Easy Online Marketing Practices for Website Optimization
November 12, 2017//4,249 words
The internet can be daunting. One minute your dream is to launch a successful website and the next minute you’re scurrying around trying to pick up the pieces of a failed attempt. The internet has changed a lot over the few years it has been in existence. Even as changes continue to occur, I’m going to give you some easy online marketing practices for your website optimization that will stand the test of time!
Only a few individuals dreamed about what the internet could become in the early days. The benefits to the tech industry were clear to see from the beginning, however, no one could envision how the internet has completed changed the landscape for how most businesses operate today.
Potential customer markets have multiplied by the thousands.
Distance is often a non-factor.
Languages are irrelevant.
What the internet has done in a mere 20 years is an incredible feat.
While we can all agree now that the internet is not just a fad, contrary to the beliefs of scientist Clifford Stole in 1995, businesses weren’t sure what to make of it at first.
Once a few internet success stories started to popularize, smart business owners knew they needed to jump aboard the moving train.
Many businesses were pleased to have a “portfolio-page” of sorts – an address that would reveal a few blurbs about their company with contact information. While ecommerce did emerge early on, encouraged after Amazon.com sold its first book in 1995, businesses were happy to display information and grow mailing lists on their sites.
Email, the Facebook of the 90s, created opportunities for extremely high return on investment, and businesses learned they could use the internet to not only communicate to but interact with potential customers.
Carefully examining the evolution of the internet is fascinating, however, I was never more than an average student in history class.
Let’s explore how businesses today (and possibly you!) are missing out on the benefits of a fully leveraged and optimized website.
I’LL JUST SET IT AND FORGET IT
The initial creation of your own personal or business website can be very exciting. You may be a present-day Do-It-Yourselfer and try WordPress or SquareSpace or you may decide to pass on the reigns to a professional programmer or marketing agency.
It doesn’t matter how it was created, but rather, what is the strategy for your website immediately after launch?
Unfortunately, I have worked with countless clients who paid a small fortune for their website to be created 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, who thought simply having a beautifully designed website was enough.
These are the same clients who are missing out on new business today because those negative experiences are creating overly conservative business owners.
I’m not judging you. I’ve been there – seen it.
But I’m going to help you.
DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE IT
Just as I have worked with clients who placed their full faith into their website creator to yield success, I have seen even more people who are tired and frustrated from years of spinning their wheels trying to make something happen.
Fortunately, there is a lot of information on the web to be discovered. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to do your full time job while trying turn your website into a big success at the same time. And there are many sites out there giving you “3 easy steps to success” headlines telling you that it’s really easy.
It’s not easy. The web is constantly changing.
Don’t get discouraged. Success will be equal to the work that is put into it.
The success will be worth it.
If you could use a little pick-me-up or some inspiration, I’d recommend you check out Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast. He interviews a myriad of different people who have been through challenges and realized success in many different ways. Here is a recent one with Daymond John that’s worth a look.
LET’S START TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
No matter how advanced or “souped-up” your site is, you can see results.
Take advantage of the high ROI opportunities available for high performing websites.
You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to show up at the top of Google’s search results. In fact, large companies have to clear the same hurdles that small companies do. Sure, having a lot of pages on your site does present more opportunities to be found through Google searches, but the focus is on legitimacy, relevancy, and uniqueness.
Let’s go through some of the most basic examples of proper and effective SEO practices. Many of these are what you would call low-hanging-fruit that can easily be grabbed.
RELEVANT AND RICH TITLE TAGS
Perhaps the most basic and common SEO practices include a Title tag, Meta-Description, Keywords, and H1 tags. In each of these 4 sections of your page, it is important to highlight rich keywords towards the beginning of the text.
Specifically, in the title tag, you would ideally come up with 50-60 characters of text that will be displayed both on the top of the web browser as well as at the beginning of your web page’s search result. Be sure to not exceed this character length as there could benegative effects.
The title tag is the headliner of your search result. Make it rich and relevant.
This is what I see often for a title on someone’s home page (note: for our examples today we’ll make up a company and call it Smith’s Deli):
Smith’s Deli: Home
This may look good on the top of your browser, but it does nothing for your SEO. That title tag is only going to work if someone types “Smith’s Deli” into Google but at that point they already know about you so no SEO strategy would be necessary.
Let’s look at this example:
Neil Patel is a pro and much of my inspiration has come from him. One of the companies that he has started, Kissmetrics, uses its title tag to attract anyone looking for “customer intelligence” or “web analytics.”
Let’s look again at Smith’s Deli and make a few changes. Here is what we have now.
Smith’s Deli: Local Meats and Healthy Sandwiches
Now our potential market has gone from the few who are specifically searching for Smith’s Deli (who again, already knew about you in the first place), to the 180 unique people in New York City who have searched for “Local Meats” and the 690 unique people in NYC who have searched for “Healthy Sandwiches.”
Have I convinced you to fix your title tags yet?
Be sure to find truly relevant keywords and let a few of those be your focus.
Consider your meta-description the elevator pitch of your website.
What would happen if you stepped into an elevator with Bill Gates but you didn’t say anything? Nothing would happen, right?
Now what if you stepped into an elevator with Bill Gates and just spoke a bunch of gibberish, or perhaps you mentioned a couple important things about yourself but it was all cluttered with fluff and disorganized talk? (Note: Most of the websites I see fit this description. People put a “description” of their website or company just because someone said to but with no real effort or purpose.)
Finally, what would happen if you walked into an elevator with Bill Gates and gave a brief, direct, and actionable pitch about how you were going to make his life better? I think THAT would get his attention.
Let’s visit Smith’s Deli again and take another look at what I said most of the web looks like right now.
Smith’s Deli: Local Meats and Healthy Sandwiches
My name is John Smith and I am located in downtown New York City. I started this business because I like sandwiches and we make a lot of healthy sandwiches at our deli. We also partner with local businesses and sell their meats and also use them in our sandwiches.
Now, that was a great story, but I’m an impatient person looking for a great sandwich shop to go to in NYC. Also, I didn’t see that entire description because a Google result only shows so much. Instead, this is what I saw:
“My name is John Smith and I am located in downtown New York City. I started this business because I like sandwiches and we make a lot of healthy sandwiches at…”
Note: Keep it under 160 characters as a rule. No need to go longer than that because no one will see it.
Let’s give another go at optimizing this meta-description:
“Take a bite of freshness at New York’s favorite healthy sandwich shop. Enjoy local meats and don’t forget to Sign Up to our mailing list for a free sandwich!”
Urgent. Actionable. Exciting. Keyword relevant.
Let’s see this in action.
While their title is a little long (ahem… come on, Hubspot…), the meta-description is actionable and exciting thinking about how to use Facebook “as a powerful tool.”
CONSISTENT H1 TAGS
When you start learning HTML, the <H1> tag is going to be one of the first elements that you learn.
People are tricked into thinking that all a H1 tag does is make your font a bigger size. That is completely incorrect. In fact, I would tell you that if you want your font size bigger there are dozens of other ways to do that without including any of the H1 – H6 tags.
Ok, I’ll table the coding talk for another discussion. Back to H1.
Every page on your site needs to have a H1 tag. In Google’s eyes, this is as important as a Title and a Meta-Description.
The response that I usually get from someone whose site is missing a H1 tag is that it didn’t fit with their design scheme. If you can’t fit a simple line of text into your design scheme then maybe you should reevaluate your design!
Now, the H1 tag has a lot less rules associated with it. In fact, length doesn’t really matter at all. What does matter, is that you have one, and it includes your keywords. It would actually be better if you had more than one H1 tag, and a few H2 tags and H3s as well. Google reads these tags as section headers and for the design of your site, they should be.
Back to the Hubspot example from our meta-description discussion.
This is the landing page of that link with a beautiful H1 tag right on top that reads “Free Guide: An Introduction to Facebook for Business.”
The topic and relevance of keywords has changed in recent years. Keywords used to be one of the very best ways to rank highly on Google. Because of that, you had companies doing this:
Well, hey, it kind of worked back in the day.
Google’s Hummingbird update took the topic of “keyword stuffing” head on.
By the way, aren’t we glad about Google fixing these issues? They truly are trying to make the web better for users and consumers. In marketing, the black-hat tactics can be appealing, but focus on doing your marketing the right way. It will save you from Google’s next update as well as most likely providing your users with top of the line experience on your site.
So how do we handle keywords nowadays? Tastefully. They should be present but not overly abused.
After typing content into your site, try reading it aloud. Does it sound like normal conversation.
Back to Hubspot’s example. Same page.
Obviously, the word they are going for here is “Facebook.” It’s listed 8 times, but because 3 of those times are in a list format it does not sound overly stuffed.
Pro Tip: Try to combine words of 2 or 3 as a “keyword set.” Not often is someone going to search for just one word at a time. The web user today is smart and tries to search by specific phrases to quickly find the best result. Hubspot might have found more successful by combining “Facebook marketing” a few times or perhaps “Facebook for business.”
A good and quick way to do a keyword search is by typing a word into the Google search bar, searching, and then looking at the bottom of the page. Google features popular related searches.
For example, I searched for “facebook” and this was the bottom of the screen:
Not much to go off from here from a marketing perspective but try it with “marketing.”
Don’t underestimate the power of keyword research, either. Foster Growth mentions a free tool that they like to use for this research …
Getting your website SEO optimized is great but it isn’t everything.
There are many different ways you can promote your website one of the great ways is in the signature of your email. I’m not just talking about putting a URL of your your name and address, but rather stating a call to action and leading the action back to your website.
This is an example of Jim Smith’s email signature:
123 Main St.
New York, NY
This is the norm. Right here.
People are used to seeing the norm. The URL is great so I know where to find you, but it doesn’t entice me to want to click.
Many of us send out more emails a day than we would prefer to, but how would your attitude about sending emails change if you knew that with every email you sent you included a clever and engaging sales pitch?
Let’s look at John Smith’s signature again and let’s let’s add a pitch.
123 main Street
New York, NY
PS- A new and healthy alternative to your lunch habits is just down the street. Check out our newest menu items: smithsdelinewyork.com/new items
Let’s look at a real life example. I’m going to cheat and use mine:
These are often used very similarly to email signatures. The idea is always been to include information about yourself so that people can find you later.
Business cards should not only be information in case somebody wants to find you later the rather your card should be a sales pitch. An abbreviated version of your elevator pitch.
Do you notice a pattern? In your websites title tag, and your meta-description, your email signature, your business card, and pretty much every platform that you’re on, you should be pitching your product or idea.
Think of all of the platforms that you are on. Are you fully leveraging your exposure?
Are you getting the most out of your audience?
Really you are just modifying what you’re currently doing and enticing someone to see what they are missing.
Pro tip: If you have a blog or write content that enables the reader to comment, consider this out-of-the-box idea by Neil Patel. He does this on all of his posts:
YOUR WEBSITE CAN BE YOUR #1 SALESMAN
We have spent some time talking about how your website can be found. This can be done through search engine optimization, through actionable descriptions, through enticing pictures in your email signature line.
But this is only one small step that your business needs to take in order to produce revenue.
What happens when your sales pitch works?
What happens when that link is clicked on and the visitor is brought to your website? What then?
Are they ready to buy? Not quite.
Congratulations, your efforts to lure someone in with your clever and well-timed pitches worked. Now let’s seal the deal.
This is where your website optimization comes full circle. A fully optimized website will receive strangers, turn them into prospects, then to leads, then customers, and finally enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
Your website can and should be your number one salesman. Here’s how:
Start with a dynamite landing page.
Hubspot is the king of landing pages in my opinion and their most recent example doesn’t disappoint. After clicking on their Facebook ad about creating a social media content calendar, I was brought to this page:
Simple. Direct. No distracting links or navbar pulling me away from the call-to-action.
The beginner thinking is to include as much as possible on the screen in order to increase the odds of attracting the visitor. Fortunately, we have learned over time that sometimes less is more. It’s too easy to be distracted these days, especially on the internet. It’s refreshing to come to a page like this. Not only is it simple, but it’s clear and concise. I have a good idea what I’m going to get by signing up.
Continuing down the sales funnel:
I was then brought to this page that gives me a little more info as well as my link to download the file.
Pro Tip: Don’t delay in delivering the content to your customer. Your end of the bargain.
I got this quick download and in return, Hubspot got my email address. I got quick access to the guide I was looking for and meanwhile, Hubspot is already leveraging having access to my email address:
Still related to the guide that I downloaded, but also a pitch to get me to try a product for free that I may decide to pay for the full version of later on. Also, a personal email address and social media links to entice me to become a greater member of their network.
In summary, key takeaways here:
- Simple and Clear landing page
- Quick and painless access to download link
- Swift follow-up to gauge interest in pursuing more
This was in no way a complete guide to SEO, Website Optimization, or Landing Pages.
Stay tuned for those.
I wanted to start this journey by addressing some key areas of concern that I see with many of my clients and that I know many of you deal with as well. Also, I trust that you found something to take away from the tips that were included. While brief, they are strong, effective, clever, and easy.
Above all else, if there’s one thing I’ve learned that has helped me to be effective in marketing, it’s to learn how to sincerely care about the people with whom you are seeking to do business.