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With more than 70 percent of the population using the Internet to locate businesses and products online, small businesses and midsized companies need to think seriously about their online presence. Even brick and mortar companies and service industries that do not sell online rely on the Internet to guide new customers to their doorsteps. Here are five facets of online marketing strategy that can lead to better visibility online.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Companies that take the time to fully optimize their website naturally, can quickly climb up the search results of their keyword phrases. Studies show that the top five results returned by Google for a search phrase get clicked 71 percent of the time they’re displayed! This number drops dramatically to one or two percent passed the first page.
Wise business owners will take time to analyze keyword search data related to their business or niche. This helps develop a clear picture of what keywords their pages should use. Providing relevant content that features these keywords throughout the company website helps search engine web crawlers find the page and present them to the proper potential clients.
If you have already fully optimized your site and rankings have come to a standstill, having a website audit performed can also help spot problems that might be hindering SEO efforts. For example, some coding errors can block the spiders from properly viewing the site. Sometimes content may be recognized as duplicate, which will lower the site’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Taking the time to do this analysis will help increase the company’s online presence and leads to impressions, customer contact, and ultimately more sales.
2. Start A Blog
A company site needs to appeal to more than just the search engines. The goal of a company website is to inspire trust and confidence in potential customers. Adding a blog gives users a reason to return regularly to the company’s page and check out the latest entry. When the time comes to make a purchase, the reader is already familiar with the company and has seen through their blog posts that they know what they’re doing.
A blog also offers an easy way to focus on specific keywords. Most likely there are many keywords that might bring potential clients to the company. With this in mind, specific blog entries can be created that focus on different keywords. The content can be optimized and aimed directly at those entering the specific search phrase. Although avoid stuffing as many keywords or excessive links into a blog post as Google frowns upon this and doesn’t read well for the viewer.
Ultimately, the purpose of the blog is to show that the company is active and knowledgeable. Since a blog often gives away free advice, news or other information, it automatically inspires a sense of gratitude for those interested in the product or niche.
3. Social Media
Social media is becoming more important than ever for businesses. Search engines now incorporate social media signals like comments, posts and mentions into their algorithms to determine the SERPs. That means it really matters how much people are talking about the business on Twitter, Facebook and other outlets.
Don’t be oblivious to social media or think you are too old to be a part of it. Create branded business pages across all social media outlets and post interesting compelling content. Running a contest or giveaway offering prizes on your page for those posting comments or answering questions can help bring people to the page and generate buzz.
Take for example, ipadaccessories.com. By partnering with Zagg, a company that makes iPad cases and hosting a giveaway contest that required users to “like” their Facebook page, the company got their Facebook page off to a great start and generated lots of buzz. This was an integral part of achieving a front page ranking on Google.
Many companies discover that the keywords they want to focus on have pretty steep competition.
What sets two similar pages with the same keywords apart from one another? Backlinks.
Search engines look backlinks at as a vote that one site approves another.
For example, if someone searches for “computers”, Apple and Dell come up near the top of the page. Yet, there isn’t much keyword optimization on their websites, instead they focus on user experience. The fact that so many other relevant sites link to them, they get a better ranking than other pages using that keyword.
Getting links on other sites can be easy for businesses if done right. Don’t resort to the old way of doing SEO like comment and forum posting, directories and other spam, try posting press releases, sponsoring local events, give speeches or hold special events. This can naturally get you links from others involved or like the things that you are doing.
Additionally, writing guest blog posts for industry or niche-related blogs can also help create mutually beneficial backlinks. This will help the company establish their presence on blogs regularly read by potential prospects.
A good website should contain tools that track what visitors are doing. It should also capture data about where they came from.
- Did a specific keyword search lead them to the site?
- Does the company’s site have optimized content aimed at this keyword?
- Is a certain backlink generating tons of traffic?
- Are users abandoning their investigation of the page at a certain point?
- Are some browsers causing error messages to pop up?
Answering these kinds of questions allow business owners to refine their website’s focus and create new content that is specifically tailored for those have visited the site and have a similar profile.
Putting It All together
The importance of SEO and Internet marketing is growing every day. While putting all these tips together can definitely increase traffic, exposure, sales and conversions, it can be overwhelming. Focusing your efforts in one area at a time will ensure you aren’t overlooking one aspect and also giving time for the spiders to crawl your site and see your improvements over a longer period of time.