Learning the basics and getting SEO right gives you a firm foundation for building your online presence as a freight business and doing so effectively.
As a freight business, when moving into the digital world, the first thing you need is a website, and for this, you need to sign up for free website hosting and choose a domain name. Your domain name needs to reflect your business, be as short as possible and be unique. Once this is in place you are ready to start creating your site.
Before you start creating pages for your website, it is important to spend some time deciding on what it is you want your website to achieve. Are you using your website to sell your services directly? Is it there to provide information, advice and guide customers to where they can purchase your products? These questions need answers as they will determine many of the elements that you include in your website.
As well as these deliberations, there are some overarching basics that must be considered when designing your site. These will include page loading speed, page length, easy navigation, images, and colors. In addition to these, further considerations include remembering that your website is a global entity, even if you are only focusing on the local area. Forgetting this could lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretation of your content.
If you have an online presence then, the chances are that you have considered your search engine rankings. But, with so many ways of getting your website in front of your intended audience, is SEO still relevant and do you still need this type of support?
The quick answer to both parts of this question is yes. Search engine optimization still has an important role to play in improving your visibility online and in helping you reach potential customers.
The changes that Google, especially, have made to their algorithms have made it more difficult to get away with keyword stuffing of content, meaning greater attention must be paid to other details.
Still not convinced? Consider the fact that SEO still works and that the changes in the algorithms have generally lead to an improvement in the content that ranks highly.
Next, consider it’s cost-effective compared to PPC advertising. Even with an SEO agency, your costs are lower. The main reason is that when you work with an agency you have a set price plan, for a set amount of work and a set amount of time. The cost of PPC has a great number of variables and a lower chance of success, especially if it is your only marketing approach.
The rise of mobile technology is another reason why your search engine rankings matter. When customers are searching on a mobile device, they are less likely to scroll down to lower first page rankings, let alone consider moving to page 2.
You need to understand the value of keywords in relation to generating high search engine rankings for your freight website. You also need to understand that the choice of keywords is just as important. But, how do you know which words and phrases should be used and which should be avoided?
When deciding on the keywords and phrases to include in your titles, meta data and content, the first consideration should be, is it relevant? The keywords you use in your content will be relevant to your website and to your business. You must ensure that the chosen keywords are used by a potential customer, so they find what it is they were looking for on your site.
The traffic brought to your site by the keywords must result in either the financial reward of the achievement of another goal. If it does not, then the wrong keywords are being used.
Another element to keyword research is understanding the competition. If another company, in the logistics sector and with similar offerings, is using these keywords successfully, then they are of value. One way this can be determined is to explore paid adverts. High value keywords are likely to appear in numerous paid adverts that are displayed along with the organic search results. If a keyword does not produce any paid results, then questions need to be asked as to why that is.
It may be easier, and quicker to list what they don’t do. In short, an SEO consultant helps your company improve its visibility online and improves your return on investment. However, there are many strands to achieving that goal.
One of the first things any SEO consultant will do is get to know your company. They will want to know your business plan, your long and short term goals, your strengths and your weaknesses. From this, they will be able to see where you need help and what services they can provide that will best support you.
If you don’t have an online presence already, then the consultant is working with a blank slate. The web design agency will get you set up and running in the right direction. This is likely to include setting up your website, getting you on social media and introducing you to the world of email marketing.
If you already have an online presence, then their approach will be slightly different. They will most likely begin with an SEO audit. This will provide them with vital information about your search engine rankings and how they can be optimised. It will also highlight weaknesses within your digital marketing approach. Once identified they can work with you on how best to proceed to reduce or remove the weaknesses and increase targeted traffic to your site. Other services may include keyword research, content creation, updating social media and writing press releases to name a few. But, all this is dependent on the needs shown in the initial steps.
They can also help manage relationships with other businesses in the same industry, yet not in direct competition, for example, companies offering pallets for sale. You can create content for their website, and they can do so on yours.
While such agencies can help you to set your online goals and targets, you need to understand some of the indicators that can be measured to determine the success of your project.
When setting targets, it is important to be realistic and specific. The clearer your targets are the easier it will be to measure progress and determine your next steps. It is also important to put these targets into a time frame. Consider where you want to be in the next 3 months, 6 months and next year.
Your specific targets will depend on what it is you want to achieve over the longer term. There is little point in setting a sales target if you don’t sell a product or service. Similarly, there is little logic to expecting greater online sales, but then not tracking sales enquiries.
Some key performance indicators that you may set could include an increase of X% in inquiries, a percentage increase in sign-ups to your newsletter, or an improvement in brand awareness. Whatever your targets you will need to know whether the agency you are considering has the tools and mechanisms in place to measure your chosen indicators.
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about building an online presence as a freight business.