For over 15 years I have been working in the digital marketing space, with the bulk of the earlier years being strictly focused on SEO and keeping up with the latest best practices. Over the past few years we (digital agencies) have all seen a significant shift in the way that SEO (in its traditional definition) is approached, managed and maintained. As much as the industry and the tactics have changed, there is one thing that has stayed consistent, yet often gets overlooked in the chaos – creating a good business and implementing overall good business practices. Which ultimately, can support, if not create great SEO.
In this post I will detail five business practices and how they can enhance, or even drive, your SEO decisions and ultimately success.
Assess your Product:
Knowing your product is about much more than just how it works or why you are passionate about it. This sounds like a pretty basic concept, but many businesses start with a great product or idea and before they know it they are off and running. Next thing they know they are talking with a potential partner or agency only to find they don’t really have a firm grasp on the product or idea they are selling.
A key factor in knowing your product is understanding your target demographic and how your product can improve their life/business/family. This means doing market research and really putting in effort at the ground level. While this work can be a bit tedious and time consuming, it can divulge some real insight into not only how to potentially improve your product, but also some of the best places to market it. Let’s not forget to mention that you can gather information about some of the best keywords to target for both your organic and paid search campaigns! Understanding = insight = perfect keywords!
Know your Market and Competitors:
Being successful with online business (as with business in general) takes planning, research and quality execution. While being unique and standing apart from your competition is key, some creative research can provide valuable insight into what your competitors are doing that is successful and what is not. This will allow you to both learn from the mistakes of others and to be able to focus your talents and energies on areas potentially not yet tapped or explored.
In addition to competitive research, knowing your target demographic is crucial to not only improving your products and services but also in creating packaging, point of sale materials and helpful resources that can be used by new customers. Using tools such as surveys, focus groups and A/B testing can help you determine the right direction and use of your company’s valuable resources. I’ve mentioned target audience a few times now but if you are not familiar with this concept or aware of your ideal target audience, check out this blog on why it’s important to develop these personas and understand them. Take the time to tap your current audience to ask questions, find out what information they would benefit from and use their insight to build out ideas to gain new customers. Questions answered = trust, new relationships and loyal fans.
Build a Strong Team:
Any professional that has been in business for a significant amount of time with tell you that having the right tools makes all the difference. Ever tried removing a tire with a crescent wrench? How about cutting a large yard with just a string trimmer? No matter what job you are undertaking, it is imperative that you have the right tools in place. The same is true for any business and a successful business owner realizes that the employees are the most effective tools you have. Because of this, surrounding yourself with the right “tools” can be the difference between having a mediocre business and one that stands apart from all the rest. Having team members who are passionate about what they do and are committed to the success of your business will continually help you improve your products and services.
So what does this have to do with your organic search presence? Well if you knew you had to clear a forest, you would prepare yourself with tools equipped for the job that are both specific and intentional. The same goes for online marketing. You wouldn’t try to use a hammer and just assume that it will work because that’s what you have to work with. Staffing a team that has experience and a desire for training and learning is key to building an online presence that will help you grow your business and maximize the benefits of the web. Bottom line, the right tools (team members) = efficient and effective campaigns.
Empower your Employees:
Just about all successful companies have systems in place that allow them to gather and implement ideas from all levels of their organization. Offering the opportunity for all team members to have input encourages personal ownership and often creates an environment where team members find added value and connection. It also provides the chance for different opinions and thoughts. One of our greatest content resources our company has produced over the past 5 years was created based on an idea from one of our newer sales team members. This process often leads to some great content ideas that provide both answers to questions/issues for clients and provides some great reasons for other companies to link to your company’s website. And we all know, good links = increased rankings.
Build a Community:
Before the internet became the powerful tool that it is, businesses relied on good old fashioned word of mouth. You provide a good product or service and your happy, loyal customers would share the experience with family and friends generating more customers. As we all know, things have changed, but the importance of word of mouth has not. Being able to keep your customers happy and to provide them with a platform for sharing is crucial to continued growth for your business and your brand. While social media has created some additional challenges for businesses, the good news is that they don’t have to be intimidating. Utilizing these channels is a great way for you to share your passions and new advancements/technologies with both your existing clients and your potential new customers. Communication = connection.
While many companies have taken some tough hits to their online traffic and/or sales due to some significant algorithm updates, the changes have served to enhance the benefits that good business can bring to your bottom line. Take away: build a good business and your digital profile should reflect it.