Digital Marketing Basics
Internet or Digital Marketing has come a long way in the decade or so its been popular. Even so there are some basic principles that are misunderstood by businesses as they seek to use social media platforms and Search Engines to promote their business.
Search Engines, predominantly Google but also Bing, Yahoo and a few other hangers on, are the go-to mechanism for most people as they seek a service or answer on the internet and “Google It” is the catch phrase. Despite this ubiquity most people have no idea how search engines work and what are the fundamentals of getting on the all important first page of a Google search query results page. There is no shame in this of course, even experienced marketers are often bamboozled by this. The complex series of ‘algorithms’ Google uses to list the results of a query are incredible but also not really important to know.
What is important is how your website or digital presence fulfils Google’s requirements or checklist they use to gift a website with a front page ranking. Many of Google’s requirements are based on how easy it is for a ‘GoogleBot’ to ‘crawl’ a website. A ‘GoogleBot’ is a software robot that crawls the internet ‘indexing’ web pages by examining the content on the page and categorising it by using keywords and pre-set ‘descriptions’ and ‘tags’. These keywords, descriptions and tags are all important for Search Engine Marketing as they are what the ‘GoogleBot’ uses to assess the website.
So it’s vitally important to get this basic stuff done and if you’re using WordPress for instance you can use a plugin like Yoast or SEO to help you sort out these ‘meta-tags’ and ‘meta-descriptions’ as they are called.
Page Titles and Headings within your body copy are also important as these are often the first port of call for the Google Bot. These things can be entered into the relevant fields of your SEO plug-in as you are doing the meta tags.
The ‘meta-description’ is very important as it provides a summary or abstract of what the page is about and this is shown in your Google Search Result. While it is tempting to copy paste a meta description from another page its far better to create unique meta-descriptions for every page, doing this also greatly improves the optimisation of the page (SEO).
Readable URL’s are also a key component of a good page. It is standard these days to have a readable URL in the URL bar of your browser. Some website generated URL’s are ‘codespeak’ containing unusual keyboard letters such as numbers and dollar signs. Having a URL in English means that the GoogleBot can correctly crawl the page and importantly the user can read it.
Make your website easy to navigate and plan out your navigation based on your homepage. All sites have a homepage which is usually the most frequently visited page and the place users navigate to tother parts of the website from. If you have lots of pages it might be an idea to structure the site carefully by making a plan first so that its easier for your users to find the most valuable information on your website. Google improves rankings for well structured websites. Also a good tip is to prepare two different sitemaps. The first one is for the website users where they are able to see all the pages of the website easily and can, at a pinch use it to navigate anywhere. The other sitemap is called an XML sitemap and is used by search engines to discover the pages on your website.
Finally within the website itself make most of the navigation through text links. Why? Because it makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your website. Avoid using lengthy drop down navigation menus with images and fancy buttons and animations.
Content is probably the most overlooked part of a website by website owners. But having quality content on your website is the single best thing you can do. Google and other search engines aim to provide interesting and useful information to their users and this information is getting richer and richer as the internet develops. Remember this is how people do business nowadays, they search online for answers to increasingly complex questions. Theres a few things you need to remember.
Interesting websites will generate recognition on their own
Creating compelling and useful content will influence your website and your Google rank more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will want to share that with others. This will be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. This organic, word-of-mouth ‘buzz’ is what helps build your site’s reputation as a useful resource with both users and Google, and but you will not get this without quality content.
Sprinkle relevant Keywords through your content
Anticipate the way different users search for information around your industry. Different users will use different terms, even shorthand sometimes and so a sprinkling of some of these relevant and varied terms within your blog articles will greatly enhance your ‘searchable’ content. Although you can sprinkle keywords through your content make sure you write your content for people NOT search engines. SEO copy is often nonsensical to people and it annoys them.
Make it easy to read
Users enjoy reading material that is easy to read, avoid sloppy poorly written content full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Don’t add text as an image, always use type written text, search engines cant read ‘picture’ text.
Stay organised around the topic
Break large areas of text into easy to understand blocks using paragraphs, headings, sub-headings and bold areas. Avoid dumping large chunks of text on various disconnected themes into one article, once a user strays you have lost them.
Create Fresh and Unique Content
This is easier said than done and requires a little effort but fresh and engaging content will keep your website visitors returning to your website as well as bringing new visitors. Avoid rehashing old content again and again or having duplicate content spread throughout your site.
Add links to areas of text so people can reference things to other internet sources, just like your blog articles will be referenced by others. Links on your page maybe internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you’re linking to is about.
There are loads of things you can do with your website to encourage users to return and new visitors to visit. Websites are a commitment and do require time and attention to maintain but once you get into good habits like maintaining a regular blog or news articles page you are well on the way.