With new Search Engine Guidelines and Rules, 2013 poses a great opportunity for businesses to strengthen their online presence dramatically. Since July 2013, the old SEO rules do not apply in the same way. Now is your best time to commit to a digital marketing plan that will work for your business. With Google allowing its Hummingbird to spread its wings, companies using good marketing tactics will reap the rewards in time. Below is a list of key factors for all companies to integrate into their online list of things to do. You should also keep a list of sites, emails and passwords used for everything you do. Trust me, when you get to a certain level, you will be glad to have the list. You should also keep track of results for each aspect of marketing. Something simple to be able to check for improvements on a monthly basis, and check on your return on time invested.
1. Onsite Optimisation & Keyword Research
Make sure your website is well designed. A nice mix of headers, text and images are required to comply with SEO thinking. Aim for about 300 words in the copy of the text, make sure headings are tagged as H1, and all images are named correctly. This will all help the search engines associate your site with what people are searching for. With access to the code of your site, create a site map, create accounts for both Google and Bing webmaster tools and submit your site to both directories with the sitemap.
Then focus on how your site appears in search engines. Use a Digital SWOT analysis of your business, and focus on relevant Keyword Generation, Meta Tag creation, Title Tag Creation and Home Page Re-invention to maximise your visibility for your potential customers.
This first step will improve your results instantly. You will see a great return on the investment within a couple of short months.
2. Offsite Optimisation, Links & Backlinks
Offsite works are an equally important part of a strong digital marketing campaign. The focus of offsite optimisation is to have the internet point and look at you. Aim to connect your website to high ranking existing websites. Google Rank of 5 or above and High Alexa traffic ranks are what to look for. Avoid sites that have more ads on the pages than content.
Social Media Basics: Include in your plan to create business profile pages on the 5 most visited social sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each business page should have links to your website, and links from your website to these pages in return. Each page should be set up with content about your business, text and images, contact details and opening hours. You should also invest time in relevant pages/links/circles etc to get you going with followers and supporters.
Social Media Extras: In addition to the top 5 sites, you can also choose extra social media sites to be a part of, which will really set you apart from the competition. The best of the rest: includes Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Foursquare, Squidoo and Instagram.
Depending on the level of involvement with social media, you may need professional assistance keeping on top of them all. Ideally, each social media avenue needs 45 minutes to 1 hour per week, to update with fresh content, and to network out across the platforms, getting new followers, likes and links.
Backlink Strategy: It is important these days to focus on quality, rather than quantity when it comes to backlinks. Depending on your business, different links will work for some and not for others. An important start is to get listed will local directories and also focus on your competitors links. Search for ‘free online directories’ in Google, and a list of website submission directories should appear to you. Take some time to fill them in and submit. Bear in mind, some take longer than others to be processed, so keep a list of what has been accepted and what is still being processed. Some directories offer paid features. These can be good features, but make sure to do some homework and use the best value option for an appropriate return on investment. I have come across cases where 1 directory in particular gives free website business links, and offers minimal paid services to promote your social media, and a full package including a homepage with SEO features on their sites for less money in a year than it costs to rent a domain and hosting package combined. It also helps you by association to use their existing ranking to your benefit for your keywords. You can go even further and also seek out like minded businesses, suppliers, agents, users etc that your business deals with on a daily basis, and start a dialogue to each promote each other’s websites through a backlink. In this case, there is strength in numbers, and a credible link will serve you both well.
The next best way to promote your business is to create a video to highlight your products and offerings. The availability and popularity of sites like YouTube and Vimeo make it a must have to be involved in. Get a 2 -3 minute video created on your behalf, load it to YouTube and embed it into your site is the best place to start. While publishing videos may not directly earn money, clever businesses use video marketing as a tactic to improve consumer engagement, click-through, and traffic. They also help to bring in search traffic since the major search engines started ranking videos in their results pages. Including video in emails increases open rates by 5.6% and click-through-rates by 96.38% when compared to standard email marketing. Videos have a 50 times better chance of ranking within the first page Google for their respective keywords. They also increase traffic for businesses when they are shared. There is always opportunity to go viral.
4. Mobile Sites And Apps:
Typically, most websites are made between 900 & 1000 pixels wide. No surprise, but they are designed to be viewed on computer screens. Smartphone’s usually want to view sites around the 350 pixels area. If you don’t have a responsive design to accommodate the screen size the site is being viewed on, it will look awful, and the viewer will move on. Test your site by clicking here. An App or a Mobile site are a fantastic way of getting your existing website to this generation of how the internet is seen – the mobile phone. Apps are very cool, but can be expensive to produce. The app marketplace is growing, and creating involves a full re contenting of your existing website. Apps vary in size, cost and function. A mobile version of your site and mobile technology such as SMS and QR Codes can reach the same market. Using directory sites, your mobile site will be found easy and be more usable for the end user, your client. Using the same code as your website, a single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies.
5. Fresh Quality Content and Blogging:
Write, write and write. Increasingly, search engines place a lot of faith in any new movement they can track. Creating and adding fresh content to your existing site qualifies as this. When the bots and spiders visit your site, if there is new content to report, the search engines will take this as a positive. If you run a site as a blog, of course with new posts you are adding fresh content. It is assumed that the content and quality of the blogs is in your own hands. Remember to write both original and quality material. Do not copy and paste someone else’s work just for the sake of having something new to publish. That undermines the legitimate process. If you like what someone else has done, like it and give them a public share and credibility. If you cannot write enough fresh material, you can seek out guest authors, who will gladly write for you in exchange for credit. If you run a business site, and have no interest in inserting a blog for content, a few points to look out for on your site are simple things to correct. Make sure you have a copyright someone where on the home page. Make sure the dates and years are correct. New customers are more likely to use business websites when it is clear that the sites are being maintained and have the current years listed in their copyright. Get into the habit of checking your own website frequently, searching for any aspects of the content that could be updated. At the very least, integrate a Facebook or twitter sharable links and an email link if possible. This will help you get your content shared across the web without you having to do it. Other visitors will do it for you if they like what they see.