What are the 21 Online Ag Business Success Tactics?
First and foremost, let’s address why there are 21 online business success tactics. Our i3 family has discovered that literally every single online Ag business related tactic can be paired down to this number. Stick around and learn something new.
1) Your site speed matters
Site speed is the number 1 factor for Google ranking. Rank Brain (the AI that controls Google Search) wants Google to be an optimized platform that facilitates the best search results for its customers. Pretty simple, huh?
Well, that’s the mission that drives all of SEO, SEM and related digital marketing/business success. What Google cherishes out of all these efforts is the quest to make sites run faster. After all, what’s the use of a site if a customer can’t get it to load in a timely fashion? Needs aren’t met, and the online consumer is forced to move down Page 1 until they find the site that meets their need.
2) Add an SSL security certificate
SSL certificates scare a lot of people in the Ag industry. The lack of an SSL certificate also scares customers from making a purchase on your site. That little https:// in front of your domain will make consumers and search engines happy. Why? Well, because it’s a badge of honor saying that the business they do with you will be safe and secure.
Many influential search engines have even begun ‘dinging’ websites that don’t use the SSL/https certificate. Why? Well, the answer is simple. If you can’t be bothered to secure your site, then Google doesn’t feel you are a prominent enough site to sell to modern consumers. Help everyone out and invest in the SSL.
3) Quit orphaning website pages
It is wise to view your entire Ag business website as an experience. Think about it this way, you see a slider image of that truly amazing tiller you want. You click from the homepage and it takes you to a basic PDF about said tiller. That’s not what you wanted to look at, but the website doesn’t give you the option to return to the first page.
What do you do? Many customers either panic or casually click away from the site in their browser. It’s far too easy to find another website with comparable goods that makes life easier. Better yet, we’ll use an analogy. If someone built you a house and the bedroom was missing doors, you’d be upset.
You need to be in that room, but you also need a way to get to other parts of the house. Your website is your house and people will get mad if they can’t move freely through it. Fighting this will only hamper your chances of business success.
4) Never duplicate content
No one wants to read the same content twice. While it’s OK to update and add onto older pieces, don’t think about finding new ways to keep saying the same thing. After all, a title change is just a title change.
An Ag business’s site content is meant to perform two functions: Educate and Inform. Duplicate content might have educated and informed at one point but think of your site content as a conversation with the customer. When you sell a tractor, do you keep restating the same points repeatedly to the same group of people?
No. You use a little finesse and temper your talk to meet what a customer needs in the specific instance. What would a customer think if you sell them a tractor, then they hear the same word for word pitch when they return for more business? They know what you have and what you do, now you need to impress them with something new.
5) Backlinks must be of relevant & better quality
There was a time when having a ton of backlinks was great. Now, we realize that many of these backlinks are of low authority and can sometimes be spam. Many marketing agencies still hold onto the ‘Gotta Collect Them All’ mentality of the past. That is a mistake.
When you collect backlinks for the sake of having backlinks, you’re creating a mess in terms of Domain Authority. Your Domain and Page Authority ranks heavily depend on a variety of factors. First among them being link score quality.
In the transactional world of online business, your successful site will find no end of foreign-entrenched and non-relevant sites linking to you for traffic purposes. While your increased Domain Authority benefits them, it will do nothing for you. In some cases, it can even lower your domain authority.
That’s because a top-tier Ag business site sporting 500 links to Uncle Xian’s Discount Emporium looks fishy to Rank Brain/Google. Would you trust an engineer whose website had 50 links to fast food joints, 100 to daycares and another 350 to Scottish tourism sites? No.
Presentation drives a lot of online business. If your site creates roadblocks, then it will visually tell everything from search engines to customers to back off. So, take care of your backlinks. Keep them precious and focused.
6) Adapting to user intent/experience is the goal
The end user is what drives your online Ag business. If they aren’t interested in your business site, then they’ll ignore it. Furthermore, more people will ignore it and your site will get moved to the bottom of the search results. No one wants to dig out of a self-imposed hole.
Plus, you need to think about what a customer does when they arrive on your website. Looking around the home page should be a wonderland of easily accessible options. No one has time to hunt and peck for a search bar, contact forms or store info.
The Internet is about immediacy. If a consumer can’t get an immediate answer, they’re not going to wait around for someone to help them. They’re going to abandon their cart for the next site. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps repeating online and businesses still fail to understand.
If a customer can’t use your website, then no one can. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right shade of blue for your art team. Your website must facilitate all customers’ needs to ensure that they stay and spend their hard-earned money with you.
7) Testimonials are an Ag business’s best friend
We know that Google’s top mission is to enhance the lives of the customers using their platform. You know what tells an AI powered platform that you’re doing well? Having documented proof of customers singing your praises. That’s right, fellow Ag stakeholders. It’s time to get your customers to brag about you.
While often easier said than done, testimonials can be acquired by engaging the right moments of interaction.
8) H1 tags matter
The Header 1 tag is crucial, yet so many people forget about it. Headers tell an audience of customers and search engines what matters in a piece of content or a web page. Let’s use an example.
If you have a web page dedicated to selling wholesale walnut burls, what would be the header tag?
Wholesale Walnut Burls for Domestic Construction/Development
Below that Header 1 would be a description of what your page offers and how it relates to your overall business. That H1 tag tells Google what’s on the page: Walnut Burls. Then, it tells them what kind of Walnut Burls and their target audience. This information is essential to rank in Google, as it directs the search audience to what matters most to them.
It also helps to cut down on stray/random traffic for whom the page would be irrelevant. Look at any page on your website without a Header 1 tag. What would that page be about, and could it be summed up in a header tag? If you need help, then the team at i3 is available to discuss these header tags.
9) Keep your Spam score under 5%
Spam score is a tricky metric. Many don’t consider it, but various groups such as Moz use it to determine overall site health. Spam score is a numerical construct based on poor backlinks, irrelevant materials and generally bad web practices.
While you can’t always control who links to your site, the best faith effort is to minimize, if not eradicate, spam materials to under 5% of your website. If you can stay below that number, then the overall effect will be negated.
10) Thin Content isn’t ideal
Don’t ever slap 40 words on a web page and say it’s done. The general rule of thumb is that anything under 300 words of text may be considered thin. Why is thin content such a big deal? Well, if you don’t put enough text on a website, then you’re not giving a consumer something to read.
Not enough material to read, means that there isn’t enough material for Google to index. Your chance for introducing new keywords to your website diminishes and it makes an overall poor impression on Google and consumers.
Sure, most people don’t want to read for ages. However, you need to give just enough material to inform, educate and keep consumers moving on their sales journey.
11) Make your keywords count
Your site is only as good as the keywords it contains. Often, a business might be surprised that find out that their keywords aren’t particularly relevant to what they want business-wise. What is an Ag business to do? The answer is direct.
Examine your content, your overall approach, and your marketing plans. You can’t sell something if there’s no material on your website. Plus, you will want to make sure that what your selling has consumer interest.
Anyone can be America’s Next Top Liquid Beet Salesman, but first you must have consumers that want to take a chance on Liquid Beets. If you sell Liquid Beets and your traffic spikes for Fried Green Tomatoes, then you must acknowledge user intent.
Does that mean Liquid Beets will never take off? Of course not. What it means is that you must keep in mind what is selling with the customers that are actively engaging you. The first step to making Points A and B meet is by producing relevant keywords.
12) Images need alt tags
Images are indexed by Google and other search engines. As such, you must tag on a little extra info to get your images to rank. What does that mean? Well, let’s use WordPress as an example. More than half of our readers have either uploaded an image to WordPress or have seen it done.
Well, when you upload an image, it will give you a screen with a lot of information slots on the side. Near the top there will be a text box where you can write additional information. Keeping this information relevant to your site and the featured item is key. While it won’t appear in Search, Google Images, among other outlets, can pick up that specialized data and index it alongside your other keywords.
13) Localization is your friend
Wouldn’t you like to go where everybody knows your name? Your Ag website is no different. Localization is the art of correcting and optimizing your local search business highlights and reviewed content. Whether it’s Yelp, Google My Business, Bing Places or Foursquare…there are a lot of public sites where customers control or absorb information created about you.
While it’s easy to fix an incorrect spelling or store hours on one site, what about potential errors on review/business sites you never knew existed? That’s why it’s wise to engage an agency or program to hunt down these errant sites.
14) Google Analytics also wants to befriend you
Google Analytics works. Often, you’ll find online tools that generate unnecessary information or don’t directly contribute to the overall business performance.
What Google Analytics does is provide a means to study traffic, trends, and means of acquisition for your audience. Discover where you gain, lose and create opportunities for future engagement. Analytics remains one of the most ingenious Google creations.
15) Remember the sales funnel
The sales funnel drives all business. Normally, this is where I would have a lengthy spiel about the merits of a sales funnel. I feel that sometimes visual cues work the best. Behold the sales funnel!
16) No one is scared to abandon a shopping cart
So many older generations will have a harder time understanding what has become of retail. When taken into the digital realm, you must understand customer freedom. If a customer is removed from traditional physical space limitations, then their search capabilities are as endless as the Internet.
If you don’t help a customer online, they will move on. If they can’t find an item, they will move on. There are ways of getting them back through advertising, retargeting and various other remarketing means. However, there is an easy fix for all of this.
Be the ever-present point of support on your website. If a customer can’t reach you directly, have a Live Chat bot for them to ask questions. Remember that all site pages must link together to form a proper hierarchy. Even if you aren’t available for all questions, a proper site structure will empower the customer to discover new site resources on their own.
The days of people waiting in-line to talk to a salesperson are over. The salespeople must now hunt down customers, as the next option is always a click away.
17) Social Media: Not Just for Kids
Social media is a blessing, but it is also a curse.
The art of promoting one’s site online is tricky. Some businesses go too goofy, while others will post page long diatribes about what it means to be a Tiller Salesperson in Northwest Montana. These might work for isolated audience segments, but you’re not going to capture the attention of large swathes of people.
That’s why interacting with customers on social media requires a plan. Know your audience, be present for their questions and stimulate them into constantly returning to your account. The Internet is vast and competition is steep. Remember that social media is just one more way to interact with your customers.
18) Network with the new Farm Community
You aren’t the only one running an online Ag business. Feel free to Google or network with like-minded business owners. Everyone has a horror story about software that didn’t quite run with hosting or a new Point of Sale machine that didn’t turn on during Planting Season sales rushes. When you network with your similar-focused peers, you can sort out issues.
There might not seem to be an answer to why Waze won’t recognize your business near the Interstate, but someone else may already have it figured out. Never fear your questions. People are waiting to answer them.
19) Where is your sitemap?
Having a sitemap is essential. Your SEO software should create a sitemap for your website. If it doesn’t, you can either manually insert it or reach out to a professional marketing agency. The sitemap is a tiny file that tells search engines how to read your site and where importance dwells. If you need help with this, feel free to reach out to i3.
20) Meta Descriptions are snowflakes
The perfect Meta Description is a unique identifier for a web result. Regardless of what you do, this isn’t the place to go too fancy. Describe your website in under 160 characters. This text will appear when customers search for items. Do you want them to see information that better sells your products or filler text?
21) You want to live on Page 1
Page 1 is a major goal for any SEO campaign. Well, it’s the goal for any Internet marketing campaign. Businesses will pay, optimize, and create strategies to climb over each other for that Page 1 Rank 1. What they don’t acknowledge is that all Page 1 results have near equal chances of being clicked upon by a customer.
When was the last time you click on the top page result and just went to that site? People surf and discover a lot when studying a product. However, they must see you. It’s a sad truth, but many will never dwell past that first page.
Create proper content and engage site in a healthy way to ensure that you always meet them on Page 1.