While there is little marketers can do about the upheaval caused by changes to search engine and social media algorithms, there are tweaks you can make to your online strategy that can impact consumers’ decisions.
Constant improvements to your online store has become the standard survival tactic to improving the performance of your online business. But creating an eye-catching storefront and publishing engaging content is merely the tip of the iceberg; eventually, the Web becomes saturated with trite strategies.
Ambitious businesses that want to set themselves apart from their rivals have to look for alternative solutions that provide users with a reason to visit your website and buy your products. And that requires more than standard search engine optimization (SEO) philosophy.
5 ways to improve your online performance
1. Create A Professional Website
A well designed website that highlights your quality and professionalism should be the first step in launching your online presence.
These days its so easy to create a great looking website or online store using site builders such as Wix or Squarespace – which require no design or coding knowledge and come with an endless array of templates and design tools to choose from.
Now that there’s no need to hire a designer or site builder to get your business online, it’s easier than ever to go digital.
The four building blocks of a great site: Visuals, Responsive Design, Concise Messaging, and Content:
As the adage goes, “First impressions count.” Visitors to your site make judgments on your business within the first few seconds of arriving at your website.
Colors, images, and even spelling and grammar mistakes impact those impressions. Put your best foot forward to imprint a great response by paying careful attention to visuals. There are several excellent guides online to assist you in this design process.
2. Responsive Design
51% of Internet users interact with mobile digital media (compared to 42% with desktop), and that number continues to grow each year. Responsive Design ensures that your website is viewed properly on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Sites that are not “mobile-friendly” and lack a responsive design are passed up by consumers almost immediately, resulting in loss of sales and leads.
Search engines also understand that most mobile searches are local, so a mobile-friendly website can help you rise above your competition in search results.
3. Concise Messaging
Clearly communicating your value through text and images helps increase conversions. Your site visitors will be quick to leave if they become engulfed in flowery phrasing and irrelevant images.
Your messaging should match your mission, values, and business identity.
The typical site visitor will stay on your page for just 15 seconds before bouncing to another page—so you have to instantly be able to capture a visitor’s attention and speak in a way that will keep the consumer on your site longer.
The content on your website, be it text (articles and blog posts), images (pictures, memes, videos), or audio (podcasts) should be engaging.
Does it resonate with the visitor? Does it spark an interest that will create a repeat visitor? Does it establish your site as an authority with whom they’d want to do business?
Your engaging content also falls into two categories that need to be considered: Fresh and Evergreen. Fresh content is new content (and is usually evidenced by a posting date or the timeliness of the information).
Evergreen content is usually informative and always remains fresh; it is content that site visitors will return to as a resource and to educate new site visitors.
Content counts, and it is a crucial factor in increasing your web presence. As you keep reading, you will see content’s connection to other points on this list and uncover why it is of such high importance for increasing your web presence.
2. Optimize How Visitors Find You In Search Results
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the science of directing customers to your website via search engines (the most popular being Google).
It is the essential and fundamental work applied to your website to make sure your business is seen and ranked by search engines so that you appear higher up in the search results when customers and leads look for you or something related to your business.
The building blocks of SEO are keywords, which are words or phrases relating to your business. Start by choosing 3 to 5 essential keywords that someone would search for that would lead them to your website. You can use SEO management tool Ahrefs.
A word about keywords:
Short-tail keywords are words which are usually less specific and target larger groups in search. Long-tail keywords are phrases someone will more likely use when they are closer to the point-of-purchase. These keywords are more specifically used for niche markets.
To increase your presence across the Internet, you will need a good mix of short- and long-tail keywords, and focus on keywords pertaining to your specific brand and market versus general keywords.
How do you find the right keywords? Search engines, as well as website creation sites, have tools available to help you discover, modify, and monitor your keywords and their performance.
Google Adwords is a good place to star. The tool provides comparisons and rankings of different keywords to help you figure out what words people are searching for.
SEO experts can also be invaluable resources to analyze and suggest top performing keywords for you as you start your website and as you make changes as your business grows.
3. Increase Your Traffic With Paid Ads
A relatively easy and quite effective way to drive traffic to your website and boost your online presence is to use paid search advertising. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads allow you to pay for display ads on search engines which appear in the sponsored results section of the search page.
This practice can be an incredibly effective tool for gaining exposure – 65% of consumers click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online.
When dealing with PPC ads its important to note that you are utilizing keywords and search terms to define and promote your brand above your competitors.
Highly general keywords will not be effective in a PPC campaign.
If you have the funds to run PPC advertising campaigns for your long-tail keywords, you will find that, in conjunction with your SEO efforts, it is a lucrative way to bring more qualified traffic with high conversion potential to your website.
4. Generate Buzz on Social Media
buzz. n. Anything that creates excitement or stimulus.
From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to LinkedIn, YouTube to Pinterest, and a slew of sites that are popular even if they’re not on the tip of everyone’s tongues (CafeMom, Flickr, and Tumblr, to name a few), social media websites and their respective mobile apps are the best ways to get people talking about your business.
Other benefits of having active accounts on social media are social proof, real-time communication with leads and customers, increased brand awareness, and low-cost, effective advertising.
There were 2.95 billion social network users in 2019 and a number projected to increase to almost 3.43 billion in 2023 .
You can use Social media management tool Hootsuite for Search engines recognize the enormous effectiveness of social media, and its content often appears high in SERPS.
There are 4 best practices for using social media to boost your SEO:
- Grow your number of followers, and make sure they are quality followers. Do your best to make sure you are interacting with real people and not “dummy accounts.”
- Encourage external inbound linking by sharing high-quality, authoritative content.
- Optimize your posts for searches with strong anchors like video clips, infographics, articles, and compelling photos. Be sure to use descriptive titles, framed within a specific query, and use relevant keywords.
- Make an appeal to users to share your posts.
- Build Relationships With Bloggers
5. Connect With Blog Influencers
Blog outreach – working with bloggers to create genuine, authentic content to promote your business – is a public relations-focused tactic whose goal is to create brand awareness without having to purchase placement for your branded content.
It’s a way to get others to do the work for you, and blog influencers can successfully drive not only awareness but action as well.
If you have the time and inclination, identify influencers with a resource like BuzzSumo, and start relationship building and submitting your content to appear on blogs related to your industry, market, product, or service.
Blog Outreach via Online PR
For most businesses, connecting with blog influencers can be a daunting, time-consuming project that requires many resources. This strategy of increasing web presence may be something you consider outsourcing to someone knowledgeable and connected in the world of online public relations.
Online PR encompasses digital marketing techniques associated with SEO, partnership building with influencers, and social marketing.
Experts in the field have a wealth of resources at their disposal and are able to promote your business and see measurable increases in your web presence via their connections and portfolios.
There are an estimated 152 million (and growing) blogs online, with the majority of major media outlets and industry influencers maintaining popular blogs.
Getting your content posted on niche and localized blogs can build high-quality inbound links to boost your website’s organic search results, which will bring you more valuable exposure.
Reasons To Use Online PR
- Increase web exposure
- Links and content can be published across the Internet
- Customers and leads are influenced by content they read online
- Lack of time and connections to do proper blog outreach on your own
- Barriers to entry for blog outreach in niche markets