The world is really run by the Web.
~Big Boi, rapper
Let’s say you hear about a great new company or product. You type the name into Google. Nothing. So you scroll down. Zilch. You go to the second page. Nada. How much longer will you search?
Don’t be that business. Be the company that is top of mind and top of page. Be the business that your customers see first. Save them time. Save them stress. And immediately connect with new people.
Remember: the average attention span for a person is now eight seconds. In contrast, a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds. So, unless you’re selling to goldfish, keep it short and sweet.
At Metro Studios, we’re in the business of connecting our clients with new customers. During the last decade, we’ve honed and perfected online marketing strategies to help our clients. Our experienced SEO experts stay on top of the latest algorithms as well as the changing online landscape.
No matter what type or size business you run, following are 10 great methods anyone can use to boost search engine visibility, strengthen your online presence, and connect with new business customers.
Keep it Simple
Think about what you appreciate when you visit a website. Chances are that you want to locate information quickly and easily. You probably don’t want to read a lot of dense text. And no doubt you can do without a lot of boilerplate sales jargon.
As Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Don’t make your website complicated.
Rather, make sure your own website is appealing in its simplicity. A clean design, easy to navigate pages, and conversational content are all the perfect start. Tell your story and explain what makes you unique. Your web visitors will appreciate the time you took to save them time.
What’s the CTA?
One of the most important ways to simplify your website is to provide a very clear call to action. When someone lands on your site, what do you want them to do? Don’t presume people will guess. People aren’t psychic. Don’t make them dig for information.
Think about a billboard. You’ll never see tiny type hidden in the corner of the space. No, everything is big and bold and front and center. Billboard designers know they have mere seconds to make an impression. Treat your website the same way.
If you want web visitors to see your infographic, put it on the home page. If you’d like customers to call you, list your phone number on every page. If you prefer they watch a nifty new video featuring your company, say that. S-p-e-l-l it out.
Still stumped about CTA’s? Check out these phenomenal examples.
Optimize. Optimize. Optimize.
Did we mention you should optimize your website? Oh good. But what does it mean to optimize, you ask? Here are five easy methods.
- Pick the perfect words that describe your company. Called keywords, these shortcuts help search engines more easily find your business.
- Select just one or two main keywords for each of your pages. If you want to get really specific traction and traffic, you can also use long-tailed keywords, which are three and four keyword phrases.
- Ensure your URL makes sense and accurately describes your specific web pages.
- Make meta descriptions and title tags your friends. Each of your web pages should have unique tags and image descriptions. On Google, it’s a good idea to keep your title tags between 50-60 characters. Meta descriptions—which will boost your click-through traffic—can be up to 160 characters long.
- Save your viewer’s eyes (and remember their short attention span). Make sure all your content is easy to read. Search engines also like simple copy and language.
Find Your Online Community
Sure, you could use the scattershot approach and set up social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and G+. But is that tenable in the short- or long-term? Who in your company will create and update all that content? Who will respond to customers? It’s far better to rock one or two social media channels than be weak across 4-6 different platforms.
Who is your target audience? Is it current or potential customers? Are you hoping to connect with influencers? Does your location play a part? Do words or pictures best represent your business?
Doing social media marketing right takes time. It’s more than pushing information. You must also listen and respond. Social listening allows you to respond to your client’s needs and provide information that is engaging and useful.
Once you’ve chosen your ideal social media outlets, use consistent messaging and branding across one site to another. And don’t forget to cross-promote your content. What does this mean? Well, let’s say you wrote a killer blog about your newest product. You could just leave it on your website OR you post links on your Facebook and Instagram pages, for example, and drive traffic to your website. Win. Win. Win.
Content is King
Remember your favorite storybook from childhood? Chances are it used simple language and compelling images. The messages were easy to understand. The same should be true of your website. Unless you’re discussing Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky (and if so, why are you reading this blog?), why make extra work for your reader?
When it comes to blogging, longer is better. Well, longer may not be better for your short-attention span (non-goldfish) reader, but it’s a heck of a lot better for SEO purposes. Google looks at every word and its bots have determined roughly 1,500-2,000 word blogs are best. Consider a plugin like Revive Old Post for WordPress to boost your blog sharing.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and a video may be worth 1.8 million words. No matter what the figure, the fact of the matter is that visual imagery is appealing. In a multi-media world, give your web viewer what he or she wants. Grab them by the throat with a dramatic photo or make them laugh with a short entertaining video.
Compete with Competitors
Who are your competitors? Until you define them, it’s difficult to differentiate your brand and your messaging. Don’t worry: there are plenty of free online resources to gauge your competition.
Try Open Site Explorer to see instant data on your competition, set up Google Alerts for both your company and your rival’s business, use SpyFu to see which keywords work for your competition, or check out Alexa to see where you rank.
One keyword planner we love is Google Adwords. You’ll find a wealth of information here you can use to improve your website. You can also enter your competitor’s URL’s into Quicksprout to uncover hidden data and research.
Of course if you want to really kick it up a notch, count on the SEO services through Metro Studios. Our experienced team knows how to get you to the top of the search engine rankings.
(Word is) Word of Mouth is The Business
Before the internet (yes, Virginia, there was a time before the internet), people would share their opinions over coffee, via letter, and on the phone.
Now it’s easier than ever to rank, rate, and share. Tap into that power. When you have satisfied customers, encourage them to share their stories. No matter what your budget, you can make the most of your client base.
Among many ideas, consider the following:
- Ask your clients to recommend you to a friend or group.
- Request a testimonial you can post on your site. Better yet, include their photo and a name and title.
- Connect with your clients on Facebook. Provide information they can use. Post regularly. Ask them to like your page.
- Consider a fun theme contest or a link round up on one of your social media platforms.
- Use blog polls and surveys to engage with your readers.
- Create a video with brief interviews of your clients.
- Encourage, if applicable, your customers to rate you on sites like Yelp.com, Trip Advisor, or on Google.
Let’s Hear it for Opinion Leaders and Influencers
You know your business better than anyone else. But others may offer new takes on growth, innovation, and strategy. Seek out key influencers both in and outside your industry. Research online directories for different ways to learn from others.
Connect with opinion leaders on social media and remember the importance of generosity and quid pro quo. If you like something they post, share it or link to it in one of your blogs or posts. Then, make it easy for them to share your content by including social media buttons on all your content. And to mix things up a bit, invite a guest blogger or two to share content on your site. Not only will you gain fresh new perspectives, but you’ll also build new relationships.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
No, digital strategy is not exactly like carpentry. But if you don’t measure your efforts, how will you know how you’re doing?
It’s important you assess both your successes and failures. Check your rankings, conversions, traffic, target audiences, and different channels. Then you can focus on the strategies that provide the best ROI.
Running A/B testing is a quick way to determine what works and what doesn’t. What is your golden goose? Better to put your eggs in that basket than go chasing after strategies that don’t connect with your customers. With A/B testing, you can make decisions based on data and facts. And you can use it to make improvements and enhancements over time.
Keep it Real
As you’ll remember from the beginning of this blog, we recommended simplicity. Authenticity is equally important.
You have a unique voice. Use it. Engage in relevant conversations based on what your customers need and want. Be the go-to authority in your industry. Provide content that helps your clients.
Let’s face it: people have very little time and they don’t want hard selling or marketing speak. They want you to help them solve their problems, make their lives a little easier, and yes, sometimes entertain them. Don’t be afraid of humor.
Finally, like bananas and bread, content can get stale very quickly. Update your social media sites, website, and blogs, on a regular basis. Editorial calendars are one way to keep on top of dates and deadlines. Consider a site like Smarter Queue to help you organize your social media marketing strategy. Or, if you have the resources, assign 1-2 employees to each channel to ensure you’re listening to your visitors and posting relevant content that is helpful.
We hope these 10 tips have been useful and that you know a bit more than when you first began reading. We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments below or contact Metro Studios today.