Whether you've been running your own business for years or you're only just starting out, there are lots of things that you need to take into consideration when launching a digital marketing strategy.
Today, we're delving deeper into search engine optimisation (SEO) and offer some useful tips on how to rank ahead of the competition.
1) Launch a blog and start writing content
If you want to improve your rankings on search engines such as Google and position your business ahead of the competition, then there are no two ways about it: blogging is a must. By creating content, you'll be able to attract visitors and encourage them to stick around - or, better still, encourage them to buy from you.
There is a wide range of benefits of content marketing, and one of the biggest is the authority. If you write super impactful content that offers value to your audience, they'll consider you an expert in your niche and will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
Great content will be shared on social media, and even linked back to by other businesses and blogs.
Other reasons why you should spend more of your time on content marketing include:
Chances to rank for new terms: If you write super-impactful content and build links to it, you’ll be able to rank for new terms. For example, if you run a dog grooming business, your focus keyword might be something like ‘dog grooming London’. Through content marketing, however, you can add more long-tail phrases and keywords to your portfolio, like ‘how to groom a dog’, ‘easiest dogs to clean’ and ‘best dog groomers in London’.
Opportunities to capture data: There’s no point in writing great content and giving away all of your secrets if you don’t get anything back in return. Adding clear calls to action on your pages (for example, an email newsletter signup) will allow you to capture user data, which you can use to send email marketing campaigns and run special offers.
More content to share on social media: The chances are that you post lots of content on your social networking sites - but are you linking to your competitor’s blogs when you do? If you’ve got a huge bank of content on your website, you won’t have to rely on other people’s blogs, and you’ll increase social media traffic to your business site as a result.
- Gives you a better understanding of your niche: Even if you've been working in the same industry for 30 years, you won't know everything about your craft. High-quality content requires research, so every time you write a new blog post, you'll be learning more about your niche - and teaching others along the way. It's a win-win situation!
Don't make excuses. Whether you've blogged in the past and given up, or you've never put pen to paper and created content for your site, it's time to get started. Ask your audience what sort of content they'd like to see, and if you're not sure, start with a tutorial or how-to guide. As your confidence and skills develop, so will the size of your audience.
2) Bulk out your product pages
In the ecommerce world, there's never been more competition. With multinational firms such as Amazon taking a large chunk of the market, and startups and drop shipping companies putting their own spin on ecommerce, you have to work hard to get noticed: and the best way to make money is to have your product pages sitting on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Data shows that the average rank one on Google has at least 2,000 words of content, so bulk out your product pages with valuable information, reviews and your own thoughts.
Remember that unique content trumps all, so don't copy and paste product descriptions from manufacturer websites - instead, hire a dedicated content writer or take the time to write descriptions yourself.
If you’re struggling to add more content to your product pages, then enable customer reviews and let them put their own spin on your products. Not only do reviews increase trust levels and show that your products have been used and appreciated by others, but they help to bump up your word count and push you over that 2,000-word threshold.
However, we're not saying that you should add content to your pages for the sake of it. You should only include material that is going to offer value and aid customer purchasing decisions. So give them the lowdown on the feel and texture of your products, recommend accessories and other products that can complement them, and think about customer experience at every possible opportunity.
3) Optimise meta descriptions, titles and tags
If you haven't played around with your page's meta descriptions and titles, then you can easily make an improvement to your search engine optimisation and see ranking boosts in no time. In simple terms, the easier your pages are to read and understand, the better chances you have of getting ahead of your competition, so get to work today.
One of the simplest ways to optimise your meta descriptions and title tags is by downloading a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO. Particularly useful for beginners, this plugin has an easy-to-use traffic light system; if your post is green, it's been sufficiently optimised for your keyword; if it's red, it will display a bunch of improvements that you can make.
Data suggests that Google is putting less weight on meta descriptions and title tags than it used to, but they're still an important part of overall search experiences. You want to make titles and page descriptions as engaging and compelling as possible, as users will read through them before choosing which website to click on. If yours stand out, for the right reasons, you'll be able to increase click-through rates on results pages and get more organic traffic from search.
4) Guest blog on sites relevant to your niche
Amongst Google’s many ranking factors is links. Simply put, the more links your website has, the better and more authoritative it appears to Google and other search engines, and the higher your pages will rank as a result. Therefore, it’s essential that you build links on a regular basis.
For business owners, guest blogging is a great way to spread the word about your brand and build valuable links in the process. But there are other benefits to guest blogging, like boosting your authority as a speaker or entrepreneur, finding potential customers, putting your products and services in the eyes of interested parties, and developing your skill as a content writer.
If you’re new to guest blogging, the process is straightforward. Find relevant blogs in your niche and reach out to them about guest blogging opportunities. If they’re interested in publishing content by you, go ahead and write a piece that their audience will find valuable. Just remember to add a link back to your own website in the author biography, and voila! You’ve built a link.
5) Sign up for Google Search Console
Some search engine experts consider Google to be the enemy, as the giant can make it difficult to rank and can cause some businesses to lose their places on results pages with no warning. But Google and other search engines want to help businesses understand their ranks and make it easier to submit new content to be crawled and indexed.
By signing up to Google Search Console, you'll be able to see some truly valuable data about your website and its position on search results pages. The tool offers the ability to monitor how many clicks and impressions your website gets for particular terms so that you can make changes to your strategy to improve your ranks and help you get ahead of your competitors.
For example, if you run a florist and you’ve been targeting ‘florists in London’, but discover that more people are searching for you through the keyword ‘flower shops in Greenwich”, you may decide to replace keywords on your website and build links for that keyword or search term. And over time, you’ll begin to rank ahead of competitors for that term and drive more traffic.
The truth is that improving your rankings on search engines takes time and hard work - there are no shortcuts, and those who claim there are will be cheating the system. Play it cool, be consistent with your strategy, and employ some of the techniques we have mentioned in today’s article. Over time, you’ll be able to get ahead of your competition for valuable search terms and enjoy more organic traffic to your website. Best of luck with your SEO campaign!
About The Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a UK-based marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media and search engine optimisation. When he isn’t working on campaigns for clients, he loves binge-watching Netflix shows and walking his dog.