These are the scheduled topics for the first 52 weeks. These may change slightly as we account for new developments or demand for more information in certain areas.
Week 1: Site Management – Part 1: Essential Site Tools
Installing two essential Free Tools from Google on your site
Playing the Google game might represent one of our biggest challenges in online marketing, but Google can also be a great help. Google Analytics is one of the most competent site traffic analysers available, and unlike most of its competition, it costs nothing. A second free product, Google Webmaster Tools, gives you comprehensive insights into how the outside world views your site. We explain why you should set up these services immediately, and how to do it.
Week 2: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 1: Keyword Research
Thinking about the search terms you want to be found for
Before you start trying to improve your site's performance in the search engine results, you need to decide on the search terms which you want to concentrate on promoting. Should these just be the generic descriptions of the products you sell? Or are you better off concentrating on slightly more offbeat "keywords"? How do you find out what your potential customers are typing into the search engines in the first place? We start to answer these key questions.
Week 3: Site Analysis – Part 1: Your Keyword List
Finalising an initial list of key search terms
This week you'll be shown how to use free tools to help finalise the long list of 20-50 main search terms (aka keywords) which you have chosen for your website, and to make a smaller shortlist which you can get monitored on a daily basis by our Google Search Phrase Position tool. To help in this, Insider Programme Pro-level members will receive a private report analysing external links to your site and the keywords used in those links.
Week 4: Web Analytics – Part 1: Overview
Discovering what your site visitors are actually doing
Site traffic analysis is much more than a nice graph of the number of visitors to your site. What statistics do products such as Google Analytics make available to you, and why are these useful? We explain important concepts such as goal monitoring, and how you can use web analytics to get instant snapshots of the return on investment of any marketing initiative designed to "convert" through your website.
Week 5: Site Analysis – Part 2: Page Titles and Broken Links
Understanding the pages you have on your site
This week we will show you how to index the pages of your website like a search engine would do, listing the page titles and discovering if you have any broken links which need to be fixed. Nearly all websites do! If you are an Insider Programme Pro-level member, you will receive a private report completely mapping out your website in spreadsheet format, showing the page titles, descriptions, headlines and much more.
Week 6: Page Content – Part 1: Titles and Meta Description Tags
Rewriting the important descriptive copy for search engines
In the code behind every one of your web pages is a series of descriptive items, many of them hidden. You're in control of these, and depending on how you maintain your site, you may have been neglecting them. But some of these "tags" and titles are very important. How do you create them and what should go in them? Which ones are important? We discuss the essential ones, as well as pointing out those which can safely be ignored.
Week 7: Page Content – Part 2: Headlines
Creating great headlines which work for all types of visitor
Few things on the page are as important to human visitors or search engines as the headlines. For humans, they have to stand out visually. For search engines, they have to be coded to highlight their importance. And making them stand out is only half of the battle – they need to work hard for your page by containing the right words. We look at the things you need to bear in mind when writing the headlines on every new page on your site.
Week 8: Page Content – Part 3: Body Copy
Increasing your word count to increase search engine traffic
In business-to-business marketing, writing effective content for humans and for search engines isn't so different. Your visitors want clear prose, and so does Google. Stuffing pages with key search terms is not the way to go; we explain what you should be putting on your pages, the things to keep in the back of your mind, and why you should make your voice consistent across your site.
Week 9: Online Publicity – Part 1: Press Release Writing
Rethinking where these will end up and the implications on content
Press releases are no longer private communications between you and editorial professionals. You will almost certainly be putting your press releases on your own website, and they will be found by customers there (or on third-party sites which publish them as-is). So the press releases need to sell, and they need to direct people to the relevant pages on your website where they can obtain more information. Online publication has implications for the copywriting process too.
Week 10: Online Publicity – Part 2: Press Release Distribution
Distributing your news more widely and more helpfully
One of the great advantages we have in business-to-business marketing is that it's relatively easy to get other web sites to link to us, because so many make a living out of the news which we provide. But we need to distribute our news widely and effectively, and encourage others to cover it in the most advantageous way. We discuss the various types of outlet, free and paid-for, and which are worth concentrating on.
Week 11: Web Analytics – Part 2: Visitor Reports
Creating a regular report on what your visitors are doing
A professional analytics application such as Google Analytics should, even at its most basic level, be telling us a lot more about our site than just "traffic". We show you how to set up a report which focuses on one segment of your site visitors, such as the quality visitors who spend decent time on your site and come from a certain country. You'll also find out how to have it emailed to you and your colleagues.
Week 12: Site Analysis – Part 3: Strongest Pages
Examining which pages on your site the search engines rate
This week we'll show you how to find the pages on your site which the search engines consider to be the "strongest". This will help you understand how the search engines think, and more importantly will play a part in choosing the pages which will become the focus of your optimisation efforts for each of your major key search terms. You may also wish to downplay the importance of certain pages!
Week 13: Site Management – Part 2: Web Site Navigational Structure
Getting the product in front of the customer
The instinctive way to structure your web site is like a pyramid, from the home page down through various categorisations to the most specific data. But it that really the best way? If product A is ten times as important to you as product B, are you making visitors go through the same number of steps to get to each of them, just for your own administrative convenience? We discuss the best practice, and how your existing site can be adapted to be a lot more efficient.
Week 14: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 2: Internal Links
Optimising the links which you control
More than ever, links are the currency of search engine optimisation. Whilst it is critical to start encouraging more external links to your site, it is also important to use links within your site to create themes and present your site to search engines in the way you would like it to be seen. We look further at the concept of anchor text, how to make the links on your site work that bit harder, and how not to waste internal linking.
Week 15: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 3: Linking Out
Helping people to leave your site to your advantage
There are good arguments for not linking out from your website to any other, and not only so you don't lose your visitors after spending so much time getting them to you. But the benefits of linking out can be even greater, and we explain why. The search engines like it, you become a useful resource for your visitors, and you can back up your claims and arguments with third-party references. In addition, links out encourage links in, and links to you are something you really need.
Week 16: Link Building – Part 1: Requesting Links
Obtaining more links to your website, the key to search engine success
When it comes to improving your ranking in Google, getting quality, relevant sites to link to you is perhaps the most fundamental exercise you can undertake, and of course links aren't just for search engines, they can send a lot of traffic in their own right. Yet most companies underestimate the worth of good links. We look at how to start a link-building campaign, and some of the most basic links you should set about obtaining.
Week 17: Site Analysis – Part 4: Competitor Backlinks
Finding out who's linking to your competitors
One of the best places to start getting quality links to your site is to find out where your competitors have quality inbound links from, and to see if you can get links from the same sites yourself. We will show you the sorts of lists which can be generated, and how to use free tools to do so. But you will want to go and generate plenty more lists of your own! We also give you some tips on requesting links from other sites.
Week 18: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 4: Robots Control
Telling Google what you do and don't want in its index
Robotic search engine crawlers visit your site frequently, gathering information for the search engines to include in the results. Your web pages don't have to be included though, if you don't want them to be. Why would you want to remove pages, or stop them from being included in the first place, and how would you do it? What is the noindex tag and the robots.txt file, and how do you use them? And why does it make sense to guide the search engine crawlers to the places you want them to go?
Week 19: Site Management – Part 3: The Site Map
Setting up a clear index for every type of visitor to your website
A "site map" is a list of all the pages on your website. Now, while it's quite possible that your site navigation system is clear enough for any visitors (whether they're humans or search engines) to find their way around to every nook and cranny, you can help them with a site map. We'll look at the current recommendations how to do this, including how to automatically create a machine-readable sitemap file based around the standard agreed format.
Week 20: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 5: Creating a Google-friendly site
Playing things by the book for the best results
The number one search engine provides a whole list of suggestions as to how you can make your site as attractive as possible to it. You need to get quality content and links on your home page, and to ensure you have a logical and sensible site structure. Most importantly, there are a whole list of things not to do, many of which may have been recommended by uninformed colleagues, or unscrupulous search engine optimisation consultants.
Week 21: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 6: Image Optimisation
Describing the places which the search engines can't read
How do you optimise the images on your website for the search engines, and why would you bother to do so in the first place? Google's Image Search can send some useful traffic, and in the industrial sector, you're unlikely to get people searching for images who aren't involved in the industry in some way. Images, if described correctly, can also help the search engines get a theme for your site too; even optimising your company logo might make a difference in being found!
Week 22: Web Analytics – Part 3: Goal Monitoring (Advanced)
Sorting out the quality visitors from the window shoppers
You know how many people are visiting your website, and where they're going when they're on the site. But the real advantage of proper web analytics is to record which visitors are taking the actions you want, from downloading a data sheet to making an RFQ – or even buying something from your online store. Only when you focus on these people can you work out a return on investment for your efforts in getting them to you. We show you how to do all this.
Week 23: Site Content – Part 1: Organising Priorities
Identifying some pages to prioritise for improvement
Adding content to your site is a sure way to increase search engine traffic, as the more words you have, the more searches you'll match. But where should you start adding content? Developing authoritative pages around specific important search terms makes sense, and the best search terms to choose are the ones where a rise in the search engine results will have the most impact. We'll set up a system for identifying these, using your analytics application.
Week 24: PPC Advertising – Part 1: Landing Page Design
Preparing to convert your paid-for traffic into real business
Before you even think about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Google AdWords, you need to have a clear idea of what you're sending responders to your site for, and you need to have pages ready to receive these visitors which will encourage them to take that action. You may have suitable pages already or you may need to design them specifically. We discuss what you might want to achieve, and how to set up tracking to monitor if it's working.
Week 25: Online Publicity – Part 3: Mailshots by Email
Generating a promotional email which produces results
A one-off email to your customer base, or a bought-in list, can produce good response at very low cost. But what do you need to think about before sending one? We explain how most people write promotional emails back to front, and consequently don't get the response they're hoping for. We also look at measuring the success of a mailshot, and the importance of growing your own list of prospect emails, as well as what opportunities you have to do this.
Week 26: PPC Advertising – Part 2: Ad Networks
Mastering the options available to you in PPC advertising
Although Google AdWords dominates the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising market, there are alternatives which get you smaller amounts of traffic, but potentially at a cheaper rate due to lower competition. We look at the various choices, and also the options within Google AdWords such as the "Content Network", which allows you to put your PPC advertisement on specific, targeted websites in a very efficient way.
Week 27: Site Analysis – Part 5: Search Engine Optimisation Recommendations
Analysing how far you've come
After six months, it may be a good time to get an independent snapshot of your website. Insider Programme Pro-level members will receive a full report on your current search engine optimisation status, and will make recommendations on areas which you might want to concentrate on, both on-page (content and code) and off-page (links). Standard level members may like to consider commissioning such a report at a reduced cost.
Week 28: Site Content – Part 2: Authority Pages
Making yourself an authority that the search engines can't resist
Take a look at the pages which are ranking the highest on Google for your key generic product search terms. The chances are, they're encyclopaedic in nature, perhaps even being on Wikipedia or another online reference. But who's one of the foremost authorities on this generic product type? You are. Creating great reference pages on specific topics is a classic way to get to the top of the search engine results, and we look at why and how you should write some.
Week 29: PPC Advertising – Part 3: PPC Ad Targeting
Selecting the keywords which will bring you low-cost, high-quality traffic
Creating a good pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement is only half the job. Just as with magazine adverts, where a great ad is useless if you don't select the right journals for it, with PPC advertising you need to select the right keywords to advertise against. The most obvious ones are rarely the ones which will bring you the most cost-effective traffic. We examine how to track down the keywords which will bring you traffic which converts, at low cost.
Week 30: PPC Advertising – Part 4: PPC Ad Writing
Designing a hard-working ad in just three short lines of text
Just what makes an effective pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement? With a lot of mass-market businesses spending massive amounts of money on PPC advertising, it's been inevitable that some of their tips and tricks have leaked into the public domain. We look at some of the techniques which have been successful and what we can learn from advertisers getting far more traffic than would ever be available in the business-to-business sector.
Week 31: Online Publicity – Part 4: Email Newsletters
Producing a publication your customers will look forward to
Email newsletters to your customers and prospects put your name in front of them regularly, keep them engaged and establish you as an authority and a major player in the market. What's more, they allow you to create the image for your company that you want. But how often should you send them out, what format should they be in, and how much material should you put in them? We look at what's been working, and discuss what you should expect from them.
Week 32: PPC Advertising – Part 5: Bid Management Strategies
Bidding just enough to minimise the cost per conversion
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements give you a lot of flexibility about where you appear. The more you bid, the higher you'll appear, and the more clicks you'll get, so the cost rises exponentially. But is it worth going to the top? Are most of your real conversions going to find you even if you're lower down? Testing is the best way to find out, but there are tools available which can help optimise your bid per click to minimise your cost per conversion.
Week 33: Link Building – Part 2: Encouraging Links
Writing material which other sites will want to link to
Getting your company mentioned on another website gets you traffic, provides valuable links to help you in the search engine rankings, develops your brand, and helps establish you as an authority. Many are far more important to you than a print article, yet few companies spend the same amount of effort on online coverage as they do courting the approval of magazine editors. We look at ways of producing interesting content which will start generating links.
Week 34: Search Engine Optimisation – Part 7: Duplicate Content
Keeping your website original and avoiding repetition
Duplicate content is a phrase which you hear quite often, and which is associated with a lot of scare stories concerning the search engines. We'll explain the different types of duplicate content, and which you should be concerned about, if any. With some of the content you generate (such as press releases) likely to be syndicated and reproduced on other websites, this is an aspect of online marketing that it's useful to be aware of.
Week 35: Site Content – Part 3: Ideas for More Content
Expanding your website past a list of product data sheets
Expanding the volume of words on your website is the best way to catch those "long tail" searches, the ones which individually are rarely entered into Google but which in total form a lot of valuable traffic. But what can you write about, and what brief should you be giving to your writers? We discuss the main options, as well as some of the more offbeat features which are designed more to attract links than search engine referrals.
Week 36: Site Analysis – Part 6: Valid HTML Coding
Ensuring that visitors see things as consistently as possible
Different browsers view things in different ways, and we have to accept that our websites will not look the same from one visitor to another – we just have to ensure that the functionality is not compromised. Insider Programme Pro-level members will receive a report to see if there are any technical areas for concern, and we'll show you various tools which you can use to check your own code and how your site displays.
Week 37: Online Publicity – Part 5: 3rd Party emailed publications
Making the most of independent publishers' email circulations
The business publishing sector has been astonishingly slow to invest in launching online journals and other email publications, but there are some good ones out there which can reach potential customers unknown to you, just like the printed trade magazines can. We look at the best way to be featured in these, whether it's in editorial or as an advertiser, and how to ensure that any coverage you get produces the maximum number of conversions.
Week 38: Online Publicity – Part 6: Surveys
Finding out what your customers or prospects really want
Finding out what your customers or prospects think and want has never been easier, thanks to online survey services. Offering products and services which truly meet customer demands should be a reality determined through market research, not a vacuous marketing slogan. We look at how to set up online surveys to get a near-instant snapshot of customer thinking at almost no cost, for any subject from product development to feedback on events.
Week 39: Site Content – Part 4: Setting up a Company Blog
Creating an effective blog and getting it right first time
It sounds like even harder work than an email newsletter, both to produce and to set up, but a company blog is neither. It's a great way to add content to your website, and generate a circulation of interested customers and prospects, without the hard and fast commitment of a regular publication. A blog also constantly reinforces your position as an authority in your field. Best of all, it's now easier and cheaper than ever to set up and run. We show you how.
Week 40: Link Building – Part 3: Buying Links
Obtaining more links to your website by buying them
The web is full of advice telling you never to pay for links. But there are several ways in which you can buy them quite honestly and legitimately, and these methods are a lot quicker to produce results than the painstaking methods discussed earlier. As with all links, you get a double benefit: more traffic to your website via those links, and higher ranking in the search engines. We've put together half a dozen great ideas which you can use immediately.
Week 41: Online Publicity – Part 7: Banner and Display Advertising
Ensuring your graphical ads work as effectively as possible
If you want a degree of "branding" as well as generating traffic to your website, banner advertisements have traditionally been the investment of choice, and although many would argue that there are serious alternative online methods of increasing brand recognition, the banner ad is a straightforward and comfortable option. We'll look at ways to make the banner work more effectively, and discuss the best practices in design and implementation.
Week 42: Site Content – Part 5: Response Forms
Encouraging prospects to identify themselves
Every visitor you attract to your site costs money, so any increase in the percentage of visitors who identify themselves and make requests will be extremely valuable. The design of response forms has been shown to be critical here, and we discuss some recommendations. Also, people find unnecessary questions intrusive, but there'll be pressure on you to capture as much information about them as possible. How do we reconcile these requirements?
Week 43: Online Publicity – Part 8: Email Copywriting
Getting your emails opened and acted on
Good copywriting works in any medium, but there are a number of special considerations when it comes to writing emails, whether they're one-offs or regular newsletters. The subject lines are critical, of course, as is personalisation and the presentation of links. So what works? Should subject lines which sell or inform? What should you bear in mind when writing the content? And how do you set up a link which people will want to click on?
Week 44: Site Content – Part 6: Maintaining a Company Blog
Developing ideas to keep your company blog fresh
With any luck, your company blog will have launched with a degree of enthusiasm, and not just from you. However, to keep the content coming, you need a range of ideas, and if you're going to get others involved (inside or outside the company), you need to set up a timetable so you can give them as much time as possible to prepare their contributions. We discuss content-related ideas which you might be able to apply to your company blog.
Week 45: Web Analytics – Part 4: Advanced Segmentation
Drilling down into your data to identify opportunities
We should all find the time to dig into our web analytics data far enough to uncover some of the real gems of information hidden there. With any ad hoc analysis, you can improve your chances of finding something good if you start off with some ideas which have proved to be winners for other people. We provide examples of data segments which might reveal interesting differences between different types of visitors to your website.
Week 46: Online Publicity – Part 9: Building your Email Lists
Growing your email lists into a worthwhile requested circulation
Emailing is not just about sending material to the people you already know. The existence of your email material (such as newsletters) should be enough to get people you don't know asking to join your mailing list so they can receive it. So how do you encourage people to join the list? Make it easy for them to join, ensure their addresses are correct and acceptable, and promote your publications alongside non-competitive but related ones elsewhere…
Week 47: Page Content – Part 4: Secondary Content
Ensuring visitors see everything you have to offer
Apart from the content, a really efficient web page should have just two other features: something which persuades the visitor to read the content, and calls to action for afterwards (or if they don't read the content). Strip down your pages to these essentials, and you'll reduce your bounce rate and increase the average pages viewed per visit. We look at the key elements which will retain your hard-won visitors, and which elements are just clutter.
Week 48: Site Content – Part 7: Video
Producing a product demo video and making it work
Video is easy to make, easy to include on your website, and very effective. What's more, you can make perfectly passable videos with modern home AV equipment and the help of a good salesman as your demonstrator. What are the top tips in making a product demonstration video? How do you include it on your site? Google can't watch a video, so how do you optimise a video for search engines? We answer all this and more.
Week 49: Site Content – Part 8: White Papers
Writing a 'White Paper' to attract and reveal early stage buyers
In order to capture visitors' contact details, you're going to get better results if you can something in exchange. White Papers have been proven to be one of the most effective trades there are, and can be particularly effective at delivering prospects at an early stage in the buying process, something which is notoriously hard to achieve. We look at what White Papers are, what you should put in them, and how you should market them.
Week 50: PPC Advertising – Part 6: Landing Page Design (Advanced)
Creating a landing page which will really convert
A landing page has one function only – to ensure as many visitors as possible take the required action. It's well known that you have 2-3 seconds to capture a visitor's interest, so how do you get the message over that the page content needs to be acted on? We discuss the many barriers and distractions which might get in the way of the required action, and what the essential elements of a successful landing page are.
Week 51: Insider Programme Summary – Part 1
A 20-Point Plan of Action for Search Engine Optimisation
As a summary of all the search engine optimisation aspects of the "Insider Programme", here is a typical plan of action you might take when starting work on a small- or medium-sized business website. Use it as a guide for any new sites you might work on, or as a checklist for all the work you should have done on your existing site. All the items will have been covered in the previous 50 Practical Steps sheets.
Week 52: Insider Programme Summary – Part 2
20 things you might want to look at on a regular basis
There are many topics we have covered over the course of 52 weeks which you will revisit and continue to improve, but to finish with, here are 20 things you might like to keep an eye on in the future. Good luck.
Interested in joining us on the Insider Programme? Let's have a chat about it. Call Tony Rand on 01462 489060 or email us and we'll give you a call