Ways to improve your online footprint

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Do you ever wonder how people do it? By ‘it’ I mean run a successful website. Perhaps the question shouldn’t be how do they do it, but why do they do it?

I am approached regularly by businesses looking to improve their online footprint, as a way to gather more leads and eventually sales. It is essential in the modern world, especially if your target audience is widespread both geographically and demographically.

What everyone aspires to do (and this is the big orange carrot on a stick dangling in front of your eyes) is to get a good organic search ranking. What that means is appearing on page one of search results, whether it be Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or one of the others. Not only on page one, but high up on page one. It definitely does make a difference to the amount of visitors you get to your site.

However, it is not as straight forward as all that. Long gone are the days when you could simply pick some keywords and say, “I want to rank on page one for that!” Search engines are very clever and will tailor the search results you see specifically for you. For instance, search engines are quite capable of making an educated guess at your location (especially if you are using a smartphone) and delivering results accordingly. A search for ‘taxis’ in Horsham, will be different to a search for ‘taxis’ in Crawley.

If you add Google+ into the mix, search results are even tailored according to the connections you have.

So what does this all mean for the humble website? Content marketing. It is a thing and it is big.

At its heart content marketing translates as creating things that people want to read. It could be a review, a tutorial or a video. The point is that it needs to be good and it needs to deliver value. It is also the reason why successful websites are successful. People will return to a site that gives them value in some way. They will also tell their friends and their friends will tell their friends and so on.

Content marketing does not stop at the point in time you publish your wonderful content. Oh no. A website with great content is not doing anyone any good if you don’t actually tell anyone about it. That is where social networks like Twitter and Google+ excel, because you can share content that people will want to share themselves. Don’t just limit yourself to one method of spreading the good word about your new content. Use emails, ads in the paper, word of mouth and any other means at your disposal. It all helps.

Alan Stainer