If Your Prospects Can’t Find Your Company Online, You’re Invisible
If you’ve been following anything going on in marketing over the past few years, you already know that individual marketing tactics are no longer effective unless they’re connected to other key marketing tactics.
Search engine optimization is one of the most important tactics, and if you’re working with an SEO firm with the sole goal of being on the first page of Google, you’re way off base.
Instead, getting found on the search engines is more about content, web, understanding your prospects’ buyer journey and connecting with influencers than it is about technical SEO. Of course, your website has to be architected properly, but today getting ranked has more to do with giving searchers what they’re looking for than the backlinks you have to the site.
Here are five inbound marketing-related search engine optimization tactics that are guaranteed to drive up visitors to your website.
1) Blog Aggressively With A Search-Oriented Strategy
A lot has been written about blogging best practices. Specifically, how important is it? How often do you need to do it? How much impact does it actually have on new visitors to your website? The answer is that blogging is a critical component of creating a website that gets ranked, stays relevant on the search engines and publishes thought leadership that engages your prospects and drives leads. Yes, blogging should drive leads.
There is no way to predict how often you need to blog. The only way to know for sure is to set some organic ranking and visitor goals and then get started. If blogging once a week allows you to hit your goals, then you’ve accomplished your objective. But you might have to blog every day to hit your goals. There is no way to know until you start. Typically, we recommend clients start with one blog a week and see what visitor numbers that generates, and then respond from there. Need more visitors? Pump up the number of blogs.
Keep in mind that all your blogs need to have specific components. They need to be highly optimized for search engines. That means having optimized titles, headlines, bullets, meta descriptions, proper URLs, images and image tags. But most importantly, they need to use the right keywords. Don’t think that one or two blogs is going to help you rank for highly competitive keywords. That might take a year or longer. However, you might find that less-searched but still-relevant terms or questions rank much quicker. Testing is key here.
2) Create Sticky Website Pages With Search In Mind
Want to rank more highly for keywords? Make sure the pages you’re ranking for have exactly what your searchers are looking for. The fastest way to the bottom of the rankings is to serve up a page that your visitors land on and then bounce away from. This tells Google that you’re not delivering value and as a result Google will push you down in the rankings.
Instead, give it some thought and planning, and develop a search-centric website strategy before you start building either web or ranking assets. Create the pages you need to rank for the keywords in your search strategy. Want to rank for a highly competitive keyword like inbound marketing? Make sure you have an inbound marketing page that people love and convert on. This page on our website ranks 10 for a keyword that’s a 99 difficulty rating and competes with companies much bigger than ours. How did we get such a high ranking? We followed our own advice, of course. You can, too.
3) Aggressively Pursue Content-Oriented Backlinks
Backlinks help. Our research shows that the more backlinks you have from highly respected sites, the better your site will rank across all keywords. This data is general, of course, but our site has more than 300 backlinks and we’re trailing other agencies we track that have more than 1,000 backlinks.
However, you can no longer buy or trick Google with backlink farms or nefarious backlink schemes. You should earn these backlinks, either by creating amazing content that people share and link to, or by sharing backlinks with partners. Influencer marketing is one of the newer marketing tactics in our inbound bag of tricks that creates these high-value and ranking-improving backlinks.
By working closely with people who have high domain authority and large audiences, you can earn respectable backlinks to help improve your rankings and drive high-quality website visitors to your site.
4) Create Content For Your Prospects So They Share It
I know you want to talk about yourself, your company, your services, your products and even your employees, but honestly, your prospects don’t care about you. You have to create content for them by focusing on their issues, challenges, pains and questions. The better you are at this task, the more visitors you’ll attract to your site, the higher your rankings for keywords will be and the more leads you’ll get. The more content you create, the more leads you get.
One of the reasons that content produces improvements in rankings for your site is because social shares are a cue to Google that your pages are valuable. Don’t take this lightly. Instead, double down or lean into the concept that high-quality content is just as important as the quantity of content. Don’t give up on quantity. Despite popular opinion, quantity matters, but so does quality. If you create a ton of crap content, you won’t impact results as much as if you create a ton of high-quality content. That might seem obvious, but our research shows that companies are still wrestling with this balance.
No, product spec sheets don’t count as high-quality content marketing.
5) Rename Your Website Pages With Your Prospects In Mind
Finally, since we’re talking about rankings and search engine optimization, we can’t skip talking about the technical architecture of your website. Over the past year, we’ve done extensive research on this one point and found repeatedly that Google is dropping pages that are /services or /products. Google views these pages as sales pages, not educational resources, and in most cases Google is 100% accurate in its assumptions.
Instead, turn those pages into educational resources by showing Google you intend to educate your visitors and not sell to them. Here’s an example. Our inbound marketing services page is /what-is-inbound-marketing and we wanted this to rank on page one. The change from /services/inbound-marketing to /what-is-inbound-marketing produced an improvement in ranking of over 100 listings, a move from page 10 to page one. Keep in mind this move took months to execute, but it executed nonetheless.
You have to work over your entire website and make sure the page URLs, tags and descriptive text are signaling Google that you have educational info, not sales info. This will improve your site-wide rankings.
Our agency didn’t come from a background of search engine optimization, yet month over month our clients see improvement in their organic search rankings. How? The answer is content and visitor experience. The more content you create, the more visitors you’ll attract. The better the quality of that content, the more visitors you’ll attract. The more that content is shared, the more visitors you’ll attract. You should see where we’re going with this.
You see, marketing is no longer about a single tactic. It’s no longer about a series of disconnected tactics. Today, marketing — and inbound marketing in particular — is about a collection of well-orchestrated tactics that work synchronously to drive leads, new customers and revenue. If your marketing isn’t planned, built or being optimized with this strategy in mind, you’re wasting your marketing budget.
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