“Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more: aiming higher and believing in yourself.”
It’s amazing how quickly 10 month’s flies by, and that is how long my placement has been here at HeadRed Media. With this in mind I thought I’d leave my ‘mark’ on the blog with a roundup if the 5 things I’ve learnt about digital marketing, specifically SEO and my 5 key takeaways from my role here as Digital Marketing Assistant.
5 things I have learnt
Search engine optimisation
So you’ve submitted a search into Google, but how do the results get ordered, and what makes you click on the top one?Well I didn’t know this before coming to HeadRed but there are actually teams of people within businesses, or working with a business who work hard to get them as a result (in search engines such as Google) at the top of our screens. This practice is called SEO. Search engine optimisation is a process which assists in the flow of traffic to a website, specifically from the search engines. It’s important for a company’s website as it targets stages within the purchase funnel i.e. targeting potential customers when they are in the researching and buying stages. There are 5 points which are considered when search engines rank the results for appearance on the search engine pages as answer to queries; keywords, titles, links, content, and reputation.
- Keywords – keywords in and on a website are crawled by Google and assists in crawlers understanding what a website is about.
- Titles– titles in the site coding/webpage are another way to see if a site is relevant to what user is searching for. Once again it gives Google an idea as to what the website is about.
- Links– the quality and number of links to a website is reviewed; too many links can be considered as bad/spammy so lowering the sites performance in the search rankings, however if links are high quality (whether minimal or multiple) it will reflect highly on the website; in Google’s eyes they’re showing businesses, which add value and have a positive reputation.
- Reputation- reputation of a website is identified by a number of things, for example high quality links, how much fresh content is posted and the user experience of the site, i.e. do people come back again? Do they find what they’re looking for?
Google algorithmsGoogle is the main focus search engine for many SEOs. Google’s algorithms (computer programmes) look for clues on what websites to give as a result for what you are searching and the ways in which to rank sites. Google algorithms are always changing as they seek to deliver better results for search queries. Not all the updates are high impact. however there are a few key ones to look out for as they can have major effects on a websites ranking, these are:
- Google Panda – Originally launched in Feb 2011 its key purpose is to show high- quality sites higher in the results pages; specifically looking at the quality and amount of content on any website.
- Google Penguin – launched in April 2013, it aims to reduce the trust Google has for sites that have a bad backlink profile e.g. created spammy links to get higher rankings.
Content Marketing / Link BuildingLink building is a very important to SEO and is a source of measurement for algorithms as I mentioned before. By growing a link profile for a website you are seeking to gain reputation, attention and traffic from different links, audiences and search engines. There are different types of links that can be built;
- Natural link –Generated by sites and pages that want to link to your company/brand without you asking – this is the elite of links.
- Outreach links – These are created by reaching out and emailing bloggers, online media publications, submitting the website to relevant directories, or suggesting a page that may be relevant to their readers.
- Self – Created, non- editorial – is low in value for link building; however it can still have an impact for some sites. Self-created links are known as links though guest book, forums, and blog comments.
Keyword researchKeywords and phrases within web content is what assists Google in connecting your websites terms with people who are searching for that or a similar term in the search engines. Therefore keyword research is very important as it will have an effect on your rankings and the queries you appear for. Picking the right keywords indicates you know your customer and what they are searching to purchase your product/service. Eg. Cadbury is ranking for Chocolate as a keyword, chocolate is mentioned though all the content and within the Meta descriptions so this would help Google understand the relevancy of the site towards chocolate related keywords. Your site will most likely not rank successfully if the keywords or phrases do not appear within the content of the website, in any links, meta tags, or you site doesn’t have relevant landing pages. It’s important to note you can’t just ‘stuff’ your pages with keywords Google now recognises and penalises (lowers the ranking) of sites if they do this. Therefore keywords should be naturally appearing in content within the site, not overdone and not out of context.
Social media management and schedulingWhen running a digital marketing campaign on social media and scheduling posts, there are key factors to consider. Social media management includes responding to the public interacting with the company on social media platforms, keeping the pages optimised and active. On social media these are an important way of creating awareness and interest in the product and company. Scheduling posts for a campaign is very important, because when posting content on social platforms you want it to get the most views and impressions possible. To get the best out of social marketing you need to know the target audience; what is their lifestyle like and from that information, we can tell what part of the day, they will most likely be active on any given platform and what time would be best to post fresh content.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
5 takeaways for every digital marketer
- Know your audience
- Be aware of social and Google updates
- Content has never been more important- to Google & your audience
- Keep active on your social pages & blogs
- Take making your pages responsive/accessible seriously