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Building a successful online marketing strategy is just like building anything. It starts with a solid foundation. That foundation comes from understanding three basics of online marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
But knowing what each side does for your website isn’t enough. As many people discovered after the recent Google updates, applying even well-established marketing techniques incorrectly way can hurt your ranking. To maximize their benefits, you also need to understand their shortcomings.
Search Engine Optimization
When I think of online marketing and the search engines, SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind. SEO is used to create a site that the search engines will rank as one of the most relevant pages for a given term. The fact is, 95 percent of searchers click on a page that appears on the first page results for Google, Yahoo! or Bing. You can see that search rank is a big deal!
Building a solid SEO strategy consists primarily of selecting relevant keywords and providing valuable content related to those keywords. In the past, SEO was driven by factors like keyword placement, keywords density, and even how many times a keyword was used to link to that page.
But the search engines quickly discovered that keywords could be easily manipulated. A page that had nothing to do with a keyword could be ranked in top three, just by optimizing the page. Today, this means that sites who rely solely on keywords are often ignored by the search engines.
Instead, SEO should include:
- Relevant Keywords
- Valuable Content that is Shared
- A Website that Loads Quickly
- Both Images & Content
- Backlinks from Respected Websites
Online content marketing has expanded the field to include blogs, training videos, podcasts, and even video games. But like every other online strategy, content marketing has its downsides. Low quality content is the most common mistake and can affect your rankings and damage your brand. For example, content riddled with grammar and spelling errors makes you look careless and unprofessional. Providing statements without verifying the facts can make you look foolish. Remember that the content you put on your site might be the first impression a prospective client gets of your company.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is also quickly becoming the primary way content is shared. Sites like Twitter, Google+, Stumble Upon, and Facebook all allow consumers to share valuable content with others in their network.
In order to make the most of a social media marketing strategy, you need to interact with your fans and create a true community. Show that you are accessible by allowing people to ask questions, voice concerns, and even complain. Then address these issues in a professional manner. Provide them with content that interesting, not just promotional. Remember, social media is first of all social!
These three components are just the foundation of building a successful online marketing strategy. But without an understanding of how these three areas lay the groundwork for your overall strategy, you could find your efforts wasted. By building a solid online marketing foundation, you can begin to build a successful strategy that works for your business.