Whichever industry you’re in, building a competitive online presence can be a huge challenge. Particularly for E-commerce sites and businesses launching in saturated markets. In both of these cases, it’s highly likely that you have competitors who are established in both senses: in the eyes of Google and other search engines, and in the eyes of your potential customers.
So what are the first steps you should take to get your business up off the digital canvas? What can you do to drive traffic - and ultimately decent leads - onto your website?
Here are a few simple steps that we’d recommend...
Optimise Your Website
Ah, that dreaded phrase: SEO. If you’re just starting out or taking a business online for the first time, then you’ve probably heard these three letters before. You may have even read articles about how you need to adapt your online presence as a result.
And it’s true: The first thing you should do as a business owner with digital ambitions is make sure your website content is optimised for search engines. These simple steps are the foundation of your online presence.
Most hosting providers, from Wordpress to Squarespace to Shopify, have built-in steps to help you finely-tune your SEO. These include options to add titles and meta-descriptions to pages, tools to organise your content in a way that makes it easy to navigate, and the ability to add unseen details to images to help search engines understand what’s your site is all about.
All of these details should be catered toward your chosen market with carefully researched keywords. It’s likely that your hosting provider also has a range of tools to help you optimise content before publication, so make the most of them.
We won’t go too far into the intricacies of SEO in this post. But it’s worth bearing in mind how search engines operate if you’re seeking to improve your ranking.
So think about the process of using a search engine. When one of your potential customers types a phrase into Google, the search engine is listing results based on relevance. In this context, relevance means how informative, trusted and accurate your online presence is.
So clearly the first thing you need to do is select your keywords and search terms carefully. Then, take steps to make sure your website is relevant to those terms. Sadly, it’s not as simple as stuffing each page with terms related to your business.
Once upon a time, that technique may have worked. But today’s search engine algorithms are more sophisticated than that. You’re more likely to be penalised by Google for adopting that kind of tactic than rewarded. Relevance is instead judged by a number of mysterious factors. Some of those are easier to pinpoint than others.
What we know for certain is that the criteria used to determine a website’s relevance for a given keyword or search term is roughly based on content, how that content is organised, and how the website interacts with the rest of the online world.
You have the power to control most of those things, as we’ve briefly touched on above. You can ensure your pages are well-organised, connected with useful links and formatted appropriately. You can also ensure your copy and published blogs are sprinkled with the keywords and search terms your customers are likely to be entering into Google. You can also add outbound links to content where necessary to back up your statements and point readers in the right direction.
But there’s one factor which heavily impacts your domain authority that you don’t have direct control over: inbound links.
Which brings us to...
Content is King
There are no quick fixes for building an established website presence and getting solid organic traffic. It takes time. One of the reasons is that, as we’ve seen above, your search ranking depends to an extent on the amount of quality content you have published.
That’s why you’ll hear many people saying that ‘Content is King’, and that there’s no substitution for a well-maintained blog with in-depth analysis and case studies. This is where you can speak directly to potential customers and start to build a library of articles that symbolise (in the eyes of Google’s search engine crawlers) that your site is a bastion of relevance for your target niche.
So the next step is clear: If you want to get noticed online, you need to start creating content that establishes your website as a go-to source of information for the topics your customers are interested in.
This isn’t so much a digital challenge as it is a question of time, effort and patience. Long-form articles (just like this one) are proven to drive more traffic to your website. The sheer quantity of text, providing it is well-written, informative and properly organised, gives you an advantage over competitors who are publishing more brief articles.
Long-form pieces are also more likely to be evergreen, to provide value to your readers long after they have been published. They are intrinsically more sharable and, crucially, more likely to be linked to by other people and publications.
This is because when you write well and you write in detail, people take notice. Over time you become an authoritative voice in your industry with loyal readers who appreciate deep dives which get to the heart of the issues they care about. It’s also about ease and accessibility. If you can create a post that provides all the information of ten rival posts combined, you’re saving readers time and effort by planting it all in one place.
Embrace Social Media
No matter your business, you should look to establish a social media presence early on. The platforms you choose might depend on the kind of goods and/or services you are selling, but the key point remains the same.
Social media platforms - from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to Instagram - all share something very simple in common: they connect people. And, in order to monetise that huge market, they also provide a link between people and businesses.
These platforms are an extension of your digital marketing strategy, ideal places to cement your brand’s voice and share all of that wonderful content you’ve been working so hard on. But it’s not just about bombarding potential customers with direct advertising.
It’s about building an audience, taking part in the conversations going on in your industry and growing your stature as a reliable source of informed opinions.
The bottom line is this: It’s 2019. If you don’t have a consistent social media presence, you’re missing out on a world of opportunity.
How does online advertising fit into your business model?
This was by no means a complete list of steps you should take to get your business noticed online. There are plenty more things you can do to quickly build a digital presence and begin attracting customers to your products and services. But this is a good start.
It might also be a daunting one. There’s no doubt: all of the above takes patience, hard work, time and to implement successfully.
A final thought to leave you with is about the power of online advertising. Is it something your business could harness to draw customers in while you’re fighting to build an organic presence?
At Adriel, we have developed a seamless platform that combines digital marketing know-how with AI smarts. We provide everything you need to attract customers through Google and social platforms, all in one place. Discover more about Adriel and our AI-powered digital marketing suite today.Try Now!