So you’ve decided to make the jump into the world of online marketing and SEO. Congrats! You’ve taken the right step toward generating more leads and making more sales. But it doesn’t end there. There are a lot more things to learn and take into consideration before you can start generating significant results from your SEO efforts. That’s what this guide is going to help you with. It will cover the basics of SEO and online marketing, as well as offer some helpful tips on how to get started.
Why Are Online Marketers Important?
As a business owner, you’ll most likely have noticed that many startups and small businesses struggle to gain any sort of traction in the marketplace. The reasons for this vary, but lack of online marketing and SEO mostly falls under this category.
If your business is not online-able, it’s not accessible to potential customers who are searching for your products or services. This makes it difficult (if not impossible) for you to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and make sales.
If you’re looking for a niche that isn’t yet saturated with competition, you can get started with an online business or platform like Shopify, eBay, or Amazon and start generating sales right away.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have large corporations that have entire departments dedicated to online marketing and SEO. These organizations often have significant resources that can be drawn upon to gain the upper hand in the online marketing and SEO arms race.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of enhancing your website and content to make them stand out among the millions of results that come up when someone types in a search term.
To begin with, you’ll want to make sure that the search engines (i.e., Google, Bing, etc.) can easily find and index your website. One way to do this is to make sure that your website’s HTTP server is publicly available, that there are no spelling errors in the URLs, and that the content is easily accessible and keyword-rich.
You’ll also want to make sure that all of the copy on your website is compelling and unique. A/B testing can help you determine which content performs the best, and you can use this information to continually improve your copy for greater impact.
Additionally, you’ll want to take the time to study the competition and figureheads in your industry. Learning what approaches and strategies the leaders in your field are using is essential if you want to stay ahead of the curve. In some cases, you’ll be able to utilize their approach and get a leg up on the competition.
Online Marketing: Building a Brand With Your Blog
Once you’ve gotten the basics of SEO down, you can transition into the world of online marketing and start building a brand for yourself. This entails getting traffic to your website and building an audience via various platforms and channels.
The first step in this process is to create a blog around your business. A blog can be anything from an editorial newsletter to a semi-regularly updated online journal. The main goal is to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry and create content that is both interesting and helpful to your audience. As you continue to build your audience, you can then incorporate social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram into your marketing mix.
Building a Following
Once you’ve got an established blog, you can use it as a springboard to jump into the social media sphere. This is a place where you can both engage with and access a wider audience than your typical blog readership.
If you’ve got a sizable audience on social media, you can use this as an opportunity to have interesting conversations with your followers. You can start these conversations by using keywords and hashtags in your captions and making them stand out amongst your other content. You can also reach out to influential people in your industry and ask them to share your content. In some cases, you can even become the go-to person for your industry.
Backlinks are important because they point to your website and help provide credibility to your content. When a third party (i.e., a blog, news site, or large corporation) links to your content, this is known as a backlink. Backlinks can also help establish you as an expert in your industry. If you have a website that is already established, you can use the backlinks coming from trusted industry sources to further boost your domain’s authority.
If you have a large audience on social media, you can use your blog as a place to document your curation of industry news, best practices, and relevant information. By combining multiple platforms and channels, you can get the most reach possible for your content.
Content curation is a lot like being a news reporter, only instead of getting the latest news stories, you get to pick and choose what information you want to share. While this approach can be incredibly beneficial, it also means you’ll need to make a lot of content decisions and keep track of everything you post. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for curating content, you can check out news sites like Buzzfeed that can help you with this process.
Analytics tools like Google Analytics or Hootsuite’s Heatmap tool can help you track the sources of traffic to your site and determine the most effective platforms for reaching your audience.
Tracking traffic sources is important because you want to know which platforms and channels are delivering the most value to your business. Platforms like Google Analytics can help you uncover the “secret sauce” that is driving traffic to your site. Once you know what is working and what isn’t, you can find the right fit for your business.
At this point, you’ve prepared your site and gotten the basics of SEO and online marketing down. Now, you can start generating leads and making sales. But if you want to continue riding this wave of growth, you’ll need to stay engaged and continue to evolve.