Increasing the search engine ranking of your website is probably one of your top priorities if you’ve landed on this blog post.
Did you type “increase organic ranking” into Google’s search bar, discover our blog title, and click its blue-hyperlink title to learn more? If so, then you are a part of our website’s “organic traffic,” and the fact that you’re here will help to naturally increase our website’s “organic ranking” on Google.
So, thanks for that!
Your website’s daily visitor count is impacted by two factors, which are organic web traffic and traffic from paid advertisements and other lead generation strategies. Interestingly, Google values and rewards organic traffic more than any other form of traffic. This means that your website’s Google search engine ranking is actually based solely on organic traffic.
But we don’t need to convince you of the importance of increasing your organic ranking on Google and other search engines. We know why you’re here, so we’ll cut to the chase right after we try to convince you that if you really want to increase your organic ranking, you should contact our digital marketing specialists and we’ll tailor a customized SEO and SERP strategy for you that works. FTx 360 is a transparent digital marketing agency that serves both B2C and B2B businesses of all industries at affordable prices. Don’t believe us? Use this Build Your Own Quote form and see for yourself! Chances are, we’ll get back to you with a personalized quote before you even finish reading this article!
Now, let’s get down to SEO business… Here are 8 tips to increase organic ranking…
Google uses mobile-first website indexing algorithms, which means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, we have some very bad news for you. Your site isn’t getting ranked. Yikes! Drop everything right now and take the time to turn your desktop-configured website into a responsive, mobile-friendly one. Google has published an extremely helpful Mobile-first Indexing Best Practices Guide you can use. The same guide will help you confirm that Google bots will be able to crawl and index your website without issue.
You’re probably aware of the importance of using outbound links, also known as external links, in your web content. But what are you doing to increase the number of backlinks to your website? Backlinks are when other websites use your web page URLs as their own outbound links. When other websites link to your site, it elevates your standing with Google, and if those other websites hold a high Google ranking, then it can benefit your site’s ranking even more. Think of it as popularity by association, which is another form of “social proof.”
Let’s get down to brass tacks. The more backlinks you have to your website, the greater the chance that Google bots will presume you’re an authority in your field and should therefore be elevated in the SERP ranking. In the spirit of popularity, you’ll need to get social if you want to increase your backlinks. Meaning, you might need to send a few emails or—gulp—pick up the phone and ask reputable, non-competing websites, bloggers, and other influencers if they would like to exchange links with you wherein they hyperlink to your URLs on their sites and you do the same for them.
One of the biggest impactors of your Google ranking is the frequency with which you publish new content. New content, whether it be a new product description page, new landing page, or entirely revised website, provides Google with additional SEO keywords that it can use to recommend your website to search engine users. As users discover your website via Google, Google will assess the inbound traffic and reward your website accordingly by elevating its ranking. If you’re only publishing new web content on your site once a year, your organic ranking is probably going to fall lower and lower down in the search results.
The easiest “fix” to frequently generating new SEO might seem easier said than done, but we believe in you and know you can do it! By simply adding a blog to your website and committing to regularly publishing an article, you will naturally add SEO keywords to your website and the long-term accumulation will positively impact your Google ranking. Ideally, if you published two articles per week that each totaled 2,000 words, your SERP ranking would rise faster than a bun in an oven, but no one expects you to set the bar that high. In fact, regularity is more important than article length. If you can only publish one micro-blog every other week, then do it, stick to it, and the results will speak for themselves.
Elevating your search engine ranking is only helpful if you’re generating the right kind of web traffic. What is the right kind of web traffic? Web traffic that contains interested consumers who quickly convert into paying customers. It’s really not going to matter if you’re #1 on Google SERP if 100% of your web traffic contains twelve-year old French girls who are in no position to buy the used cars you’re selling in Boise, ID. Make sure your keywords and longtail keyword phrases will successfully target your ideal customer by using Google’s Keyword Planner.
A meta description is the readable description about your website that Google users see beneath your website title in the search results. Meta descriptions are elements of the HTML of your website, and typically range from 100 – 160 characters in length, or 22 words. Relevant meta descriptions that include a few targeted keywords tend to perform the best. Because the meta description of your web page is the main deciding factor of whether or not a user clicks or scrolls, you’ll want to make sure that the content is compelling, clear, and also attractive. With that in mind, be sure that your web domain page titles, otherwise called <title> HTML tags, are concise yet descriptive; and make sure that your ALT tags, which are additional HTML elements, include essential keywords.
Finally, after all the work you put into increasing your organic ranking on Google and other search engines, it’s important that you’re able to track your web visitors and tally all the leads your website generates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is because elevating your SERP ranking is really only half the battle. The other half involves making sure the results really are benefiting your business in the form of expanding your customer base and increasing your revenue. The Google Search Console and Google Analytics can provide SEO insights that you can leverage to adjust and improve your SEO and SERP strategies.
That concludes our tips to increase your website’s organic ranking, which means it’s time to either roll up your sleeves… or give us a call. The marketing specialists at FTx 360 would love to work with you to drive web traffic and boost engagement!
There has been a fair amount of controversy in the last five years regarding how marketers should write web content so that Google elevates the search engine ranking of the site in question.
One camp of marketers insists that website content, such as web pages, product descriptions, professional services, and blog articles should be written so simplistically, straightforwardly, and concisely that anyone with a 6th grade reading comprehension level will be able to understand it. This camp believes that content should be written for people, albeit people who aren’t necessarily the sharpest tools in the toolbox.
Another camp of marketers operates as though the sole purpose of publishing written content online is to elevate website search engine ranking, and therefore all content should be composed to maximize the chances that Google bots will determine the website’s content is “valuable.” This camp believes that content should be written with as many popular SEO keywords as possible so that the content pleases Google bots and Google’s ever-changing algorithms even if doing so causes the actual verbiage to sound awkward, stilted, or downright grammatically incorrect.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of my ideal customer, neither a 6th grader nor a Google bot comes to mind… But I digress.
Does content that consumers love tend to rank poorly on Google?
Will content that’s written for the specific purpose of maximizing search engine ranking automatically repulse living, breathing web visitors?
Why do Google bots exist if they’ve been programmed to value what consumers despise and penalize what consumers value?
The answers to these questions can be summed up in a single statement: Google bots have been programmed to mimic consumer behavior and value what consumers value.
In other words, the entire “content controversy” is based on a faulty assumption.
You see, professional writers tend to insist that excellent writing has the power to render the need for SEO techniques obsolete. On the other hand, professional webmasters and SEO strategists tend to presume that strategic SEO is so effective that it can elevate the search engine ranking of even the most poorly written drivel. These two diametrically opposed mentalities have caused marketers to split into those two camps I mentioned.
If you ask me, massive egos are to blame…
The fact of the matter is that content must be well-written and also utilize effective SEO techniques. You can’t favor one over the other and expect your website to positively impact your business revenue.
Let’s cut to the chase. You want to learn the characteristics of “well written” content, and you want to understand how you, as a marketer, can ensure that the content you write satisfies the quality criteria for both consumers and Google bots.
Step one is to free yourself from the mindset of those “camps” I’ve been referencing. The rest of the steps are laid out in this article, so keep reading.
Your business is unique, which means your customers are unique individuals with unique needs. This means that the content you write should speak to your audience. You can identify your audience and understand who your ideal customer is by analyzing your Customer Relationship Management data as well as your web traffic reporting and analytics data.
Do not become seduced by the prospect of writing content for a broad audience as if doing so will result in acquiring new customers. It will backfire. Meaning, if you write your content in such a way that caters to people with a low reading comprehension level even though your ideal client holds a graduate degree, earns a seven-figure salary, and places a high premium on credentials and expertise, you will only end up turning off the people you want to do business with.
Instead, be polarizing.
There’s no real risk of excluding consumers who were never going to become your customers anyway. However, there’s a real benefit to composing your content in such a way that it exclusively addresses a niche audience. In fact, intentionally writing for a niche audience will organically boost your search engine ranking when it comes to consumers who use longtail keyword phrases to find business websites that offer very specific products, services, and solutions.
This type of consumer will be more likely to quickly convert into a customer once they land on your website, which is far more beneficial than having one hundred consumers land on your website who never buy.
Write your content as though you are speaking to your ideal customer, one-on-one. If your customer base is largely comprised of ten-year olds, then speak to them in their language with their vocabulary, remaining mindful of their limited attention span.
Use the following checklist as you write:
● Identify and use the best word choices
● Find and use high-ranking keywords
● Understand your niche audience
● Speak to your audience in their language
● Study your competition
● Write with confidence, challenge existing opinions, be polarizing
● Create a content template based on your high-ranking content for future use
If you’ve been keeping up with the FTx 360 blog, then you’ve already read several articles about SEO, including What Is SEO?, How to Spot Negative SEO, and Ways to Increase Web Traffic. For tips on how to determine which keywords and longtail keyword phrases to use, be sure to check out those articles.
Then, in order to compose effective content that Google bots will love just as much as consumers, keep the following pointers in mind as you write:
● Understand SEO copywriting
● Incorporate keywords in your headline
● Optimize for clarity
● Understand on-page SEO
● Build sentences and paragraphs that naturally utilize longtail keyword phrases
● Google boosts articles that are at least 2,400 words
● Google elevates the ranking of websites that have longer visitor engagement sessions
Ready to analyze the real technical side of your website to ensure that Google bots will love, love, love your website? It’s time to talk about Robots.txt.
The term “robots.txt” is shorthand for “robots exclusion protocol.” A robots.txt file is a website text file that’s sole purpose is to inform search engine robots, including Google bots, whether or not robots have permission to “crawl” the web page that the robots.txt file belongs to.
What this means is that Google won’t automatically crawl your website by virtue of the fact that your site exists, in the same way that your neighbor won’t automatically enter your house just because it’s right across the street. Before Google crawls a given web page, its robots will first read the robots.txt file for permission and instructions.
Do you want to permit Google to crawl every page on your website? Maybe. Or maybe not. That’s up to you. If, for instance, you have indexed your website with archived content, you wouldn’t want Google to crawl both the featured content and its archived duplicate, because Google will penalize the duplication and demote your ranking.
You can “disallow” Google bots from crawling web pages by setting the appropriate allowances and disallowances within your robots.txt files.
Where can you find your robots.txt files in order to review and modify the permissions?
Simply type your website’s URL into the search bar, followed by “/robots.txt.” Let’s use FTx 360 as an example. Type the following URL into your search bar:
You will notice:
User – agent: *
That exact information is what Google will adhere to prior to crawling our website pages.
What does yours include? Be sure to review your robots.txt files for each of your web pages and make sure that the files reflect what you want to allow and disallow.
In the rare event that there aren’t any robots.txt files associated with your website, Google will proceed as though they have full permission to crawl and index your entire site. If that’s okay with you, then there’s nothing you need to do. Robots.txt will be your friend across the board.
But if you prefer certain pages of your website not to be crawled and indexed by Google and other search engines, then you’ll need to create robots.txt files and meticulously list the permissions you want in place, blocking Google from any pages you don’t want their bots to crawl.
Cleaning up your robots.txt files is an integral aspect of ensuring that the web page content crawled and indexed by bots are elevated on Google’s search engine ranking so that visitors discover and read them.
Are you familiar with the digital marketing term, “cloaking”? If not, you aren’t alone. I’ve been writing digital content for over eight years and only recently have I been introduced to the concept of “cloaking.”
Anyone who has ever dared venture into the online dating world has likely been the victim of some degree of cloaking. You chat with what you believe to be an attractive individual on the dating platform, only to discover when you finally meet them in person that they are 20 years older and 80 lbs heavier than their profile pictures indicated…
In a nutshell, “cloaking” can be defined as falsely representing your URL content to Google’s search engine spiders for the purposes of luring online users to your website. Similar to a washed-up 45 year-old who uses his nephew’s handsome bodybuilding photos in order to score dates on OKCupid, “cloaking” involves providing Google with an inaccurate portrayal of your website in order to elevate search engine ranking and drive web traffic.
There are many reasons why “cloaking” is a big no-no in the digital marketing world, but the biggest of all is that businesses that use cloaking as an SEO tactic ultimately end up turning potential customers into infuriated website visitors.
When a potential customer uses Google to search for the best mechanic in town and your website appears in the first page of the search results, you better be a mechanic. If you’re selling used cars instead, you’re going to have one very irritated website visitor.
Now, chances are, you would have never heard of cloaking if not for reading this article. You might be thinking right now that you’re in no danger of “cloaking” your website in order to “game the Google system,” so why am I bothering to tell you about cloaking in the first place?
Because there are unethical digital marketing agencies out there who attempt to use cloaking without their clients’ knowledge in order to “deliver outstanding SEO results.” These agencies like to boast that they’ll get your website on the first page of Google’s search results, only to end up using unethical tactics to succeed. Worst of all, despite elevating their clients’ websites on Google, they provide virtually no ROI, because deceived website visitors obviously do not become online customers.
What are the “cloaking” red flags to look out for when you’re considering partnering with a digital marketing agency? Are there warning signs that can help you avoid these disreputable “cloaking” agencies? And if you’ve recently discovered that the digital marketing agency you’ve hired has “cloaked” your website, what can you do about it now?
Let’s take a look…
Cloaking is not only unethical, but unlawful in 2021. Ethical webmasters employ search engine optimization techniques as they index the websites they build. This is fine. But how can you tell whether a webmaster has used ethical SEO techniques or illegal ones? You can find out for yourself what a digital agency has been up to by investigating their clients’ websites. Here’s what to look for:
● Check for AdWords cloaking scripts, PHP URL cloaking scripts, and URL cloaking scripts
● Review the SERP directly by turning on “Preserve Log” in “Chrome DevTools,” switching your user type to “Googlebot,” and going to the website directly from Google to compare the “Googlebot” content to the “online user” content
● Use a “cloaking checker” tool, like the one offered at Dupli Checker
Needless to say, if you discover any prospective marketing agency has used cloaking for their clients’ websites, run.
When Google discovers that a website has used “cloaking” to elevate SEO ranking, then Google will blacklist the website, period. It is very hard to bounce back once you’ve been blacklisted. Protect your business so that you don’t hire an agency that resorts to these unethical SEO tactics. Here are the questions to ask potential webmasters and digital marketers before you sign a contract:
● Will you use PBNs to increase my website’s rank on Google?
● Will you republish high-ranking web content for me in order to maintain a favorable SEO ranking?
● Will you maximize SEO and backlinks by assigning a team to leave comments under all my website’s blog articles?
If a marketing agency answers “yes” to any of the above questions, run. It’s a very good idea to familiarize yourself with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines prior to interviewing your agency candidates.
What if you recently discovered that the digital marketing agency you’ve been working with has used cloaking and other “black hat SEO” techniques, which have now backfired, resulting in your website being blacklisted by Google? Can you recover? It’s possible, but recovering won’t happen overnight. That being said, here are the steps you can take today to submit a “reconsideration request” to Google:
● First navigate to Google Search Console > Crawl > Fetch, and fetch the web pages from the affected portions of your website
● Compare your web content that is fetched by Google to the web content your online users see and resolve all variations between the two so that the content is the same
● Finally, check all redirects on your site and remove the faulty ones that send users to an unexpected destination and / or ones that utilize “conditional redirects”
● Once you’ve completed the above steps, submit your reconsideration request to Google
If you do not want to attempt resolving the Google violations yourself, preferring instead to hire a reputable marketing agency, then just be sure to relay to the new digital marketing agency the specific Google penalties you’ve received. Did you receive a “partial match” penalty or a “site-wide match” penalty? Let the new agency know so that they can focus on fixing the specific violations.
Cloaking, or “black hat SEO,” is the result of plugging misleading content into Google for the specific purpose of optimizing SEO. In technical terms, this is accomplished when the marketer provides Google’s bots with a “server-side script,” i.e. a Google-friendly variation of the website. How would a website know that a “visitor” is a “search engine robot” and not a real user? Rather than digress into a detailed and highly technical explanation of how that’s done, let’s put it this way: Artificial Intelligence has come a long way.
Originally, A.I. was not developed for the purposes of helping unethical marketers to lie, cheat, and steal. But very unfortunately, mastering the best A.I. strategies in order to inform Google’s bots of URL content is what led fraudsters to invent “cloaking” in the first place.
You see, web developers, SEO strategists, and digital marketers are supposed to provide Google bots with URL information. This information must be truncated. For example, if a website sells over 500 products, the URL description that is written specifically for Google is obviously not going to include mention of all 500 products. Savvy SEO strategists will therefore choose to highlight only the most SEO-friendly products to mention within the Google-specific “scripts.” If organic coffee is the most popular product a website sells, for instance, then the “scripts” used for Google will focus on organic coffee and won’t mention the other 499 organic produce, meat, and tea products that are also for sale on the site.
Hopefully, by this point you see the distinction between acceptable SEO strategies and unethical “black hat SEO” cloaking.
The big takeaway to remember is that if real, living, breathing users love your web content, then Google bots will, too. Always write for people. Never write for the sake of pleasing algorithms if doing so comes at the expense of providing quality content to actual people. After all, Google bots are not your potential customers, people are, so be sure to keep the horse in front of the cart if you want to elevate your search engine ranking on Google.
Are you looking for a reputable digital marketing agency to develop your website, write your content, and handle your SEO? FTx 360 offers web design and development, content writing, and SEO marketing and optimization services for businesses of all industries. If you’ve been the victim of black hat SEO, we can fix it, repair your reputation, and put you on the fast track to building trust with consumers. Contact us to speak with our webmasters, content writers, and experienced marketing strategists today.
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Have you ever walked into a house and fallen in love with the atmosphere? Everything from the home furnishings to the stylized decor to the archways that connect each beautifully laid out room contributed to the wonderful experience you had while there. At the time, you might not have been aware that an architect had to draw up blueprints and contractors had to construct the home, first and foremost, in order for the interior design team who came in next to paint, furnish, and decorate. You see, your experience at the house, which left a lasting impression on you, would not have been possible without the architect and the contractors who built according to the blueprints.
In the same way, the specific experience you have on any given website would not be possible without the architect of the website, otherwise known as the lead web developer, and his or her team of builders who are the web developers that actually construct the website by writing coded language.
Producing a final website is not possible without a web designer, or website design team, just as a house would never go on the market until the walls had been painted, the floors tiled, and the overall decor arranged to give the best impression to prospective buyers. Today, we are going to focus on web developers, but if you would like to learn more about web designers, check out Web Design Trends, which goes into detail on the subject.
In this article, you will learn about website developers, what they’re responsible for, and what they can do for your business. Frontend, backend, and full-stack web development skills are just the beginning of what professional website developers bring to the table. They also create the basic structure and presentation of a website using website scripting languages. All-in-all, their work greatly impacts SEO, inbound marketing, and even revenue increases. Keep reading to discover everything there is to know about web development and what hiring a web developer can do for your company.
A website developer is a skilled programmer who specializes in building “World Wide Web” applications, i.e. websites.
The anchor of a website, which is the bedrock that web developers build upon, is a URL. In today’s competitive market, all websites use “custom domains.” A custom domain, also referred to as a vanity URL, is the branded website name that appears in the address bar of every web browser. Custom domains are not free and must be purchased by a qualifying provider and registered.
There are three primary types of web developers who build out custom domain URL websites. These are frontend developers, backend developers, and full-stack developers. Let’s take a look at what each of these three types of developers do.
As you might have guessed, just as the “frontend” developer is responsible for everything website visitors will see, the backend web developer is responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes in order to make a website function. Their territory is often referred to as the “server-side,” because backend developers work on the “guts” of the website within the server, application, and database. In order to ensure excellent UX, or user experience, backend developers collaborate with frontend developers as they develop code.
Highly experienced web developers generally go beyond offering either frontend or backend development services. Instead, these developers learn both sides of the development equation. Any website developer who offers frontend as well as backend web development is called a “full-stack web developer.” Known in the industry as development geniuses, full-stack web developers do it all because they know it all.
Whether you hire front-end and back-end developers or hire a single full-stack developer, your web developers should be mindful to build MarTech into your site for you. Shorthand for “marketing technology,” the term MarTech refers to any marketing software solution that helps marketers research, strategize, execute, analyze, and optimize their campaigns across all digital platforms. MarTech combines marketing with technology, and oftentimes marketers will consolidate multiple MarTech solutions into a stack, known as a MarTech Stack. The purpose of utilizing MarTech is to improve engagement with customers and drive sales, and yes, really smart web developers will build your website with your future marketing strategies in mind.
Short for “cascading style sheets,” CSS directly impacts the experiences visitors have when they interact with a website. CSS programming language modifies and enhances HTML to define the website’s layout, formatting, and overall presentation. This programming language is considered a cornerstone technology for the World Wide Web. Like HTML, web developers are experts in CSS due to the fact that reliable, functional, well-performing websites cannot be built without this essential language.
Website developers have a massive responsibility—to provide the best user experience, or UX, possible. Since web developers construct the layout of a website, which involves working closely with website designers, they are responsible for creating visually interesting and experientially engaging web pages that load fast and perform excellently. This means that web developers take extreme care when developing landing pages and optimizing websites for their inbound marketing potential, which includes coding opt-in forms and other marketing CTAs right into the web pages
themselves. Let’s take a look.
Landing pages have many synonyms, such as a lead capture page, squeeze page, and destination page, to name a few. Whichever term is used, this type of page refers to a single web page that’s
used as part of a digital marketing CTA for lead generation. For example, when an internet user clicks on a SEO search result, marketing email, or online advertisement, they are directed to the landing page that the web developer has set up. Landing pages typically display content that’s relevant to the user’s search or the ad the user clicked. And yes, a savvy web developer will be your best bet for including lead generation capabilities like this on your website.
A savvy web developer is also your best bet for connecting effective inbound marketing channels to your website. Inbound marketing strategies include content marketing, SEO, social media, blogs, and other digital marketing methods that draw consumers into a business’ marketing funnel. Inbound marketing campaign content places an emphasis on personally connecting with consumers and solving consumer pain points, which indirectly promotes the business’ products and solutions. Put simply, inbound marketing is any strategy that helps potential customers discover a business or
As we mentioned, opt-in forms and other CTAs are coded right into your web pages by your web developer. These forms and CTAs appear on websites and function as data collection tools. When a lead fills out an opt-in form on your website, information about the lead is automatically gathered and stored for you to leverage in the future during your marketing campaigns.
Web developers, as you can see, are truly responsible for the fate of the websites they develop.
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the objective of driving online user traffic to a website by elevating the website’s standing with search engines such as Google. Ideally, businesses want their websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search results whenever a user is looking for a company like theirs. Using relevant keywords within web content optimizes search engine ranking. Keywords are words, phrases, or questions that a Google user might type into the search bar in order to generate a list of possible websites relevant to their search topic. The term SEO only applies to non-paid, organic search results. Web developers contribute to the SEO of the websites they develop.
As a business owner, you want to maximize your daily site visitors. A “site visitor” is any internet user who lands on or navigates through your website. Websites collect valuable visitor data, including IP addresses and cookies, to determine how many unique site visitors have visited each web page, where those site visitors came from, and what actions they took while visiting the website. This is data you want, which means optimizing your website for SEO is a must. What can you do with visitor data? A lot. By analyzing the number of visitors that land on your website, you will learn important metrics such as the overall visitor frequency along with crucial demographic information. This information can then be leveraged during the creation and publication of additional website content to improve website traffic and increase sales revenue.
Launching a blog is easily the most worthwhile strategy in terms of integrating new SEO into your business website, so be sure to ask your web developer to include a blog on the site they develop for you. By featuring a blog on your website, you will organically begin to build brand awareness, improve SEO, drive website traffic, and increase revenue. Short for “web-logs,” blogs are actually considered an original social media platform for two reasons. Posts can be published frequently to immediately engage an audience, and discussions are often triggered based on the articles’ content. These discussions unfold in the comments section beneath each post. By including opt-in forms within your blog posts and automating the publication of each article, you can effectively convert website visitors into loyal customers.
Another effective SEO strategy involves using “dynamic content” on your website, and any web developer worth his or her salt will program your site using dynamic content. Also called adaptive content, dynamic content refers to the component on web pages that changes the page’s content based on visitor data, behavior, and preferences. Because these content changes can be automated, dynamic content keeps site visitors engaged while freeing up marketers to focus on other tasks. Changing the content naturally updates the web page’s SEO, which can improve search engine ranking.
Business owners who want to avoid hiring a web developer and who are not prepared to learn how to use HTML editors and in-line coding themselves might opt to use a WYSIWYG website building platform instead.
Instead of writing web page code and building your website from scratch all on your own, you could opt for a What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG, website building platform. These user-friendly platforms come with rich text editors, drag-and-drop editors, and point-and-click editors. In other words, a WYSIWYG platform will enable you to quickly build and edit your website once you have chosen a template from their CMS. Let’s take a look.
CMS, or content management systems, provide users with technologically simplistic templates. These templates can be edited with drag-and-drop features, as we mentioned. The user-friendly nature of website builders with CMS allows the user to construct a fully functional website or eCommerce store without the help of a professional web developer. This is due to the fact that the CMS platform itself handles all of the basic backend infrastructure. Once your WYSIWYG website is established, the CMS software platform will help you create, manage, modify, and schedule all of your content in an organized, easy-to-execute manner.
Let’s take an in-depth look at “point-and-click” editors, “drag-and-drop” editors, and mobile-optimized responsive website design so that you’re fully informed in case you choose to go the WYSIWYG route.
Point-and-click editing is a design feature that empowers the user to add elements of code into web pages without having to formally program that code into the backend. Point-and-click editor allows the user to easily add plugins, source buttons, and code snippets among other widgets to the pages of their website or eCommerce store without having to rely on a web designer. Businesses can also invest in free-standing point-and-click editors to create, write, and revise their Wikipedia pages and other online business encyclopedias.
A drag-and-drop website builder enables users to create a website without having to learn CSS commands or write code. The user simply selects a basic layout theme from a library of professionally designed templates and proceeds to drag-and-drop widgets, fill in text, and make other alterations to personalize the site for their business. Drag-and-drop website builders give business owners the freedom to build their websites exactly as they want and easily update their web content without having to rely on a web designer or agency.
A mobile-optimized responsive website design template is a build-your-own-website template that has been designed to display correctly on all devices for optimal viewing. The templates themselves are coded to automatically adapt to any screen size and orientation so that the website looks great, functions well, and is easy to read on computers, smartphones, and tablets. If you opt to build your own website instead of hiring a professional web developer, then be sure to choose a web building platform that offers mobile-optimized responsive web design templates.
At the end of the day, your business website has the potential to be your most powerful digital marketing tool. When visitors land on your website, they read the home page, navigate through the entire site, and decide whether or not to purchase your products and services based on their experience interacting with your website. For this reason, making sure that your website performs excellently is the most important thing you can do for your business.
Is your website performing as well as it should? Our article, What Do Customers Look For in a Website? can help you determine where your site stands in the eyes of consumers, so be sure to give it a read.
If your website or eCommerce store isn’t performing as well as it should, you could try your hand at constructing a new site using a WYSIWYG web building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly… Or you could have the website development team at FTx 360 handle your site for you. Our web developers work hand-in-hand with artistic website designers to produce stunning websites that strike a perfect balance between beautiful and functional, and our websites always load properly on mobile devices. Contact us to check out our portfolio or get your project started with our web development services today.
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On a global scale, approximately 547,200 new websites are created every single day. As of the publication of this article, 24 million eCommerce sites across the world are actively selling products. According to data compiled from IBISWorld, U.S. eCommerce sales reached $211.5 billion in the second quarter of 2020, which represents a 44.5% increase compared to the second quarter of 2019.
The eCommerce sector, regardless of industry, is extremely competitive. The market is growing exponentially. But don’t worry. Your eCommerce business isn’t automatically doomed to get lost in the fray. There are plenty of marketing strategies you can implement today that will increase sales tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
In this article, we’ll show you how to promote your eCommerce website using 5 marketing ideas that work.
Search engine optimization is a marketing method that uses targeted keywords and longtail keyword phrases to elevate a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google. SEO typically refers to organic, non-paid keyword strategies. The desired result of any SEO effort is to increase a website’s online visibility and traffic. Check out What Is SEO? to learn specific SEO strategies, including how to generate relevant keywords.
49% of marketers report that organic search engine optimization has the best ROI of any marketing channel, according to Search Engine Journal.
Devising an SEO strategy for your eCommerce site includes three areas, each with its own steps:
● First, you’ll have to do a little research to figure out the frequently searched words, terms, and phrases that search engine users typically type into the search bar. You can identify these SEO keywords by using Ahrefs, Amazon, Google, or any SEM tool.
● Next, you’ll need to create new content with the keywords you’ve selected. You could revise your eCommerce Home Page using keywords, or spruce up your product descriptions with them. This second step of plugging fresh keywords into your site should become a periodic practice.
● Finally, you’ll need to analyze the impact of those SEO keywords, using Google Analytics or another tool that measures the success of your SEO strategy.
Multichannel marketing for an eCommerce company refers to diversifying your sales platform. Yes, your eCommerce site is obviously your primary sales platform. But in today’s competitive market, businesses succeed online when they meet their customers’ wants and needs, including their preferences for where they want to shop. Facebook has made buying online extremely convenient, and the same can be said about Amazon. By opening a Facebook Store, you can cater to consumers who want to shop there, and others that prefer to visit your website can access it through Facebook via the URL you provide.
By the year 2040, an estimated 95% of all purchases will occur online through eCommerce, according to Nasdaq.
Spread your brand across multiple channels to diversify your sales and income streams. Follow these steps to get started:
● Research where your potential customers are congregating online. Are they on Instagram the most, or do they fill up the comments sections of YouTube? Find out so you’ll know where to focus your efforts.
● Focus on the top 3 channels where your potential customers spend their online time, then develop posting strategies on those platforms. By engaging users, they will begin to view and interact with your brand, which will lead to sales through those platforms if not your eCommerce site.
● Since multichannel marketing is all about creating different paths for consumers to travel in order to get to the purchasing stage of their shopping experience, it’s okay to start small, as long as the customer journey is easy and rewarding.
If you have an advertising expense budget, the best way to allocate your funds in 2021 is into podcast advertisements. Yes, it’s true. Regardless of the overall popularity of a podcast, the fact of the matter is that podcasts garner very loyal audiences, and those audiences tend to be comprised of specific demographics. This means that the podcast itself has already corralled your ideal customers, and by buying ad space, you can speak to all of them at once.
54% of podcast listeners will lean towards buying products that were recommended on podcasts, according to Edison Research.
Narrowing down the best podcast to invest in requires a little research. Start with these initial steps:
● Contact podcasts that are relevant to your industry to find out the size of their listenership and the costs for different ad spots. The ad sales department should be able to send you a demographic report that organizes their audience by categories such as age, gender, location, and interests, among other variables.
● Choose the most affordable ad spot. This could be a shorter pre-roll or post-roll spot, which will play at the beginning or end of the podcast episode. Pricier spots typically play in the middle of the podcast when listenership is the highest.
● Lastly, you’ll need to record a high-quality audio ad that meets the technical requirements and standards of the podcast.
In terms of regularly generating fresh, targeted, relevant keywords that harness the power of SEO and directly impact your eCommerce site’s Google ranking, nothing beats a blog. Launching and maintaining a blog is a highly effective promotional strategy. Blogs expand brand reach and online presence, as well as help to validate the business as a credible authority. All of which will lead to consumer trust. For detailed tips on blogging, be sure to read Creating a Remarkable Business Blog.
63% of online consumers in the U.S. have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Summarizing the article on blogging referenced above, here’s how you can promote your eCommerce site by adding a Blog tab and posting on a regular schedule:
● When creating the content of each blog post, aim to follow the “information, inspiration, call-to-action” format. This means that the content should inform the reader by first addressing a “pain point” they’re experiencing and then suggesting solutions to fix that particular pain point problem. The suggestions should “inspire” the reader. And finally, the article should wrap up with a call-to-action that encourages the reader to purchase the product that will “solve” their problem from your eCommerce site.
● Be sure to work your keywords into the written content. Keep the paragraphs short so that the article is easy to read. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to list information, all of which ensures easy reading.
● Break up the text even more with images, photos, and graphics. Include a “subscribe” button at the bottom of each post, and as you collect email addresses, be sure to use them wisely when you promote your recently published blog posts.
Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, the use of “chatbots” has risen as a prefered method of customer relationship management and customer service. Meaning, your eCommerce site visitors would probably appreciate being able to ask straightforward questions and get fast answers via a chatbot box. There are two kinds of chatbots—purely robotic or a live person. Depending on the size of your eCommerce business, you may opt to use one or both types of chatbots. A live person might not be able to accommodate a great volume of inquiries. Remember, consumers expect fast responses, so if there’s any chance your employee will take longer than 5 minutes to reply, then the safer route would be to integrate a machine-learning A.I. “robotic” chatbot.
Roughly 50% of consumers have ended up making an eCommerce purchase after interacting with the site’s chatbot, according to Drift.com.
The success or failure of an A.I. chatbot completely depends on whether or not your eCommerce site visitor can tell they’re talking to a machine-learning robot. The point being, even if you use an A.I. chatbot, you want your website visitors to believe it’s a real, live person. Here are some tips to keep you—or your hired chatbot developer—on track:
● The chatbot should exhibit a discernable degree of empathy when appropriate. Firstly, the bot must be programmed to use language properly so that it can smoothly speak with the customer typing on the other end of the box.
● In order for the chatbot to function properly, i.e. provide appropriate, relevant, and accurate answers to customer questions, the chatbot first must be programmed with all the necessary information. Also, it should be “trained” to ask the customer to provide more details when required. Remember, better answers equal better service.
● Train the chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. Depending on the nature of your business and the products you sell on your eCommerce site, you’ve probably noticed that customers tend to have a range of specific questions. Chatbots can, in fact, be trained to answer those specific questions.
Additional marketing methods that can greatly enhance your efforts to promote your eCommerce website include:
Are you ready to get your eCommerce marketing strategy started? FTx 360 offers SEO marketing and optimization plans for eCommerce businesses. Contact us to speak with a professional marketing strategist today.
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The value of implementing content marketing campaigns as part of your overall digital marketing strategy cannot be overstated.
Traditional advertising is costly, impersonal, and frankly, going out of style.
Digital content marketing is economical, highly personal, and wonderfully conversational in a way consumers love.
But in order to quantify the real value of content marketing, business owners must first understand what it is.
As the name suggests, content marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses content—both written and visual—to attract internet users to a business’ website for the purposes of converting visitors into customers.
Generating successful content involves pairing excellently written content with stunning visuals, such as intriguing photos, engaging graphics, entertaining videos, and impactful multimedia.
Examples of content used for digital marketing include:
web pages, product & service descriptions,
blog posts & email newsletter content,
in-app notification content & SMS text message content,
podcasts & webinars,
e-books & educational articles,
and even social media promotions!
Once the finalized content is published online, the content’s built-in SEO keywords will prompt Google and other search engines to recommend the published content web pages to consumers who type those very keywords into the search bar.
There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between publishing quality content online and gaining loyal customers, which is why content marketing has quickly become one of the most popular digital marketing strategies around.
But popularity spawns competition. As more and more companies discover the value of using dynamic content marketing strategies, the higher the “bar” rises in terms of quality. What does this mean for business owners who want to stand out from the competition and win loyal customers using content marketing specifically?
Shape up or ship out.
If that sounds severe, it should. The competition is cut-throat and consumers have short attention spans. The next website, eCommerce store, hashtag thread, YouTube channel, or podcast is only a click away, and if you do not hook your visitor the moment they land on your page, they aren’t going to stick around.
But there’s good news for all you ambitious entrepreneurs who want to roll your sleeves up, throw your hats into the ring, and fight to gain loyal customers before your opponents do!
In this article, we’ll lay out exactly what you can do to up your content marketing game so that you can take advantage of all the benefits that content marketing has to offer!
By implementing content marketing strategies, a business can differentiate their brand from their competitors and stand out within their industry marketplace. Content marketing, as a method of communication, develops customer trust and improves brand credibility within online communities, social media circles, and even major search engines like Google.
Talk about value! If you can convince Google you’re the leading expert within your industry, the sky will be the limit in terms of how much web traffic will funnel to your site!
You might be tempted to err on the side of caution and only dip your toe into the content marketing waters, but if you want to make a big splash, engage your audience, and earn big bucks, we recommend you dive headfirst and implement these four content marketing initiatives:
● Website Content
● Product & Service Descriptions
● Blog Posts
● Email Newsletters
Let’s take a look at each…
For businesses of all sizes, increasing web traffic is an integral aspect of growing a solid customer base. This is especially true for eCommerce stores and other companies that rely on web-based platforms. A company’s web content, whether intentional or blissfully accidental, contains SEO keywords, which essentially magnetize Google users to the company’s website, which is great!
But did you know that your website is in danger of aging? Websites containing stale content that have not been updated in a year or more actually slide down Google’s ranking system. Just because your website is on the first page of Google’s search results today, doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. If you don’t revamp your website and publish brand-new, SEO-rich content periodically, it will only be a matter of time before your site slides down to the 5th, or 50th, page of Google’s results!
Keep the high ranking you’ve earned and stay on the first page of Google’s results by updating your entire website with fresh content at least every six months.
A great way to publish updated website and eCommerce store content without investing in a major site design overhaul is to frequently update the descriptions of your current products and services, and also publish new products and services descriptions on your site as soon as they’re ready for purchase. Even short, well-written descriptions of only three sentences can provide enough trending SEO keywords to keep your website relevant.
The trick is to first research and select the best keywords for your products, audience, and industry. If your descriptions are going to be a strict 30 words, don’t attempt to plug too many keywords into the verbiage or you’ll run the risk of sounding awkward. Try using only three keywords, or one longtail keyword phrase plus one keyword. Once you have those, be sure to compose the content using an expressive “voice” that captures the tone of your brand.
Customers naturally connect with content that is written in a personable, expressive manner, because the conversational tone helps them relate to your brand. As opposed to customers that don’t connect with your content, you will always forge deeper, longer lasting relationships with customers that relate to your brand.
One smart way to regularly publish SEO-rich content that will drive traffic to your website or eCommerce store is to launch a blog on your site. Blogs are a cost-effective way to promote your company and build your online presence. Best of all, blogging can validate your business and establish your brand as a leading authority within your industry.
The one caveat that you must respect if you want your blog to succeed at keeping your website ranking high on Google and other search engines is that you must commit to a publishing schedule and stick to it. Be realistic. Know your capabilities and limitations. Can you commit to drafting, editing, and proofreading one blog per week? Will that leave you enough time to also create stunning visuals such as graphics, photos, and multimedia images to go along with each weekly article?
When it comes to blogging, it’s better to post once a month without fail—or once every two weeks without fail—than it is to post once a day for two weeks and then not post again for two months. Consistency is everything. If you can maintain a consistent publishing schedule, offer an e-newsletter opt-in, and begin collecting subscriber contact information, the value of your blog will soon become immeasurable.
Consumers love content marketing, as we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. When a brand puts out content for customers to read and engage with, those customers feel a sense of personal connection with the brand. And nothing gets more personalized than email marketing. With email marketing, you can analyze CRM data—Customer Relationship Management Data—to segment your customers into highly specified groups, and customize the campaigns you send out to each group.
Create individualized content for your segmented customer groups that’s based on their unique interests, product favorites, and the informative subjects they’ve “liked” on your blog, social media, and other platforms. Email marketing can be used for many different campaign types. Retailers can use email marketing campaigns to alert customers to personalized sales they might be interested in. Law and accountant firms can use email marketing to educate and empower their recipients about important laws, rules, filing dates, and regulations, ending every email newsletter with a CTA. Educational institutions can use email marketing to promote their classes, courses, and special events. Email marketing can also be used to conduct surveys and collect valuable feedback from customers!
In short, the greatest value of email marketing is that this marketing strategy builds relationships with customers. Every email is an invitation to that recipient to engage in a one-on-one conversation with you!
Smoke shops, cigar retailers, vape stores, hookah lounges, and even hemp wellness retailers within the CBD industry have one major challenge in common—severe advertising restrictions.
The US Food & Drug Administration has controlled tobacco and nicotine product advertising for decades, but it wasn’t until June of 2009 that the FDA clamped down hard on tobacco industry advertising, including advertising that fell within the scope of digital marketing.
These new FDA rules and regulations were imposed on secondary industries that carried nicotine, tobacco-related, and tobacco-simulated products, namely the vape and CBD markets. Can vape stores run TV ads? Nope. Are cigar retailers allowed to place paid ads on Instagram? Not at all. What about CBD stores, can this type of hemp wellness retailer buy a half-page magazine ad? Not even for a million dollars.
With extreme advertising limitations, how can smoke shops, vape stores, and similar retailers actually promote their tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and smoke-simulation products?
How will these businesses reach customers, sell products, and grow?
Though challenging, marketing tobacco, vape, and alternative nicotine products is not impossible. In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize lawful strategies while staying in compliance with the FDA.
Here are the dos and don’ts of marketing your store.
There is a critical distinction to be made between “advertising” and “marketing”. Just because you, as a tobacco retailer, are prohibited from freely advertising your nicotine products does not mean you’re prohibited from marketing your nicotine products. You can think of “advertising” as directly promoting a product to a consumer audience. By contrast, “marketing” raises brand awareness using indirect methods of promotion. Understanding the difference and sticking strictly to marketing is imperative.
Do: Focus on Marketing
Don’t: Invest in Advertising
First, you must educate yourself about the specific search engine and social media platform policies, and obey those policies. Familiarize yourself with Google’s products promotion rules. Pay particular attention to their prohibited content, restricted content & features, and dangerous products & services. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook each have their own policies and restrictions on nicotine product promotion that you should take a look at.
You might be wondering, if marketing isn’t advertising, then what is it? For smoke and vape retailers, examples of effective marketing include maintaining a Google My Business account, using social media to passively and indirectly attract consumers, and launching a blog, all of which we will cover in this article, so keep reading!
Ready to get started with implementing focused marketing campaigns? Take these next steps:
● Identify your marketing audience
● Research the best marketing strategies for your industry
● Consider marketing automation solutions
FACT: In 2019, the global e-cigarette and vape market size was valued at USD $12.41 billion, and this figure is projected to rise 23.8% between now and 2027! This means that consumers want to find your smoke shop, so make it easy on them by focusing on strategic digital marketing! This according to Statista.com.
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s essentially impossible to advertise your tobacco, nicotine, and vape products via traditional search engine and social media ads, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the internet. Never discount the importance of your internet presence! Even if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store without a corresponding eCommerce site, you still must promote your brand online using digital marketing strategies that include SEO.
Do: Implement an SEO Strategy
Don’t: Discount the Importance of Your Internet Presence
For the purposes of expediency, we’re going to assume you know what SEO is, but if not, check out our blog What Is SEO? Go ahead, we’ll wait… it’s only a 5-minute read. Keywords are the backbone of effective search engine optimization. Choosing current, “hot” keywords as you build your digital content will cause search engines like Google to recommend your site to consumers who are looking for retailers like you.
Yes, as we touched on earlier, even physical retail stores need to invest in expanding their online presence. You don’t have to go so far as launching an eCommerce site, but if you have a website, we strongly recommend you launch an associated blog. Even if you start a simple WordPress blog, you can then create “posts” on your Google My Business account, sharing the article links. This is a great way to get your blogging feet wet while utilizing effective SEO that will communicate directly with Google.
Ready to get started integrating powerful SEO into your marketing strategies? Take these next steps:
● Launch a scalable, mobile-friendly blog
● Focus on Google My Business & building customer reviews
● Invest in professional SEO solutions
FACT: Popular SEO keywords for tobacco, vape, and CBD industry content are constantly shifting and changing as new products are introduced to the market. Regularly publishing blog articles is the best way to keep up, use current keywords, and ensure search engines recommend your store’s website to consumers. This according to Forbes.com.
Want to hear something excruciatingly unfair? Years ago, Big Tobacco tried to game the social media marketing system using paid influencers and basically ruined the concept for the rest of us. What really happened? In May of 2019, roughly 125 public health organizations issued a “cease and desist” order to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to immediately end the promotion of cigarettes and e-cigarettes from Big Tobacco companies. The resulting ban included prohibiting promotions from social media influencers. Then, in epic Big Tobacco fashion, the biggest names in the nicotine business straight-up ignored the order.
Do: Partner with Social Media Influencers
Don’t: Rely Solely on Influencers
So, why in the world do our digital marketing strategists include “partner with social media influencers” as a “do” on this list rather than a “don’t”? Because of our tenacity! We would never advocate trying to game the system. Our clients are small businesses that don’t possess the kind of legal teams that can defend Big-Tobacco-caliber violations.
When it comes to partnering with social media influencers, you have to think waaaaay outside the box, like we do, and like one of our clients has been since they started working with us. We’re referring to CBD Source, the leading cannabidiol retail chain across Pennsylvania and New York State. In April of 2019, CBD Source launched the CBD Podcast, which expanded their customer reach so much that they had to create an eCommerce store just to keep up with the demand. Naturally, their podcast developed into a YouTube channel, and that’s where the real social media influencer strategies took off like a heat seeking missile!
Ready to get started with social media influencers? Take these next steps:
● Contact influencers to plug and review your products
● Launch a podcast, vlog, or YouTube channel
● Test out a professional SSM strategist and analyze the ROI
Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all kinds. When implemented strategically, email marketing campaigns incentivize customers to visit a retail location or eCommerce site, which directly impacts revenue increases. Why is email marketing a definite “do” on this list? Because you can say and promote whatever you want within this private method of communication. That’s right, you can directly advertise your tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and vape products to your recipient list!
Do: Include Email Marketing
Don’t: Spam Using Generic Offers
No two of your customers are exactly alike, however. Don’t spam generic emails to every email address on your list. Effective email marketing campaigns are all about “personalization”. The trick is to only recommend the most relevant products to each of your email recipients. Succeeding at personalizing your email campaigns will depend on the CRM software you’re using. You can’t achieve personalization without having collected data about your customers personal browsing and buying histories.
Whether you collect customer data at the POS system within your retail location or have integrated CRM solutions on the backend of your eCommerce site, you can build a quality sales pipeline as a result of personalized email marketing campaigns. First, analyze your customer data and group your customers into segments according to their likes and interests. Then, tailor personalized email campaigns to each customer segment, informing them of sales, deals, and discounts on items they have a history of loving and buying.
Ready to get started launching an email marketing campaign? Take these next steps:
● Provide shoppers with opt-in subscription methods to join your email list
● Develop concise written content that takes recipient personalization into account
● Use email marketing software solutions with CRM capabilities
FTx 360 can help. Our digital marketing strategists have extensive experience working within the tobacco, vape, and CBD industries. If you have concerns about FDA restrictions, we know the law. We know how to stay in compliance. And we know how to grow businesses using marketing automation, SEO solutions, SSM strategies, and email marketing solutions to build awareness for your brand and expand your loyal customer base.
Ready to get started with our tobacco industry marketing strategies? Contact us today!
At long last, your business website is completely set up. The home page is beautifully branded. Your products and services are clearly indexed. And you’ve even included a few CTAs so that visitors can subscribe to your company’s email newsletter, join your customer loyalty rewards program, and follow your social media accounts.
But how are you actually going to drive traffic to your website?
If you’re unsure how to answer that question, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In this article, we’ll go over proven tactics that will increase web traffic.
The term “website traffic” refers to the volume of users that visit a website. Unlike rush hour traffic, however, that causes bottlenecks, gridlock, and traffic jams, when it comes to web traffic, the more users on a website, the better. The actual number of users that visit your website will depend on the purpose of the site, each visitor’s reason for checking out the site, and how your visitors discovered the site in the first place.
For businesses, organizations, and especially ECommerce retailers, increasing web traffic is crucial to the success of both the website itself and the company at large. If web traffic doesn’t increase, the company probably won’t grow. And if there is hardly any web traffic to begin with, the company will struggle to get off the ground in the first place.
Increasing traffic to your website boils down to correctly using SEO keywords and longtail keyword phrases. SEO is so integral to the vitality of a website that we’ve dedicated an entire article to the subject, What Is SEO? which covers the whys, hows, and wheres of plugging SEO keywords into your web content. Be sure to take a moment to check it out when you have a chance. For the time being, we’ll assume you’re familiar with SEO in general.
The following SEO tips will help you drive traffic to your website organically, and the latter half of this article will walk you through the steps of adding SEO to the images you use on your website, which can have a massively positive impact on the volume of your daily visitors, as well as your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines.
Let’s dive in.
By far the most organic method to drive web traffic to your site involves adding new content to your website on a daily–or even weekly–basis. Generating daily content naturally produces SEO keywords, which Google and other search engines will pick up and use to recommend your website to users who search for businesses, products, and services that are relevant to yours. The easiest way to publish new content frequently and regularly is with a blog. Blog posts don’t have to be lengthy, either. You can publish short articles and reap measurable benefits. For detailed tips to launch a successful blog, read Creating A Remarkable Business Blog. The trick when it comes to ensuring your blog will promote web traffic to other pages on your website is to use internal links. For example, if you’re managing a jewelry ECommerce site, your blog posts can offer inspirational accessory advice on the latest jewelry trends that link to specific products for sale on your website.
Typically, an SEO keyword is strictly that–a single word. Is that how people use Google? Not at all, and Google recognized this fact back in 2013. As a result, Google created a new algorithm called Google Hummingbird that recognizes natural language and questions when Google users type them into the search bar. In practical terms, because Google users will type “where can I buy a cat tree?” or “puppy flea control shampoo near me”, Hummingbird will identify the “topic” or “category” that the search implies and generate appropriate search results that are relevant to local pet supply stores. Hummingbird has rendered old school, single keywords nearly obsolete. If your website content only uses single keywords, Google might not pick up on it. This is where longtail keywords come into play. Longtail keyword phrases are precisely what a Google user might type into the search bar to find businesses like yours. There’s a trick to getting the most out of this type of SEO, however. You’ll need to use high volume, low competition phrases. An excellent tool that will help you identify longtail keyword phrases that fit that description is SEMRush.
But what if you’ve been using longtail keyword phrases in your daily website or blog content and search engines like Google still aren’t picking up your web pages? Search engines might not know your website exists yet. While it takes time for Google’s algorithm to come across your website, identify which category the site falls under, and start recommending web pages to users searching for businesses like yours, there’s something you can do right away if you start to get impatient. Submit your website to the top search engines including Google through your sitemap. If you can’t find your sitemap, you may need to create one under your URL. Once you obtain your sitemap, simply log in to each search engine’s console, hit “sitemaps”, paste in your sitemap URL, and hit “submit”. For other search engines like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, there’s no need to submit your website, because those search engines don’t have A.I. in place to suppress less popular content.
Social media marketing is critical to the success of any business, but did you know that you can use social media specifically to drive traffic to your website? It’s easy. Whenever you publish new content on your website–and we mean any new content whether it’s a blog article, new product line, revamped landing page content, or new service descriptions–get in the habit of “sharing” the link on social media. For platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you need only copy the URL and the platform will automatically pull up the web page with its headline and primary image. For platforms like Instagram, if you type in the URL within the post’s caption, it won’t hyperlink, but do it anyway, because followers who are interested in the content teaser will still visit the web page. LinkedIn is also a terrific platform, especially for B2B businesses, where you can republish blog articles and press releases.
Similar to promoting your newly published content on social media, you can also use online communities to promote your content. Internet community platforms such as Reddit and Quora, and even niche sites like Dogster.com and Goodreads.com–for bibliophile content!–are great for getting the word out about your business. Every time you share content in an online community, following the community rules of course, you will boost awareness about your brand, drive traffic to your website, improve engagement rates on your site, increase your search engine ranking, and in the long run boost sales and grow your business.
In order to get the most mileage out of the content you share on online community platforms, only use appropriate, relevant platforms. If you’re not sure which platforms are the most relevant to your business, follow these steps:
● Define your target audience
● Research where your target audience hangs out online
● Dig around Facebook Groups and join those that fit your business’ category
● Join LinkedIn Groups that would appreciate your content, products, and services
● Answer questions on Quora and link to the most relevant pages on your website
● When you join an online conversation, be sure that you aren’t providing the same information that another poster already brought to the table
So far, we’ve gone over how to use keywords to improve your SEO ranking, which addressed the written content side of your digital marketing efforts. The flip-side of using SEO to market your website has to do with your images. Every website, ECommerce site, blog article, and products & services web page includes images.
These images have the power to drive traffic to your website, but they’re used in a very different way than content SEO. Let’s take a look…
When we say “images”, we mean photos, graphics, animations, memes, videos… you name it! Any visual element such as these can be used to attract valuable consumer traffic to your website. But how?
Unlike utilizing keywords which Google users type into the search bar in order to find your business, using SEO for images works a little differently. The goal here is to get other websites to link to your images. Yes, it would be far more convenient if Google users could search for your image directly, but in order to do that they would need your image to begin with…which very quickly turns into a catch-22. Instead, if you want your image to rank high within Google and the other search engines, you need that particular image to be so popular that other websites link to it.
Sounds complicated, right? It doesn’t have to be. This is where Pinterest comes in, and Instagram can also help…
The platform Pinterest is a great digital marketing tool. Marketers can “pin” images, collect them into categories, use hashtags and other identifiers, and ultimately help raise the search engine ranking of the images they pin. All of this is to say that you want Pinterest users to “pin” your website, e-commerce, and blog images on their Pinterest pages so that other Pinterest users find them and pin them. This is entirely within your control. Create a Pinterest account and pin your images to your page with SEO keywords as you publish online content.
As an added bonus, search engines like Google also have a “search images” tab on their sites. The search results within the specific images tab work somewhat independently from the general website search results, which means that one of your blog articles could have a below-average ranking while an image used within that same blog article could rank on the first page of Google’s image search.
In order to get this kind of popular traction, you’ll need to make sure your images are something special. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to driving website traffic and raising your SEO ranking.
Any visual image that’s eye-catching or informative will hold a visitor’s attention, but images with a clear call-to-action tend to rank even better. Use CTAs with all of your images if possible. And remember, the most engaging images according to data analytics use facts, tips, and quotes.
This tip comes in two parts. First, you’ll need to find images, photos, and graphics that are relevant to your website content. Next, you’ll need to use a design program to overlay your own information onto the image. Let’s break this down. Do you currently have a subscription to Shutterstock, Pixabay, or Adobestock? If not, signing up for one would be a worthwhile investment. These sites allow users to license high-quality photos and graphics, which can be downloaded onto their computers for editing. Once you’ve transformed a raw image into a polished final graphic, you can use it on your website and in your social media posts. There are several free online editing sites you can try such as Canva. But we recommend FTx AdPro, which comes with industry-themed templates and pre-made designs.
Integrate your finished graphics with your written content in such a way that both breaks-up the text and supports the content’s information. Doing so will make the overall visitor experience much better when customers read your web pages. Visuals that complement the content itself greatly improve the web page’s “readability”. Visitors are more likely to retain the page’s information, and they’ll also be more likely to act on any calls-to-action they encounter on your website.
The entire marketing industry was forced to make a huge shift when the coronavirus pandemic changed how consumers shop. Companies, both B2C and B2B, needed to quickly implement innovative marketing initiatives in order to retain their customers while accommodating sudden governmental mandates.
Consumers had new habits, and businesses that didn’t develop new marketing strategies took a big financial hit throughout 2020.
The timeless adage holds true–necessity is the mother of all invention–and the digital marketing sector certainly birthed a wealth of inventions that companies could use to survive. These innovations evolved swiftly and not all of them worked. But those that did, thanks to advances in marketing technologies, were tested and thoroughly vetted during 2020.
Marketers now have a fresh arsenal of digital marketing tools to use in 2021. Here is a list of all of the tried-and-true marketing strategies that resulted from the most tumultuous year in modern history. These marketing trends are here to stay, which is why you should implement them at your company as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Considered the best location-based marketing strategy for online marketers, Google My Business, or GMB, has been around for a few years now, but it has dramatically evolved over the course of 2020. If you’re unfamiliar, GMB is an online directory that provides Google users with a map of relevant businesses whenever they search locally. Since 46% of all Google searches are for the purposes of finding local businesses there is no downside to creating a GMB profile, especially because having one is completely free. For more on GMB, check out Making The Most Out Of Google My Business.
The number one reason that consumers abandoned certain brands, retailers, and businesses throughout 2020 was because of product availability, or rather, the lack of available products at a particular store. In other words, retaining customers boiled down to keeping shelves stocked, and more importantly, keeping customers informed about product availability, online order turn-around times, and how long it would take a retailer to replenish popular items. Communication goes a long way with today’s consumers, and retailers will have a better shot maintaining customer loyalty if they inform their customers of fluctuations in product availability.
Google Ad’s automatic bidding feature has been around since 2016. However, this automated advertising method gained real traction in 2020 when businesses had to downsize and modify their operations due to COVID-19 shutdowns in certain industries, especially the retail and service industries. Google’s auto bidding allows Google, rather than the marketer, to assess your ad campaigns for you and adjust your bids accordingly in real-time. By permitting Google’s A.I. to handle these adjustments, the marketer is freed up to optimize other aspects of their PPC campaigns’ performances. The ultimate outcome is that companies will end up spending less for their targeted advertising campaigns.
Shocking as it may seem, Google’s algorithms cannot yet pick up voice search SEO. But that doesn’t mean that marketers and business owners should hold off on implementing voice search as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. There has been a steady rise in Google users opting to speak, rather than type, their searches into Google. A whopping 45% of consumers have used a voice assistant on a smart speaker, whether using Alexa at home or their smartphone while out-and-about. Simply put, if there is an increasing number of consumers using this feature, then marketers should cater to that demographic.
When interactive content is offered on business websites and ECommerce stores, visitor engagement dramatically increases, which leads to rises in brand awareness and sales. Interactive website content includes dynamic product images, short videos, active blogs with an open comments section below each article, and the list goes on. What 2020 showed marketers was that static, text-heavy online content no longer holds web visitors’ attention. But when that same text content is broken up with graphics, GIFs, memes, info-tisements, and graphs, visitor engagement shoots through the roof. One of the heaviest hitters among all interactive content is the blog. By adding a blog to your website or ECommerce store, you will easily drive traffic to your website. For specific pointers, take a moment to read Creating A Remarkable Business Blog.
In recent years, “chatbots” have become a buzzword in the digital marketing community. Despite the fact that chatbots have technically been around longer than P.C.s, their current level of artificial intelligence far outshines what it used to be, and their modern-day capabilities put their former ones to shame. If your website or ECommerce store does not have a chatbot, you should seriously consider adding one. The A.I. that the average chatbot possesses in 2021 has been optimized for functionality, and can handle evolved levels of responsibility, from engaging in simple conversations to recommending products to completing complex transactions.
Does that conclude all of the marketing trends you can expect in 2021? Not at all! We’ve only scratched the surface, which is why we invite you to subscribe to our blog. We publish weekly articles on helpful topics such as Marketing Tricks That Can Help You Go Viral and Social Media Marketing Strategies.
All business brands, whether B2C or B2B, must implement a solid digital marketing strategy in 2021, and you can’t go wrong if your company’s strategy includes the forward-thinking trends we laid out in this article. But that doesn’t mean you should stop researching newly emerging trends.
Businesses that remain on the lookout for the next big marketing tools keep themselves ahead of the technology curve and a cut above their competition. Digital marketing is a constantly developing industry, which means that business owners should stay in the know, research new technologies, watch trends, and launch marketing initiatives that have been proven to work.
But don’t get intimidated if you aren’t tech savvy. You can always hire FTx 360 to manage your digital marketing. Our full suite of marketing solutions includes all of the creative services you will need to launch effective digital marketing campaigns that drive website traffic, increase revenue, and expand your brand’s digital footprint online.
The marketing strategists at FTx 360 have experience working with businesses of every industry. To discover all that our agency can do for you, check out our digital portfolio or contact us today.
You know something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on what. Your Ecommerce site has been getting less and less traffic. Your business website takes longer and longer to load. Even the engagement on your blog has slowed down, but you have no idea why any of this is happening. It seemed like only moments ago your business was booming…
If your online brand is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s quite possible your business has become a victim of negative SEO.
Negative SEO is serious and can be detrimental to a company, but we’ll show you how to spot the effects and what you can do to recover.
With each passing year, it’s harder and harder to establish and maintain a high ranking on Google and other search engines. Google regularly changes its algorithm rules in an effort to identify websites that try to “game the system” with cheap tricks in order to elevate their ranking. One cheap trick is cramming so many SEO keywords and longtail keyword phrases onto a web page that it overwhelms the content. Another cheap trick is creating a website with dozens upon dozens of web pages. When Google’s A.I. “spiders” recognize this kind of spammy behavior, it penalizes the guilty websites.
What this means is that unethical businesses have developed yet another cheap trick in their quest to dominate Google–attack the higher-ranking websites of their competitors. That’s right. If your business website has been rising in SEO ranking, you could have a target on your back.
Devious competitors could attack your website with negative SEO in order to take you down a notch… as if doing such a thing will automatically elevate their own SEO ranking.
Negative SEO can take on a number of different forms, which makes spotting this kind of attack difficult to pinpoint. Read on to learn about the telltale signs a competitor is trying to sabotage your success with negative SEO and what you can do about it.
If you don’t know what negative SEO looks like when it strikes, you won’t be able to reverse it. Here are the biggest indications your website is under a negative SEO attack.
Have you noticed that when you pull up the homepage of your website, it takes an unusually long time to load? Initially, you might optimistically assume this is good news–maybe a ton of visitors have discovered your site all at once? When you check your website hits, you discover that you’ve actually been getting less traffic than usual… hmm.
Your website could be the victim of forceful crawling, which results in a heavy server load, causing your site to slow down and potentially crash. Forceful crawling makes a website inaccessible. When Google can’t access the website as usual, its A.I. determines something is wrong and will automatically push that website down in ranking. If this problem persists, Google could conclude that the site is defunct and completely de-rank it altogether.
You completely understand and respect that “content is king”, which is why you’ve taken particular care to build a well-written website. You might even have an active blog on your site and publish popular content regularly to drive website traffic, validate your company, and establish your brand within your industry.
If you’ve invested in hiring content writers, the last thing you want is for your competitors to plagiarize your website. Having your content stolen not only makes your company look bad–the average visitor will not be able to tell if you were the plagiarist or the other guy–but it also triggers Google to penalize both sites containing the copied content, which will massively impact your ranking. In order to keep an eye on your content, use Copyscape, a free website that will locate duplications of your content for you.
Have you heard of “spammy link farms”? It’s a dirty trick some unethical companies implement to sabotage high-ranking, successful online businesses. A link farm is a website that contains an overwhelming number of hyperlinks to other sites. Link farm websites don’t contain original, traffic driving content–these people aren’t even pretending to be ethical! Instead, link farms use repeated “anchor text” for these hyperlinks… and you do not want these people hyperlinking to your legitimate business website, because it will negatively affect your Google ranking…
Even though Google uses a webspam net to catch these spam farms, their mechanisms don’t catch everything. If you regularly monitor your backlinks, you’ll be able to spot if your website has become the victim of a spammy link farm. Bring a list of any suspicious links to the attention of your website’s webmaster and formally request a removal. Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush are useful for monitoring your backlinks.
Oh no, you’ve spotted negative SEO associated with your website. You want to get rid of it as quickly as possible to mitigate damages and recover ASAP. Here’s what you can do immediately:
If you have a website, e-commerce site, or blog, chances are you understand the importance of SEO.
Inbound internet traffic that results from effective SEO efforts remains the #1 content marketing strategy for lead generation. If you want to increase inbound traffic to your website, e-commerce site, or blog, you’ll need to integrate strong, relevant, and accurate SEO into your content marketing materials.
We’re talking about keywords.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO, but what are they really? You can think of keywords as the words, phrases, or questions that a Google user would type into a search field in order to generate a list of possible websites relevant to that search topic.
Because search engines like Google are the matchmakers that suggest relevant websites to searching users, in order to get these search engines to work for you, you’ll need to use keywords smartly. Hence, keywords are the foundation of SEO.
Keywords won’t help you optimize your website’s ranking within search engine results unless you’re using the right words and phrases. There’s no getting around doing your research in order to determine what particular keywords will yield the best results in raising your search engine ranking and increasing your website traffic.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s imperative for the success of your business that you identify who your ideal customer is and what their primary “pain points” are, in other words, what problems can your business solve for them? Once you identify and really “know” your audience, you can optimize your website using keywords that will attract them. Ask yourself, what does my audience care most about? What topics would they be interested in? How can I convince them my products, services, and informative content will check all of the boxes that these ideal customers have in mind?
Google users are more likely to type a phrase or question into Google’s search bar than they are a single keyword. These phrases are called “longtail keyword phrases”. When developing your online content, it’s important to plug in popular longtail keyword phrases in addition to singular keywords if you want to effectively market your business to consumers. In other words, using longtail keyword phrases will reduce your competition and help you stand out from the crowd. In order to understand this concept, you’ll need to reverse-engineer the idea. For example, if you own a pet supply store and want to promote your customer loyalty rewards program, try using the longtail keyword phrases that your ideal customers would likely type into Google’s search bar, such as “best pet store with loyalty program near me” or “where can I find discount organic dog food in my city?”.
This tip elaborates on our suggestion above to target longtail keywords. Put simply, using one keyword or one longtail keyword phrase won’t be enough. Try brainstorming at least three variations on the most likely longtail keyword phrase that a consumer could type into Google. This way, you’ll cover your bases and make sure that no matter what a potential customer types in, they will see your website listed. Don’t go too crazy, though. The written content will run the risk of sounding awkward if you plug in back-to-back keyword phrases.
We can’t emphasize this SEO tip enough. Keywords should inform content and not the other way around. This means that before you start writing your content, you should already know the keywords and longtail keyword phrases you’re going to integrate into the webpage, product description, blog article, or whatever online content you’re about to write.
This might sound repetitive, but it’s worth emphasizing twice. As we detailed above, using different variations in your keywords and longtail keyword phrasing is critical when you’re selecting the keywords you plan to integrate into your content. Try striking a healthy balance between weaving your keywords into a particular webpage and then using variations of those keywords on additional pages and within the backend of the site’s meta data. For example, if you’ve worked the longtail keyword phrase “all-natural puppy flea control” into your latest blog article, you can use different keywords that mean the same thing, such as “organic flea control for puppies” and “non-toxic fur treatment for pets” on other webpages.
Once you’ve integrated a variety of keywords into your online content, it’s vital to track and monitor how each keyword is doing. Trending keywords can change on a week-to-week basis, even when the subject itself remains the same. For example, last week the keyword “all-natural” might have been ranking high in search results in reference to vitamin-rich kitten food, but this week the buzzword happens to be “organic, non-GMO”. We wouldn’t recommend that you go into your already-published content and swap the keyword out. But it is important to stay informed of trends so that you can use them to your advantage.
The entire marketing team here at FTx 360 is passionate about SEO strategies, as well as all facets of digital marketing. We love sharing the best marketing tool for the job with our readership no matter what the “job” happens to be, so be sure to hit the subscribe button.
Need SEO advice? Contact us anytime! Prefer to have our experienced agency handle your SEO strategy and implementation? We can do that, too! FTx 360 offers affordable SEO services and can work within any budget.