Kagool Analytics, Author at Kagool

Importance of SEO for business during the Coronavirus crisis

Importance of SEO for business during the Coronavirus crisis

What’s the importance of SEO for business?

Although every business will have different goals and aims, the purpose of any website is to attract, serve or retain its audience. Search engine optimisation (SEO) plays a fundamental role in all of these aims. Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second, averaging at 3.5 billion every day. Why is Google so important to your business’ SEO strategy? Google dominates the search market, accounting for over 92% of all online searches, so if you want your brand to be visible to your audience, it’s wise to adhere to Google’s algorithm updates and guidelines.

Almost half (46%) of all product searches begin on Google, so its only logical that if you want to capitalise on this audience that’s already potentially looking for what your business offers – you need to implement an SEO strategy.

Has coronavirus spiked online traffic?

Yes – but not necessarily everyone will benefit from it. What this means is, the searches for COVID-19. Coronavirus has been trending since the pandemic started and news, health services and other frontline service-related terms have seen spikes in search volume. This doesn’t indicate user intent; neither does it mean it’s going to be long term. Although online usage has surged over the lockdown period, that’s not necessarily going to benefit all businesses, as people are looking to digital for communication, entertainment or operational purposes. What all organisations can be confident in, is that content will remain to be king. Yes, trending topics might benefit your business in the short time, but realistically the traffic for these terms will eventually lower over time. With the sudden surge in searches for trending terms, it’s also highly competitive and so it’s worth considering if using your resources on a trending subject is going to give you the best ROI if you’re unlikely to rank.

Quality or quantity?

In an ideal world, both! But ultimately quality traffic should be a priority, after all if your website content is attracting the wrong audience it could actually be damaging to your SEO performance and Google may penalise your site. The importance of SEO for business is to be visible to a relevant audience. If your search marketing strategy is to simply drive high volumes of traffic to your website, by using a ‘click-bait’ tactics, it’s likely to backfire. If the surge of visitors landing on your site find your content isn’t as your title suggested isn’t related to what they’re searching for you risk them quickly exiting. This increases your page’s bounce rate and signals to Google that this site isn’t useful for visitors. In turn, where your content is ranked in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) will be impacted, needless to say your brand reputation might also take a hit.

The advantage of attracting quality organic traffic to your website is that these visitors are more likely to convert on your website, spend more time looking through your content or coming back to visit again. All these actions are measured through engagement metrics and can be beneficial to digital marketers and designers for improving user experience or conversion rate optimisation marketing (CRO marketing).

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid discussing trending topics. But in terms of SEO, your organisation is more likely to see more meaningful long-term results around content that’s optimised for keywords that sit within your brand’s niche. If your field is impacted by something topical and it’s an area that your business could comment on that adds value to your audience, then creating optimised content would make sense. SEO marketing has to evolve alongside Google’s algorithm updates, which have continued to reward websites that put the user experience at the forefront of their approach. This isn’t solely about the subject of content, but also includes aspects like:

  • Website loading time
  • Mobile optimisation
  • Backlinks from external sources

Google uses over 200 factors to rank a website, making SEO a specialism that takes time and dedication to master. Finding out how well your website is performing is a great place to start, if you don’t have this expertise in-house, you can book a digital audit with a Google Partner agency like Kagool and we’ll happily help.

SEO is for life, not just for a pandemic

The importance of SEO for business isn’t just a short-term strategy. Businesses that optimise their websites using technical, on-page and off-page SEO techniques see the benefits for years. Industry leading tool, Ahrefs reported that just 1% of pages that rank in the top spot on Google SERPs were less than a year old.

Search marketing is a long-term strategy, that when invested in properly can give organisations a great advantage over their competitors that have overlooked it. The top five organic listings on Google accounts for 67.6% of all clicks and simply updating or republishing old posts with new content or images can boost traffic by up to 106%. Search marketing is a lucrative space for businesses during pandemics, holidays, normal days! It’s ongoing and those businesses that already had investing in search will likely have remained visible in SERPs during this crisis.

Some parts of SEO can be equated to creating trusted relationships, with Google and audiences. Take link building for example, brands that consistently build inbound links (backlinks) to their websites are creating a solid foundation for their SEO performance. Backlinks from trusted sources are a great way to signal to Google that other authoritative websites are referencing your site. This helps to boost referral traffic, build your site’s domain authority and improve Google rankings. Creating great content, that’s optimised for a seamless user experience across devices is likely to help keep your audience engaged on your site for longer, signalling to Google that your site is best for it to suggest for its users’ search queries. Building up this trust consistently overtime will likely benefit your brand now and post coronavirus.

Tips for SEO during coronavirus

There’s a lot to consider for an overall SEO strategy for any organisation, but here’s a few things you can do during this time:

  1. Make evergreen content a priority. Focus on your niche that your audience know you for and post quality content, regularly.
  2. Add some coronavirus related content If it is related to your area of expertise. For example, if you work in hospitality you might be able to offer unique insight into how the pandemic has reshaped your specific area of the industry.
  3. Run an audit. Take the opportunity to find out what you’re doing right and where the gaps are. Plan.
  4. Review and build on your local SEO. ‘where to buy’ and ‘near me’ searches grew by over 200% between 2017-2019. Local search is a highly valuable way to keep your brand visible and boost conversions.
  5. Update your old content.

Remember that SEO takes time to see initial results because Google needs time to crawl and review a lot of information. Usually new content shows results in around three to six months, then it’s about maintaining that activity. Even as we return to a ‘new normal’ way of life post coronavirus, SEO will be a major player in digital marketing as some restrictions are likely to remain for some time i.e. working remotely, reduced travel etc. People will be looking for convenience to access products and services locally or online.

How effective is your organisation’s SEO strategy?

If you don’t have the technical skills in-house or the time to dedicate to reviewing your website’s SEO performance, get in touch and we can carry out some analysis for you. We are a Google and Sitecore Partner agency and have been designing, building and optimising websites using the Sitecore platform for enterprise level businesses since 1999.

If you’d like to know more about what we do in terms of digital marketing, take a look at our Search Marketing services or just contact us for a chat, our team are always happy to help.

Digital transformation might not be a ground-breaking new concept, but it’s certainly an evolving process that organisations across all sectors are recognising as a priority for their future success. What digital transformation strategy meant a decade ago is somewhat different to how we regard it today. When we consider digital innovators like Netflix, Uber and Amazon Prime were only starting to transform how audiences shop, socialise and operate with brands around 2010-2012, it puts digital strategy timelines into perspective. It also reminds us how important it is for businesses to stay agile and ambitious to keep moving forward in a digital era.

What are the main areas of digital transformation strategy?

When your organisation is looking at how to do digital transformation strategy, there are four core areas to consider:

  1. Process – Integrating third-party technologies like big data and machine learning into everyday processes can be used to enhance customer experience, productivity and drive revenue.
  2. Business model – Putting digital at the heart of your business strategy allows for innovation in an entire market. Itunes or Spotify are great examples of how music was marketed, delivered and consumed by audiences that transformed the industry.
  3. New market or domain – We know technology changes at pace, domain transformation allows businesses to move into new lucrative spaces digitally to reach new audiences and serve existing ones seamlessly.
  4. Company culture – This is a long-term plan and getting the buy-in from the top down throughout the whole organisation is a key driver for change and impacts all of the above.

How to do digital transformation strategy well

Despite the term being longstanding and perhaps for some overstaying its welcome in meetings and articles, there’s still an undisputed quest from businesses to achieve success from digital transformation. ‘Digital transformation’ related keywords receive over 60,000 online searches each month, with ‘what is digital transformation’ ranking as the most popular question. But businesses continue to report their failings in getting this right, with just 20% of companies reporting that they have a strong digital strategy in place.

This doesn’t need to be the case. It points to a knowledge gap around what digital transformation actually means – some companies look at isolated web projects or enhancements to their site and call this digital transformation, but more often it’s a disconnect between our objectives as businesses and our ability to execute the change needed to achieve them.

How to digital transformation strategy successfully, comes down to good analysis and planning, the ‘do-ing’ should simply follow those steps. So what should decision makers be considering at the embryonic stages?

Leadership

The impetus for change can come from anywhere in an organisation: marketing, IT, or customer services. But its value needs to be recognised, nurtured and spread across the entire business. At board level and across the C-Suite it’ll be being led strategically, maybe by a dedicated CIO or CTO, or from a brand perspective by a Voice of Customer team or CMO. Its imperative that everyone in the business has bought into the vision of putting digital at the centre of success and doing things differently, better, and leading on change.

Don’t be afraid of change being bottom-up. A kernel of an idea from a marketing manager for integrating the CRM and your marketing outreach channels so you can track behaviour and analyse conversion smarter, for example, can be the ignition for a wider-reaching, transformational strategy if nurtured and developed.

Everyone in a leadership role will already be confident in evolving their departments, it might just mean a slight change of focus or smaller projects alongside what you’re already doing.

1. Define your objectives and focus areas

Before you start, identify what your end goals and objectives are. The obvious, most prevalent objectives centre on the external challenge of improving customer experience.

People shop online and in-store. Do both of these experiences match and are you using one method to help understand the behaviours of the other? Digital transformation doesn’t just live online. We can use offline behaviour to drive online personalisation strategies and conversion, while using the data we capture from online behaviours to drive better experiences in-store. But this requires a joined customer experience strategy that involves the collaboration and effort of often siloed organisational departments.

Other objectives may be aligned to internal challenges, such as freeing up employees’ time that’s being wasted because old processes are embedded into the business. These processes can be centralised and streamlined using technologies that complement and integrate with each other.

You might instead have broader focus areas that may be specific to the brand and how it interacts with your customers. Coke set cultural transformation as a strategic objective – wanting to “touch people’s hearts and love our brands”. This objective at the centre of a wider digital transformation programme led to strategies that utilized short form content in a smart way and the use of emerging technologies like augmented reality to emotionally resonate with customers in more profound ways.

2. Can the business structure handle the change?

Consider the operating model that is going to best suit your digital transformation strategy and invest in it long-term. While improvements will be made in the short term, it’s important to take your time in making sure the strategy is working and there’s a growing culture within the company. It’s not a quick fix. The evolution of your operating model will be 10+ years. You won’t transform overnight.

For a new operating model to work there’s an internal cultural shift that needs to take place, where everyone across all departments “gets it” and has bought into the desired change. Communicating that ownership of change isn’t just top-down, as discussed earlier, will play an important part. Identify the people across all departments that can own the strategy and create the right structure and environment for them to work well together and succeed.

3. Do your research

What technological and customer behaviour shifts have disrupted your industry? What trends are emerging that you need to get ahead of? What technology solutions seem to be able to future proof your business in the wake of these shifts? How does emerging technology and the rise of the IoT affect your customers’ behaviours and your business’ ability to function at its most efficient? How can you use data smarter to achieve your objectives?

Get under the skin on how your customers are behaving and how the business can capitalise on current and future shifts to your industry and you’ll be well on your way.

4. Engage an external partner to help you plan, surface opportunities, challenge your thinking and embed agility

Getting the help of an agency that’s done this before will help with a lot of the heavy lifting in the early stages of your digital transformation programme. If you’re looking at how to embark on this sort of journey it’s likely the business isn’t set up with the right operating model and team to manage the day to day needs of this kind of wide-reaching strategy. The cultural and operational shift that digital transformation requires, the focus and collaboration across every department that its success hinges on, might best, in the first phases, be guided and facilitated by an external party that can help you objectively navigate it. As the regular drumbeat of activities, testing and learning, and communication of successes permeates the organisation you’ll have less need for a high involvement from your agency and you’ll be on the road to self-sufficiency.

We can help you learn how to do digital transformation

We’re a long-standing top tier Sitecore Partner, with decades of experience in helping enterprise organisations leverage Sitecore to achieve their digital strategy goals. Not currently using Sitecore? Book a Sitecore demo today to learn how your organisation could benefit from the leading global platform.

Find out how to implement SEO content writing to boost online visibility on Google and drive organic traffic to your website.

What is SEO content writing?

SEO content writing refers to the technique that’s pleasing to the reader and satisfies search engines, predominantly Google since it dominates the market space with a 92% share. Both user experience and how Google ranks a page go hand in hand, as how a user engages with content (i.e. the time spent on the page or the number of pages viewed) is one of the many signals the search engine looks at for how it positions content. Writing for SEO is extremely important, as its one of the best ways to ensure that the content that you create is visible and easily accessible to your organisation’s target audience. SEO content writing helps build organic traffic to your company’s website, it helps build brand awareness and position your company as thought leaders on subjects your audience is already looking for, building trust and client loyalty.

There are other ways to drive traffic to your site such as paid ads and content outreach, however these can sometimes be costly and you may not get an overall return on your investment compared to ‘free’ search engine optimisation. To reach the top rankings in Google, your content needs to be all three of the below things:

  • Keyword optimised
  • Relatable to your audience
  • Valuable – i.e offer solutions/advice

Where should businesses start with SEO content writing?

The key to SEO content writing starts before you’ve even started writing anything at all. It is imperative that you undertake in-depth keyword research to discover the topics that users are searching for. In order to do this, you must try and get into the minds of your audience and think how are they most likely to find you and what would they search for on Google? Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to use for this, with it providing hundreds of keyword examples relating to specific topics as well as providing monthly search volume based on the previous year’s data. Once you have a list of keywords that you believe that your users will be searching for, you can prioritise and consider which you think that you’ll most likely rank for. A good idea initially is to target keywords that have lower search volumes and these are the terms you’ll more likely rank higher in search engines for. Many lower volume search terms are long-tail keywords, which are typically longer and more specific. Long-tail keywords also help you to target niche audiences for special interests, which can often convert better. Once you have arrived at your chosen topic and keyword, then crafting together a piece of content begins.

The three phase writing process

Having decided your chosen topic and keyword, you need to then think about two things as part of phase one of the SEO content writing process:

  • the purpose of your text
  • search intent
  • and the text structure.

With the first point, it’s worth considering factors such as, if you want to inform the user or persuade them to do something on the site. As for text structure, this is vital for SEO copywriting, as if your content has a clear structure, you have a better chance of ranking in Google. Not only that, but pages with clearer structures are more likely to increase the chance of conversions on your website. Typically this means, using headers (H2s) and keyword placement to make it easier for the whole page to be read / skimmed without losing any of your key messaging.

Phase two involves the actual writing of the article itself. This can be daunting for businesses that haven’t previously invested in content marketing or search marketing before. The best advice for this stage is to just start writing and not to overthink anything too much, just keep writing. You can fine-tune your sentences and make changes at the end when you review what you have written. Just make sure that you stick to the structure of the text and that your content is readable.

Once written, this takes you to phase three, editing your content. Structure and readability are the most important elements here, focus on making sure that your paragraphs and sentences make sense and that the chronology of the piece is right. Headings are important too as they help optimise structure. We would always recommend asking for feedback and sharing with others before publishing, to make sure it’s written as concisely and accurately as possible.

Check that your content is optimised for your chosen target keyword

There are lots of digital marketing tools available that include SEO readability capabilities which can help optimise your content for SEO. These involve two things, a readability analysis which includes several checks based on the characteristics of a text. This ensures that it’s easy to read and understand and looks at:

  • sentence/ paragraph length
  • subheading distribution
  • consecutive sentences
  • and passive voice.

The second is an SEO analysis tool which provides you with tips on how to best rank in Google SERPs for your specific keyword. This tool usually requires time to process what your focus keyword is, and then it will provide information on the effectiveness of SEO factors attributed to that keyword, such as:

  • title
  • introductory paragraph
  • headings
  • the URL
  • internal links
  • meta data.

Phase four: Planning and implementing SEO content writing for your organisation

Getting SEO content right takes experience and resource. Whilst there are some brilliant tools available to achieve great SEO results, a lot of these come with costly subscriptions and understandably not all organisations have the luxury of their own dedicated search marketing team. At Kagool, we work across a whole range of digital services, and have an experienced SEO team that can work with you on your SEO content writing projects. We have been helping enterprise level organisations achieve their digital goals since 1999 and take pride in crafting the best possible SEO optimised content for our clients.  Whether you require support for in-house copywriting or are looking for a digital agency to partner with to turbo your results, we make sure all content is aligned with your overall digital strategy.

We design and build Sitecore websites and optimisation of our projects is paramount to their success. Find out how well your website is performing with a digital marketing audit or contact us to have a chat about your SEO aspirations, we’d love to help.

With offices in Cardiff, Manchester and London, Kagool’s growing workforce of more than 70 digital experts has delivered a revenue increase of over 50% in the past three years.

Beyond its core offering of design and build leveraging the Sitecore Experience Platform, Kagool offers extensive services across Customer Experience (CX), digital strategy, search marketing, CRO and more. Kagool has grown organically under the management of founder Chris Short, who established the business in 1999 and stepped back from his role as CEO to chairman in 2016. Through the leadership of Dan Berry, who joined the business in 2012 and became CEO in 2016, Kagool has since been recognised as an E-consultancy Top 100 Digital Agency and a Sitecore Platinum Partner, whilst also becoming an employer of choice with best companies™ and Investors in People Gold certification.

Kagool is now embarking on an ambitious growth journey, continuing the momentum of success that has been achieved over recent years. This will include exploring strategic acquisition opportunities with the support of BGF’s financial backing and its M&A experience in the IT software and services industry. BGF has recently announced the exits of web hosting company Miss Group, following a highly successful buy and build strategy, and Vsyiion Group, an IT services company. During BGF’s investment tenure, these companies generated a 340 percent and 100 percent increase in EBITDA respectively.

As part of the investment, Sally Tilleray has joined the board as non-executive chair, bringing extensive digital agency and M&A experience from her time at Huntsworth PLC.

Dan Berry, CEO of Kagool said: “We are extremely excited to be partnering with BGF through this investment. The Kagool team has a huge amount of energy for the next phase of growth, having excelled in recent years in our mission to be one of the best Sitecore agencies in the UK. BGF’s track record working with other technology entrepreneurs makes them the perfect match for the next phase of our journey.”

Chris Short, founder of Kagool said: “It is incredible to see the business I founded 21 years ago reach this stage where Kagool’s long-term strategy is backed by such solid investment from BGF. We received multiple offers from other investors but BGF was both flexible and innovative in their approach and were able to deliver on a deal that perfectly suited my own ambitions and those of Dan Berry and the team. Through this investment, we have in place a fantastic shareholder base, a strong board, and exciting times ahead.”

Daniel Tapson, an investor at BGF who will join the board of Kagool, said: “Kagool has demonstrated impressive growth in recent years, becoming a true industry leader through a proven track record of growth, customer satisfaction and well-deserved accolades. “The firm’s services in enhancing the digital experience of their clients’ online presence is now ever more important for businesses amid the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The deal was led for BGF by Daniel Tapson, Hannah Waters and Alex Garfitt. It continues a strong run for BGF’s regional team having completed three new investments and an excellent exit so far this year. The advisors to the transaction were:

BGF: Geldards (Legal), WY Partners (Financial DD), O’Brien & Partners (Tax)

Kagool: Cowgills (Corporate Finance and Tax), Blake Morgan (Legal)