Get Found Online
We all know how important a website is to a business’s online strategy. Almost every business, whether B2B, B2C, non-profit, local or global needs an online presence to reach buyers in the internet age. A company’s website is its virtual storefront.
Having a website alone isn’t the key to great results. Instead, it’s the ability turn your website into an inbound marketing machine. Your website has a hefty goal and it needs to wear many hats. A website needs to not just exist, it needs to perform. It needs to attract visitors, educate them and convince them to buy.
But I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done. A recent survey by 1&1 Internet reported that up to 40% of small-to-medium sized businesses still don’t have a website. Shockingly, a recent survey by 1&1 Internet reported that up to 40% of small-to-medium sized businesses still don’t have a website. Even if you’re on social media, operating without a website is just silly. A website is an essential piece of your online marketing strategy.
Whether you’re looking to build your first website, or if your existing site just isn’t getting the traffic or leads you were hoping for, you may wonder what it really takes to have a great website.
Today, the web is social and interactive. It’s not static like most websites tend to be. As such, a website can no longer sustain as its own island. We now need to consider integrating search, social media, content, blogging, and more with our websites. Gone are the days where all it took was a URL, fancy Flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to temporarily boost traffic.
The reason for this shift is largely due to changing buyer behavior. Today’s buyer wishes to consume information when they want and how they want and often-times without the involvement of a sales person. And more importantly, they want to be educated and not sold to. As you can see from the following chart, websites and new forms of inbound marketing content (such as podcasts, blogging and social media) have become a considerable factor in the buying cycle.
What might not be apparently visible here is the role your website plays. It’s actually a big one. In most cases, traffic from blogs, social media, organic and paid search end up converting into leads or sales on your main website. Without a website acting as an online basecamp, it would be difficult to attract new business to one source.
This is why having an effective website is so crucial and that it contains key elements to driving more traffic, leads, and sales.
A great website isn’t so great if no one visits it. This is why the first chapter is dedicated to getting found online, which covers the very top of the funnel of your inbound marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must-have to any website strategy, but it takes hard work and consistency when aiming for the top spot. These tips will help get you on your way to increasing your organic (non-paid) search engine rankings.
Build Inbound Links
Every website on the internet has the goal of reaching the #1 position in search engines but because there is only one top spot per keyword phrase, not everyone can make it. So what gets a first place ranking? Off-page search engine optimization (SEO) is the most important factor to increasing your ranking results.
Off-Page SEO is about building inbound links, essentially getting other quality websites to link back to you. Search engines call this authority or “link juice.” The more inbound links you have, the more important your site must be, thus the higher you’ll rank.
Link building, when done right, isn’t easy since adding links to other websites is sometimes out of your control. Here are some tips to building inbound links:
Create high-quality, educational or entertaining content. If people like your content, they will naturally want to link to it.
- Submit your website to online directories (check out this list here). This is an easy way to start.
- Write guest posts for other blogs. This is a win-win for both parties. People will want extra (quality) content from others and in exchange, it’s a great way to build inbound links.
- Researching link building opportunities with other websites, but always check the authority of the websites that you are trying to get links from. There are many tools online that allow you to check domain or page authority, including HubSpot’s link grader tool.
- And don’t borrow, beg, barter, bribe or buy links.
- Place your primary keywords in your headline and sub-headline. These areas of content have greater weight to search engines.
- Include the keywords in the body content but don’t use them out of context. Make sure they are relevant with the rest of your content.
- Include keywords in the file name of images (e.g. mykeyword.jpg) or use them in the ALT tag.
- Include the keywords in the page URL and keep the URL clean.
- And lastly, write for humans first, search engines second. Always prepare your content for your audience and then look to optimize it for search. Content written in the other order won’t read naturally and your visitors will recognize it.