Making the Most of Your New Website
Your site 'going live' is just the beginning
Being the proud owner of a website is the first and most important step in creating an Internet marketing strategy for your business, non-profit group or other project. As vital as having a website is, it is only one element of a comprehensive online marketing strategy. It is the anchor to which you can tie all your other online efforts.
Site Seers Welcome
Obviously, it makes no sense to have a website no one ever visits. The entire point of having a presence in cyberspace is to get your message out to the public, whether it's "Buy this cool thing!" or "Support this cool cause!" Unfortunately, the Internet is a highly competitive environment and it takes a lot of effort to be heard above the din. The most effective way of being singled out from the rest of the Internet mob is by getting as close to the top of Google's search rankings as possible. The closer to the first page you are, the more likely it will be that an interested party will click on the link to your site.
Keywords, in SEO-speak, are words or phrases that you anticipate your target demographic will use to find your website. These phrases often contain a word about what you are trying to sell, a descriptive word about the product and some kind of location information. For example, if you own a bakery selling high-end, fancy cupcakes in Wetaskiwin, your best keywords to employ might be "designer cupcakes Wetaskiwin" or "Wetaskiwin cupcake bakery". Depending on how you allocate these keywords in your text and tags, will increase the rank for that specific keyword search. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The challenges facing you in achieving this goal are many and significant. However, you must remember the old adage that nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.
Just some of the challenges to becoming King of Google Hill:
You're not alone
Just as you are striving to gain the top spot on Google's first page for the keywords you have selected, don't forget that every other similar enterprise that is trying to rank for the same keywords you have chosen, are competing with you for the top spot.
If there are 100 businesses all using the same keywords, "website design Edmonton", for example, (which produced a mere 11,300,000 results) who will be at the top and who will be number 1000? Obviously, not all 1000 web companies can be on that all-important first page. The winning businesses will be those that conform best to what Google's algorithmic formulas are looking for. This is, essentially, the inexact science of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Search engines wheels move very slowly
Website rankings react to changes over time in response to a set of complicated algorithms. Google-bots won't necessarily visit your site on a daily basis to see if they should re-rank you. If a site has been static for a while, it may take weeks to get them to take another look at you. Newcomers to the Internet cannot just show up and get great rankings instantly. Much work is required just to make a dent. Judicious use of keywords and having high quality content that is of interest to your site visitors, are the most important parts of an Internet marketing plan. Even having these two critical elements may not be enough if your keywords are highly competitive or the search engines don't react fast enough for your liking.
SEO improvement isn't free
Increasing the amount and quality of content on your site is what drives enhanced Google rankings over time. It takes resources to produce enough content to ensure your keywords can be worked in as often as practical to enhance SEO results, but still sound natural to human site visitors. Overuse of keywords in your text can make your message appear artificial, contrived and annoying and can actually be counter-productive. If the Google-bots decide you have saturated your site with keywords; forcibly jamming them in unnaturally willy-nilly, they might even delist you from their pages. On the other hand, if you have used these keywords skillfully in your headline, sub-head and image tags, as well as your blog content, your website should experience positive results.
Caution: Curves Ahead
Trying to influence Google rankings can be time consuming with a daunting learning curve. When we build a website, we initially do careful keyword research, then work those keywords into the website strategically. We additionally recommend other avenues to explore which may also enhance your rankings; having a blog or photo gallery, for example. Like any other marketing initiative, the other avenues you choose to try are budget-dependent to a point of diminishing returns.
In other words, your Internet strategy will draw on your two most precious resources; time and money, but there should be a return on your investment in better rankings and more visitors. There is a point, however, where increasing the resources spent on your SEO efforts will not produce results worth the increased expenditures. This is true for any marketing campaign whether Internet-based or not. (Sending a flyer to every home in your city may generate X amount of business, but sending ten flyers to every address probably won't net ten times X in sales.)
Balancing content with brevity
A difficult determination you must make about your website content is how much is enough and how much is too much. If your site lacks content, the Google-bots will assume site visitors will not find quality information about the keywords you've chosen and rank you poorly. Too much text-based content tends to scare away or intimidate Internet consumers who are less patient than are their newspaper-reading counterparts. Too many features, such as video, chat windows and other widgets can slow loading time which causes impatience in site guests and google-bots alike. It is also imperative to keep in mind that better search rankings are not the ultimate goal, but a means to achieve a bigger goal. That larger goal is to sell something; either a product or an idea, to whoever visits your site.
Serve content in bite-sized pieces
Generally, having lots of content is a better bet than not enough, as long as it's displayed carefully so as not to overwhelm visitors. Try breaking up blocks of text with white space and eye-catching graphics. More content allows you to use your keywords in a comfortable, conversational manner. This is because every picture is an alt tag keyword opportunity, while every blog has headline and sub-head tags to fit more keywords in, as well.
Tips and ideas to increase site rankings:
- Add diverse content to your website. This may include polls, contests, even weather information and daily Sudoku puzzles.
- Add a blog to the website to enhanse your perceived authority and increase your opportunities for keyword application.
- Promote your content regularly on social media choosing just a couple platforms to focus on. No one can realistically be on them all and do a credible job..
- Use an email marketing strategy from a good provider such as Aweber.com. They have a low bounce rate and it won't interfere with your corporate email.
- DO NOT use your corporate email addresses to send marketing email or you risk having your regular email rejected by your customers email servers.
- Get promoted on someone else's email list in exchange for promotion on yours.
- Remember to provide value, not SPAM. If you are unsure of what constitutes spam, check out this website http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home
- Start a Google AdWords campaign. Adword details are available here. https://adwords.google.com
- Advertise on Facebook. "Organic reach" is great but you can't count on your friends and followers to always share your social media messages.
- Don't discount Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slideshare, YouTube or other social platforms. Visit each one, see how they differ and choose a couple that would work best for your campaign. They're not one-size-fits all.
- Guest post on other websites. Your suppliers and other business contacts would be a good place to start.
- Get other websites to talk about you. Trading links is a great way to enhance SEO.
- Create shareable content. Be an expert. Make it visual.
- Create back links to your website at every opportunity. This should be on your mind daily; thinking about new ideas and places on the Internet that will accept links to your website.
- DO NOT pay for back links! These will get you penalized from Google.
- Get listed in every directory you can find.
- Research high-traffic sites and borrow their traffic by insinuating your link into their site; through their discussion board, forum, poll or any other means possible.
- Syndicate your website content. Many publications will carry your stories, if they are meaningful to their readers.
- Content must be new and not copied from another website to get recognized expertise. You must continually create new content that is valuable to your potential client-base. When you stop creating great content is when search engines start forgeting about you.
- Monitor your site metrics. Get monthly ranking reports on your search keyword data and use the information to guide content revisions.
- Create "special offer coupons" to post on your website and on Social Media. People love coupons because they save them money, while business loves coupons because they work.
- Get interviewed. Research your industry's forums, newspapers, magazines, associations, and other conversational platforms, then offer your expertise. Forget humility, publish and promote the interview everywhere you can.
- Support and review other websites to become an expert.
- Comment on other people's blogs and news stories. This is how you make the connections necessary to engage in link trading, guest blogging and other networking initiatives.
- Use Google Alerts to find related websites and stories that are useful for you to jump in on.
- Publish an Industry Resource Guide.
- Pursue industry-related awards and use them in your marketing materials.
- Read this: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo (See? Industry Resource Guides work!)
There are hundreds of content tweaks you can try if you have unlimited time and money. They will all help boost your website traffic incrementally. Unfortunately, there is no single SEO-enhancing, all-encompassing marketing silver bullet. The closest thing there is to that ideal would be to hire a professional SEO team who have experienced content creators and social media monitors on staff and let them do the drudge work.
INM offers a suite of services to help you tackle all these recommendations starting from $500 per month. If producing text and applying graphics is not your strength, let us create that critical new content to enhance your SEO and promote your site on social media.
If, however, you're not planning to promote your brand new website, as well as monitor, massage and maintain the content, you may have to ask yourself why you even have it.