The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed what a normal life looks like. Because of the vast shift that we all have to adapt to, all traditional businesses are especially affected, specifically through the practice of social distancing that discourages customers from visiting physical stores. However, the good news is that, despite social distancing, people are still actively shopping from home. In fact, according to an analysis by ACI Worldwide, transaction volumes in most retail sectors have seen a 74 percent rise in March compared to the same period last year, while online gaming has seen a staggering increase of 97 percent.
If anything, this means one thing: business owners with brick and mortar shops will soon have to move their businesses online, FAST!
The good news is, the pandemic has also changed consumers’ habits when it comes to online shopping. Before, people would normally only shop online for clothes, gadgets, and other non-perishables and would prefer to buy their groceries in physical stores. But due to the need for quarantining, consumers have started purchasing groceries online, opting for either self pick-up or engaging a delivery service.
To help retailers make their shift online, Shopify offers solutions, like creating a simple Shopify store to offer curbside pickup or local delivery options to customers. This can eventually lead to a more holistic shift to selling all or most of their products online.
If you’re new to the e-commerce landscape, below are some essential steps you can take to kickstart your online business. Soo, you will learn how to treat your homepage like your storefront and transition some of your physical store experience onto your product pages.
So, how do I create an online store?
1. Start a Shopify 90-day free trial
The first step is to visit shopify.com to start your online store with an extended 90-day free trial.
Here you’ll choose your store name, which will become the URL or domain name that your customers will use to shop from your store. You can start with the Basic plan to start with, but you can always upgrade as you see fit.
Note: You’ll need to add your credit card or PayPal address. Since you’re on a 90-day free trial, you won’t be billed for the duration of the trial period, and we’ll send you a reminder before your trial ends.
2. Choose a theme
Find the right theme, or website template, for your online store in the Shopify Theme Store. You can start with a free theme built by Shopify, or you can purchase a theme developed by one of their Partners.
You’ll want synchrony between your brick-and-mortar store and online presence, so try browsing themes by collection or industry and choosing one that best fits your brand. Of course, no theme is restricted to any industry, it’s just helpful to get you started quickly. You can always customize your theme later.
Prep your essential pages
The faster you make your online store available, the sooner customers will be able to continue purchasing your products. Focus on the basics: make sure your store features recognizable aspects of your business (like your logo or brand colors) and makes it easy for people to browse and buy.
No need to worry about the frills. Your priority is to get your products online and sell your in-store inventory. Here are the pages we recommend creating before you launch:
Treat your homepage like your retail storefront. Shoppers use the homepage to discover new offers and promotions and navigate to product pages. Consider having a banner or notification bar that shares crucial information with customers, like what purchase or shipping options you’ve made available, or how they can support you with a gift card purchase.
Recent supply chain challenges have been affecting shipping services in unpredictable ways, your customers may have a few shipping-related questions for you. Browse around to see how other local businesses are dealing with their Shipping FAQ at this time. It’s important to share any extra steps you’re taking to keep customers safe as you ship orders to their door, such as added precautions when you prepare or package your products.
Return and exchange policy
A written return policy allows you to establish clear, consistent guidelines for how customers can replace or refund their purchase. Dealing with return and exchange requests on a case-by-case basis isn’t sustainable, and can add unnecessary complexity (and cost) to your operation.
A good Contact Us page sets the right expectations with customers and makes it clear where and when they can reach you. Consider including a map of your store location for local shoppers, as well as a contact form so people don’t have to leave your website to get in touch with you.
Your product pages are where you sell the value of your products, so it’s important to make them detailed and compelling. Below we’ve listed resources to help you build high-converting product pages, write compelling product descriptions, shoot good-looking product photography with the tools you have available.
Add your products
Adding your products can take some time if you have a large catalog, but there are ways to quickly get started. We’ve recently rolled out updates to make this process faster and easier, and we’re now offering free data migration services for customers launching their online store for the first time.
Here are a few ways you can add products:
- Bulk upload from your Shopify admin. If you’re a Shopify customer, you can do a simple bulk upload of your inventory into Shopify
- Use Shopify Mobile or Shopify POS. If you haven’t been up-to-date with your inventory, use the Shopify Mobile app and take pictures of your products with your mobile device’s camera, and add them to your online store, all in one simple workflow.
- Use our free POS data migration service. For those of you who aren’t using Shopify POS for your brick-and-mortar store, this service will help you migrate your POS data into Shopify’s platform. Migrations are available for most POS systems, including Lightspeed, Square, Quickbooks, Vend, Shopkeep, and more.
Set up gift cards
Selling digital gift cards is one of the fastest ways for a brick-and-mortar business to start selling online and secure immediate cash flow. Here’s how it works:
- You create a digital gift card
- Customers can then buy and pay for gift cards through your new online store
- Purchased gift cards are then delivered to your customers by email
- All active gift cards can be tracked and managed in Shopify as customers redeem them in the future
- As you launch new products that can be purchased online or make your products available for local delivery or pickup, customers can redeem gift cards at checkout. By default, the gift cards you create never expire.
Set up shipping
Shoppers are stuck at home and many need order to reach their doorstep, which means providing an affordable and convenient shipping experience is now crucial. Here are some recommendations to keep your business moving during these uncertain times — while staying safe.
1. Keep shipping costs down
Shipping costs can quickly eat away at independent retailers’ margins, so be strategic about the way you approach shipping and fulfillment. Here are a few suggestions:
- Opt for manual shipping: Print labels, send shipping notifications, and track every part of your orders and manually fulfill orders where possible.
- Skip the fancy packaging. You can get free packaging from all major couriers in the United States (USPS, DHL Express, and UPS) and Canada (Canada Post).
- Set up Local Shipping. When customers are close to your business, you can offer a “local delivery” option. Local shipping rates will be automatically applied at checkout to customers in your selected zone.
2. Try Shopify Shipping
Shopify Shipping works with courier companies like DHL in Singapore and Malaysia and offers multiple mail classes with each carrier, so you can access features like overnight delivery, package pick-ups, tracking information, international shipping, and more depending on the carrier and mail class you choose.
Shopify also works with carriers directly to negotiate competitive rates for each shipping service, and those rates are automatically included on every plan at no extra cost to you.
3. Set up self pick-up for local customers
Curbside pickup allows your local customers to buy something online and pick it up outside your store — without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option not only minimizes person-to-person interactions, but it’s also faster and reduces shipping costs. Here are the steps:
- Your customer will order and pay you online through your new online store
- You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely
- You’ll then tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup
- Your customer will drive to your store and pop their trunk
- You’ll safely place their order in their trunk
- That’s it, you’re done!
Setting up payments
There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing which payment methods to offer online. If you want to let your customers pay using a credit card, then you can use Shopify Payments or a third-party provider. There are also several ways for customers to pay online without using a credit card, like PayPal or online bank transfer. Finally, accelerated checkouts like Shop Pay save shipping and payment information for returning customers to help them check out faster.
Read these considerations and instructions to make sure you choose the right payment methods for your business.
Let shoppers know you’re open for business
After you’ve set up your online store, your first priority is to inform current customers that you’re still open for business. Here’s how to announce that you’ve launched an online store, along with a few places you can likely reach your customers:
- Email your customers. Have you collected customers’ emails in-person, through an existing website, or through your point-of-sale (POS) system? Now is a good time to stay in regular contact with them, and email provides a direct line to their inbox. To start, let customers know about recent changes, and how they can continue to buy your products or support you with gift card purchases.
- Add signage to your storefront. For your local foot traffic, a sign on your door directing shoppers to your online store can be a simple but effective solution for notifying people about your new online store.
- Post to social media. If you’re active on social media, add your store’s URL to your Instagram bio, pin a Tweet with your new URL or domain name, and share a status update with a link to your store on your Facebook page.
- Add or update local listings. Google My Business is a free tool that helps you market your local business in Google Search and Google Maps. For example, you can post your website URL and photos of your products on your Business Profile, which can appear in Google’s search results. You can also list any of your special promotions or offers so customers have a reason to online shop with you.
- Announce it on your homepage (when it’s live).
And there you have it, folks — your new online store!
Source: Resilient Retail: How to Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online
Once upon a time, Shake Shack was one of the many one-off boutique stands that set shop in New york’s Madison Square Park. Today, having recently gone public in an IPO that ballooned to a whopping $1.6 billion, the once-humble shack has grown to become a multinational burger titan with franchises in Moscow, Istanbul and Dubai.
So, what is it that makes Shake Shake so successful? More importantly, what can we learn from Shake Shack’s success story to craft our own?
Foundationally, Shake Shack is made up of an excellent team. Its founder, Danny Meyer, is a thriving restauranteur who’s responsible for the success of some of the hottest restaurants in New York. Pat LaFrieda butchers blended the umami-rich mix of brisket, chuck, skirt steak, and short rib in each burger. And architect, James Wines is responsible for developing the original shack structure in Madison Square Park.
The real question is, what of the casually catchy Shake Shack branding that has spread so seamlessly to cultures across the globe? The logo, signage, bags, and uniforms were all designed by Pentagram in a project led by principal graphic designer, Paula Scher.
Before Shake shack, Scher was already leading a pro bono redesign of Madison Square Park’s identity for the park’s Conservancy. Therefore, when the Conservancy decided to build a permanent burger stand on the public premises, it only made sense to have Scher on the project to ensure that the burger branding doesn’t become conflicting. Originally, Scher has picked up the Shake Shack project for free since it was an extension of the Conservancy project.
Shake Shack’s branding came from two sources of inspiration that evolved over time. The first one was the shack structure itself — a corrugated metal hut that would go on to earn James Wines a National Design Award for lifetime achievement in 2013.
According to Scher, the original idea was that the shack would be part of an urban landscape in parks — and that’s how the first one was designed. Therefore, when the logo for Shake Shack was designed, it was really the architecture that drove the design.
In addition to that, the shack exuded a kind of approachable modernness, and Scher wanted a typeface to match — and she chose Neutra. To this day, metallic, Neutra lettering spells out Shake Shack in front of all their global stores.
Scher introduced a second wave of branding some time after the store had opened for business. This time it would be paid work. It tapped the core idea behind Shake Shack itself — a ’50s burger joint reimagined for a modern context. So, for the text on menus and bags, Pentagram selected the curvaceous Galaxie Cassiopeia font, or what Scher lovingly calls “a phony neon script” that still felt modern enough to keep up with the logo. The typeface was paired with squiggly burger, shake, and fry icons that evoked classic signage. Even rendered in ink, you can almost see the 1950s neon shining through.
Although the branding was designed for the distinctiveness of Shake Shack’s original site, it has managed to scale to franchises placed in more typical storefront locations and even airports.
“I think the modernness of it is somehow perfect in keeping with the quality of the food. It’s a contemporary fast-food chain with a high-level product–as opposed to McDonald’s, which is also modelled after 1950s burger chains but serves downscale food,” Scher says. “In retrospect, if you’d done a million years of focus testing and consumer studies, you wouldn’t do a better job. It shows you the charm of the happenstance.”
When asked if it felt a bit strange to see pro bono work now define the face of a $1.6 billion public company, Scher admits that it is “a bit.”
“They offered me a stock purchase before the public offering,” she says. “And in fairness, no one had an idea of how successful it would become.”
If you were to be asked whether you would rather have more organic traffic or better rankings, which would you choose? For most of us, this is a trick question, as we’d rather have both. This is because we know that both search engine metrics can make a huge difference in our businesses.
As you should know, Google tends to rank pages higher in search results based on the authority of that page. In modern SEO, links build up the page’s authority and improve its SEO value. In the same arena, duplicate content gets penalized. The right keyword search term can also make a whole lot of difference in traffic and rankings.
Recent data estimates that the link popularity of a specific page accounts for 22.33% of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm. What if you could access the most updated resources that would help you build the right links? What difference would that make in your investment, considering that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building?
Over the years, we’ve come to learn that a link building campaign with useful content and quality anchor text phrases is easier than most people think. If you can develop and document your strategy, you’ll ultimately generate more authority links for your pages. Both content marketing and link building are interdependent and inseparable.
In this part 1 of this two-part post, we will show you 5 link building software resources that you can tap into any time that you want to. These resources provide scalable link-earning techniques, tips and best practices that are proven to work. When you implement them, your search engine rankings and site traffic will both improve.
Link building used to be easy. You could set up a few PBN (private blog network) sites and get a bunch of links that would push your organic rankings to the top. But does it still work?
Broken link building is a white-hat and scalable tactic for getting the right kind of links. Essentially, it is a content-focused strategy for any link building campaign, wherein you simply find dead (or broken) links, analyze the page for relevance and create more valuable content to replace the broken content. This helps site owners, editors and webmasters improve their site user experience by replacing broken links with a link to your page based on a search term. With the right approach, you can create an link building campaign and automate broken link building, which will continually build momentum for your site with this simple link building software.
As you go through the Broken Link Building Bible, you’ll discover why broken link building is perhaps the most effective white-hat link building strategy to come along in years. However, your success at getting the right links will entirely depend on how willing you are to research and analyze or audit different websites.
Broken link building is all about making an impact. It’s about helping webmasters and making the web a better place. Webmasters are always happy to fix broken links – if they find them. They know there’s a relationship between Google rankings and links but, on big sites, finding broken links isn’t easy.
You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t linking duplicate content.
A dead link — that is, a link that no longer works — doesn’t do the user or the site any good. In fact, too many broken links can have a negative effect on a site. Webmasters hate doing all the keyword search term work and link building to have this happen.
Having too many broken links on a page is a sign of a neglected or abandoned site. The Google Search Quality Raters General Guidelines view broken links as one of the ways to measure a homepage’s quality. It’s one SEO tool. According to Moz, broken link building is a strategy that constructively addresses many of the competing interests in our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs. link building and inbound vs. outbound.
Achieving success online takes time. You have to be patient and you’ve also got to create content that’ll help people get closer to achieving their goals. If you’ve struggled to build the kind of links that Google loves, you should study the Advanced Guide to Link Building. It’ll show you:
How to go about finding and getting those “perfect links”
● The right way to create epic search term content that’ll help you build relationships with the leaders in your industry.
● How to identify and approach the authority sites you can get links from in just a few minutes.
● The hidden secrets to getting hard-to-come-by .edu and .gov backlinks.
● The step-by-step method of link-building outreach that walks you through the process of initiating and building a relationship with influencers and pro bloggers.
This resource was written way back in 2011, but it’s been consistently updated to match modern SEO best practices. It’s not your typical long-form post — it’s pretty short, actually — but it’ll show you:
● Why educational links matter
● How to create content that attracts .edu links
● How to build relationships that help you get these links
Link building has evolved significantly since 2011. Lots of tactics that used to work have since fizzled out — e.g., article directories, duplicate or barely-rewritten content, etc. But educational sites have remained a viable source of high-quality links for any site. Incoming links from educational websites are often perceived as the most powerful links you can get and getting a bunch of these links can skyrocket your search rankings.
It’s true that .edu links aren’t the only kind of powerful incoming links. There’s no proof that Google rates them universally higher than all other kinds of links. However, educational backlinks are powerful — just like links from any other high-authority domain would be.
Educational backlinks are hard to get. Your link building software can only help if you have high quality, respected content. However, the harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it will have.
Sites with .edu domains typically have high authority as they’ve been around for a long time and have many trusted quality sites linking to them. That’s why many of these sites are viewed as authoritative by Google. Therefore, getting links from these authority top-level domains improves search performance.
Wordstream’s guide on using editorial linkbait to get .edu links is a must-read. It uses anecdotes to explain the relevance of educational links and to show how you can create .edu link bait. Link bait is simply content on your site that other sites link to willingly because the content solves a problem. This is the type of content people will tag with a social bookmark.
When people link to your content page on their own initiative, it means you’ve created a linkable asset. The intersection between link bait and a linkable asset is your sweet spot for converting your prospects into customers. It can be a blog post, a viral podcast, an infographic or a helpful ebook. Ultimately, you want people to view your site with the same authority and want to tag it with a social bookmark as well.
So, how to get an education backlink? First and foremost, you can use advanced search modifiers to find education sites in Google. Your goal is to narrow your results down to educational results pages. Some of the search strings you can use are:
a). site:.edu – shows you search results containing educational result sites only
b). site:.edu “blog” – returns search results for educational blogs only
c). site:.edu “forums” – if you want to participate in an educational discussion board
d). site:.edu “comments” – for educational blogs with comments sections
e). site:.edu “log in / create account” – returns .edu blog extensions that allow you to sign up as a user for the purpose of commenting or other kinds of participation
f). site:.edu inurl:blog “seo” – for educational blogs that understand SEO and would be interested in learning more about search engines
Broken link building is the easiest way to get your links from educational portals. All you’ve got to do is find dead links on these blogs and suggest better content — your own — to replace it. Broken link building works. For example, Michael Chibuzor, founder of contentmarketingup.com, generated 27 links from .edu domains in 90 days.
Brian Dean has taught broken link building and his students are seeing great results. Recently, one of his students, Emil Shour, set out to rank for his most profitable search engine keyword. He leveraged the skyscraper technique and created an in-depth, long-form article in the employee wellness niche, entitled “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas for Your Office.”
Richard researched industry blogs that are relevant to employee management, found broken links and sent outreach emails to all of them. By doing this, Richard was able to push his post into a number #1 ranking and generated $100,000 in revenue. Richard also boosted his organic traffic by 348% in just 7 days.
So how do you find dead links on educational blogs that you can capitalize on to get incoming links?
It’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
i). First step:
Go to Google and search for educational resource pages. These pages contain lists of links to external sites and contents.
This time, let’s find educational resources for small businesses.
The search string I used is “site:edu “resources” + blogs + small business
And here’s the results screenshot:
You can see that the search results are relevant to small businesses only. This makes them viable.
ii). Second step:
Choose one of the resources and click on it. Here’s the page, with all of the resources:
Some of the outgoing links on this page may be dead, but you can’t tell just by looking and clicking on all of them one-by-one will take lots of time.
Instead, use a tool designed for checking dead links.
iii). Third step:
Go to deadlinkchecker.com. Copy the resource page address as it appears on the browser.
Then paste the site address into the search bar and click the “check” button:
Out of the 142 out-going links analyzed by the dead link checker tool, 8 of them are dead. Those are the links that return any of these error messages: 404 not found, 400 bad requests, -1 not found, etc.
Next, prepare your content. Remember that since you’re concerned about small business, your content needs to be relevant to that topic. Otherwise, it might be difficult to convince the blog editor or administrator to swap out the dead link for your page. Search term research helps here to ensure it is relevant in today’s search engine realm.
iv). Step four:
Send a personalized outreach email. I’ve received several outreach emails that are obviously form letters. Sometimes, the exact same email I receive went out to 10 or more other bloggers.
Don’t do that. Instead, personalize your email subject lines when reaching out to educational blogs. This is key to better email open rates.
Often,these people are academics and any slight error or hint of deception will result in your email being deleted without being read.
To “personalize” means that you give it a personal touch. If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, address them by their first name.
Not everyone understands how to write persuasive emails to site owners and bloggers. If that’s you, don’t worry. Just use the email templates below and add the person’s name, if you know it.
When using any email template, keep these things in mind:
● Write lowercase subject lines – I do this all the time because I want the email to seem casual as if it’s from a friend, not a robot.
● Be creative – emails that are boring and lack emotional appeal won’t get opened or responded to.
● Personalize – you have to include the person’s name and the website name in the email so it doesn’t come off as spammy.
If you didn’t find any dead links on your targeted educational resource page, don’t give up. Instead of sending a broken link email, you can simply send a basic link request email.
If broken link building seems like a lot of work, or too difficult to tackle, there are other tactics that I’ve personally used to get .edu authority links:
● Blog comments
● Create a case study that’s relevant to the subject matter
● Blogger recognition
● Leveraging alumni news
● Local resource pages
● University discounts
● Improve a section of a site
As you can see, link building software may help but isn’t necessary.
You can learn how to apply all these link earning tactics in Chapter 5 of the Advanced Guide To Link Building.
This helpful resource shows you why linking out is a strategy, not a tactic — because when you build quality anchor text phrases to outside sites, you also get these benefits:
● Enhanced awareness for your site and brand
● Opportunities for other sites to link back to your page
● Search engine awareness that you have a timely and useful resource
● More helpful information for your readers
Developing a link building strategy isn’t a cakewalk. Heck, even SEO experts sometimes fail at a link building campaign. Link building software and tools help, but you still need to split test everything.
Outbound links or links that point to external web pages from your own site can actually impact your blog authority. Make sure the pages your links point to are relevant, useful and have good standing with Google.
At the heart of an effective link building campaign is the concept of giving. In other words, you link to other sites, pages and case studies willingly. Linking out instead of link building to rank in Google is a helpful resource that doesn’t follow traditional advice. Rather, it capitalizes on the principle of reciprocity. Reciprocity is a social rule that says we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. That is, people give back the kind of treatment they have received from you.
For example, if you’re writing a guide to SEO, you should link out to authority sites that have addressed the topic before. As much as you can, link out to pages with high page authority – it’ll have a dramatic impact on your search performance and online visibility. Use simple search term phrases for anchor text when possible.
Reciprocity is one of the most vital of Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. We humans are basically hard-wired to pay back our debts, help those who offered us a helping hand and generally treat others as they’ve treated us.
Linking out to relevant pages not only earns you editorial links, but it also improves your search rankings. A survey of major newspapers on the web found that those who link out tend to outperform others who don’t on several performance metrics. Check popular sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter & Tumblr – they all link out excessively, and yet they still have millions of visitors coming back again and again.
To a large extent, valuable content makes it a lot easier to convince webmasters to link to you. According to MarketingSherpa, “53% of businesses view content creation as the single most effective SEO technique.” There are lots of opportunities to grow your site, if you just study your Google Webmasters Tools data and pinpoint the links coming in to your site.
Go to Traffic > Links to Your Site:
Next, go to “More”:
Finally, download latest links (limit is 100,000):
Getting the right links may seem difficult, especially when you’re not producing enough content. But if you consider the impact those links will have on your search rankings, you’ll invest in content creation and promotion.
The old way of creating content and expecting customers to just show up is no longer feasible. You need to spend about 70% of your time and resources on promotion – that’s the new and better way. “Low Hanging Fruit: Link Building with Screaming Frog” is an in-depth post that reveals opportunities for getting the right links using Screaming Frog, a premium SEO tool for link reclamation and link analysis.
Screaming Frog is invaluable as link building software for architecture research. You can also use it to initiate relationships with bloggers and reporters, among other things.
The tool can analyze your links and show you ways to pass more SEO search term value to your web pages. Knowing when to increase your link building efforts or slow down with that mission is critical. This is the whole essence of link velocity, which measures the rate at which other sites link to you.
There’s no single rule on how fast you should get links to your site. SEOs have differing opinions, but Google hasn’t commented one way or the other. The best approach is to create more content and increase your site authority. Content growth can solve your link velocity problems.
For example, it doesn’t matter how many links Moz.com or HubSpot.com generate this week; Google won’t view those links as manipulative, because both sites have good authority and thousands of pages already.
Source: Neilpatel.com Blog
Now that you have some ideas on how to increase your search rankings by backlinking, here’s part 2 of how to improve your Google rankings via link-building:
Link reclamation is the easiest way to earn editorial links to your pages from referring sites that mentioned your brand but didn’t link to you.
Regardless of what marketing you do — B2B or B2C — here are three sources of links you need to reclaim:
i). Brand mentions: This means aspects of your brand such as your site, events, courses, etc. Other sites could be mentioning your site, without linking to it. Brand mentions are the future of link building. Through link reclamation, you can request actual links be added to mentions that already exist.
ii). Product mentions: Several sites, media portals and discussion boards could be mentioning your product without linking to your sales page or homepage. You don’t need link building software for this. You can use the Rank Tank’s brand unlinked mentions finder tool to find these product mentions across the web.
iii). Personnel mentions: What about your team, your name, your nickname or your professional title?
All of these provide another opportunity to reclaim unlinked personal mentions and boost your search rankings based on your company or you being the search term. You want people to view your site with the authority to use you as the social bookmark.
Links connect the web together. Links exist because there are web pages and portals that need to share information with users, rank relevant content, push the drivel aside and prevent plagiarism or duplicate content where possible. That is the job of search engines and every SEO tool must play in their realm.
Who links to your site and how they link to it are more important to Google than virtually any other Google ranking factor. Data from Searchmetrics suggests that the number of backlinks is the third most important factor in the UK Google ranking factors.
In his book, Ultimate Guide To Link Building, Eric Ward shows you:
● How to build links
● How to gain authority and credibility for your website
● How to increase your traffic and rankings
Ward teaches with a deep understanding of link profiles, what makes them good and how to maximize the quality of links that point to your site. Understanding this means you won’t need expensive link building software but you may still take advantage of tools to make you more efficient.
Ward uses illustrated case studies, expert interviews and helpful resources in this book to drive his message home. You’ll find that getting backlinks can actually be fun, once you master the art of networking with bloggers.
Getting more links will improve your search performance, increase leads to your business and increase your revenue. If you don’t get links to your site, your search rankings, traffic and leads will suffer. Your startup will fail.
According to Club Z, about 80% of startups fail to see projected return on investment, frequently due to a lack of planning and experience.
Before you can drive targeted visitors from Google and benefit from your site, you need to build quality links to your pages. Guest blogging is a viable and free way to do just that. As you contribute to industry blogs, you can speed up your rate of getting links by simultaneously reclaiming your brand mentions.
For example, someone could cite your domain name (e.g., dodocase.com) without linking to it. Before someone can visit that site, they’d have to copy and paste it into their browser or look for it via a search engine. But if the domain name was hyperlinked, when someone clicks on it, they’ll visit the startup site.
If you’ve been consistently creating fresh and useful content and promoting your site through social media, there’s no doubt that other sites are mentioning your brand name. Don’t let these mentions be a waste; reclaim them and be your own best search term. And that’s exactly what you can learn from “Link Building for Startups – Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale.”
One of the most effective methods for getting links is through resources pages. With this tactic, Startup Company Lawyer got a link on the resources page of Johnson Cornell University.
Nonetheless, although contextual links are desirable and powerful, you still need to diversify anchor text. If all your links appear within the content, this may not seem natural.
However, there’s no single one-size-fits-all approach to link diversity ratios. Depending on the domain authority and page authority of referring pages and their IP diversities, Google can use these factors to gauge and pass value to your links.
Different niches require different approaches to getting links. For example, building links to a niche site (e.g., a site focused on a specific topic or product) is a delicate process, because you’ve got to be mindful of the linking site — making sure they’re relevant even if they’re not too popular. But for an authority site, it doesn’t matter where you get your links from. It could be from an entirely unrelated web page but provided your site has some authority, Google will likely not view this as spammy.
“How to Get Links on Resources Pages” is a helpful guide that gives you vital information on how to get the right links by capitalizing on resource pages — pages with plenty of linked-to resources (e.g., blogs, books, papers, resource works, images).
At the heart of every link building campaign is outreach. Whether you’re involved in guest blogging, broken link building, social media networking or blog sponsorship, you need to connect with people.
Get personal. Your target audience wants to connect with you on a personal level. They should want to make you a social bookmark. That’s the quickest way you can build a loyal audience, get referral traffic, improve your search traffic, increase your email subscribers and grow your sales.
Source: Neilpatel.com Blog
As consumers go into lockdowns, following the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, millions are forced to work from home and digital connectivity takes even more of a hold on everyday habits. As a result, these changes in routine are likely to accelerate the use of existing and new technologies and tools.
A Nielsen survey predicted that consumers may have greater motivations and fewer perceived barriers to more actively seek technology-enabled solutions to assist in everyday tasks like shopping. For some consumers this may be totally new behavior (such as shopping for groceries online for the first time), while for others this may mean increased online usage or the addition of new technology, tools and software.
“There is little doubt that consumers’ uptake of technologies to stay informed and safeguard their health can instill confidence in a stressful period, and this may be the unforeseen catalyst to assert broader, longer term adoption of technology platforms and solutions,” said Nicole Corbett, Nielsen Director of Intelligence.
Nielsen has examined recent data sets collected from consumers around the world who provided insights on their intentions as it relates to technology and reviewed it alongside developments in recent weeks tied to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through this research, Nielsen has identified three ‘catalyst moments’ that may change technology adoption horizons and drive changes in shopping habits.
Lockdown/limited store access propels online shopping
Globally, online shopping adoption has gained traction thanks to improvements in infrastructure (speed and cost), participation, transparency and trust. The pathway for adoption is a familiar story around the world.
“In many markets, the fashion, travel and entertainment categories have been the frontrunners for consumers to enter the online retail sphere, followed by the beauty and personal care categories as consumers became more comfortable and confident shopping online. But other grocery categories, particularly packaged and fresh goods, have been slower to gain traction in some markets. Today, however, COVID-19 may be a part of driving faster change.
A Nielsen investigation uncovered six key consumer thresholds that tie directly to concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak. The thresholds offer early signals of spending patterns, particularly for emergency pantry items and health supplies.
As many consumers around the world reach the third threshold, “pantry preparation,” they are increasingly opting for safer, non-physical stores. In examining a number of European markets that have been relatively slower to embrace online FMCG shopping before the pandemic, there are now notable spikes in e-commerce sales in recent weeks.
Interrupted supply chain directs consumers to manufacturers
With retail supply chains progressively challenged due to COVID-19 precautions, many consumers may have initially been faced with empty shelves when searching for high demand products both in-store and online. And this could compel some consumers to look for alternative online sources to find the products they need.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses have evolved at a rapid pace in the last few years, predominantly driven by smaller, often local players, who have identified niche segments or consumer needs, and recognize the advantages of direct consumer reach, powered by technology.
In addition to the benefits of distinctive engagement opportunities, a significant feature of the DTC model is using online shopping subscriptions to entrench brand loyalty. Automated subscription services provide ease, convenience, customized rewards, preferential pricing and remove the hassle of remembering to top up. In times of unease, consumers may be clamoring for certainty and guaranteed supply, directly from the makers of their preferred brands. Many DTC manufacturers are also mastering their service via quick personalized responses to questions and providing empathy for consumers’ needs and concerns.
In a recent Nielsen survey on tech-transformed consumption, four in 10 global online consumers said they were already using online shopping subscriptions, and a further 36% said they were willing to do so in the next two years—an indicator that changes to existing consumer shopping habits are emerging.
Corbett points out, “As shopping behaviour stabilizes post COVID-19, many consumers are likely to continue to embrace manufacturer-direct technology solutions. This represents an ongoing opportunity for big and small manufacturers to assess not only their engagement platforms, but also their sales channels.”
So why does this matter? Nielsen data shows that more than half (51%) of global consumers are willing to try A/VR to assess products and services. With consumers not able to physically visit stores, they will be looking for alternative entertainment and shopping experiences. Companies that can leverage A/VR may hold the answer to immersive augmented reality experiences that will transform engagement and shopping.
Preparing for a tech-enabled future
As the implications for consumers multiply, new learnings for retailers and manufacturers become evident. China has showcased how companies that harness powerful technology to enable consumers during adversity can become integrated into all aspects of peoples’ lives:
● QR codes from We Chat and Alipay, leveraging location data from the telecommunications industry, are highlighting where individuals have travelled and provide real-time exposure to health risks.
● Weibo is keeping consumers continuously updated and informed of events.
● E-commerce options are promoting a growing reliance on their services among existing online shoppers and those that were previously hesitant.
● Tech health screening for food delivery drivers is providing vital consumer reassurances.
Previously perceived technology obstacles and barriers to adoption may no longer be as indicative or insurmountable, as technology becomes some of the only accessible or viable alternatives to consumers. While not all markets may be as technologically advanced in the retailing areas as China and South Korea, many retail and manufacturing businesses around the world can benefit from a more proactive e-commerce strategy, as technology enabled solutions become even more sought after and preferred.
Progression in technology usage may start with the basic functionality offered by smartphones such as product discovery and mobile payments. As consumers become more comfortable with these tools, further advancements like auto-subscriptions and personalized location alerts will change the way consumers buy and speed up the adoption trajectory of more sophisticated tools like A/VR. And these will start to become more widespread as consumers recognize the advantages they can bring both in convenience and experience. Technology will be one of the most significant game changers for FMCG retailers and manufacturers in the immediate and longer term.
Local products and brands have been gaining popularity across the globe over the past couple of years. This popularity has also grown in line with the awareness of minimizing one’s carbon footprint. Consumers have typically closely associated products of local origin with supporting local business, aligning with home-grown heritage, or seeking fresh foods grown close to home that meet local palate preferences. But as fears about COVID-19 spread consumer thoughts and actions are changing around the globe—and this represents an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers that can leverage local’s appeal to mitigate consumer concerns.
Lockdown gives opportunity to local businesses
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, some markets have taken extreme measures to protect their populations by issuing widespread quarantines, halting manufacturing and disrupting supply chains. And even in some markets that haven’t taken such severe measures, demand has been disrupted due to consumer precautions. Globally, there is likely to be an impact on product and brand choices being made at the checkout due to these changes. And this impact may break longtime purchase habits irreversibly.
In recent years, consumers have generally displayed strong preferences for local dairy and fresh produce brands and products versus those coming from further afield. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, anxieties around origins of products and ingredients are likely to fuel increased demand for even more local sourcing.
So what are consumers looking for? Firstly, they need to be reassured. More than ever, shoppers want to understand the supply chain, with complete transparency from farm to factory to distribution, and they want details of the measures being taken to assure their safety.
In some countries, expanded transparency is already becoming the norm. In China, where populations are emerging from mass quarantines and widespread concerns prevail, scooter-riding couriers from online food retailers Meituan and Eleme present customers with a reassurance guarantee slip that includes details of the body temperature of the cooks, food packagers and couriers for every order, as well as their daily disinfecting routines. In other words, consumers are becoming used to this high level of transparency. They are likely to expect it in everything they buy, but especially when it comes to food products.
Promoting a product’s local origins could help manufacturers and retailers assuage some consumer concerns. A Nielsen survey on disloyalty last year found that global consumers report being heavily swayed by origin: 11% of global consumers said they only bought products manufactured in their country while an additional 54% “mostly” bought local products. A further 19% of global consumers said they were always influenced to try or switch brands based on local attributes, with 34% more saying they were often influenced. Yet these numbers vary across local markets, and marketers need to be aware of their country’s level of interest in local brands.
Consumers surveyed in Italy, India, Thailand, Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and the U.S. all displayed a stronger preference for local products and are likely to further increase their consumption of these products. Meanwhile, consumers in countries that did not have a strong preference either way could well now tip the demand scales in favour of local products. These include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Costa Rica.
But marketers will need to understand the nuances of local concerns. And in this way, smaller local manufacturers may have another advantage as consumer concerns grow. With smaller operations, they may be able to respond faster and in more targeted ways than their bigger counterparts—and by doing so could win with local consumers in an appropriate and timely way.
The growth of smaller players in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry across the U.S., Italy, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana has outpaced that of the bigger manufacturers in the past year. With varying levels of concern, response and impact by market, local producers and retailers have the added edge of focusing on an individual market. They are able to take swift, focused and singular actions that are relevant to a specific marketplace.
Furthermore, big, global and known brands are holding less sway with consumers these days—less than a third (28%) of global consumers say they are influenced to try or switch brands based on these halos alone. And this could further set the stage for local brands to rise and grow, cementing future loyalty through their actions of today.
A newfound opportunity
It is easy to assume that multinational companies face the biggest challenges as they come up against small, agile national brands, market supply constraints and local consumer perceptions. However, many global organizations have invested in-market with vigorous local sourcing criteria and manufacturing operations, often unbeknown to consumers, and they may be able to turn that to their advantage.
The opportunity for these brands will lie in fortifying their positioning by providing visibility into their on-the-ground operations, supported by distinct communication around their ‘equally local’ supply status. Global quality assurances, large scale production to meet stock-up demand, verified health claims, industry body certification and track records of satisfying consumer needs could all help multinationals emphasize their origin benefits.
Depending on the duration and impact of COVID-19, there are other important implications to consider:
● Retailers may be forced to increasingly depend on local products as supply from beyond country borders is suspended and longer-term quarantines implemented.
● Retailers and manufacturers may want to consider additional protective packaging for global and local products, but will need to balance this against rising consumer concerns about environmental impact.
● Consumers may deepen their trust for locally sourced/produced products in all markets—affected and unaffected: if they can see it and identify it, they can trust it.
● Local credentials will be steadily sought out and possibly over-appreciated.
● Global companies will need to spotlight their global advantages together with their local elements amidst the heightened skepticism towards distance prone supply chains.
Driven by necessity or the need for greater transparency, local brands and retailers are optimally placed to alleviate and deliver against consumers’ product sourcing concerns. Local business will benefit from sharper messaging reinforcing supply chain visibility and focused distribution to reach consumers.
If you are a local brand, now is the time to come up with a more aggressive digital marketing strategy. Here at Weave Asia, we can help you do that and more.