Of all the important tasks that a small business has on its plate, there are at least 10 digital marketing strategies that should remain at the foremost of your mind. Here is a checklist for starting the New Year with an additional boost to your website’s search visibility.
- Optimize for keyword topics
- Create content for users
- Focus on one social media profile
- Build a personal influencer network
- Be an active guest author
- Improve UX
- Build an email list
- Incorporate branding
- Improve technical SEO
- Analyze and adapt
The capability of search engines to extract meaning has changed the way content is optimized. Sprinkling keywords throughout your page isn’t enough to make a page relevant in a keyword related query. It’s still necessary to have keywords in the most important places for on-page optimization but in order to truly be competitive, your content needs to be optimized for an entire keyword topic.
Keyword research is the process of discovering the most important terms as well as relevant topics that contribute to your page’s overall optimization. It would be impossible to publish a relevant page on kitchen renovations without mentioning the subtopics that go into performing a kitchen renovation.
By breaking down each topic into smaller subtopics, you’re able to target more specific search terms and provide more depth in a keyword topic.
Creating topic clusters is an effective way to promote the relevance of your site for a specific topic. By identifying the most relevant subtopics of the most important terms to your business you can create a content cluster best represented by the pillar page model.
Pillar page model
The search term in this example is kitchen renovations. This topic can be broken down into subtopics to include countertops, flooring, lighting, cupboards, etc. The main page would link out to individual pages to explain each of these components in further detail.
As you dive deeper into detail it becomes apparent that each of the subtopics to kitchen renovations also has their own subtopics that can be further explained with separate pages. The phrase kitchen countertops can be broken down into more articles that explain the types of countertops and represent very high volume search terms.
Whether your content already exists or not, clustering your topics to show that your site goes deeper into detail will demonstrate expertise in your niche. By linking to the main pillar page from your subtopic pages, you raise the profile of the major search term. From a search engine perspective, this demonstrates the depth your site has for the entire keyword topic, enhances optimization and increases your site’s ability to answer user intent.
Satisfying search intent is a major factor in establishing relevance and ranking for a search query. The first page of results is a search engine product because it represents their best solution to a search query. Websites are selected in a search result based on the ability to provide what the user was looking for and as a result, be the final destination of the user’s search.
Search engines want to see that your site dives into the most important details of a query and has the ability to answer commonly asked questions related to the search.
Publishing content that provides solutions to common problems increases the value your site has because your content provides a specific response to a specific query. Create a resource for your clients and future clients by providing content that targets problems.
Use the SERP as a resource to find what people are searching for the most. Google autosuggest, PAA boxes and featured snippets are major clues to the questions and answers people are searching for and serve as an indication as to what content should be included on your site.
There’s no question that a social network can provide an excellent source of the traffic to your site. Here is a list of the top social media sites and the number of users on each platform.
The top social media sites have become secondary search engines that can benefit your site by driving traffic from optimized content. In order to be effective in driving the most traffic from any social site, it’s necessary to be active as a community member and not just a robotic content posting machine.
The whole purpose of social media is to be social, which allows businesses to show a more human side in which people can relate. This type of effort takes time and resources so it’s advantageous to allocate enough attention to one profile where you actually engage with other members.
Choose the most appropriate social profile to focus on to create a strong presence and build a network. It wouldn’t make sense to focus on Instagram if your company specializes in high-ticket B2B services. LinkedIn would be a better platform for your particular niche.
However, if your selling retail products, Instagram is the perfect platform where your product can get a lot of exposure and interest.
One of the top three ranking factors is the strength of your backlink profile. It has become increasingly difficult to acquire high-quality backlinks and building a PIN (Personal Influencer Network) can increase the speed at which your website acquires links.
Identify the influencers, site owners and authors that actively publish content in the same industry as your own. One approach in building a mutually beneficial relationship is to offer them value before you’ve even made contact.
For example, research their website and find what keywords they’re appearing for on the second page of Google.
Link to their site on relevant pages a number of times in your own content and link building efforts.
Reach out to them explaining how they’ve influenced your work and provide them with the list of URLs in which you’ve included links to their content. This in itself is often enough to encourage them to want to return the favour.
Regardless of how they respond to your generosity, they will definitely be more inclined to pay attention to a page you’ve created in which you need links.
A simple email informing them about your content is more than often enough for them to help you out by linking to your site.
Guest posting regularly is an excellent way to build awareness of your brand and acquire high-quality links. The characteristics of quality backlinks are that the links come from relevant content, on a relevant site and from a website that has a good flow of traffic and search visibility (preferably with a high DA).
You control all of these factors and apart from the authority, you build from the links you increase the awareness of your company and create relevant streams of traffic to your site.
The experience users have on your site plays an important role in engagement. Visitors will leave a site that they find difficult to navigate or that takes too long to load.
Page speed became an official ranking factor on mobile devices in July 2019 after the Mobile-First update. Considering that the majority of searches are now performed from a mobile device this places a high priority on maintaining fast load time.
Speed up your load time by uploading images that are compressed and sized to fit the space for what your site needs.
Delete unused plugins to clear unwanted clutter from your header as this is the first area to register when your site is loading.
Boasting the largest ROI in the business at roughly 3800%, email marketing is an aspect you can’t afford to ignore. An email list will Google-proof your website by providing traffic through scheduled newsletters, updates or promotions.
Build an email marketing campaign and learn more about your audience through the statistics your campaign generates that provide insight on user behaviour. High open rates indicate what subject lines would make great headlines to attract attention. High click-through rates to your site indicate interest in a particular topic in which you can build more content on your website.
As the competition becomes more difficult, branding becomes a bigger asset to your marketing. Incorporate branding in your link building and content creation. When users recognize your business it encourages leapfrog clicks. People will jump to your site if they recognize your company as opposed to clicking on a site they don’t recognize.
The way people scan search results is shifting from the traditional allocation that ranking suggests. The number one position won’t always get 30% of the traffic because people will click further down the page for a recognizable brand. This type of user behaviour improves your site click-through rate, which also results in a higher ranking on the SERP.
Stay on top of the technical aspects of your site to maintain a competitive edge. When all things are equal in terms of content, optimization and backlinks, the technical performance of your site can mean the difference in outranking your competition.
Use tools such as Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl to get an overview of the performance of your site. Identifying and correcting indexing issues, duplicate content and metadata issues can improve the performance of your site. A few 404 errors (broken links) may not hurt your site too much, but as they accumulate they can weigh down the user experience and therefore affect your ranking ability.
Optimize your websites for performance in every aspect that pertains to how search engines are ranking sites for your keyword. Analyze the SERP to identify the characteristics the ranking pages share and what is making a difference in how Google is determining to rank websites for that particular search term.
For example, a characteristic that magazine-style blog sites benefit from is fresh content. Having the most recently published content is baked into the ranking algorithm. Therefore, maintaining a consistent publishing schedule and updating older blog posts creates positive ranking signals and a sharper competitive edge.
Every niche and every keyword should be considered separately because Google’s ranking algorithm changes with the intent of a search. Be aware of what’s working on the SERP for your keywords to make those adjustments and additions necessary to rank in a top position.
Implement sound digital marketing strategies
Execute careful and consistent content strategies that address the needs of your current and future clients.
The top-ranking factors (content, backlinks and Rankbrain) are ultimately related to providing the best experience for the user. Keep this in mind when forming keyword, content, link building and digital marketing strategies for the biggest impact in traffic and lead generation in 2020.