serve as a resource and training aid for new employees.
  • SEO: Continuing to optimise your website for the search engines is vital to your rankings in the serps, so you don’t want to let this lapse. We can design SEO training packages (in person and manuals) customised for your business, so your employees can easily keep your website optimised at all times.

Who can benefit from our training packages?

Our training packages are designed for businesses who are struggling to keep their websites updated and need some extra help in that department. We have a range of businesses who benefit from our training packages, from sole traders who need to do everything themselves, to owners with less than 5 employees to larger companies with 100+ staff.

To have about a chat about how our training packages can help keep your website updated, call us on 07 3333 2932 or complete our online enquiry form.

An easy way to create content for your WordPress website

We all know that writing content for our websites can be difficult and time consuming. Some of us don’t like writing and others just don’t have the time. It is important however, that your website has sufficient, well written content, so that your visitors can make an informative decision. Do they buy, ring you, drop into your store or move on?

It is your content that helps visitors make these final buying decisions. The problem is that most of us write content for our WordPress sites and then forget about it. This is a missed opportunity, because if you go back and audit your existing content, you can easily find lots of ways to add additional content to your website.

When you review your existing content keep the following in mind:

  • Is the information on this particular page still relevant?
  • Is it outdated and needs to be revised?
  • Have there been any new product launches recently?
  • Have there been any interesting industry promotions or news items lately?
  • Are your customers asking for information that doesn’t exist on your WordPress site?

You can use customer queries to highlight gaps in your site’s content or information that could explained more simply, adding new content to your site and increasing your engagement with your customers.

Tips on auditing your WordPress site’s content

When you examine each page or post make sure that the tone of the writing is the same, so it doesn’t look as if completely different people authored different sections. Also, make sure that your brand’s messages are consistent throughout your WordPress site and that all of the pages are well written, free from errors and informative.

Don’t forget to check the following on each page or post as well:

  • Meta descriptions, Title tags and keywords.
  • Headings and sub-headings.
  • Internal and external links.
  • Level of engagement.
  • Social media sharing buttons.
  • Multi-media, such as images, infographics, webinars and videos.

You can also gain additional information from Google Analytics, for example how long customers stay on your website, how many pages they visit and the most visited pages. All of this data will help you optimise your WordPress website for both the search engines and for your customers.

For professional WordPress website design or help with ranking your website in Google, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

If your website is too slow or you keep getting hacked – read this today

Many of our clients ask us how they can make their web pages load faster or increase the security on their website to prevent hacking. There is one simple automated strategy that we offer to all of our clients, and that is to use CloudFlare with their hosting accounts.

What is CloudFlare?

CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) which acts as a buffer or filter between your website and everyone else, including hackers and robots. The best way to explain CloudFlare is to look at the advantages of using it for your website.

Four benefits of using CloudFlare for your website:

  1. Increased performance: If some of your customers are in the US but your website is hosted on an Australian server, your website will load much faster for your Aussie customers than those in America. With CloudFlare on the other hand, static website files are cached (stored as copies) on various servers around the world. When someone accesses your website, CloudFlare provides them with copies of your files in the location closest to them, which means your website loads faster, regardless of your customer’s location.
  2. Increased site security: While a standard hosting server gives you some security, problems can still occur because spammers and hackers have varioues ways to try to access your website’s code. CloudFlare has a range of different security measures to protect your site from these types of threats.
  3. Increased uptime: With your website cached on local servers, if your main server crashes, your website can still be loaded by your customers (although some elements may be missing). This keeps your website live while your server is being fixed.
  4. Increased SEO: Google likes fast loading websites, and CloudFlare really speeds up your site. This helps to increase your search engine ranking, leading to more traffic, sales and conversions.

On a final note, your website address doesn’t change when you use CloudFlare, so you don’t have to worry about errors or using a new address. We highly recommend CloudFlare to all of our customers, because once you use it, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. And it’s very well priced, to boot.

The other option we can offer is website management, which means we use CloudFlare in conjunction with a range of other tools and techniques to keep your website secure, fast, and up to date.

For more information on CloudFlare, phone (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.