With the explosion of digital marketing, the role of search engine optimization (SEO) has changed. Used to dominate the landscape, organic search is no longer the only game in town. And because businesses can’t always rely on the top results of a search engine to gain traction, online marketers must now approach marketing their product or service digitally with a multi-pronged strategy.
Why Digital Marketing?
While traditional methods of marketing such as TV commercials and radio ads still exist, consumers have become so accustomed to digital marketing that businesses often forget about the power of this powerful tool. Even small businesses that have only a few websites can harness the power of SEO, PPC (pay per click), social media, and other digital marketing tactics to gain traction and make an impact.
The Multi-Pronged Approach to SEO
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the practice of getting traffic from the ‘free’ search results on a search engine. Essentially, SEO is the process of getting traffic from the ‘free’ search results on a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo) to your website.
Because SEO results are so closely related to the keywords or phrases that you choose for your content, it’s essential that you perform extensive keyword research before launching into an SEO campaign. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to achieve success — and you might even damage your website’s reputation.
To optimize your site for the best possible organic listing on a search engine, you need to make sure that the following elements are present:
- Unique and high-quality content that answers the question;
- Keywords present in the article and its surrounding text;
- A clear call-to-action at the end of the article (i.e., a button, link, or some other type of call to action);
- Images relevant to the article;
- Video content relevant to the article (i.e., an explainer video, case study, or other types of videos); and,
- Navigation on the site that is easy and relevant to the user.
While optimizing your website for organic search results is a great way to gain initial traction, you may still need to consider using paid search listings to reach the right audience.
Why? Well, first off, organic search may still not deliver the best results for your product or service – especially now that Google has opened the floodgates for SEO and encouraged website owners to game the system. Plus, as previously stated, SEO is very keyword-based, and that means that if you want to target a more specific audience, you may need to consider paid search.
A good example of this is someone searching for ‘buy a mattress’, which can be linked to numerous websites promoting various types of beds. If that person switches to a paid search result, they may see a listing for a specific brand of mattress with a picture, along with pricing information and a telephone number to call. Since they already know what they are looking for, they likely won’t need the help of a website to complete their research.
Paid Search: The Basics
Paid search, also known as AdWords or Pay-per-Click marketing, is simply paying for sponsored links on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! In other words, when a user clicks on one of these links and lands on your site, you are paying Google a few pennies (or dollars, depending on the plan you choose) for that click.
You can use paid search to target a specific audience, engage them, and drive them to your website to make a purchase. To ensure you get the best results from your paid search campaign, it’s important to follow Google’s guidelines for effective search engine optimization.
If you’ve never used paid search or are just getting started, check out these SEO tips before putting your competitors to shame.
PPC Analytics: The Biggest Success Factor
Once you’ve determined that paid search is the right marketing channel for you and your product, the next step is to analyze the results of your campaign. Why is this step crucial?
You may want to consider using Google Dashboard to track the success of your campaign (it’s essentially the Google Analytics platform, but integrated into the Dashboard). The Google Analytics dashboard will display the number of daily visitors to your site, as well as the referring websites from which they came, and whether or not they converted into leads (i.e., those that visited a given landing page and performed an action, such as filling out a form or calling a phone number).
The Google Analytics dashboard is a great place to start when considering your paid search results – especially if you want to benchmark your performance against competitors.
Social Media Marketing: Building Trust Through Content
With each new generation that enters the workforce, the importance of social media has increased. After all, who has the time to spend hours finding interesting content to read when you can connect with others and learn something new?
If you’re looking to market your product or service on social media, you need to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Do your research, look for relevant videos, and curate content that is valuable to your audience. While you may want to consider paid social media to expand your reach, you can use free platforms to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
If someone was seeking information about, say, mattresses and you popped up in their Google search results with a sponsored link – you’d probably appear quite trustworthy to them given that you are, in fact, attempting to sell them mattresses (even if they aren’t aware of it).
As you continue to build your list of engaged followers on social media, you may want to consider using a tool like InfluencerOutreach to gain more credibility with potential customers – especially when partnered with other well-known brands in your industry.
Reputation Management: The Ultimate Backlink Check
Speaking of credibility, one of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign is…well, marketing! Once you’ve gained credibility with your audience via content, you may want to consider using a tool like Reputation.com to monitor and manage your reputation.
Reputation.com offers a robust suite of online tools that can help you track, analyze, and improve your reputation across the web. You can use their online tools to see how you’re performing across the web and gain insights into improving your reputation.
If someone were to search for ‘John Doe’ and your company’s website, Google Images, or Facebook were to surface in the results, they would likely see your company’s logo or product images associated with various claims or allegations that are publicly available against John Doe, including claims of fraud and a Ponzi scheme. This is why it’s so important to monitor and manage your reputation on the web – you never know what could happen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Optimization Not Optional
To ensure that you get the best results from your SEO campaign, it’s important to remember that you’re not necessarily optimizing your site for the search engines – you’re optimizing your site for humans!
Because SEO involves a significant amount of research and testing to ensure that your site is structured correctly and that the content follows the right keywords, it’s important to follow a step-by-step approach to ensure that you get the best possible results for your industry. If you want to perform at the highest level, you must focus on the little things first – such as making sure that your site is accessible and error-free.