If you want to drive traffic to your website and your brand, it helps – a lot – to be an expert in your given field.
It’s true. The origin of your web traffic is most likely from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or maybe even Amazon. Your average web user begins looking for your service or product via web search, leading to you, your product listed elsewhere, or worse, your competition. Learning how the modern web works and how to work within those systems and practices can make or break a company at an alarming rate. Before we get into a few strategies, let me give a little introduction and disclaimer.
Most importantly, I’m not an “SEO vendor.” Google has gotten way too good at indexing the web to be fooled by tags, link pools, and other old strategies. The words for the day are “context” and “relevance” within a subject matter. You genuinely have to know your business to consistently rank well within your category, industry, or service.
Here are a few strategies that are proven through my years of building web and social marketing platforms and businesses:
- Content is king. There’s a buzzword you might have heard before. Today though, it is more relevant than ever. Not only do you have to know your business, you have to write, record, and post about it. Your average search engine is indexing your entire site, all the discussion around it and any reference, review, or rich media content on any and all sites. You’ve got to get the best content out there, know what other people are saying about you, and address them, good and bad.
- Location, location, location. Be everywhere your target market might be. Do your clients play a lot of golf? Maybe it’s time to enter a golf scramble, and place an ad in a golf magazine, and target a social media ad buy to golfers within 25 miles of your target region between the ages of 38 and 55 with a median annual income of $155,000 (yes, you can do that). Once all that is done, talk up your golf game and what your service or product has done or is doing to improve their experience every day on the course. This establishes contextual relevance between you, your customer, and the industry you are working within. The entire concept is to be wherever your customer already is, with your message in hand.
- It’s not a broadcast, it’s a conversation. The broadcast days are done. If you’re not communicating with your customers, you’re going to fade away. Customers don’t show much repeat business to vendors or service providers that aren’t there to assist with the purchase decision or work with them after the fact. Further, a customer who feels involved in the process will become a brand advocate, broadcasting on your behalf, and increasing your contextual relevance.
- Keep it current. Finally, update regularly. We used to build websites like houses. Loads of planning, months of preparation and development, then let it sit for a year or two and start all over. Today, the best sites are grown over time, like a well cared for child. Start small, build the site up with content and functionality based on what your visitors request and where they go the most. Watch your analytics and react accordingly to best nurture engaged, repeat traffic. Enhance web content with related social streams, images, and conversation, and share, share, share. Get your audience involved in discussions around your product or service and your relevance goes up, along with your page rank.
This is a very high-level look at taking ownership of your “homepage.” This takes a determined and ongoing effort to maintain. Also, digital marketing, social media, and web content should always be used in tandem with other media types to reach the best targeted audience, adding another level of complexity to your overarching strategy. That said though, the returns can be explosive once you get into a routine and rhythm with content, commentary, and exposure. Dip your toe in the water and you might be surprised by the results. After that, the rest is strategy and scaling.
Jay Thornton is Zweig Group’s director of IT and eCommerce. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.