If you are new to online business, then the thought of undertaking (or even understanding) search engine optimisation (SEO) can be daunting.
One of the risks is that armed with little knowledge, you will be swindled by SEO salesman instead of being guided by an SEO expert.
I speak to people every week who have fallen for costly gimmicks in the world of online marketing. They spend their budgets – often big budgets – on low performance or even risky SEO. This article is my attempt to speak to new online business and intercept them early on – hopefully steering them away from the snake oil and on to better things.
Search optimisation requires solid research and technical expertise, as well as an eye for opportunity. That may not be you just yet, and so a few pointers are in order so that you (and your new business) can step in to the world of SEO with some confidence.
Here are Top five marketing strategies from an SEO Expert that can give your new online business a solid start in Google’s search results.
1. Talk to an SEO Expert
By “talk,” I don’t mean email. I mean get on the phone or jump onto Skype and schedule an SEO consultation with an SEO expert.
One of the best ways to determine if someone is a true expert in their field is to talk to them. First impressions, even over the phone, are lasting impressions. Many of the things that can be determined visually, such as smile and facial expressions, can be discerned by those listening over the phone.
The same applies to the truth of someone’s statement. Even without the visual cues, most people have a sense of the truthfulness of a person just by the tone, content, and tempo of a person speaking over the phone.
Of course, if they’re not willing to speak to you over the phone, then it’s time to move on to the next person.
Speaking of persons…
2. Deal with People, not Agencies
It’s not always easy to find out who is working for a particular agency. However, I think the more open and transparent digital marketing outfits are about the people who work for them, the more trustworthy the agency.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Avoid anonymous search engine optimisation businesses that offer vague and pay as you go packages. You need to be able to talk to a person, and telephone that person when you need them.
You need to be able to ask basic questions and get clear answers.
Don’t settle for anything less than a real human.
While a marketing agency website is useful for giving you an overall feel for what they can achieve and their level of authority in the industry, ultimately it is people we deal with and people we need to trust and entrust our business to.
Don’t settle for anything less than a real human.
3. Choose an Effective SEO Strategy
Link building, content marketing, blogging, guest posting services, press release services, participation in forums, social media engagement…
These are all effective search engine optimisation tactics used to rank on the first page of Google.
Before you start spending any money on search engine optimisation, you need to decide which of these tactics is going to inform the foundation of your overall search marketing strategy.
My advice is to take the long view. While you might incorporate a number of these tactics into your SEO strategy, you need to have a bedrock foundation of solid content both on your site and pointing to your site in order to rank long-term.
In the current search engine optimisation climate, that means building solid content on your site and guest posting or being featured in some form or another, relevant and reputable websites.
It also means having good technical SEO. Good technical SEO includes meta tags, titles and descriptions, page load times and mobile responsiveness or friendliness.
I suggest you begin by focusing on your on-page SEO opportunities.
- Get Your technical SEO sorted out
- Start looking for guest post link opportunities
- Begin creating excellent quality content
Speaking of content…
4. Only Create Content You Love
Presumably, you are investing in a product or service that you are interested in. Assuming that that’s the case, the next thing you have to do is decide what kind of content you’re going to create in order to draw in your target audience.
One of the mistakes that people often make is, having set up the kind of site they want for the kind of business they want to run they then go on to create a kind of content they have little to no interest in.
The content you create should be, to some extent a reflection not only of your brand but also of your personality.
You need to create content, whether it be video, which media, the written word, in order to draw in your audience and begin to appear in Google organic search engine results.
What kind of content should be the result of your own skill and ability, or else at least your own interest?
Which content strategy is most suited to your business, your budget, your personal preference and your brand?
- Research guided
- Long form white papers
- Blog articles
The management and strategy of your content marketing, which will occur primarily through the management of your blog, will take shape once you determine that kind of content you want to create.
If you are to gain long-term results in Google, and long-term results for your business, you need to start by creating content that you love.
5. Develop a Content Strategy You Can Manage
When you have determined the type of content you want to create, you need to decide a method of dissemination and promotion.
How do you plan to introduce your blog or other onsite content, which is your major search engine optimisation strategy, to your target audience?
If your business is new, and you are new to the internet, I suggest you start with a well-managed blog and a well managed and clean social media set up.
If setting up and managing your blog is not something you feel you can do, then you need to engage your blog management service.
A Blog management service will look after the creation of your content, the technical SEO and the overall maintenance of your website.
Their job is to ensure that the content that goes out is valuable and of high quality and that your blog is always working to promote your business product or service.
If you’re going to manage your own blog, you will need to ensure that the technical SEO, the code, the layout and design of your blog, as well as the content itself is all suited to your brand.
Here are some practical tips when preparing content for your blog.
Create a Manageable Content Calendar
Don’t create a system you can’t manage – or that winds up crushing you. You set the pace whether you do it yourself or outsource the work.
Frequency is not the main issue. Consistency is. Whether you blog once a week or once a month make sure the quality and style of your content is consistent. Over time Google will reward your efforts.
About Creating Video
If the focus of your blog is video, make sure all content fields, descriptions and titles are optimised and filled out.
If you have the original video files on your own computer, then optimise the properties and meta tags also.
If you’re using YouTube, publish at least 500 words to go with your video. Publish your video first and immediately afterwards publish your blog.
About Creating Images and Slideshows
If the focus of your blog is images, slideshows, and other similar rich visual media, make sure you complete all the meta and alt tags of your images.
Make sure the titles are optimised and complete the properties of your image files.
Develop a list of infographic and slideshow sites where you can share your content later or where you can produce the content (e.g., Slideshare, Google Drawing) and link back to the article you publish afterwards.
About Creating Written Text
As a general rule 800 words or more is great for a well-written blog post or article. However, there may be exceptions, and if you are using other rich media, you may only produce 500 words per blog.
This may be true where your primary purpose is to update users, site visitors and customers or subscribers with the latest news on your products or services.
However, this strategy is usually more effective with social media, and on most occasions, you should aim to have long-form content that is well written on your blog in order to boost your rank in Google.
Internal Link Building
Google counts the internal links on your website as backlinks. What this means is that the more backlinks you have pointing to a particular piece of content, the more important and perhaps more popular, Google will assume it to be.
The net result is that that piece of content will, all things being equal, rank higher in the search engine than other pieces of content.
For this reason, I recommend you create, what I want to call content hubs.
Content hubs rely on Cornerstone content that is surrounded by lessor content in order to boost the most important pages on your website.
For example, if your business is weddings then your most important page or your Cornerstone page on your blog might be how to set up a wedding venue.
The surrounding articles that point or link to that article on setting up a wedding venue would all tackle the subject of wedding venues and set up but from different points of view.
For example, you might have the following 5 articles all pointing to the above cornerstone article (or hero page):
- How too choose a wedding venue
- 5 Great Ideas for a Country Themed Wedding
- Seating and Spacing Ideas for a Large Wedding
- How to Choose Flowers for Your Wedding Tables
- 10 Great Kids Space Ideas for Your Wedding Venue
Each of these articles could be considered a subset that points to the most important article you’re hoping to rent for – that’s the article about how to set up a wedding venue.
Google will notice these links and hopefully, rank your most important page much higher than the other pages.
Social media is part of your content marketing strategy. Choose the social media platforms that are going to be most effective. I would say that three is enough, at least in the early days.
The most popular social media platforms include Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
The question you need to answer, is where are my target audience meeting up online?
You need to be in those places.
Make sure you setup complete your profiles entirely and optimise them both for aesthetics and for information. Complete profiles are twice as likely to result in a conversion than those that are not optimised properly.
Like you’re on page content strategy, consistency is the key. Know when your audience is meeting and share with them on a regular basis.
Regular need not mean frequency. Instead, regular contact with your target market means turning up at the same time each time, and with a similar style of content to share.
People really like surprises when it comes to content marketing. In other words, if you’re going to talk about products the first time and that’s the overall social media interaction, then stick to the subjective your products and don’t deviate too far from it.
If the primary objective of your Facebook page, for example, is to give helpful advice on organic gardening, then try and stick to that subject and develop a following based on that subject.
People often panic and think that they have to spread the net far and wide in order to catch the most number of people.
They, therefore, find themselves talking about almost anything and everything on any given day.
Randomness here is not good. You will not win all of the people. But you will gain a good majority of those your targeting if you remain focused in your social media efforts.
You want to be predictable and consistent. You want people to identify with you and your brand based on an unchanging and reliable character.
Of all that’s been said here, perhaps the most important thing to remember is consistency. Consistency in your branding, images, content marketing strategy, site maintenance and outreach.
Google will not thank you for everything you do. They will be looking for patterns and consistency as well as authority.
One of the ways you can exert your authority in your nursery industry is by developing and SEO strategy that does not deviate too often from its primary focus.