Marketing a new business online can be daunting. Trying to do everything at once, social media marketing, guest posting, PR submissions, can be a little overwhelming.
Moreover, if you are a beginner, there is a good chance that you will unknowingly overlook important best practices if you try to do too much right from the beginning.
The key to success is to prioritize. This way, you can tackle one type of marketing activity with all of your focus and zeal. Once you have developed a routine, a few processes, and have found ways to automate mundane and repetitive but important tasks, you can move on to the next item on your priority list.
While you are prioritizing, evaluate different marketing strategies and tactics on the basis of the required effort and time, along with the kind of results you can expect after expending the required effort and time.
If you are just starting out and are working with a bootstrapped marketing budget, chances are that you will find organic marketing strategies like search engine optimization high on your priority list.
With that said, SEO in itself can be overwhelming. Especially if you try to do too much at once.
Again, the key to success is to follow a step-by-step approach.
The first step of any SEO strategy is SEO audit. Thanks to modern SEO tools, conducting an SEO audit is an easy and quick job.
The next step is to optimize your website to be discovered, understood, and correctly categorized by the search engines. This step is also known as on-page SEO and it is actually a series of steps.
For many local businesses that are operating in relatively less competitive industries, on-page SEO can be incredibly effective. Digital marketing agencies routinely deliver fantastic results to local businesses because there is very little competition to overcome and that can be done without even seriously investing in off-page SEO.
While on-page SEO may or may not drive similar results for your business, it is still an integral part of the SEO process.
Here are a few of the most effective on-page SEO tasks that you can perform to secure some quick SEO wins for your new business website:
Understand Intent Before You Produce Content
One of the biggest, most influential aspects of on-page and off-page SEO is keyword research. However, when most people think keyword research, they only think about finding the right keywords.
Most blogs on the web would tell you that a combination of relevance, high search volume, and low competition is what qualifies a keyword as the right keyword.
There is no denying that these metrics are important. After all, they tell you whether trying to optimize and rank for a keyword is even worth your time or effort. However, you keyword research should also focus on understanding another aspect of keywords, the intent behind them.
When producing content ideas for your target keywords, don’t forget to think about what the user wants to see when they enter the keyword in the search bar.
For instance, the keyword “email marketing” gives results for email marketing guides and tips. Most of the top ranking web pages are giving information about email marketing and not selling email marketing software. Don’t worry, most of the guides ranking on the first page are produced by some of the most well known email marketing software.
The point is, these companies understood that the intent behind their target keyword is informational.
With that said, there are majorly three main types of intents behind keywords:
- Informational: We just discussed this one. This is when a prospect is looking to learn, not buy.
- Transactional: Transactional intent, as the name suggests, is an indication that the searcher is looking to buy a product or service.
- Navigational: This is when a user searches using the name of a brand or company. The objective is usually to either find out more about a business (or one of their products/services) or to simply purchase one of the offerings of that business.
If you don’t take the time to understand the intent behind your target keywords and produce relevant content, there is a very slim chance that the search engine will give your website a high place in the SERPs.
Include Keywords In The Right Places
Simply finding the right keywords and understanding the intent behind them is not enough, obviously.
You have to include said keywords in your content, and you have to do it in a manner that is appreciated by the search engines.
This obviously means that you have to avoid (at all costs) stuffing your content with keywords. Instead, your objective should be to include your target keywords in your content as naturally and as contextually as possible.
With that said, you must also optimize your content by including your keywords in the following places:
- Headers: Search engine crawlers give a lot of importance to the content in the headers (H1) and also use them to gain a better understanding of the content on your web page. THat’s why, it is absolutely critical to include your most important keyword (for that specific web page) in the title and even in the first subheader (H2).
- Initial Body Content: Search engine crawlers also make use of the body content to better understand the content on your web page. That’s why, it is a good idea to include your keyword in the initial part of the body content.
- Meta Tags And Descriptions: We will discuss meta titles and descriptions in more detail in just a while. For now, just understand that these are also used by search engines to understand the content on your web page. Therefore, it is important to include your target keywords in both, the meta titles and the meta tags.
Bonus: Question Keywords
Question keywords, as the name suggests, are the questions that your target audience may ask from the search engines. Finding these questions and optimizing your answers for these questions can help you secure a special position in the SERPs.
The best part is that finding question keywords is incredibly easy, even if you don’t have access to a keyword research tool. All you need to do is conduct a Google search with one of your target keywords. Then, in the results, look for the question box which looks something like this:
These are questions that your audience is already asking from the search engine. You can address these questions as FAQs or simply as questions. While it is perfectly alright to dedicate an entire page to such questions, the popular way to optimize for question keywords is with FAQs that are relevant to the content present on a particular web page.
Oh, and don’t worry about running out of question keyword ideas. When you click on one of the questions in the SERPs, Google automatically adds more questions to the list. Something like this:
Keep clicking on more questions, and Google will keep supplying a virtually endless supply of question keywords that your audience is actually asking.
Before you read more about optimizing URLs, please note that there is no proof that optimizing URLs are favored by search engines.
With that said, optimized URLs do contribute to a more intuitive and easy user experience, something that is blatantly favored by all search engines across the board.
The best part is that optimizing URLs is not a lot of work.
All you need to do is to ensure your URLs are short and descriptive.
Let’s understand this with a hypothetical example. Let’s say you are writing a guide about email marketing. The default URL may look something like this:
All you need to do is change it to:
This way, when the URL appears in the search results, the user can see what they are clicking on, effectively improving the user experience.
Optimize Title Tags and Descriptions
Meta titles and tags are the information about your web pages that appears in the SERPs. Their importance is obvious. While we have already discussed optimization of meta titles and tags with keywords, there is a little more to the task:
- Meta Titles: Optimizing meta titles is easy. In most cases, the title of your page or the blog post can be made into the title tag. If you are following the advice shared in previous sections and including the keyword in the title tag, your meta title will already be optimized. However, there are cases when the title of your page or blog is rather long, you will have to shorten the message in the meta titles. Ideally, your meta titles should be limited to a length of 70 characters.
- Meta Descriptions: These descriptions appear right under the title tag or meta title. Meta descriptions are meant to help the searcher better gauge the information they will get when they click through on a result. That’s why your meta descriptions should be descriptive. The best way to get them right while also including your keyword is to expand a little on the meta title.
Don’t Forget The Images
Optimizing the images on your website can help you rank them in the Google Images search results, which is another potent source of organic traffic.
Once again, optimizing website images for SEO is not a difficult task. It’s a simple three-step process:
- Optimize Image Name: The file name of your image helps Google better understand the content of the image. However, most devices save images with random names like “img-090911029.png”. This gives away no information about what the image contains.
To help Google better understand your images, give them descriptive names like “coffee-cup.png”.
- Optimize Alt Text: Alt text is another aspect of your images that helps search engines understand and categorize them. The alt text does not appear on the actual page that is visible to the users and lives in the code of your page.
To help search engines better understand the alt text of your images, make sure it is descriptive like, <img src-”coffee-cup.png” alt=”white cup black coffee on a table”>.
- Compress Images: Large image files can mess with the load speed of your web pages that can have a direct and negative effect on the search engine performance of your website. Not to forget a slow load speed will also negatively affect the user experience on your website, resulting in higher bounce rates and lower dwell times, further hurting your website’s search engine performance.
Internal linking is an important yet overlooked aspect of on-page SEO. Linking to relevant internal resources on your website helps users find out more about your business and about whatever they were searching for when they landed on your website.
In other words, it makes for a more helpful and positive user experience.
Another benefit of internal linking becomes apparent when you start engaging in off-page SEO activities like link building. Then, you will discover that more bloggers and authority industry publications are not willing to give out backlinks to product pages and homepages.
That’s why, most guest posting efforts focus on creating backlinks to the blog or resource sections of business websites. While this adds a lot of authority points to the content on such websites, internal linking helps transfer some of this authority to product and service pages, effectively helping them rank for relevant keywords.
These were some tips that will help your website get noticed by the search engines, help them understand what your website is all about, categorize it in the correct category, and index it in the results for the right search queries.
Do remember that getting all of these things done is only half the battle won. However, your off-page SEO activities would not show much effect if the on-page part is not optimized to perfection.
We hope that the information shared in this blog will help you move into the right direction.
Got questions? More suggestions? Share them with us in the comment section below.