You know you should be optimizing your website to help you rank higher, drive more traffic and hopefully, ultimately improve consumer interaction. For those of you who have not started your SEO efforts yet, you are at a good point to start from the beginning and develop a cohesive plan that can help push your online efforts that much further. If you are in the midst of your SEO plan, this could be a good point to take a step back and reflect on the big picture, so moving forward you have everything working together to help benefit your SEO. Developing an overall SEO strategy is the core foundation of any program and taking time to think through it all from the start can push you ahead of the competition. Before you get started, use these tips to help establish an all-encompassing strategy that can stretch across both the online and offline world.
- Before you do any more for SEO, map out all of your marketing efforts. List out everything you are currently doing, both online and offline to help get your brand noticed. This could include (but certainly not limited) to: public relations, social media, collateral development, dealer incentive programs, tv, radio, outdoor boards, trade shows, promotions, contests, etc. Put this all down on paper so you can later establish the connection to your website.
- Determine your goals, both online and offline. I am a big proponent of defining goals. If you do not have a goal to work towards, what is the point of your efforts? If your company executes a lot of different marketing/promotional tactics, chances are you have an overall marketing strategy and goal already worked out. If you don’t have this, take a step back and map out what you’re really trying to do. Let’s say your goal is to create more brand awareness among females, ages 20-35. That means every effort should be focused on reaching a large audience and simply sharing your brand information and benefits. In that case you would have a different marketing mix that someone who say wanted to generate product trials from females ages 20-35. From there, think about how this overall marketing goal translates to your website and your online efforts. If your overall goal is to generate trials, is your online goal then to capture contact information so you send out free samples? Or is it contact information to then follow up and ask if they want a trial. Also think about how you are going to measure success for what you are trying to do. Go beyond just rankings and think about other metrics – time on site, bounce rates, cost per visit, etc.
- Map out efforts and link them to the online space. When you start to think about it, everything you do is likely driving traffic to your website in one way or another. For instance, if you have a lot of collateral materials, do you put a PDF version (or the content itself) onto your website? If so, you should be thinking about this connection when you write the copy for the brochure. If you aren’t putting your brochures onto your site, why not? This can be a good way to add additional content onto your site.
Now that you have defined your goal as well as mapped out how everything connects to the web, now you can start looking at ways to optimize your current efforts for SEO. You know the most important piece is to define your keywords, but as you determine these for each page of your website, also think about how the keywords can work for you in other efforts. Continue onto the rest of your SEO steps and best practices that you already know (update page titles, meta descriptions, work keywords into your copy, optimize videos and images for SEO, etc.) Get your website working hard for you, to the best of your ability.
As you get your site optimized, start working your SEO best practices into all of your other efforts as well. Is it time to write & print a new brochure? Give the person writing, a list of your keywords and highlight the top 5-10 most important ones that apply to that brochure. Have them try and work in the keywords into the copy so that once it is complete, you can easily post the content onto your site without much additional effort. Doing this also means you are sending consistent brand messaging as people who see the brochure, then visit your site see a lot of the same terms.
For press releases, do the same thing. Give your PR team your keywords but then also scan the release before it goes out to make sure it is optimized for SEO success. Also, be sure you always include a link back to your site within the release, so if it is picked up, you could also help out your link building at the same time.
Social media, dealer efforts, other collateral, etc. can all follow in a similar fashion. Optimize all mediums from the start so messages are consistent. For more traditional mediums like TV or Radio, make sure you put these on your website as well (assuming you have the rights to do so) and use video optimization best practices to make sure you are ranking. If one of your main keywords you are trying to rank for is “SEO tips”, work that into the TV or radio script so if you later add a transcript version on the site, this keyword is already worked in there.
The biggest key to offline optimization success is to think about where these pieces might end up at some point. If there is any chance they will be online in the future, optimize from the beginning rather than having to go back and do it afterward. This can help save time, money and in the end create a more integrated marketing plan with everything working together to help you rank higher.
Erin is an Account Supervisor at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.