Do not be daunted by the challenge that lies ahead for your businesses today. The commercial landscape might appear to be dominated by the heavy hitters and high-tech start-ups who are all up to speed on the latest trends and practices.
These enterprises can have a leg up on the competition now, but the ability to transform your brand from nothing to a credible online presence is just a matter of following some important prompts.
What any marketer needs to kick start their program and accelerate the visibility of a service or product is the tools to make it all possible. Just heading to a website host and choosing a domain name is barely scratching the surface for what constitutes optimisation in 2018.
The hard work starts with the details.
Business owners do not need graduate degrees in website design or social media integration, but they should have a grasp of the basic principles that improves the standing of an operation.
Fortunately we taken onboard what search engines like Google and Bing demand when it comes to their ranking system, reflecting the search habits and behaviours of the wider public. To be relevant in today’s market, you need to tick a series of boxes that showcases your assets and why your presence is needed for the consumer.
In that respect, let us discuss 7 key methods to optimise your business online.
View this as a shortcut, a cheat or a quick way to lose some cash. Whatever your opinion on the topic is, pay-per click (PPC) advertisements work. Engaging tools such as Google AdWords or Facebook Business ads are a surefire means of scoring instant traffic from organic sources, even if that process has to be paid for from the outset.
The majority of online optimisation professionals argue consistently that the best approach to build your business in this space is a healthy balance of organic SEO with a number of strategically placed PPC spots.
Either of these in isolation can easily fail because optimising from nothing can be a long-term activity that drains human resources and wastes patience. The same can be said for only PPC advertisements, a process that will ultimately lack cut-through without a brand that has grown organically.
Overlooking the perception concern of PPC for one moment, it is obvious that a short-term injection of visitors from legitimate sources is required to optimise your online business.
Use these spot sparingly and within budget limitations, but embrace their value and set demographic and geographic targets to bring in the target market you are searching for.
Optimise page speed
The page loading speed of a website is not only a bugbear for end users who are looking to obtain information instantaneously. It is necessary from an SEO standpoint, seeing that bounce rates are a major metric to judge the merits of a domain. The quicker the speed, the lower the chance of a significant bounce percentage where visitors lose patience with a site that is not optimised for traffic.
Pingdom’s website speed test is an ideal software application tool for your domain to run a diagnostic on the issue. Once that process has taken course, it is worthwhile taking note of the issues that will arise and engage a platform such as PageSpeed Insights from Google to appreciate where improvements can be made.
Much of the time it will be a lag from the end of the website host or a software update that has to be downloaded before a reset can take place.
Whatever the stumbling block is impairing the speed of the website, see this as a number one priority and fix it as soon as humanly possible.
Develop a keyword strategy
Optimising an online business without a keyword strategy is akin to flying blind into a blizzard. You might end up out the other end unscathed and seeing clearly, but it will be pure luck and on no account of your actual abilities as a pilot.
Put simply – your operation needs to understand the niche you are competing in and utilise a coherent and structured keyword strategy that underpins all digital marketing campaigns.
Truth be told, following the Hummingbird algorithm update from Google in 2013, the need to be strict and specific on keyword terms is not entirely necessary in today’s environment. What must be addressed and adhered to is the need to be relevant to search queries with an array of phrases and related terms that will make your brand visible.
Google’s own related search results at the bottom of any given enquiry is the best place to start. It will outline what terms are associated to the search and which phrases are popular in the niche right this very moment.
Having gleaned that information, follow through on the Google Keyword Planner to develop a blueprint for campaigns moving forward. This software will save on research time and outline up to date analytics on keywords that will rise and drop in volume over the course of a day, a week, month, year and beyond.
To be fully optimised online, business operators must appreciate that nothing in the digital landscape is static. This fact is illustrated by the keyword planning phase as term currency fluctuates. Keep your finger on the pulse in this field and integrate keywords that are actually circulating in the marketplace.
Integrate multimedia content
A clever hack to incorporate more of these vital keyword signals is through multimedia integration. Think of image galleries, collages, videos and audio files as extra avenues to exploit your niche’s keyword capabilities.
Each item needs you to fill out fields that informs the user and the search engine what it pertains to, and here is where the keyword tracker gets an added boost. From the heading to the description, meta tags and alt-text, the inclusion of multimedia helps to align your niche with the right keywords where it really matters.
An added incentive in this respect is the power of video in particular. To decrease the bounce rate and to engage the traffic that you have scored, this content is utilised by no less than 87% of online marketers with 1 in 3 online users absorbing video in total web use.
Optimising really boils down to a brand’s ability to score more views and run at a website’s complete capability from start to finish. If that is to be adhered to in every sense of the word, then multimedia integration is incredibly valuable by keeping visitors on the page longer and increasing the chances of search engines locating your page where it matters.
Be mobile friendly
The pendulum took some time to turn between desktop and mobile devices, but when it did – there was never going to be any turning back.
StatCounter identified 2016 as a key point in time when internet usage would be streamed more on mobile and tablets (51.3%) than they would on desktops (48.7%), becoming a culmination of a societal norm that would see the hand-held option be the option of choice for the average consumer.
What these figures indicate to business optimisers in the online realm is that mobile must take priority. This is where the consumer base is right now and sites that perform the best on search engine results have catered to this market.
A program like mobiReady is specifically designed to run an analytics on your mobile performance, tracking how the content integrates onto a smaller hand-held screen where data must be synced from one platform to the next.
Tap into the power of social media
There are few greater sources of organic traffic than the clicks that are garnered from social media sites. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn as open portals to a flow of visitors around the clock. This is the power of the Internet at its absolute finest.
The statistics tell their own story. On a domestic front, 99% of adults from 18-29 have a presence on social media with 96% in their 30s and 86% in their 40s, a figure that is hard to replicate for almost anything else.
Facebook and YouTube both top the list for unique monthly visitors (15 million each) as these platforms continue to attract people from all manner of backgrounds. Here is an environment to watch, share, discuss, debate, examine and enjoy a variety of content, a fact that took the commerce world little time to adapt their online strategy towards this market.
By incorporating your brand messaging on these sites with individual accounts as well as icons on your webpages that connect to these locations, the feed of activity can be fed from one end towards the other. Connect the dots for your organisation and use the power of social media to optimise your business today.
Make navigation easy
Website navigation matters for two very distinct but important parties:
- The website visitors and end users
- Search engine crawlers from Yahoo, Bing and Google
It should be straightforward to deliver a call to action (CTA) that is one or two clicks from the homepage with all tabs easily identifiable and simple to locate. The harder this process is for the visitor, the more difficult the challenge will be to engage consumers who don’t need the added stress of a voyage to discover where the necessary information is located.
Then there is the matter of the search engines who also happen to enjoy an uncomplicated experience. A program such as the XML Sitemaps Generator is a great starting point to laying out all of this data on HTML so that the web crawlers can track the signals. Often there will be some content that can be cut or relocated to help smooth this process over and deliver a navigation portal that is 100% efficient.
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.