Search Engine Optimization (SEO) doesn’t happen overnight. You, and your business, must treat your website as an ‘evergreen’ project – and have patience. Even if you have a budget for website ads, you still need to have a consistent content strategy to ensure your target market stays on your website to explore your content after they visit it. I recommend focusing on five key digital marketing areas to boost your website’s search engine ranking and capture your target market’s interest.
Develop relationships with influencers, customers, partners and within your business network to increase the number of “backlinks” to your website. Digital marketing agencies have it easy, as they usually backlink to their own website as a form of promotion, but also to increase their own site’s SEO. If you’re not a marketing agency – don’t worry! Just start building your network of partners, customers – or best of all, establish your company as a thought leader or influencer. The key is in a consistent content strategy and staying aligned to your brand values.
Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.
Google defines the total number of external links as “the number of unique links to your property from outside your property.” In addition, top linking sites is a ranking term that "does not refer to the quality of the site that links to you, but rather the quantity of times your website URL is referenced on another site."
Analytics tools like Google Search Console (more on this tool in my next blog) will actually rank the number of external links by sites that backlink to yours, which is a good tool of which to be aware from (1) a brand audit perspective and (2) as a relationship cultivation lead source.
Unlike backlinks, outbound links are links to other domains (properties) from your property. Make sure that you are linking to other reputable websites with content relevant to you, your business, brand(s), products and/or services. Outbound links to disreputable, fly-by-night sites can actually ding your Google ranking. Links to other sites also help inform Google a bit more about your site (or your business). Outbound links also provide your consumers and business partners with an opportunity to fact check your content.
Of course, you don’t want to make your outbound links so attractive that your visitors leave your website and never come back. (This is a balancing act!) For more on outbound link strategy and (use of “nofollow” link tags), I recommend this article on SEO Hacker. (See, now I am driving you away from my site!)
Blogging is a great way to optimize your website searchability organically – at least if you are not paying to produce your own content. The more blog content you publish on topics relevant to your business niche, target market, product or service offering can increase your website ranking in search engine results. Blogs also offer an opportunity to link to other, reputable sites and sources. These outbound links might get you noticed by a customer, supplier or business partner and they could decide to link back to you (a backlink)! Google also recognizes your site as a hub for that outbound link target, which can boost your Google ranking in the long run.
(3) Email Marketing
We love to use Mailchimp for our email marketing campaigns! It’s easy to use and manage our clients’ accounts to send out campaigns, build landing pages, create surveys, etc., on their behalf. Drive additional traffic to your website by promoting new blogs, events, services, etc., and creating outbound links to those specific pages or page anchors on your website. Most website hosts, like Squarespace, integrate pretty seamlessly with Mailchimp, too. When you send an email campaign, you can also simultaneously post a social media announcement.
Instead of using the automatically-generated Mailchimp (or other provider) URL in the text of your post, I recommend creating a “link” page specifically for social media platforms on your website. Specifically, make a mobile-friendly layout with buttons (links) directing the person who clicks on your #linkinbio to specific pages on your website and a current link to your latest email campaign. That way, you’re giving your website a visit boost from one of your social media platforms – and not giving a website like linktree or bitly the credit for the visits.
Finally, you have an option to embed your email campaigns on a page on your website to prevent visitors from leaving your site to view your newsletter directly on Mailchimp. Whether or not this is useful to you, your band and customer base depends how time-sensitive your email campaigns usually are.
(4) Social Media
Almost everyone provides social links to their brands various social media platforms. What some companies, don’t take advantage of, however, are integrating applications/views of their social media feeds (i.e., with Instagram or Twitter) to help their website “fresh.” Furthermore, some Instagram apps on certain website hosts, such as Wix, allow you to link each post. This is useful if you want to link an Instagram post to a specific blog published on your website (an internal link), or link to a customer’s website in a promotional announcement, etc. This offers another way of keeping your website visitors on your website longer – and, hopefully, looking at more of your page content.
Keywords require some research to make sure that you are using the right combination for your business. You want to make sure that you have the right keywords ranging from generic (location, if of importance, industry, trend, etc.) to specific (services, product or brand names in various places on your website). The key part will be tracking your results over time to continually refine the ones that best describe your business and zero in on what your target market is searching or following.
The most important keyword placements, in order of importance, are:
URL page slugs
SEO title and page title
SEO site, page and item descriptions
Headings (i.e., H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Categories (i.e., blog categories, product categories, event categories) and tags
File names for files and images
Make sure that your graphics employ ‘alternate text’ (or 'alt text'), which is necessary for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, but they also give your site a SEO boost.
Our next blog will explain the steps, at a minimum, you need to take to set-up your key analytics tools in order to understand how your website visitors are consuming your content, how long they stay on your site, which pages they visit and how your site stacks-up against your competitors.
Elevate Next is a digital marketing and management consulting company that would be more than happy to develop a customized brand reputation management plan for your company. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when the next blog is published! Contact me with your thoughts and comments – I would love to hear them!