Abridged with the author’s permission from the Vertical Measures blog.
Many businesses start by building out their site and then look at the type and volume of content they will deploy. This approach is exactly backwards. The four website marketing techniques listed below will save you time, trouble and effort if you do them first.
1. Keyword Analysis
Determine what keywords you will focus on.
Volume: You want to target terms that have enough traffic to be worthwhile. You’ll find that the most competitive terms have the most volume.
Competitive Index: You can use Google AdWords to determine the competitive index for a particular keyword phrase. The index is based on a 1–100 ranking, with 1 being the least competitive.
If terms are extremely competitive, it will be very difficult for you to acquire a top-three search engine listing. Other, long-tail terms will have significant volume in the aggregate but will be less competitive and give you the opportunity to rank and gain traffic.
2. Developing Your Content
Start with http://soovle.com. This site allows you to type in your keyword and see suggestions from some of the main search engines. Enter your keyword slowly and look at the suggested terms as you are typing the phrase. Another great resource is http://www.ubersuggest.org.
Now look for ways to answer your clients’ questions, solve their problems, or engage them. Visit sites like:
Enter your phrase in the search section and look for the kinds of questions people are asking about your keywords. Put these in a spreadsheet and start adding title suggestions and content types. Some will lend themselves to written content, others to video or infographics. Take your list of ideas and add them to your content calendar.
3. Developing Your Site Structure
I can’t tell you how many clients we work with that have gotten this part very wrong. If your site is set up incorrectly, then it’s difficult to maximize the value of content, link building, social media and other Internet marketing techniques.
Start by determining the categories and the directories you’ll need. Sometimes, based on your content focus, it’s really easy. But with some clients that have a tremendous number of products or a wide variety of content it becomes more difficult. Set your directories and wire-frame the site. Getting a visual of the site often allows you to “see” things that don’t line up well or places where you can revise and simplify your site architecture. Sites like mockflow.com and gliffy.com can help you with this step.
Use a content management system that allows you to post content whenever you want and to add directories as well: WordPress is great, as are Drupal and Joomla. All three are free and have strong development communities that provide plug-ins and other features.
4. Link Building
Start with manufacturers or vendors if you have an e-commerce site. If you are selling services, then go to any of the professionals you’ve used to get started and have them link to your site.
Go back to your initial keyword report and determine the long tail terms that have a lot of volume and low competition and start building links with those terms.
Most of us focus on off-page links, but don’t forget the value of internal linking. Make it a point to show the search engines what you think is important on your site and what keywords you value the most by using your anchor text with them.
Other ways to get links to your new site:
- Write guest posts for other websites.
- Write link-worthy content, like free guides, infographics, and top-10 lists.
- Write a press release about new business or product offerings and send it to one of the many press release sites.