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Still in the formative days of this new year, we look ahead at the 7 ways you can help your website get the level of attention you deserve in 2010.
Making bold predictions to cover a 365 day period, you can easily set yourself up for a fairly monumental fall. However, with this very much in mind, I have put together a straightforward guide to promoting your website in 2010.
As anybody who has spent a day or more working amongst websites will no doubt already understand, there are a fair few avenues for you to explore when it comes to promoting your site, brand and company. As any company with limited resources will have no doubt also have discovered, targeting the most effective techniques in the efficient fashion is not always straightforward.
The Internet is continuously developing and new trends, fashions and fads come and go. So to make sure you don’t needlessly waste any of your time, here are our seven recommendations for the year ahead:
1) SEO – It may be an old one, but SEO is still as vital today as it was a decade ago. Search engines remain the highest source of traffic for most websites, therefore ensuring that you are at – or at least near – the top of their rankings is essential.
Whilst the way in which rankings are determined has shifted recently, there is still plenty that you can be doing to strengthen your website and get it moving up the rankings. So if you are looking to invest your time in anything, it should be in the quality of your site and the associated SEO.
2) Social Media – The world of online marketing has shifted to become far more sociable. Leading social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have afforded businesses the opportunity to interact directly with their customer-based whilst providing a more human interface online.
Results may be slow at first, but over time you should start to see your own conversation growing and traffic levels increasing as a consequence. Social media is about maintaining a dialogue and there are certain unwritten rules – mostly relating to spam – so you have to be prepared to put in some time to get a positive result for your company.
3) Local Search – Whilst strictly a part of SEO, local search achieves its own special mention as it looks set to become a vital part of website optimisation during 2010. With local results dominating the top of current SERPs and set to become an integral part of the growing mobile internet boom; getting your business to the top of the heap within your area has never been more important.
If you want to get noticed where it matters most, make sure your website is optimised for local search. For more information see ‘What is Local Search?‘
4) Paid Search (PPC) – Like SEO, PPC has been around for almost as long as the search engines themselves. This targeted form of advertising, which uses keywords to determine what search results pages adverts should appear on, is a fantastic way to ensure that your site and brand appear in prominent positions on the pages the matter.
It takes a lot of development to create a highly efficient and profitable PPC campaign, but that investment in time often pays dividends in the future. Paid search is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of advertising in the world, and not without good reason either. So if you want to turn over a new leaf and start attracting more targeted visitors to your website, it might be time to consider PPC.
5) Video Marketing – With free-to-access sites such as YouTube providing a fantastic forum, you can quickly and easily market your business online using promotional videos. By offering useful information in a way that your visitors can understand and will pass on to others, you can provide another human interface for your online business.
Videos can be embedded within your site and hosted externally, or just uploaded to a video distribution website. They will help you to develop a corporate identity and offer more avenues for customers to find you. Making professional looking videos can be time consuming whilst they can also be a little hit and miss; you won’t be guaranteed a huge viral hit, but video marketing is certainly a fantastic opportunity for online businesses.
6) Blogging – Simple enough to do, but not always easy to get right. Creating a maintaining a blog will help you to develop a regularly-updated dialogue within your site. It is great for SEO, can be combined with social media efforts and will give your business a more authoritative online presence [see: Using Your Blog as a Marketing Tool].
A blog encourages links, which come in the form of trackbacks, whilst also giving search engines more pages to index – all of which will help you bring in more traffic from Google et al. You can also respond to comments and start developing your position within your local online community.
7) Encourage Public Reviews – This one is a little more left field than the others. But essentially public reviews look set to play an increasingly more important role in the way a search engine perceives a website. If you can get your site listed on any review forums within your field, it will give you a platform to start getting real, honest opinions.
As with all search engine marketing techniques, this shouldn’t be used to game the system. You also shouldn’t be scared of attracting one or two criticisms; these will highlight where you can improve, whilst showing visitors and search engines that reviews are genuine. Show customers where they can review you, whether on the site or elsewhere, and see the results. Both local search standings and standard organic searches could well improve as a consequence.
However you choose to market your website in 2010, don’t forget to ensure that you first have a site worth marketing. Bad businesses cannot be saved by good advertising, just as poor websites won’t succeed even with effective marketing. Getting your house in order should always be the first priority, then you can push on and develop your online brand however you see fit.
Search engine technology is evolving, and so is the digital marketing industry. The more experienced professionals amongst you may remember the days of gleefully stuffing keywords into your copy to boost your rankings, blindly spamming strangers to join your email lists and easily securing media coverage for your thinly veiled advertisements.
Site speed is an important area of website optimisation that people working in the world of Search Engine Optimisation are becoming increasingly concerned about.