expertCoach - Jason Morphett 

In this edition of expertCoach we talk with Jason Morphett  Co-founder and Technical Director of Purple Toolz 


rC: What three things are essential for a good website and why?


A good website needs good SEO as part of its digital marketing strategy. I think just having a basic understanding of how search engines work is essential for this, so make sure the website is:

Crawlable - The website needs to let GoogleBot 'see' pages so make sure it's not prevented from doing so in the robots.txt  file;

Indexable - Make sure the on-page SEO  is nailed and the basics have been done such as reinforcing keywords in the copy;  

Rankable  - Work on the off-page SEO, build relations and develop a good white-hat link building strategy.  


rC: What are your top three classic mistakes SMEs often make with digital marketing?


For new business, I see them take too long before developing an online presence. The obsession to 'finish the website' adds unnecessary delay.   SMEs should consider launching a skeleton website ASAP with a couple of landing pages (please don't release anything 'under construction'!) and measure the response.     

Alternatively, set up a blog area and get both writing and guest posting. Activities like this will accelerate online presence ahead of 'The Big Reveal'


rC: What do you think are the top three most important ranking factors and why?


Getting the basics right. We're all about that at Purple Toolz. I've already used the phrase 'nail the on-page SEO', so perhaps:

1) Do great long-tail keyword research;

2) Optimize the site for mobile (more on this later);

3) Setup a good internal linking structure to landing pages.


rC: Which SEO BlackHat activity do think is the most dangerous for your rankings?


I don't know if this qualifies, but don't be tempted by buying backlinks from social media sites or Fiverr. You might get a temporary boost, but Google will figure it out and penalize your site eventually - and you really don't want that. So stick to white hat. It takes a lot longer so be prepared, but the benefits are longer lasting.  


rC: Which 3 ranking factors do you think are the most overlooked?


This year, schema (also known as structured data ) has been on the ascendancy, so look into it. However, don't blindly start implementing as SEOs have commented on how it works to Google's advantage by creating an answer on Google without the click-through, but consider if it fits your business and implement it accordingly.

Secondly, consider how to deal with duplicate content. That might be in the form of a product portfolio (use of canonical) or Internationalization pages (use of hreflang). Failure to address either of these factors will lead to Google not directing people to the right page and site pages competing against each other for similar keywords.

Thirdly, mobile-first. Google recently announced that all new sites will be indexed using Google's mobile-first indexing so be sure to build websites that work well on phones and tablets.  


rC: Should SMEs focus on local directories or social media?


SMEs should focus on SEO first :) In a recent study, it was alarming to read how SMEs are neglecting this in favor of focusing on Social Media. Social Media and directories have their place, but SEO will most likely bring in most of the traffic.

If pushed and of the two, I would give my stock opening response and say 'it depends'. Perhaps one distinction could be that in general, a B2C SME might consider focusing on Social Media whereas a more B2B focused business might focus on directories But choose directories well and 'it still depends' on the nature of the business as to which to focus more on. As with all business activity,  build  -  measure  -  learn to quote   The Lean Startup.


rC: What do you think is 'the next big thing' in digital marketing?


I always sigh when I hear this kind of question. Especially as before SEO I came from a background in high tech research.   Personally, I think data science is going to increasingly play a role in digital marketing (which is part of the reason I'm in the industry).   

I mentioned the 'build - measure - learn' cycle above and the way the industry has 'measured' in the past has been with historical data. Going forward, I think that data science, which is about 'predicting outcomes', will be the logical extension in how websites compete with each other for rank position and measure success.

 Comment - I'm so pleased I didn't mention 'AI' <sigh>.


rC: Which businesses do you think have the most to gain from taking themselves online?


If you are talking about business not already online then I think there are a few candidates and great opportunities still in local SEO. So micro-businesses like independent estate agents, the construction industry and independent/specialist food outlets could do well.  Their reach is local and their niche competition is small, so if they nail their digital marketing strategy, they should see a positive ROI for the investment in effort and cost.  


rC: Photos or videos for SEO? Why?  

It depends :) If you're a photographer, then duh! But seriously, I would say images for the most part unless your business really needs video. Remember mobile-first indexing from Google? So, make sure you've optimized both media types for the network and that means use the right compression formats, use progressive encoding (layered coding in the case of video) so media can make the best use of bandwidth depending on the connection. Whatever you choose, please optimize it!


rC: How do you stay informed about the latest trends in digital marketing? 


Here in Norwich (a city in the East of England), we have a strong digital marketing community. There are numerous meetups throughout the month with guest speakers and great networking.    I'm old fashioned enough to still want to talk and socialize with real people, so look around for your nearest marketing meetup  and go along.


rC: If you had a hundred thousand dollars to set up an online business, what kind of company would you start? 


$100k doesn't go very far these days in a start-up. But, I'd try and develop the blog my wife is currently working on to do with 'Healthspan' and provide healthy (niche) products. It's an emerging lifestyle that combines healthy eating (keto, paleo etc.) with exercise, yoga, meditation, and nature.  

Life is so fast these days, that people will eventually burn out and look for ways to 'slow life down' and enjoy the present. That's what Healthspanning is all about.

 

rC: What was the last thing you Googled?


TF-IDF (Term Frequency - Inverse Document Frequency).   

I noticed that the popular Keywords Everywhere plugin has recently added TF-IDF to their interface. I've previously implemented TF-IDF to get a better understanding of it and there is a lot of rumour about how Google uses it. But the truth is only Google can make use of it as they hold all the 'documents'. Nice try, but it's another <sigh> again from me when I read another company 'launching' TF-IDF. Just don't do it.


rC: Thank you Jason!



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