As I’ve talked about before, there is No Magic SEO Button. Search Engine Optimization isn’t about “the one big thing” you should do to get higher rankings and more conversions; it’s about being consistent and diligent in all the little things. In this article I’ll cover 10 steps you can follow to get higher rankings and more conversions.
The steps are as follows:
- Develop your brand
- Build a killer website
- Point people to your website
- Do off page SEO
- Create an online store
- Get social
- Use video marketing
- Utilize email marketing
- Treat your website as your branding hub
Step 1 – Develop Your Brand
Branding is crucial for every area of marketing, including digital marketing and SEO. Your Brand is your company’s most valuable asset as it’s the identifying mark of who you are. It’s how people remember you, and it’s what comes to mind when people hear your company name.
Your brand starts with your story – your “why”; why you exist, and what sets you apart from your competition. Before developing a logo, or website, or any other marketing collateral, it’s important to have a compelling narrative that describes who you are and why you do what you do (for an example, see Butler’s “why” here). After you develop your company story, work with a graphic designer who can make an accurate visual representation of your brand through logo design and other brand identity materials, such as business cards, stationary materials, etc.
Step 2 – Build a Killer Website
If you’re just getting started you don’t typically need a gigantic website. Sometimes a single page site does just fine, so long as it’s designed well and is built for expansion (Lawvex does a good job of representing their brand effectively on a professional looking single-page site).
Butler offers affordable standard 5-Page Websites which are perfect if you’re just getting started. Make sure that your website has the ability to be a “hub” of most of your other branding aids (such as a blog, an online store, etc.) we’ll discuss below.
Step 3 – Point People to Your Website
Once your website is live and ready to be marketed, start marketing it! This seems like a no-brainer, but many companies let their websites just sit there expecting people to visit it, even though no one knows it exists. Put your URL on your business cards and start handing them out. Tell your network (your friends, family, clients, prospects, etc.) to check out your new website and ask for their feedback.
Give people a reason to continue to visit your website by offering a free promotion, or discount, or coupon on your website. The additional activity on your website will not go unnoticed by Google’s Crawlers.
Step 4 – Do Off Page SEO
Off Page SEO is basically linking to your website from other websites. Make sure they are legitimate links, though (don’t go to Joe’s Link Farm and pay for a low quality link to your site… this would be counterproductive and actually hurt your SEO ranking).
High quality links could include links from affiliates, trade organizations, industry leaders in your field, etc. How do you get them? Asking helps! If you are a reseller, for example, of an international company that manufactures top-class widgets, it would be in their best interest to refer business to you. So ask them if they could link to your site.
Butler offers Off Page SEO services which include the bare-minimum basics of what you need to do to even be considered for ranking.
Step 5 – Create and Online Store
E-Commerce is killing retail in many industries. A lot of brick-and-mortar businesses have to be super creative in how they can justify the need for customers to come into their stores to buy products that they can likely find cheaper online. If you are a brick-and-mortar retailer and have no intention of being an online store, still having one can increase revenue by offering customers another way of purchasing your products. An online store is also a great way of moving products that are not your core-focus, such as branded merchandise like t-shirts and hats.
Not only does an online store give you another way of selling your products, it also helps in Search Engine Optimization because it requires you to build product pages which have relevant content pertaining to your brand. The more relevant information you have pertaining to your brand on your website, the more Google will crawl your site… which leads me to step 6…
Step 6 – Blog
Back in the day you would have your website, and then you’d have your blog on a separate site and they would link to one another. At first glance this still looks like a good idea right (essentially having two websites about your company)? However, the way I see it is that you are splitting up SEO content between two websites. In essence, you would be doing two things poorly rather than doing one thing well. With CMS’s like WordPress, you can have a professional website with built-in blogging capabilities at no additional cost. So build your website with blogging capabilities, and utilize the blog!
What do you blog about? Start with anything relevant to your brand and your industry. Don’t be salesy. Offer good, relevant content. Ask the question “what information would my customers benefit from?” Then create that type of content and let your customers know about it.
Step 7 – Get Social
If you go to Google and do a specific search for a popular brand, you will more than likely see at least one or two links to that brand’s social media sites. Give it a try. Google Search “nike”, for example, and see how many links you find pointing to their social media sites. (I just tried it and saw two organic links to their Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as their Google listing linking to YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Why are big businesses using Social Media to promote their brand? Because social media is so huge that it is now our #1 daily media activity (and has consequently overtaken porn as the #1 online activity). The bottom line is that you want to be seen by people where most people are, and most people nowadays are on social media. Have at least 1 social media platform where you can be active in promoting your brand, and be consistent in posting good, relevant content.
Step 8 – Use Video Marketing
According to YouTube, they now have over a billion users (almost 1/3 of all people on the internet). It is reported that next to Google, Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, processing more than 3 billion searches a month. The best part about using YouTube for your business is that it’s free! Having a YouTube channel costs you no money, and you get instant access to 1/3 of all people on the internet.
What videos should you post? Start with a corporate video telling people who you are and what you do. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Continue with educational videos or “how-to” demonstrations, setting yourself apart as an expert in your industry.
Step 9 – Utilize Email Marketing
If you are still creating PDF newsletters and emailing them from Outlook, stop! We are in 2015, and there are far better ways of distributing information via email. Email platforms like MailChimp and iContact are easy, affordable, safe and effective ways of doing email marketing. A simple plan to stay consistent in email marketing is by offering a monthly (or bi-monthly) newsletter.
If you don’t feel you have enough “going on” every month to create fresh content for a monthly newsletter, simply create a list of certain types of content you can commit to sending monthly. For example, every month Butler sends out a newsletter with at least the following content:
- Featured Graphic Design
- Featured Website
- Featured Resource (whether it be a blog post we create, or a resource we found online that our customers could benefit from)
- Deal of the Month
That way, if nothing new happens at all, we at least have good, fresh content to send our customers. This helps with Search Engine Rankings because all of the content is housed on our website, which leads to the last and most important step…
Step 10 – Use Your Website as Your Branding Hub
This is the most important step if you want to get high search engine rankings. What do I mean by using your website as your branding hub? I mean that anytime you create content or marketing collateral, it should either point to your website or be housed on your website. Here is an example of how you can do what I’m talking about:
- Create a compelling promotion or deal that would make your customers want to opt-in for something.
- Put the free promotion on your website, and require they leave their email address if they want access to it
- Create a 30 second promo video explaining who you are and what you do. At the end of the video, thank your viewers for watching and direct them to the promotion that can be found on your website.
- After putting your video on YouTube, create a blog post on your website that is pretty much a transcribed version of the video. Make sure to embed the video and link to your promotion on your blog post.
- Share the blog post on your social media pages, letting your following know that there is a free promotion found there.
- At the end of the month, create your monthly email newsletter, referencing the promotion and linking to your blog.
If you do the above, you have just successfully completed all 10 steps covered in this post!