Get to the top of Google with smarter digital marketing

It takes more than keywords to wrestle on your ascent to the top of Google.

For a strong bond with your market, approach content strategy with traditional marketing principles in mind too.

1. Who do you think you’re talking to?

Remember: everything you’re selling solves problems – so whose problems are they?

Make the effort to understand your audience before you ‘talk’ to them. It’s a basic marketing principle that can get lost in the excitement of managing content.

Your online audience is notoriously distractible and often time-poor. The risk of using the wrong voice or language is a high bounce rate, to your competition or elsewhere.

Refresh market research you already have if it excludes details about customers’ online habits.

Use who your readers are and how they use the web to create their full demographic profile. Hone it all the way to a ‘virtual personality’ – a lifelike person whose attention your writers can grab and hold.

Creating a customer ‘superhero’ makes it easier for a content agency to tailor your content strategy and focus your SEO on profitable returns.

2. Marketing plan basics

Before launching from the ordinary marketing blocks, let alone the internet version, you’re in business because you have answers to these questions:

  • What do we do best?
  • How are we special?
  • Who are our customers (see above)?
  • Why do our customers need us?
  • What makes them return?

Internet marketing is so popular because of the immediate and ever increasing return on investment. In pure numbers from clicks, orders, social media interactions, expanding contact lists, follows, likes – and of course, Google page rankings – whatever your content’s calls to action, the result is there in pure numbers.

Like all marketing plans, regular reporting will measure your effort against results and provide confidence in your content’s performance or a warning to adjust strategy.

3. Simple navigation makes for better SEO

Remember the KISS principle from traditional marketing days (keep it simple, stupid)? Avoiding backfire by simplifying brand messages translates to website structure too.

Websites that over-optimise their content can actually rank low. This is when too much anchor-text or too many links distract from the user-experience.

Google’s current SEO mission is to put web users first (and second and third). In part, reader engagement is measured by the time spent on a page because it suggests absorption and therefore, good content. Many websites are yet to catch on to the new era where inserting low-quality links for doesn’t contribute to good SEO.

If you’re assessing content for a copy overhaul, or because its ranking has slipped, check that your navigation devices reflect Google’s preference for a cleaner site and longer page visits.

4. SEO connects your big picture

The position your business holds within an authentic professional network is another of Google’s new measures for SEO that’s reminiscent of old-fashioned public relations.

Your digital footprint is now a factor in search engine ranking. Mentions from among your contacts and partners are a new, viral, version of the once-treasured word-of-mouth promotion. Here Google is looking for high quality links and natural and legitimate mentions, not the more forced insertions of links back to your site.

An example of the change set to hit some internet marketers hard is Google’s abrupt cancelling of the automated SEO benefits of media release distribution through news wire services.

Organic web traffic will earn better SEO from earned associations and back-to-basics marketing and PR. Inspiring mentions from true partnerships that increase link-sharing and inbound web traffic have the potential for big rewards if managed carefully.

4. Re-design for mobile web-browsing

Your best internet marketing efforts will falter unless your website is redesigned for mobile and tablet browsing. Use of portable devices has officially overtaken the desktop, making it imperative for Google to evaluate mobile phone and tablet searches to establish genuine SEO rankings from all sources.

Google rewards responsive  website design with potentially higher ranking. Some advantages of having a site tailored to mobile screens are:

  • Prevents user frustration and bounce rates
  • Return visits are more likely
  • More purchases likely from mobile-friendly site
  • Users form better attitudes about your company
  • Prevents moving on to your competition
  • Mobile users are more likely to buy and/or engage with your brand

Any review of internet marketing strategy must cover responsive web design or you could miss out on a large portion of SEO benefits, regardless of the quality of your content.

5. Content structure counts too

Having a user-friendly content structure is an equal partner to technical navigation when planning internet marketing. In publishing, an easy rule is ‘if you want people to read something, make it easy to read’. With online content, user distraction is your greatest enemy.

If you are just starting a new website, or are overwhelmed by subject matter after years of content marketing, approach its presentation with simplicity. Take a niche approach to topics and only link through to related subjects on other pages.

Begin where your professional expertise is high. Organise topics as if they’re chapters to be discovered organically by the user. Focus on one keyword per page and use minimal links to direct users to more detail.

Filing your content topics into compartments works best for readers and search engines alike.

Remember, images and video are powerful elements of content structure. Driving SEO is not only about words and links. With your reader’s profile in mind, consider their interest in visual versus written content and strike a good balance to keep them engaged.

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