SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, which is how websites’ content relevance, technical configuration, and link popularity are optimized. The goal is to make a site more relevant, popular, and findable when users perform searches.
Google and the other major search engines recommend efforts that benefit a page’s ranking and the user experience by offering content that answers users’ questions. This includes using keywords in meta descriptions, titles, and headlines, descriptive URLs, and employing other best practices. In this beginners’ guide, you’ll learn the fundamentals of SEO.
How the Search Engines Work
When search terms are entered, the search engine’s algorithm decides which of the thousands of search results are most relevant. Then, it lists those sites, considering their popularity, relevance, and other ranking factors, before showing them on a SERP or search engine results page.
Crawling the Web
Google and the other search engines are always looking for page updates. Using programs called crawlers, which follow web links, they report that information to their servers. That’s why it’s important to make your pages accessible to the crawlers and to include internal links that make it easy to navigate the site. Technical SEO will help you configure a site for optimal crawlability.
When web crawlers obtain information about a site, internal servers analyze every page’s content to discover what they’re about. If Google believes that a page’s information is useful enough to be included in search results, it will index that info, keeping it ready for when users search for relevant topics.
When a user searches, Google decides which pages they see first. The following factors are considered:
The words the user included in their query
The page’s expertise, authority, trustworthiness, and relevance
The web page’s link popularity
The page’s mobile-friendliness and speed
An ongoing SEO challenge is to ensure that a site’s pages outperform others that focus on similar topics, so it can rank higher in the SERPs, no matter how algorithms change.
How to Rank Higher
Since the advent of the internet, search engines have utilized algorithms to decide which sites appear first on results pages. The things the algorithms focus on, however, have changed significantly. Since the dim, dead days of keyword stuffing, the search engines have learned what makes sites informative and relevant. They apply this new knowledge periodically as updates are released.
Site quality is judged according to:
Relevance to the user’s search terms
The site’s expertise and reliability
Some factors are on the page, which means they affect how a website is experienced. Others are off the page, such as other sites and their links to yours. Off-page components make sites more reputable and popular, which increases their ranking.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with search engine optimization, you can improve a site’s visibility and ranking. It’s simple to get started! By offering valuable content and optimizing your site’s technical aspects, you’ll achieve the results you want.
Request a website audit today if you want to learn more about “What is SEO” in greater detail.
12 Versatile Marketing Approaches To Consider When You Need To Do Something Different
The world has changed over the last several months, and businesses of all kinds try to figure out marketing strategies that will work going forward. It may be time to try something new and different from your routine to create energy and get sales moving.
Depending on your industry, there are many options for you to choose from. The choices may not have considered in the past but are worth a look now.
Read on to learn about 12 versatile marketing approaches and choose which of them will work best for your business.
#1 Cause Marketing
What values or beliefs are the heart behind your business? When you know what your business cares most about, you can use cause marketing to get your customers to kill two birds with one stone by purchasing your product or service. For example, for every item purchased, your business will plant a tree. Not an environmentalist? That’s okay. For every service you sell, donate to a local shelter or soup kitchen. No matter what cause you choose to support, this type of marketing goes far beyond brand awareness and reveals the heart of who you are as a company.
#2 Close Range Marketing (CRM)
CRM allows you to send messages about your products or services to customers within a close range of your business. When they’re passing by, why not avail of this quick and easy method to get them in the door?
#3 Relationship Marketing
Want to ditch all the cheesy sales tactics? Your customer base will likely thank you for it. Instead, opt for relationship marketing. Focus your attention on making connections with your customers — whether that’s through face-to-face relationship-building, through social media, or email. Instead of focusing on how to get the sale, focus on the person behind it. You’ll be surprised how easily this method translates into customer loyalty (and even more sales) down the road.
#4 Transactional Marketing
On the other hand, maybe you’re finding that relationship marketing isn’t enough cutting it. Transactional marketing could be the better option, as it focuses on maximizing individual sales transactions through coupons, discounts, and sales.
#5 Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Everyone knows that word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. But how can you maximize it for the benefit of your company? Put, when you wow your customers at every turn, you won’t have to ask them to share your company with their friends and families. This means curating a stellar customer experience from start to finish. When you’ve got that down, word-of-mouth marketing is a natural result.
#6 Call to Action (CTA) Marketing
With so much dependence on technology these days, you can’t afford to neglect the web when it comes to your marketing strategy. CTA marketing is a method of getting your online visitors to engage with your brand through your ad or landing page design. Whether it’s to “click here for more information” or to “submit an email addressr to access a promo code,” your CTAs lead your web traffic to where you want them to go.
#7 Email Marketing
When it comes to technology, email marketing is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to reach many customers with just a few keystrokes. Through this avenue, you can offer discounts, convey new product or service info, announce upcoming events or product launches, or solicit sales.
#8 Event Marketing
Join or create your event to generate some buzz and invite potential customers to engage with your brand. Invite other businesses that complement what you’re trying to achieve, set out brochures and business cards, engage your customers face-to-face, and hype it up on social media. Creating an event marketing is a reliable method to increase brand awareness and turn on-the-fencers into customers.
#9 Inbound Marketing
If your business takes incoming calls for any reason, use this opportunity to sell your products or services. Of course, you’ll need to have a plan for meeting your customers’ needs so that you’re not trying to sell to the wrong audience. However, a little bit of script planning for diverse target audiences can make your inbound call marketing successful.
#10 Freebie Marketing
Everyone loves FREE. With freebie marketing, you simply promote free product or service giveaways to create a buzz around your business. Once your customers have experienced your product or service and come back for more, you can then sell additional products or services to meet their needs and boost your sales.
#11 Content Marketing
Over the past couple of years, content marketing has become somewhat of a must-have for those wishing to boost online brand awareness. This method involved writing and publishing content (such as podcast articles, blog articles, expert interviews, or how-tos) to educate potential customers about your products and services. Of course, they don’t lead directly to a sale in most cases, but they do meet a real need for your audience.
#12 Social Media Marketing
People want to be social on social media. And it says a lot about your business and how much you care for your customers when you reply to your followers’ comments, concerns, or questions. Create that online relationship to boost customer loyalty. And That’s Not All…
Of course, there are countless methods for marketing your business, and as technology changes, we can expect even more. However, the right combination of the methods covered above can take your marketing strategy to the next level. It may be time to shake things up and try something new! __________________________________________________________
6 Reasons To Include Content Marketing In Your Strategy
You’ve heard it before: “Content is king.” And while other new marketing techniques may have your attention, content marketing is still a big player in bringing in customers and establishing credibility in your industry. Below, we’re going to talk about 6 reasons to include content marketing in your strategy. Let’s get straight to it.
#1 Build Trust and Credibility
Content such as how-to blog articles, podcasts, case studies, or interviews allows you to show off your expertise in your niche and help your potential customers at the same time. Content marketing will not only build your credibility as an expert, but it will also help you build trust with your audience which is essential for brand loyalty.
Make a list of the problems or pain points that your target audience experiences and develop content to find solutions. And don’t use your content to sell, sell, sell. Content marketing aims to help customers establish your brand, which will eventually lead to organic sales.
#2 Build Brand Awareness
Do people know about your products or services? Do you have a reputation in your niche? If not, content marketing can help you change that. When people land on your website to get answers or find solutions, you increase brand awareness organically. Use your content to showcase your expertise, as we said above, and increase traffic to your website. It’s a win-win.
#3 Get More Leads, Keep More Customers
It’s all about generating leads, right? And content marketing allows you to reach a pool of customers who might have otherwise not engaged with your brand. When you provide relevant, timely, and helpful content, you draw in new leads. Keep it plain and simple.
Content also keeps customers coming back for more. People are more likely to return to a resource that has helped them in the past. Once they begin to depend on you to provide relevant content as an expert in your field, your customers will think of you when they have a need related to your niche.
#4 Rank Higher in Searches
Your content allows you to weave in keywords that will help you rank higher in Google search. The more you post relevant content, the higher your authority, which means more traffic to your website. We all know that no one (well, almost no one) ventures past the first page of search results, so the higher and longer you rank, the better!
If you post quality content, other businesses will want to link to your website, which further expands your audience. Plus, these “backlinks” are great for your site’s SEO. Want to rank higher? Backlinks are a significant part of getting you there.
#5 Attract Your Target Customer
Yes, content marketing aims to attract leads, but you don’t want unqualified leads that will never result in a sale. Instead, you want to attract your target customer, your ideal buyer, so that you don’t waste time with the uninterested. So, how does content marketing bring in the perfect customer? Put, only those who are interested in your industry will search out your content. And only those who search out your content will click your CTAs and end up perusing your landing page and viewing your products or services. This means that quality leads will be considering purchasing from you.
#6 Get People Marketing FOR You
When your content is valuable, relevant, and solves a problem, you can expect people to want to share it to benefit others in their social circles. When that happens, there’s almost limitless to how many people can stumble upon your content in their feeds. Just make sure that, when you create content, you do so with purpose. People won’t share content that didn’t help them in any way.
Time to Create More Content
There’s no time like the present to start creating and posting quality content as a part of your marketing strategy. Add content marketing to your strategy, and welcome those organic leads!.
The goal of any legitimate SEO strategy is to funnel more traffic to your website. But instead of seeking to rank high on the first page of Google Search’s results (which is important in its own right), today, I’m going to go over 5 tips for landing features snippets on Google Search.
A featured snippet is that first box that pops up in a Google Search just above the ranked results. Also, it provides information or answers a question that users commonly ask. This answer could be a picture, video, list, or text explanation relevant to a question or topic that the user has typed into the Google Search bar. Essentially, Google searches for the best, most appropriate answer, and places it in this coveted spot. Technically, if you land a featured snippet, you’re in position 0 because it pops up ahead of position 1, which is the top of the ranked results. What a place to be!
Is It Really Possible To Get Featured?
Even though there’s no guarantee that your page will be used for a featured snippet, there are some specific steps you can take to optimize your pages and increase your chances. And there’s even better news. It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, new or established… anyone can land a featured snippet with a little bit of focused work.
Tips for Landing a Featured Snippet
#1 Review Your Website Content
Take a look at your website content with an eye for how you may or may not be helping visitors when they peruse your pages. Do you provide answers to commonly-asked questions? Do you have detailed content that informs readers instead of just persuading them to buy? If you do, then you’ve got an excellent foundation to start with. If not, then Tip #2 becomes even more critical.
#2 Make a List of Questions to Answer
No matter what your website content looks like currently, this tip is critical to increasing your chances of landing a featured snippet. Spend some time in the shoes of your potential customers. What kinds of questions do they need answers to? What advice can you provide? What how-tos or steps or definitions can you offer? Come up with as many items as possible (the more specific, the better), and move on to Tip #3.
#3 Answer Them Clearly and Concisely
Now that you’ve got your list of questions, look at your existing content and polish it up to answer them clearly and concisely. Or, if you don’t have content that answers these questions, it’s time to start writing. For example, if you own a pest control company, create a blog post that answers one of your questions, like “How can I tell if I have bed bugs?” or “Why do I have cobwebs in my basement?” Providing a short, specific response to these types of questions increases your chances of getting featured.
#4 Say It Better,And Say It With Keywords
Make sure you incorporate relevant and competitive keywords into the text that you’d like to have featured. Take a look at what your competitors are saying and create a better, more specific snippet. Make every word count. In other words, no generalities or meaningless terms like “good,” “great,” or “better.” Another quick tip: use Heading 2 and 3 tags. This small addition helps Google identify relevant information within your broader content.
#5 Create Summaries or Lists
Summarize longer content into a short paragraph, bulleted list, or steps and place this summary at the top of your content. For example, if you’ve got a lengthy how-to on how to remove wine from the carpet, then consolidate the steps (1 sentence each) at the top of your article to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet (and make sure you use Heading 2 or 3 for each step). Then, when the reader wants to learn more, they will click on the link to your full article.
When Will My Snippet Get Featured?
As I said above, there’s no guarantee that your content will be featured in a snippet; however, the tips above will get you closer than you are today, and it’s definitely worth the effort. If, after some time, you find that your content isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up. If you’re answering the right questions, your likelihood of snagging a featured snippet will increase. Simply, it’s all about getting into your potential customers’ shoes.
Chances are, you and your marketing team have had your world turned upside-down due to Covid-19. But although you may have had to adjust to remote work, there are some ways to make your “new normal” more productive and efficient. Let’s go over 7 tips for productive remote marketing so you can get back to killing your marketing efforts no matter where you are.
#1 Set Up Your Workspace
Distractions are an all-day affair at home, and it’s hard to stay focused when you’re right in the middle of all the action. From kids eating snacks and watching cartoons to dogs barking at passing cars, you really can’t get a break. That’s why it’s crucial to find a workspace that allows you to get away as much as possible. Your dedicated office space will allow you to focus on work, stay in a daily routine, and communicate effectively with your colleagues or clients without distractions..
That being said, it’s impossible to eliminate every distraction when you work remotely. So, don’t be too hard on yourself (or on the kids or the barking dog). Most people understand that these times are difficult and will cut you a little slack if the occasional distraction happens, so don’t let it get you flustered.
#2 Stick To A Schedule
Take a look at your work duties. Create a feasible schedule that helps you reach your goals. Make sure to prioritize the more urgent items on your to-do list. Then, incorporate break time (lunch break, water break, etc.) to give your brain the rest to lead to more productive work. Then, input your schedule (work hours versus off time) on your Outlook calendar and share it with your colleagues. This proactive communication will keep you from straying from your plan.
#3 Communicate With Your Team
When speaking of communication, there’s no such thing as too much of it, especially when it comes to remote work. You’re already removed from the typical work environment — one in which you would be able to lean over your desk and ask a colleague a question or add your opinion to an ongoing discussion. Now, you find yourself on the periphery of the business’ goings-on, which is to be expected if you’re not physically near your team. To fix this issue, frequently communicate with your colleagues. Use video conferencing or pick up the phone and call, but resist the urge to email and text your way through the workday. So much is lost in written interaction. Keep that vital connection with colleagues alive, even if it takes more work on your part.
#4 Rehash Your Marketing Strategy
Because of all the unexpected twists and turns, your 2020 marketing strategy has probably needed a few tweaks (if not a complete overhaul). Instead of just charging forward, spend some time conferencing with your team about what needs to change to be more effective. How have your roles or duties changed? What are the next steps for implementing the strategy? What aspects of the strategy need to be changed to meet new challenges? These questions must be discussed and firmly decided upon before a marketing team can move forward effectively.
#5 Schedule a Daily Check-In Meeting
If you’re leading a marketing team, consider scheduling daily check-in meetings to start the day. In these meetings, you and your team can get on the same page by confirming the day’s goals, priorities, and obstacles and troubleshooting any issues that have arisen over the past couple of days. Not only will you stay connected with daily meetings, but your team will also remain on-task, leading to better efficiency and productivity.
#6 Don’t Neglect the Small Talk
Even though you’re not in the same physical location as your team members, keeping the fun alive is still essential. The interactions that would occur at work — the jokes, the banter, and socialization — can even happen when you’re working remotely, albeit in different ways. For the sake of levity, schedule a short meeting where everyone can talk, vent, joke about their day. Host a happy hour on Zoom on Friday night after the workweek is over. Start a contest, like the best work meme or GIF or this week’s funniest distraction.
It’s hard to be positive when the news spouts fearful pandemic predictions, and you’re all alone in your home office. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate you and your team’s wins, no matter if they’re big or small. When you’ve reached a goal or milestone, celebrate! This focus on positivity is essential no matter where you work, but especially when we feel alone.
The Bottom Line
It may be a hard adjustment, but it’s all about the right perspective. If we can approach remote marketing with positivity and take advantage of the tools that will keep us connected, we can still reach our goals.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and play. For those of us in the marketing field, we’ve seen countless challenges to our pre-pandemic methods for reaching our audience. So many that it’s hard to know where to start. But with a little bit of insight into five ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior, we can figure out fresh, exciting ways to reach our customers during this “new normal.”
Read on to learn more about the impact that COVID-19 had and will have on your potential customers.
#1 Buying Local
As communities watched small mom-and-pop businesses struggle to stay above water during the initial pandemic, many banded together to support them through “buy local” efforts. You may have seen your Facebook or Instagram feeds filled with this message as these local small businesses fought unexpected shutdowns in March and April. And as the pandemic continued to gain strength, so did the “buy local” movement. Consumers were living in unprecedented times, and they wanted to support the local economy and do business with brands they can trust.
So what does this mean for your business? It’s time to increase brand awareness among your community, no matter how prominent your business has become. Customize your product or service to meet the needs of those closest to you and engage in your city in ways relevant to your industry and the difficult times we’re facing.
#2 Focusing on Needs
When the pandemic began rearing its ugly head, people tried to predict the potential impact on the economy and, ultimately, their families.
Would there be a food shortage?
Should we add more per month to our savings?
Should we cut non-essential spending?
No one knew what was coming, which caused a shift from buying non-essential or even luxury items to only buying “the basics,” all in the name of financial security. If you sell a non-essential product or service, you most likely saw a dip (or maybe even a scary decrease) in demand.
To combat this challenge, businesses that sell non-essentials need to pivot to stay afloat. In this market, you’ll need to make your product or service irresistible. It could mean lowering your prices or offering additional, more essential products until the pandemic is over. Some companies just switched up their products or services altogether, and who knows if they’ll ever return to the business they had in mind when they first started.
#3 Increased Online Shopping
With quarantine forcing most of us indoors, e-commerce became our only choice when it came to shopping. Of course, some companies did well with this conversion — namely, those already making most of their sales online. However, other businesses scrambled to get organized and make way for customers to buy online. Several months in, most companies who survived are characterized by their ability to switch up their game when it comes to how to deliver their products or services. Those who refused to change, unfortunately, have struggled to make ends meet or have closed altogether.
Once consumers have realized the relative ease of shopping online, we will probably see an uptick in their engagement with e-commerce brands. Even when the pandemic finally comes to a close, brands can expect a higher consumer dependence on online shopping. It means that, if they haven’t already found ways to sell online, businesses will need to do so soon or risk closure.
#4 Increased Focus on Personal Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably caused consumers to take a good hard look at their health. Of course, as people have begun to prioritize healthy living, we’ve seen an increased focus on brands promoting physical and mental well-being.
Businesses that can offer products or services that can contribute to their customers’ health will set themselves apart from the pack, especially during and post-pandemic.
#5 Experiencing Brands
Forced inside and isolated from their communities, most consumers agree on one thing: the boredom is real. That leaves brands an open opportunity to differentiate themselves by offering experiences and inspiration where others don’t provide as simple products or services. Consumers are looking for more than just a “scroll and shop.” They are now expecting to be drawn in with more than just a good deal.
Brands should take advantage of their potential customers’ new need for entertainment and motivation. Emotional engagement leads to sales, and online experiences are the new key to drawing a crowd.
Changing With The Times
As COVID-19 shifts consumer needs, and mindsets, successful marketing teams must make the shift as well. In light of the 5 ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior discussed above, what changes should you make to your marketing strategy to maintain and increase your customer pool?