Recently, we have been sharing information on consumer trends on the Internet and how to more effectively market your practice beyond traditional SEO and PPC campaigns that nearly all of your competitors are engaging. These are just a few.
- Inbound Database Marketing
- Online Display and Pre-Roll Video Advertising
- Review and Ratings Marketing
- Paid Social Media Advertising
- Tips for eNewsletter Marketing
Regardless, I still get a lot of practices inquiring solely about SEO services, which is still an important part of any successful online campaign. As they voice concerns about Google always changing the rules, it is important to understand that although there are 200+ search engine ranking factors (Brian Dean/Backlinko), they are all based on fundamental principles that drive search indexing, most importantly, giving online consumers more of what they want.
So today, I would like to share 7 important tips for 2016. If you haven’t started implementing them, you still have time to make an impact this year.
Tip #1: Speed Is Important
Take steps to improve how fast your website and pages load by removing anything that slows down the site.
Armed with better technology and service providers, consumers place very high expectations on the performance of your website to ensure high-quality user experience. This includes mobile display. A survey by KissMetrics indicates that nearly 70% of Americans expect their load times on their phone to be almost as fast as their desktop.
Of course, Google and other search engines develop their technology to respond to consumers’ wants and needs. For years, Google shared this insight on site speed by providing information and even resources to help ensure websites are convenient for visitors.
To start, remove large, slow-loading elements that track very little activity. This definitely includes eliminating unnecessary plugins and widgets. Be judicious on what you push on to your website visitors and focus on essentials. The days of cool, slow-loading elements are in the past.
Of course there are many ways to improve site speed that you and your webmaster can discuss (some of this can focus on programming/hosting that can become a little technical), but start with the most obvious elements on your website.
Tip #2: Outbound Linking
Part of building credibility in your website and content is to use relevant sources and connect your website with an online community of experts and organizations. By surrounding and associating yourself with good neighbors, you can build your online credibility. The good news is that these are links that you can control and manage.
Of course external links do not pass the same value as relevant websites that link to you, but they still have value to your visitors and to the search engines.
For more details on external links and tips, check out this post on Moz.com
These outgoing links can be in the form of text links within your blog posts, website pages, as well as when sharing useful resources. By taking an educational approach and using strategic links to other resources (keep in mind, some of these industry experts can be high ranking, non-competitive colleagues’ websites as well) you will grow the authority of your brand and website in the eyes of consumers and the search engines. The key is to ensure you only link to content that has compelling click-through interest and significant value to your visitors.
Tip #3: Re-read and Update Content
If I asked, “When was the last time you read through the content of your website?” most would not know or simply say it was a long time ago.
In most cases, practices wrote, edited, and/or approved their website content years ago and simply transferred most of that same content to new website designs they have developed over time. Chances are, much of your website content may be out of date, poorly written, superficial, brochure-like, not very readable for all formats (including mobile), or simply boring.
These pages may be missing links to relevant highly credible sources, lack visual elements (graphics, photos, videos, etc.), they may even be missing relevant target keywords and phrases that arose after the original content was developed.
Tip #4: Consider Developing Different Types and Longer Format Content
The phrase “content is king” has been over-used, but still remains relevant to today’s online marketer. Unfortunately, most practices simply interpreted that as “more” content. Today, it is focused more on higher quality content. And what do we mean by quality?
Of course quality is a very subjective term, but in this context we can simply address it as relevant content that users find interesting, insightful, useful, helpful, engaging, and ideally, share-worthy. In some cases, this can mean the content is more substantive and provides more detail and resources. It can be longer, yet highly organized.
Quality can also include how the information is presented. It may include custom images, photos, graphs, charts, infographics, videos or other types of what can be termed “visual content”. In most cases, people can become more connected with content once there are visual cues and support.
Much like a newspaper, the articles that get most widely read and have greater reader comprehension are the stories that include relevant supportive photos. These are also seen as the most important stories on the page.
One key is to make sure you are writing your content to help someone, not simply to optimize for Google.
Tip #5: Attract Incoming Links from Relevant, Trustworthy Websites
You have probably been told by numerous SEO specialists that along with content, incoming links to your website are the most important elements of SEO.
You may also know that simply having a lot of links (particularly from irrelevant, spammy websites) to your website can even hurt your SEO results. The end result is that you want more highly relevant, credible websites linking to your website or blog articles. It is also
By developing the type of high quality content listed above, you will be able to start earning links from other relevant websites. The key is to promote these pages and resources through effective email marketing, social media, optimization, and sharing. If your content is created with a helpful spirit, well-executed, and void of promotional, salesy content, you will be able to attract more attention and links.
Keep in mind, many credible websites that may want to share your content through links are other non-competitive practices/colleagues, vendors and industry-related professionals, so be sure you are also reaching out to them as well.
Tip #6: Review/Update Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Of course there are a lot of different elements of your website and pages that can be “optimized” to help search engines index your information. Two of the most important elements (in addition to your content) that are easy to identify and locate are 1) Page Title and 2 Meta Description. The reason these are important is that they are very visible to Google visitors when they conduct searches. See the example below.
Make sure you write unique titles and descriptions on every page and that they are relevant to the content and information on that page. Keep in mind, Google does not like duplicate content or descriptions.
Tip #7: Use Social Media
Although Google has indicated that social signals have not been added into their ranking algorithm factors, many search engine marketing experts have found that Google rankings are influenced by social media signals. Research has shown that websites that have corresponding active and well-managed social media platforms typically perform better than those that do not.
However, some may say that these businesses are fully invested in online marketing and are also doing other things to improve their rankings, not just social media. While this may be true, there are case studies that show social media activities to influence rankings, whether short or long term.
One underlying truth is that there is the opportunity to drive more traffic to your website through links, posting, “liking” and sharing blogs and website information on your social media. Regardless, driving what can be called “branded” traffic (social media contacts, friends, followers, etc. that already know you) has significant overall value and can also generate leads. The key is to not simply rely on posting isolated content on your social media and think that you are done.
To conclude, SEO is still an important part of an effective, synergistic multi-channel digital marketing campaign. Take steps to improve your results by taking a more comprehensive look at all your marketing efforts and how they can all work together.
Your marketing “Whole” should be greater than the sum of its parts.
~Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing