The digital marketing world is abuzz about how SEO can influence your bottom line and maximize sales.
And while that is true to a large extent, your first goal should be to optimize your website for digital marketing before SEO can give you any results. A well-optimized website pushes the needle forward a lot faster. Yet despite the importance optimization has on SEO, most websites look like they’ve been pieced together using duct tape and spackle.
So why does website optimization matter so much?
It all comes down to user experience.
Search engines care about user experience, and they continue to define and re-define the criteria for what constitutes good UX. From mobile-first indexing to the use of long-tail keywords and everything in between, digital marketing trends will always be in a state of flux. But don’t let that ambiguity paralyze your ambitions to stay ahead of the curve. All you need is a little know-how and you should be all set.
We’ve put together a list of 6 simple tweaks you can make on your website to leverage the potential of digital marketing.
- 1 1. Make Sure Your Website Loads a Lot Faster
- 2 2. Using On-Site SEO
- 3 Use Long-Form Content (Quality Content is a Must)
- 4 3. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords to Target Qualified Prospects
- 5 4. You’ve Got to Go Mobile-First
- 6 5. Doing Technical SEO
- 7 6. Integrate Your Website with Social Media
- 8 Wrapping Up
1. Make Sure Your Website Loads a Lot Faster
Try putting yourself in your client’s shoes. In a fast-paced world, people want fast-paced results. And if your website is too slow to load, you’ll lose the client.
Even if your website utilizes the best possible content with a professionally designed theme, it would be undone if it takes too long for everything to load.
As a general rule, every extra second will result in declining conversion rates by about 6.7%. Your website should fully load (or at least load its main resources) within 2 to 3 seconds. For obvious reasons, sites that load within 2 seconds will convert better than those that take 5 seconds to load.
This is why it is better to choose minimalism with fewer graphics than to choose a complex design that takes forever to load.
Many free tools let you measure the website loading speed. Our favorite is PageSpeed Insights by Google.
Not only are the results extremely accurate, but they also give a detailed breakdown for possible reasons why your website isn’t loading fast enough. PageSpeed Insights measures performance for both Desktop and Mobile.
Here are mobile loading results for Forbes – a website that doesn’t need much introduction.
Their score is rather poor sitting at 39 out of a possible 100. Is this bad news for Forbes? Not when you’re as mainstream and as popular with a domain authority of 86!
However, if you’re just starting, a slow website can kill your digital marketing aspirations. Aim for at least 50+ on mobile devices and 80+ on desktop computers.
This isn’t the right place to discuss loading speeds, just make sure to watch out for two things:
- Hosting speed (very affordable these days)
If nothing else works, you can optimize your website to work with AMP so that certain pages load ‘instantly’.
2. Using On-Site SEO
On-Site SEO is when you fine-tune certain elements directly on your website as opposed to elsewhere on the internet (such as backlink generation). This means using the right keywords (never overuse keywords), title tags, meta tags, meta details, and image attributes.
If you have a WordPress website, it’s easy to install a plugin like Yoast to add meta details and view how they would look on search engines in real-time.
Another crucial element of On-Site SEO is to use lots of internal links to other webpages on your site. You’ll find a few examples of internal linking on this blog.
Internal links help search engines more perspective on your content topics. It also makes navigation easier for both search bots and the end-user.
The result is a win-win scenario for everyone involved with minimal effort from your end.
Use Long-Form Content (Quality Content is a Must)
Google rewards top quality content with improved ranking on search results pages.
The only problem is that, while most well-informed businesses are writing content, it’s usually re-spun without any additions. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can improve your ranking, if done correctly, you should prioritize unique content with a blend of your own personality.
Blogs that tend to do well in 2020 and onwards usually do three things right:
- They write lots of long-form content (publishing well over 100,000 words in 6 months)
- Create unique content
- Insert long-tail keywords naturally without forcefully inserting them
Long-tail keywords are usually composed of more than 2 keywords and resemble complete sentences. For instance, “mechanical keyboard in Houston” is a phrase instead of the head keyword, ‘keyboard’.
While it is tempting to start ranking for head keywords, it’s a lot more efficient to focus on long-tail keywords instead.
Although the search volume for long-tail keywords isn’t nearly as high, they attract a very specific kind of audience, those with intent to convert.
Here is a neat rule of thumb when hunting for keywords: low competition, low difficulty, high search volume.
3. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords to Target Qualified Prospects
You can use a tool like SEMrush or keywordtool.io to hunt for long-tail keywords.
Here’s what a quick search on keywordtool.io for ‘mechanical keyboard’ looks like:
If we were designing a content plan targeting this niche, we would go for the following:
‘mechanical keyboard switches’
‘mechanical keyboard for mac’
‘mechanical keyboard switch types’
It is worth noting that the keyword order isn’t written in stone, i.e., if the phrase doesn’t make sense grammatically, you should use the correct grammatical variant of it.
For instance, “mechanical keyboard amazon” doesn’t make sense grammatically. But you can use “mechanical keyboard on Amazon” or “mechanical keyboards on Amazon” to target this keyword and you’ll still rank for it.
Pro Tip: Google does not appreciate too many grammatical errors in a blog, especially if it looks like a deliberate attempt to toss in a few keywords. Don’t be greedy for keywords!
One thing to note about long-form content is that while it’s really easy to rank higher initially if the content itself isn’t engaging enough, your blog will likely have a very high bounce rate. It’s when people exit your page only a few seconds after clicking on it. Google will notice this and then penalize your overall ranking.
For instance, suppose a user types in a search query, finds your website on the front page of search results, clicks through to check out your content, but then decides to hit back right after to return to the search results page – Google will pick up on this behavior and penalize your ranking.
So make sure the content you write is truly engaging and doesn’t needlessly go on and on. It’s okay if you don’t have the time to write quality content or don’t want an in-house writer. You can always hire blog writing services to get more work done in a shorter period of time without breaking the bank.
4. You’ve Got to Go Mobile-First
Google and other search engines are very serious about having a mobile-first index. This means they will prioritize websites that tend to do better on mobile devices than on desktop devices.
And you can take advantage of this opportunity because most marketers are not taking mobile-first indexing seriously enough.
So what does it mean to be ‘mobile-first’?
- It means your website loads in a jiffy on mobile devices
- Your website layout dynamically responds to individual screen size (at least for popular screen sizes)
- The menus, images, graphics, and content are all neatly laid out
- Use shorter meta titles to make them easier to read on mobile devices
People prefer to do the bulk of their research on their couch instead of on a traditional desk and chair. A website that isn’t optimized for mobile devices will not make a good first impression on customers. All things being equal, customers prefer websites that properly load on mobiles.
5. Doing Technical SEO
Technical SEO, as opposed to raw content or blogs, lays out the groundwork for your website. Without technical SEO, your website will not rank properly. It may not even get indexed, much less make it to the front page of the internet. We’ve seen this happen one-too-many times. The webmaster never submits the sitemap through Google Search Console, and Google for its part, seldom, if ever, updates their index.
Pro Tip: If you’ve recently written a blog, make sure to submit its URL for indexing purposes via Google Search Console. This is important if your website is newly set up and doesn’t have a very high domain authority (less than 5 to 20). You can repeat this process for other blogs that haven’t yet been indexed.
6. Integrate Your Website with Social Media
Social media doesn’t directly influence search engine ranking for Google (it does for Bing), but that may change in the near future if Google decides to roll out another one of their updates.
Social media provides signals to search engines that you’re ‘legit’. If you accumulate a large enough following, you’ll likely get a boost in search engine ranking as has been proven time (and time) again.
In today’s hyper-connected world, business success hinges on leveraging digital marketing. This means doing SEO, creating content, being active on social media, email marketing, PPC, affiliate marketing, and a whole lot more. It’s a process that takes time but ultimately yields quality results. But before all that, you need to make sure your website is properly optimized. We hope the 6 tweaks mentioned above will help you get there faster.
If you feel we missed something or want to offer your own suggestions, do let us know in the comments.
Author: Dave provides content writing services at Content Development Pros and has helped companies of all backgrounds and sizes perform well on search engines and social media alike. When he’s not busy optimizing digital marketing campaigns, Dave likes to spend time with his family or playing tennis..