Mobile Optimization and Traditional SEO on a Shoestring Budget – A Case Study

How a small business selling fresh pasta in Barrie, Ontario put their face on the digital map.

No matter what the many “tips and tricks” online articles may imply, when you’re a small business with virtually no marketing budget, trying to implement an effective SEO strategy while opening up to mobile optimization for a multichannel presence is not an easy feat. This struggle is only magnified when you’ve never had to try to reach customers online, yourself.

SEO website contentToday’s effective marketing strategy is no longer adequate as a basic landing page or even a simple website. Generating results is much more involved than that. It may not be obvious to the beginner, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible or that it will be prohibitively expensive.

Take the example of Jilly’s Pasta & Fine Foods in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. This is a small business that has a single location. It is owned by a chef named Del Faithfull, who also creates each of the handmade noodles and hand-filled pastas that they sell. Mr. Faithfull has exceptional experience as a chef and is a master of fresh pasta in Barrie. However, just because his business provides the city with the best of these gourmet and fine foods, it doesn’t mean that he has any specific knowledge in online marketing. Equally, it doesn’t mean that there is enough of a budget to hire a an online and mobile marketing firm that will be able to do the job on his behalf.

This is the case for all too many small businesses who don’t know what their next steps should be.  Often, this means that their online and mobile marketing will fall short and they will miss out on an exceptionally large opportunity to connect with their current and perspective customers.

The trick to learn from Jilly’s is that effective SEO and mobile optimization can be accomplished with a minimal amount of funds. The secret was to team up with a skilled and experienced freelance SEO content writer who also has knowledge in working for the mobile channel. The result may not have been a website with all of the bells and whistles, but it is appealing to see, informative, relevant, ranks very well on Google, and enhances the customer experience. It does the job and it does it well.

By partnering with me at JBC Online, Jilly’s took a three pronged approach and went from being nearly non-existent online to enjoying a serious multi-channel presence that started engaging customers and driving them through the door nearly immediately.

This strategy involved the following components:

A Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Website

SEO website creationA basic four-page website that provided the visitor with a homepage, an introduction to the business, a brief explanation of the fresh pasta products that are being made and sold, and the location and hours. Each of these pages was carefully and skillfully keyword optimized in terms of company name, products, and location.

From that point, the site was steadily maintained with an associated blog that helped to not only boost the site’s content and SEO, but also provided visitors with valuable and relevant information that they can use in order to get the most out of the fresh pasta that Jilly’s sells.  The blog has generated more social media shares that have drawn more attention to the website and has led other sites to add links to the various pages on the Jilly’s site, improving the search engine ranking.

The site was linked to Google Maps to ensure that users would be able to find the store once their mouths were watering from having read about the gourmet meals that are available. Social media buttons were added to every page so that visitors could share with the people they know.

Engagement Over Social Media

social media marketingBefore getting started with JBC Online, Jilly’s did already have a Facebook page. Unfortunately, a new post had not been made in nearly two years and the page was still providing a link to the URL of a previous attempt at a website that was no longer in existence. For all intents and purposes, it was suggesting to anyone who stumbled upon it that the business was no longer in existence.

Since then, social media has sprung to life for Jilly’s. The website has now been linked to the Facebook page (and vice versa) and fresh posting is now occurring there. In the first week, the number of page likes increased by 13.5 percent and visitors were engaged. They commented, “liked” posts, and left reviews for the products that they enjoyed.

Twitter and Google+ accounts were also created and were linked to the website so that posts could be made there on a regular basis. This not only helped current and potential customers to remain engaged by the Jilly’s brand, but it also helped to support the overall SEO efforts.

Mobile Optimization

Jilly's fresh pasta QR codeThe design of the site for the standard web resolves automatically on smaller screen devices to ensure that smartphone and tablet users will be able to comfortably view and navigate the entire site and everything that it has to offer. However, as I am a regular contributor to technology news publications such as QR Code Press and Mobile Commerce Press, among others, I have become very familiar with additional methods of mobile marketing that can be achieved on an exceptionally limited budget. Primary among them in terms of affordable and cost-effective use by small businesses is QR codes.

The first fresh pasta QR code for Jilly’s was created with the Visualead barcode generator. It will likely be the first of many, but it provided a jumping off point for the use of this technology. This allows customers to be able to scan the barcode with their smartphones or tablets in order to call up the webpage that contains detailed cooking instructions that allow them to prepare their meals perfectly, every time. Bringing the smaller screen into the kitchen is much more practical than doing the same with a laptop, making the page much more useful for Jilly’s customers.

The Complete Package

These efforts have represented only a foundation point that can now be maintained with minimal but regular effort. While they are not entirely complex, they do require the skill and knowledge of an experienced SEO writer in order to build a foundation. From that point, blogging and social media posts can be maintained either by the business or, as is the case with Jilly’s through my continuing participation.  In under a month, the Jilly’s Pasta site is now scoring in the top ranking at Google, with several search terms resulting within the top three spots, and others continue to climb the first page.

Small businesses may not be able to afford a full team of marketers, but sometimes all it takes is a professional online writer who has stayed on top of the latest in terms of SEO and mobile tools and techniques, and who has spent over a decade building the necessary skills to produce fast and effective results.

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The Writing Services Team at JBC Online Practices What it Preaches

There is something interesting about having a specific expertise that seems to generate a certain behavior regardless of the nature of that expertise. Whether you are a plumber, a painter, a chef, or – in the case of the team at JBC Online – a writer and editor, there seems to be an unwritten rule that says that the area in which we excel professionally must also be the area in which we fail to apply ourselves when the project is for our own benefit.

For example, they say that a leak is most likely to occur in a plumber’s house.  An IT specialist will invariably have computer troubles at home.  A chef will order take-out on a regular basis.  You get the point.

JBC online writing services logoWhen a project is being completed for a client, the JBC Online writing services team goes to great lengths to ensure that we always provides exactly what a client is seeking. This includes well written content, with accuracy of information and language skill.

However, until recently, the same could not be said about the writing services that the company was providing for itself. Take this blog, for example. Though it was generating solid search engine results when it was being maintained on a regular basis, it was left neglected for quite a number of months when the team became exceptionally busy with projects.

Similarly, although the JBC Online website was in dire need of rewriting and repairs, it was not overhauled until this summer, simply because it was our own.

If you have been following the activity of the company, you will likely have noticed a change in our strategy. We are now far more active online as we have returned to practicing what we have been preaching for over ten years.  After all, content can’t simply be created, abandoned, and expected to perform for many years.  It needs to be kept fresh and relevant.

Instead of simply providing high quality, search engine optimized (SEO) web content exclusively for our clients and customers, our new online and mobile strategy has now been resuscitated and has re-established our presence on Google, in the blogosphere, and in social media.  This is exactly what we have been providing for our clients over the years and now we have returned to our efforts to do the same for our own company.  After all, we know what we’re doing.  Why not take this opportunity to show you?

Our team of experts knows exactly how to create well-written, accurate, and engaging content, and are now proudly demonstrating that we believe in it strongly enough to practice what we preach. We have every faith in the quality of the services that we provide and we stand behind every one of them. Now, for several months, we have stopped neglecting our own online presence and marketing strategy, and are back to share with you, once more.

Please visit blog site often (following via email is the easiest way to make sure you don’t miss anything) and check us out at our homepage at www.jbconline.ca, at Facebook (don’t forget to click “like”), and on Twitter (we welcome new followers).

Should Your SEO Content be Country-Specific?

As you create your SEO content, you may be wondering whether you should be writing in a way that is specific to your country or even to an area more local than that, such as a province or state, or a even a city.  The answer is completely up to you.  It depends on your target market.

Remember that as you do your keyword research, you need to understand who you are trying to reach (other than the search engines, of course) and how much competition you have for any potential word or phrase. There are many online tools that can help you to perform this task effectively; some free, others paid.  You may also choose to hire an SEO service that can provide you with some useful suggestions.

If you do happen to decide to make your keyword optimization location-specific, don’t forget that it’s not just the targeted word or phrase that counts, but also the language you use.  If you are hoping to attract visitors and followers from Canada, for example, then writing with spelling and slang from the United States won’t be as effective as creating content that is written in the local tongue.

That being the case, you must be very careful when you hire SEO online writing services,  Though it is possible to hire outside your local area and still find a writer who speaks the right dialect of English – or whichever language you happen to be using for your content – you should make sure to receive samples of the writer’s work and pay close attention to your written communications with him or her to be certain that he or she can live up to those claims.

For example, while English in Canada, the United States, and England may seem exceptionally similar, there are some notable differences in common words, expressions, references, slang and spelling that may not stand out to the writer, but it will certainly stand out to the local reader. Though that reader won’t necessarily find this unpleasant at all, it will be noticeable enough to limit his or her ability to relate with your company.  This is especially harmful with blog posts and social media marketing.

Therefore, as you create your SEO content that if your marketing strategy is going to be location-specific, make sure that your writer will be able to speak that local language!

What Do Small Businesses Need to Know About SEO?

If you’re the owner of a small business that has a website, and you’ve looked into how to try to get a better rank with search engine query results, then you’ve definitely come across the term search engine optimization (SEO).  However, the problem face by all too many small business owners is that the suggestions seem to involve techniques that are much more complex than they are prepared to implement, or they are too expensive for the company’s advertising budget.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that a small business can create winning SEO content and run a highly successful campaign, without spending a fortune.  The key is to understand your own specific target market, and create your keyword optimization and other efforts around it so that you will create results specific to the people who will become your customers.

If you are a florist in Barrie, Ontario, for example, and the majority of your business comes from people who would like to send flowers to local hospitals or other recipients in your city, then what keywords should you use?

The first options that came into your head may have been: florist, florists, flower, flowers, flower delivery, flower deliveries, flower arrangements, flower bouquets, and other terms that relate to your industry. Unfortunately, unless you have a tremendous budget and a full department of people working to obtain the top rank for those terms, the odds are that optimizing for them won’t get you far.  There are already thousands – if not millions – of sites who have made those same words their main focus.

Moreover, because those keywords aren’t location-specific, even if you could obtain top results for those words, the traffic generated would not be geared toward your target market.   You may only serve Barrie, but your traffic might come from people who are looking to send flowers anywhere on the entire continent or English-speaking world.  Therefore, even with tons of traffic, your bounce rate (the number of people who come and go within seconds without further examining your site) will be high and revenue will be low.

When you consider a keyword, try entering it into Google and see how many results come up.  If the number is exceptionally high, try creating greater focus.

For example, if you considered “florist in barrie ontario”, instead of just “florist”, then you’ll not only have a much better shot at not only obtaining a top rank, but also drawing the visitors who will actually find your site relevant to what they want.

Once you have the right keywords, you need to start incorporating them into your website and other SEO content such as a blog, articles, and social media posts.  This doesn’t mean that you should just create a lot of nonsense and stuff the keyword or key phrase in.  In fact, this will only frustrate your visitors and cause search engines to penalize you – causing great harm to your campaign.

Instead, hire a skilled and moderately priced SEO online writing services company that has writers who know how to use the most recent keyword optimization rules from Google to achieve top results.  This should mean that your writer will provide you with regular, well-written, fresh content that you can post on your site, blog, and other locations to bring value to both your prospective customers and the search engine crawlers.  Even with a small budget, the right writer should be able to produce fantastic results with your keyword.

SEO Content Creation Catering to the New Rules

With the latest updates from the Google Panda 2.0 patch, you need to make sure that your SEO content is designed to follow the right rules in order to prevent your position from slipping and to allow your rank to continually climb.

The previous post on this blog showed you the value of quality in your website content – something JBC Online writing services has always pushed in these posts.  Other factors are also being discovered that can help you to properly design your pages to cater to the crawlers.

The first thing that you should know is that while Facebook “like” clicks and totals were once considered to be a factor in determining a page’s rank, it has become clear that Google is no longer looking to them as guides.

That said, it will still be factoring its own Google +1 clicks into the mix.  The June 26 post, “SEO Must Be Reader-Friendly for a Top Google Rank” discussed this button and its search engine optimization strategies in detail.  You’ll want to make sure that a +1 button is available to your visitors so that they can help to boost your ranks once you’ve provided them with high quality content.

While it used to be beneficial to add links within the page, such as at the beginning and end of the text (such as an article or SEO blog), it is now the editorial links that hold the greatest value.

Google’s spiders are also looking for the length of a page for guidance.  It doesn’t want a massive long amount of text stuffed with keywords – nor do your site visitors.  Instead, keep it short and sweet, not long and dragging.

Always keep fresh SEO content.  As you’ve been reading on this blog, time and time again, your content needs to be regularly up to date.  You want to offer a steady stream of relevant, useful information that has to do with your site.  This will also increase your click-through rate.  Aging information is given much less weight than daily posts.

For assistance in making certain that your website is filled with the type of content that will best appeal to crawlers, get the help of an SEO online writing services company that knows precisely what Google wants.  Their writers have the experience you need to keep you on top, despite the latest changes.

Is Your SEO Content in Line with Google Panda’s June 2011 Quality Update?

If you’ve been following this blog, then the new SEO content rules put into place after the latest update of  the Panda system at Google shouldn’t faze you in the slightest.  You’ve already known that quality is key to great ranks!  It shouldn’t come as any news to you that if you want to keep your position high in the search results, you couldn’t just toss keywords around and create hundreds of worthless pages.

On the other hand, if you’re the owner of one in ten website online (and you haven’t been following the JBC Online writing services blog) you were just hit by a tremendous surprise as the SEO rules you’d been following turned upside down.

Google Panda is out for quality, and its latest algorithm is weeding out the fake traffic and irrelevant search results and is rewarding the websites that have made an effort to provide their visitors with fresh, interesting, relevant, and useful content.

The page rank rules have changed, and unless you’ve been using the methods that have been outlined since the start of this blog, you might be among the 10 percent of website that were affected by these most recent changes.

All of the sites that have been working to trick the search engine’s algorithms and have used content farms to fill space with poorly written, keyword-spammed pages are now sliding down the ranks as though they were on ice.

Equally, the sites that have been legitimately creating value over time and that have been continuing to update their content to bring their readers something that is truly worthwhile have been rewarded with the top ranks that they deserve.

Don’t panic.  It is still possible to create good quality content that has been search engine optimized.  Keywords are still just as important as they’ve always been.  But it’s important that they be integrated into something that will keep the reader interested.

The algorithm has now factored issues such as time into the mix.  The more time a reader spends on the page, the more valuable the crawlers will believe it to be. After all, it suggests that a site may have SEO content, but it also has information that is interesting enough for the site user to spend some time reading, or a video that the visitor would like to see.

If you have been using old keyword optimization methods and have been posting regular low-quality content on your site to maintain your rank under the old structure, then you are now facing a scramble.  You’ve lost your rank.  That said, it’s not too late to get it back.  Have your content replaced and start right now.

Because you will need a lot of steady, regular, high-quality optimized content to post, the best idea is for you to hire a professional SEO online writing services company that is aware of the latest optimization techniques and requirements and is capable of providing you with the type of articles, blogs, and social media posts that you need to recover your top position.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll appeal to the crawlers again and climb your way back to the first rank once more.

Is Your SEO Content Being Used By Your Site Visitors?

You’ve learned that quality is critical to your SEO content on your website, blog, social media, and other forms of online marketing.  You’ve been carefully working your keyword optimizing and other strategies around it and have been working hard to make sure that your posts would provide some value to your followers.
But how do you know if it’s actually being used?  The answer is simple.  Use this SEO quality content checklist!

  • Are your click through rates (CTR) for the content high enough?  If you’re getting great ranks but you have weak click throughs, then you may either have metadata that is relevant to the keyword, or the preview of your website isn’t interesting to search engine users.  Find out and make changes to start testing to improve the click through rate
  • Are visitors spending any time on your pages?  Check your bounce rate.  Are people finding your site, but turning around and leaving as soon as they get there? Use an analytics tool to learn these numbers.  If your bounce rate is too high, start testing changes in content to make it more appealing and to encourage people to stick around.
  • Are your readers posting your links on social network sites? Just as you are using SEO social media marketing, you can also check to see if others are using Twitter and Facebook to spread the message even further. The more your content is shared, the greater your visibility.
  • Is any of your content user-generated? Do your site visitors have the ability to create their own content on your site?  One of the best ways to offer this opportunity to add user content to your site is through comment boxes on blog pages, walls on social media pages, or question-answer widgets.  Forums are also often used by site visitors.  It helps to make the experience more interactive and relevant to the visitor.
  • Is your deeper content being linked? Find out how many people are linking to your sites and what kind of sites are adding those links. This will help you to identify who your readers are and what other information they find relevant.

Once you’ve identified the most used pages through this checklist, don’t forget to learn from it!  What do the wining pages all have in common?  It may help to get the help of an SEO online writing services company to make sure that the successful techniques are being consistently applied and improved throughout your overall efforts.

This will improve your search engine rank, and will ensure that every click you get has greater value to your website.

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