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Conducting an SEO audit to see if you are missing a trick

As a business owner, having a website that doesn’t perform well for you simply won’t do. The purpose of a company’s website is to attract targeted visitors who are likely to become customers. Therefore, your website needs to rank high within search engines. Despite SEO’s high level of effectiveness, a study highlights that 39% of surveyed business leaders are unsure as to whether their company website is optimised for SEO, underscoring the need for an SEO audit. A single site can be assessed by several factors when it comes to its ranking – including content, speed, mobile-friendliness, and a solid internal linking structure, to name a few.

With a multitude of terminology and SEO tools to navigate, the idea of performing an audit on your SEO can seem daunting. However, knowing how an SEO audit could benefit your business and understanding how to interpret the findings can be very valuable to your business.

Once you have a better understanding of the health of your site, you can carry out a keyword audit to look at your businesses position within organic search, against a variety of keywords. Keyword audits are an essential part of an effective SEO strategy. When using keywords, it is critical to consider specific words and phrases that your audience might use when searching. By recognising these, you can gain a more in-depth insight into the intent of your audience, as well as identify any new tracked keywords that are relevant to help your site achieve an increased quality in traffic. This process is often completed through keyword research, using tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner.

Carrying out a backlink audit is an essential step in acknowledging the health of a business’ current backlink profile, helping to identify any issues with poor backlinks. Typically, backlinks provide a clear image of the quality and professionalism of a website. However, previous link building methods have resulted in many sites now being stuck with malicious links. In some cases, poor backlinks can result in a penalty being issued by Google; that’s why getting it right is crucial.

Generally speaking, the quality of links is more important than the quantity. Ensuring you are using domains that are relevant to your business is vital and can help showcase your company as professional and trustworthy. It can be advantageous to look at your competitor’s backlinks, as this can help you uncover potential opportunities and provide you with an understanding of how they use and implement them.

By Ralf, Co-Founder and CEO of the international Payment Service Provider Computop

Today retail is part business administration, part psychology. Forget distribution channels, they belong in the dusty past. Customers now demand a more flexible approach to retail allowing them to buy what they want, when they want, where they want, and pay for it in a way that suits them. It’s called omnichannel and retailers who are succeeding are those that long ago forgot about separate, unconnected spheres of shopping with different ranges, different prices and different ways to pay.

As omnichannel has been adopted by more retailers, they have built IT systems that resemble a virtual warehouse in which goods are stocked for distribution to any channel, anywhere, ordered by anyone. Store employees have the same access to product data as a customer using an eCommerce outlet. An integrated omnichannel merchandise management system offers clothing retailers in particular, with their seasonal product ranges that are still planned in advance, great opportunities to improve service, increase customer loyalty and at the same time optimise warehousing, sales and increase margins. These systems work because the underlying technology ranges from enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management to the multifaceted interaction of accounting and payment.

Omnichannel is categorically not about the demise of the physical store. Many customers visit shops having already read all the Amazon reviews and with an understanding of price, but they want to touch the goods, and they want to talk to an assistant. If all physical shops were to close, online retailers would suddenly experience a sharp rise in returns, and the ‘showrooming’ element of physical shopping would be detrimental to brands, and disappointing for customers who still look for the kind of retail experience that only visiting a store can provide.

Consolidating payment mechanisms also has an important role to play in the adoption of omnichannel. Payment methods traditionally offered at the POS are different, and wider, than those online and if retailers continue to use different payment service providers (PSPs) for in-store transactions than for goods purchased online they are storing up problems for themselves.

This can be managed by locating payment and data with a service provider who supports e-commerce, m-commerce and POS from a single source anywhere in the world using common technology. This guarantees true omnichannel reporting with consolidated evaluation of all sales and transactions, wherever they occur.

The other important element is that at the point of payment customer and card data must be protected. In store retailers should use terminals at the POS that support the P2PE security standard of Visa and Mastercard, ensuring that data is encrypted. Online, retailers will be aware that they need to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), the standard developed under the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) to enhance the security of credit and debit card payments.

The task of retailers today is to think about omnichannel as a way to reach customers where they are, to ensure goods are available across all channels and to deliver an experience that is equally valuable whether it’s on the high street, on a mobile phone, in a mall or sitting at a desk.

By George Theohari, Head of Content, Speak Media

As businesses reposition themselves as in the aftermath of lockdown, new stakeholder attitudes, combined with financial and organisational challenges, suggest corporate comms teams need to be prepared to navigate a very different future.

In a recent survey conducted by Speak Media in partnership with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), 81% of corporate comms leaders said that the content that they create is likely to change post-pandemic. But, as companies address the shifting perspectives of customers and other stakeholders, how should their content change – and how should communicators be adapting?

A focus on internal comms

63% of respondents suggested that internal comms will become “all important” as a result of coronavirus. With many employees working from home, it is more crucial than ever for brands to communicate with their workforces to ensure they feel involved in the company culture.

In the face of huge uncertainty surrounding employment, the economy and business success, efforts to stay in touch with employees are essential, helping to bolster productivity and job satisfaction. There are a host of tactics that comms leads can use to do this effectively: from video messages featuring senior leaders and regular email updates, to checklists of useful resources that could help staff to stay safe and look after their own wellbeing and that of customers and clients.

Cuts to comms budgets

Engaging with audiences is more important than ever ­– especially as consumers are keen to see how brands are upholding their values at this challenging time.

Many comms leaders are considering changes to how their organisations are positioned, with an awareness that their stakeholders now give a great deal more kudos to good citizenship and to contributions towards positive change.

George Theohari

However, the colossal economic impact of the crisis has seen many companies reassess their budgets and reshape their priorities to protect their cash flow. As a result, half the respondents in our survey expect comms budgets to be slashed in the post-Covid future.

This development will lead to an even greater focus on efficiency and effectiveness, and comms teams will have to be certain that each piece of content they produce truly adds value. Regularly reporting on content assets, as well as using analytics tools to keep track of how readers are engaging will only increase in usage as corporate communicators feel the growing need to justify their use of resource – and identify evolving audience interests. At Speak, regular dashboard reporting on content created for our clients is an essential part of our process ­– and has proved valuable in shaping our content creation during the pandemic.

Halting content plans

Whether companies face budget cuts or not, comms teams will need to channel resources where they matter. Nearly 40% of comms leaders said they expect long planned activity to be halted because of the uncertainty businesses are confronting.

Some of the plans communicators had in place before the crisis may now seem absurd in the current context – but it’s vital to ensure that no content is wasted that could be used. Some of the work that we’ve been developing for our clients since the start of a year has found new relevance and importance in the light of the pandemic. In some cases, simply adding new quotes and insights can create pieces that feel timely and compelling. It is also worth revisiting projects put on hold at the start of the crisis – a lot has changed since March and some may feel more pertinent now that lockdown has eased.

What won’t change

It’s easy to fixate on the ways that the pandemic is disrupting and rebuilding marketing activities – and it is essential for content creators to take heed of the rapidly evolving concerns of companies and customers alike.

But the essentials of corporate comms do not change. Good storytelling is still the best way of building empathy, understanding and giving brands a human face – especially as it is now significantly harder for potential customers to connect with a company in ‘real life’.

Indeed, just 13% of those who took part in our survey think that crisis comms will take over from brand storytelling. Content that connects audiences to brands and puts reader engagement first should always be the priority for comms practitioners – even in unprecedented times like these.

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