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30 Days of Free Marketing Advice

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Advice

Last year we at Curve Interactive decided it would be a good idea to offer free digital marketing advice to local businesses every day for 30 days in what we coined our #30DayChallenge.

The local community of Tunbridge Wells seemed to think it was a good idea too with over 15 businesses signing-up for free marketing advice. Come the end of our last #30DayChallenge we had offered bespoke advice on everything from Email Marketing to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Due to the huge success of last years advice this March we are going to be rolling out the same offer with a particular focus on Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the art of improving the position of a website in the search engine results pages with the aim to increase website traffic and bottom line sales.

Did you know over 70% of people use the internet when they are looking to buy a product locally?

Making sure your business ranks on the first page of Google is vital for the continued success of your business. Do you know anyone who still uses the Yellow Pages?

We want to help every business in Tunbridge Wells learn the basics of SEO and understand the importance it can play in the growth of your business.

At Curve Interactive we always seeks to over-deliver and provide real value. If you would like us to visit your business get in contact with us today via twitter:@curveinteractiv, email: graham@curve-interactive.com or phone; 01892 549556

Dominate Local Search Results

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Local SEO

Simple Local SEO Strategy

If you’re a small business owner you’ve probably become frustrated with the huge amounts of customers you’re missing out on a daily basis due to the fact your website does not appear on the first page of Google.

In today’s day and age of “permission marketing” customers like to find information on products and services on their own terms before speaking to a sales representative. No longer does “in-your-face”, “push marketing” reap a decent return on investment.

Google is now the turning point for local business transactions, in fact as reported by Moz over 80% of local sales now start from a search engine.

If you search for “your product/service” in “your business’ location” what do you see?

If you’re not listed on the first page, simply you have no chance of making the most of the demand in your industry. So what can you do to rocket your website to the top of the rankings? (more…)

Facebook vs Google+

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Facebook v Google+

Do we need to choose?
Everywhere you look on social media sites and groups there is lots of talk about Google+ taking over from Facebook.

Princeton has published a paper this month that states by 2017, 80% of Facebook users will be gone.

Facebook have hit back stating that Princeton will have only have half its current enrollment by 2018 and by 2021 no students at all. Yes, it’s the usual online bickering, but have Princeton got a point?

What is Google+?
One of Facebook’s competitors is Google+. Google+ are doing things differently, they are providing businesses with choice. Scary as it may sound businesses can now decided which platforms best suit their audience be it B2B or B2C. Google+ not only adds to that choice it also enables users to direct post, pictures or videos to a set group of target audiences. These can be as direct as old customers, new customers or potential customers through ‘circles.’ Circles, which can be split into old, new and potential customers – so that marketing, can be direct.

How can this help my Business?
Another major plus point in Google’s favor is the issue of search engine optimisation (SEO). Facebook cannot compete with this it is one-way traffic, with over 90% of people searching via Google. Posting on Goggle+ enables a quicker and better route to being higher up the SEO.

At present there are no adverts on Google+. Not only is this a benefit to the customer, but also to the business. Businesses will be faced with a cleaner interface, which de-clutters the brands message.

What is the biggest difference?
When businesses post on Facebook only 12% of their ‘liked’ followers will be able to see their posts, due to ‘Insights’ set up by Facebook, unlike Google+ where 100% of followers/friends will be able to see their posts. (2012, Kawasaki, G – What the Plus! -Google+ for the rest of us).

For Google+ to succeed it will need more users. As of 2013 it already had over 400 million users, with Facebook having roughly 1 billion.

Facebook is winning the war on users, but Google+ is creeping up with 925,000 new users joining everyday (leveragenewagemdia.com). For Google+ to succeed this increase will need to be consistent. It makes sense that businesses would benefit and be ahead of the game by being there waiting for when their customers arrive.

Email Marketing Best Practice Infographic

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How great email marketing can grow your business

The growth of social media in recent years has led many people to believe that email marketing is in decline. However, this cannot be further from the truth; you just need to check your inbox to see that email is still thriving and as effective as ever.

Email marketing provides the most direct line of communication between you and your customers. It has the ability to increase conversions, build relationships and keep your business in mind when potential customers reach ‘purchase mode’.

Have a look at our infograhic below for best practice tips on designing and building and email.

email infograhic

 

Free marketing advice for Tunbridge Wells business’

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Advice

We are into day 3 of our challenge and so far have supplied 4 businesses in Tunbridge Wells with detailed reports on how they can increase the amount of sales they are making online. However, our advice to them has not stopped! We will be going through the reports with each of these businesses in person, showing them exactly how they can implement the recommendations so they can continue to grow their business’, increase brand awareness and make more sales.

If you would like us to help you too please ring us today 01892 549556 or email graham@curve-interactive.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

SEO Case Study The Barn

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The Barn

Local SEO Case Study – The Barn, Tunbridge Wells

The Barn is a beautiful restaurant, bar and wedding venue based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. We started working with The Barn towards the end of June 2013 after our successful local marketing campaign was rolled out. In the four months since we have achieved some absolutely remarkable results.

We were tasked with the running of The Barn’s SEO campaign with an aim to increase both targeted website traffic and in turn bottom-line sales. The first step in our quest to achieve these goals started with a detailed look at which “keyword phrases” to pursue. With the aid of the latest SEO tools we analysed the competition in the local area and the search habits of Google users to come up with a list of keywords we felt would be most profitable for The Barn to target.

Our final selection of keywords included phrases that The Barn’s website (at the time) ranked on page 10 of Google for. Considering 90% of all Google users never visit the second page of results you can imagine how much interest the “non-SEOed” website was generating!

Step two involved us reviewing the website from an SEO perspective and we noticed a large number of on page SEO best practices were not being implemented. Our search engineers then set to work applying their detailed keyword research to the website architecture. This included editing title tags, headings, URLs, and alt text attributes among over things. In doing so The Barn’s website then became ‘relevant’ to the keyword phrases we had selected.

Step three of our SEO process began in the drawing up of an extensive link and citation building strategy. This strategy combined with the on page SEO and keyword implementation make up the basis of our SEO program and in the 4 months since we began The Barn’s website rocketed from SERP (search engine results page) 10 to SERP 1!

For example, 4 months ago the search query “pub in tunbridge wells” resulted in The Barn’s website appearing in 109th position. Today the same query results in a 4th place position! The result of this has been a huge increase in targeted website traffic.

Here is what Janet of The Barn has had to say about our work to date: (more…)

Fisher Leisure – Eastway and U34 websites

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Since the start of the year we have gone ‘live’ with two new websites for Fisher Leisure and have a third in the pipeline which is likely to be finished in the next two weeks.

We are extremely happy with the end result of each of the new websites, each of which have been designed for Fisher’s 3 new in-house cycling brands.

Facebook Changes Competition Policy

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Like_3D_9_12

As of August 27, 2013 Facebook changed their policy on how competitions on their platform can be held. Promotions may be now administered on Page Timelines as well as in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilise likes as a voting mechanism

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.

‘Comment and Like to enter’ contests

This means it is now ëlegalí to hold ëComment and Like to enterí contests on Facebook (this was previously against Facebook policy). This type of competition has great advantages in the momentum it can create your page with Facebookís EdgeRank algorithm.

Facebook Competitions will now work on mobile

Moreover, with this news it is now possible to create a Facebook competition that will work on mobile devices. Previously, businesses could only administer a competition through third party applications which are still not supported by Facebookís mobile app.

This is fantastic news to marketers the world over who were previously frustrated by the limitations of mobile Facebook competitions.

What do you think of the change in policy? Let us know in the comments below.

On Page SEO Best Practice

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There are hundreds of ‘on-page SEO’ best practice guides online, but none are quite as comprehensive as this. We’ve worked hard to pull together all the best on-page SEO advice in one place for your reference.

The infographic below summarises our advice (click to enlarge), while below we go into more detail on each point.

On Page SEO infographic

1. Metadescription

A page’s metadesciption does not directly influence its position in the search engine results pages (SERPs), however it is extremely important to the final human user. Let’s not forget that we are building our website for humans rather than search engine robots! Bearing this in mind it is of great importance that the metadescription is written in a compelling fashion to entice searchers to click-through to your website. We recommend that you test and measure a variety of different metadescriptions to see which works best for you.

Best Practice Length

Each pages metadescription should be limited to 156 characters as this is the limit Google displays in search results pages.

If your page does not have a metadescription assigned to it the first 156 characters from the page copy will be used instead (or a random string of text from you page that the search engine believes to be most relevant to the search).

2. Title Tag

Aside from the overall content, the title tag is the most important on-page factor. It is a key relevancy factor that search engine robots use to understand the main topic of a page. Understanding this, make sure the first word in your title is that page’s target keyword. As you can see from our title tag at Curve Interactive we are now focusing on ranking for different variations of ‘Marketing Agency’.

An exception to this rule can be made if your brand is extremely popular and a differentiating factor, in some cases having you brand name as the first word in the title can help you stand out from the crowd.

Best Practice Length

All title tags should contain 70 characters or fewer as this is the limit Google displays in search results pages.

Most SEOs suggest the perfect format for a title tag as one of the following;

  • Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
  • Brand Name | Primary Keyword and Secondary Keyword
  • Primary Keyword | Brand Name | Secondary Keyword

3. URL Structure, Length and Path

The URL of a page is an important relevancy factor search engine robots take into consideration when ranking your page. Make sure you include your target keywords here.

Danny Dover (expert SEO and former Moz employee) has pointed out that excessively long URLs may hurt search ranking positions. His research found that 2083 characters is the max length URL parsed by Internet Explorer. Similar research from Improve suggests the same. However, I would suggest using a maximum of 6-10 words separated by hyphens.

A further factor to consider is the path of the page. An authority boost will be experienced the closer a page is to its domain homepage.

4. Heading Tags

Heading tags are important for both human readers and search engine robots alike. Use of keywords in headings is another relevancy factor Google takes into consideration.

Include primary keywords in H1 tags, and secondary keywords in H2 and H3 tags.

5. Killer Content

You have probably heard the phrase “content is king”- having great content will reduce bounce rates and increase visitor time on site. It is known that Google pays attention to these interaction-based ranking factors. Use videos, infographics and other multimedia to keep visitors engaged on your site.

6. Keyword Repetition and Prominence:

A page’s target keyword should be used a number of times Moz suggest “2-3X on short pages, 4-6X on longer ones and never more than makes sense in the context of the copy.”

Keywords should be used in the first 50-100 words of a page, if not sooner.

7. Keyword Variance:

Several studies suggest that using variances of your target keyword can lead to higher rankings.

8. Use of Bold and Italics:

It has been found that use of a keyword in bold and/or in italics has a minor impact on search rankings.

9. Image optimisation

Before uploading images to your website make sure file names have been optimised. Name image files the keyword the page is trying to rank for e.g. on-page-seo.jpg rather than IMG0192093.jpg.

Add an alt text and title attribute to each of your images using the target keyword and/or variances of it.

10. Spelling, grammar and reading level of writing

In some circles it is thought these factors directly influence your search position. Having high level content can show your content is unique and provides value.

11. Outbound link quality and theme

It is believed linking out to authority sites helps send trust signals to Google. Moreover, it is thought that the contents of the linked to page can act as a relevancy factor. Try linking out to authoritative pages that refer to the same topic.

12. Page loading times

This relatively new ranking factor has a slight impact on your ranking position. It also affects usability. Google offers site speed tests and recommendations.

13. Helpful Supplementary Content and links to references and sources:

Similar to the above, link out to useful complementary web pages. This builds trust.

14. Duplicate content

Content that is identical to that on another website or page on your domain can negatively influence a sites position in the search rankings.

It can actually lead to a search engine penalty.

15. Number of Outbound Links

It is recommended that less than 150 outbound links exist on any page. SEO juice is leaked to each of these pages so try to number them.

16. Social signals

Social signals are becoming more important to search engine algorithms. Although not fully tested, the number of Likes, Tweets and shares has a small influence on your pages visibility in the SERPs.

It is a good idea to include social sharing buttons for this reason + the opportunity that more people will discover your content via social media channels.

17. Google Authorship

Google CEO Eric Schmidt: Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.

Link your Google + account to your website to receive this ranking factor. Doing this also adds an image to your page result in the SERPs and this has proven to improve click-through rates.

It is also thought that the more authoritative you are on Google + the more ranking power a page authored by you will be given.

18. Internal Linking and Sitemap

The number and the quality of internal links pointing at a page will influence its importance on its own domain. The more powerful internal links pointed at it the higher it will rank.

The priority of a page on a domainís site map has also been proven to affect a pages visibility.

19. Content Length:

The content on each of your pages should be over 450 words. Try to avoid anything less so the content of your site doesn’t seem empty.

It’s May! Our Free Marketing Tuition Continues!

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Advice

Hi everyone!

Today marks the 20th day of our #30daychallenge to help every business in Tunbridge Wells with their digital marketing strategies. We have attended several networking events in TW in the last few weeks and have met some lovely business owners and employees!

We have been lucky enough to supply several of these businesses with free advice and tuition to help their businesses flourish online.

If you are interested in our help don’t hesitate in taking advantage of this limited offer.

Ring or email us today and schedule a meeting; 01892 549556, graham@curve-interactive.

See you soon!

How to influence on the social web

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Social Media

This blog post summarises some of the views of Paul Adams in his 2011 book ëGrouped; How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social webí a book I highly recommend to everyone involved in marketing, sales or business in general.

This post contains my own views on the subject matter too.

The Web is changing

As you well know, the internet is always evolving. And at less than 25 years old I expect the way it works and the way we interact with it will change dramatically in the next few years. Adams explains that the internet is now being rebuilt around people rather than documents and pages. The reason behind this is simple; humans are social animals. We have been social animals for hundreds of thousands of years; the internet is simply catching up.

People using the web are now using it differently. A lot less time is spent interacting with content and a larger percentage of time is spent interacting with people.

Interruption marketing is dead

Recent trends have shown that traditional methods of marketing (cold calling, TV, print) are slowly dying. Permission marketing, also known as Inbound Marketing, is gradually taking its place. Search engine marketing, e-newsletters, social media and blogging are forms of inbound marketing and are the cornerstone to creating influence on the web.

Measurement

A tremendous advantage digital marketing has over traditional methods is its ability to test and measure every interaction a person has. And now with social media channels like Facebook, Klout and Google+ we are able to measure social interaction and influence.

The ability to do so allows marketers to accurately follow the spread of a marketing message through the social web.

Influencing the right people

Adams explains that in order for a business to successfully launch a product or service it should look to structure its marketing message in a way that will easily influence people and encourage them to share it with their closest friends via word of mouth. In contrast to Malcolm Gladwellís famous ëLaw of the Fewí theory Adams explains that instead of a business trying to ëseedí its message with a small number of highly influential people a business should look to plant its message in easily influenced, interconnected groups of friends with little influence on a specific subject matter (the majority of the population). Successfully doing so will see a message reach a number of people through people they trust. Receiving a message via a friend rather than a stranger on the end of a cold call is far more convincing. Adams makes this point clear throughout his study.

How to go about influencing on the social web

There are a number of strategies to influence individuals and groups of friends through social media. Studies by comScore and Wildfire have proven that creating a Facebook application that shows off an interesting aspect of an individualís personality is the most likely type of post to be shared on an individualís wall. This could be done through an exciting personality test or a specialist trivia quiz. Competitions and sweepstakes have been proven to create huge amounts of participation, but lack in their ability for generating reach as individuals do not share their entry with friends.

Summary

The web has changed. It is now built around people and the interactions between them. Make sure you are looking at new methods of marketing such as SEO and Social Media and look to influence groups of friends. Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing so make sure your marketing messages encourage individuals to share and talk about it. Making your business remarkable is the best way of doing this.

Here is a link to Paul Adam’s book Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends are the Key to Influence on the Social Web (Voices That Matter) if you are interested in reading it.

Free Marketing Advice Day 9 Update!

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Advice

Search engine optimisation in Tunbridge Wells

Looking back over the first 8 days of our #30DayChallenge to help every local business in Tunbridge Wells with their digital marketing strategy we have found a great deal about what local firms want. The issue most businesses are facing is the poor performance of their websites in the search engine results pages. The business owners we have been talking with want to be ranking for local keywords e.g. “bar in Tunbridge Wells”.

How does your website fair? Do you rank on the first page?

Luckily we specialise in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)! We have been able to provide detailed SEO reports highlighting areas of improvement that will no doubt increase the performance of their websites, leading to more traffic, more sales and increased brand awareness.

If you are interested at all in us helping improve your business’ digital marketing strategy please contact us today, we are more than willing to help!

Our phone number is 01892 549556, if you’d prefer to email send me a quick message at josh@curve-interactive.com

Have a great day!
Josh