Back to Basics with Building a Solid Online Presence
Creating and enhancing an online presence can be overwhelming and confusing at times. There are many factors and various platforms that lend themselves to being found well online. All these separate platforms allow for different ways to successfully market your business. The key to creating a great online presence is to first understand the core principles related to an online marketing strategy.
A great online presence spans everything — from having a website, increasing your website rankings on search engines through SEO and local SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing, social media and understanding how to measure your successes by analyzing your weaknesses.
The following are ways to leverage these best practices to the fullest –
Having a website is critical for marketing any business or organization. The type and size of the business you have, dictates the complexity of your site’s needs. Incorporating search friendly best practices into the architecture of your site will allow search engines to better rank your website for products and services you offer.
Determine and evaluate how you should invest in this ever-important decision. Too many times I have seen website owners approach me and ask why they are not ranking well on search engines. It all begins on how your site is structured and build, cutting corners on a website build could be as simple as throwing money away.
Some key questions to assess what you may require for a redesign or building a site:
- What is the business model?
- Is the business solely online?
- Will the site be e-commerce?
- Is the site mostly informational?
- Is your business a brick and mortar?
- How competitive is my industry and market?
- What is my target market, local or International?
Answering some key questions around what you want to achieve will give you a better understanding around the scope of your project.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are best practices implemented on and off your website and give search engines strong signals to how relevant your site pages are for a search query. Understanding these elements and keeping current in the ever changing search engine environment is important to successful presence.
SEO has become more and more complex over the years, the three elements to SEO are:
- On page Optimization
- Relates to everything on your website including content, images, video media etc.
- Off Page Optimization
- Is your business name and general information included off your website on other sites and platforms, links etc.
- Technical Best Practices
- The technical aspect is ensuring your site is following updated best practices. How your site is built will help search engines index your website. Is your site built with updated html and CSS and user experience (UX) in mind?
Local SEO pertains to local search results and is a separate algorithm for search engines. There are several factors and best practices to follow to ensure your site comes up well on the local search result pages. Google My Business, local directories relevant to your market and niche, citations, local search results also extends itself to how mobile friendly your website is.
Use Google Analytics to measure your marketing efforts and also see where you can make improvements on your web presence. Understanding a return on investment, measure traffic, being able see what channels are bringing traffic to your site are incredibly valuable and will allow you to make better business decisions from this information.
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) allows you to see keywords that are driving traffic to your site, receive alerts, any crawl or indexing issues and much more. Once you have created this account, link GWT account to Google Analytics Account.
Google Keyword Planner is a great Google tool that allows you to plan Pay-Per- Click (PPC) ads. Also use this tool to complete keyword research, view how competitive keyword phrases are, and search volume.
Social Media platforms are fantastic ways to allow businesses and organizations the ability to put a personality to their business and communicate with their audience like never before. Taking advantage of these free platforms can benefit businesses and organizations giving the online user better perspective and increasing SEO value.
Although there are many social media accounts to consider, my top choices for social media are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and G+. These are the core social media accounts to incorporate into an online presence. With rising interest in Instagram and Pintrest, depending on your business, these could all be a great tools to generate traffic and awareness to your business.
Facebook- With the one of the largest social media platforms in the world, Facebook is a powerful tool to incorporate into your marketing strategy. Facebook offers organic presence and paid presence by boosting your posts and business page.
On Twitter, learn to use hashtags that trend, curate content through tweets and re-tweets. Identify influencers in your area or locality and follow and retweet them. Invest in promotional tweets but make sure you target your users intelligently.
LinkedIn- a great B2B (business to business) tool primarily used for professional networking. Utilizing this platform for professional networking allows you to gain connections throughout your network and niche. Corporate Profile on LinkedIn- enhances your companies online presence with this incredibly powerful networking site. LinkedIn will increase your exposure and credibility of your company profile allowing small businesses to compete with well-established companies.
Blogging- Attaching a blog to your website has many benefits including adding strong SEO value to your web presence. As part of a content marketing strategy, educating your audience on your niche and allowing search engine to index additional pages is be a very power tool if done according to best practices.
YouTube- People love video and search engines know that people love video. YouTube is the worlds largest search engine with highest search volume for content. It is considered a social media site as users can interact with your videos by leaving comments to generate a conversation. YouTube is a great tool to generate content on your niche including a corporate message, tutorials and products and services information.
All this, while following all best practices, will help you achieve a solid online presence. Staying current on all platforms is an important part of maintaining a strong presence. As marketing is never a set it and forget strategy, adapting to the ever changing world of digital marketing to stay ahead of your competition and changes will be critical to long term marketing success.
Feel like you need some guidance through all of this? I provide online marketing consulting to businesses and organizations, please feel free to contact me.