With the new Search Engine Guidelines and Rules, 2013 represents a great opportunity for businesses to drastically strengthen their online presence. Since July 2013, the old SEO rules do not apply in the same way. Now is the best time to commit to a digital marketing plan that works for your business. With Google letting its hummingbird spread its wings, businesses that use good marketing tactics will reap the rewards over time. Below is a list of key factors that all businesses should integrate into their list of online activities. You should also keep a list of sites, emails, and passwords that you use for everything you do. Trust me, when you get to a certain level, you’ll be glad you have the list. You also need to track the results of every aspect of marketing. Something simple to be able to check the improvements monthly, and check your return on the time invested.
1. On-site optimization and keyword research
Make sure your website is well designed. A good combination of headings, text, and images are required to fulfill SEO thinking. Aim for around 300 words in your copy, make sure headings are tagged H1, and all images are named correctly. All of this will help search engines associate your site with what people are looking for. With access to your site code, create a sitemap, create accounts for 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 generating relevant keywords, creating meta tags, creating title tags, and reinventing your home page to maximize your visibility to your potential customers.
This first step will improve your results instantly. You will see a great return on investment in a couple of months.
2. External optimization, links and backlinks
Outside jobs are an equally important part of a strong digital marketing campaign. The approach to offsite optimization is to have the point of the Internet and look at you. Try to link your website to existing high ranking websites. What you should be looking for is a Google rank of 5 or higher and a high Alexa traffic rank. Avoid sites that have more ads on the pages than content.
Social Media Basics – Include in your plan the creation of business profile pages on the 5 most visited social sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Every business page should have links to your website and in return links from your website to these pages. Each page should be set up with content about your business, text and images, contact details and opening hours. You should also spend time on relevant pages/links/circles etc. so you can start with followers and supporters.
Social Media Bonuses – In addition to the top 5 sites, you can also choose additional 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 your level of social media involvement, you may need professional assistance to stay on top of things. Ideally, each social media avenue needs 45 minutes to 1 hour per week, to update with new content and network across platforms, gaining new followers, likes, and links.
Backlink Strategy – It’s 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 others. An important start is to get listed in local directories and also focus on links from your competitors. Search for ‘free online directories’ in Google and a list of website submission directories should come up. Please take your time to complete and submit them. Keep in mind that some take longer to process than others, so keep a list of what has been accepted and what is still being processed. Some directories offer paid features. These can be nice features, but be sure to do some homework and use the best value option to get a proper return on investment. I have come across cases where 1 directory in particular provides free website business links and offers minimal paid services to promote their social media, and a full package including homepage with SEO features on their sites for less money in a year of what it costs to rent a combined domain and hosting package. It also helps you by association to use your existing ranking to your advantage for your keywords. You can go even further and also search for businesses, vendors, agents, users, etc., that your business deals with on a daily basis, and start a dialogue to promote each other’s websites via a backlink. In this case, the union is strength, and a credible bond will serve both of them.
The next best way to promote your business is to create a video to highlight your products and offers. The availability and popularity of sites like YouTube and Vimeo make it a must to participate. Getting a 2-3 minute video created on your behalf, uploading it to YouTube and embedding it on your site is the best place to start. While posting videos may not make you money directly, smart businesses use video marketing as a tactic to improve consumer engagement, clicks, and traffic. They also help attract search traffic ever since the major search engines started ranking videos on their results pages. Including video in emails increases open rates by 5.6% and click rates by 96.38% compared to standard email marketing. Videos are 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google for their respective keywords. They also increase traffic for businesses when shared. There is always a chance to go viral.
4. Mobile sites and applications:
Typically, most websites are created between 900 and 1000 pixels wide. Not surprisingly, but they are designed to be viewed on computer screens. Smartphones typically want to see sites around the 350 pixel area. If you don’t have a responsive design to fit the size of the screen the site is viewed on, it will look horrible and the viewer will move on. Test your site by clicking here. An app or mobile site is a great way to bring your existing website to this generation of what the internet looks like: the mobile phone. Apps are great, but they can be expensive to produce. The app market is growing and creating involves a complete revamp of your existing website. Apps vary in size, cost, and function. A mobile version of your site and mobile technology like SMS and QR codes can reach the same market. By using directory sites, your mobile site will be easily found and more useful to the end user, your customer. Using the same code as your website, a single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, while native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Mobile website URLs integrate easily with other mobile technologies.
5. Fresh quality content and blogs:
Write, write and write. Increasingly, search engines rely heavily on any new movement they can track. Creating and adding new content to your existing site qualifies as this. When bots and spiders visit your site, if there is new content to report, search engines will take it as a positive. If you run a site like a blog, of course with new posts you are adding new content. The content and quality of the blogs are supposed to be in your own hands. Remember to write both original and quality material. Don’t copy and paste someone else’s work just to have something new to post. That undermines the legitimate process. If you like what someone else has done, please like and give it credibility and share it publicly. If you can’t write enough new material, you can look for guest authors, who will gladly write for you for credit. If you have a commercial site and have no interest in embedding a blog for content, a few things to keep in mind on your site are easy things to fix. Make sure you have someone’s copyright on the home page. Make sure the dates and years are correct. New customers are more likely to use commercial websites when it is clear that the sites are maintained and have the current years listed in their copyright. Get in the habit of checking your own website frequently, looking for any aspect of the content that could be updated. At a minimum, embed Facebook or Twitter sharing links and an email link if possible. This will help you share your content on the web without having to. Other visitors will do it for you if they like what they see.