It’s always sensible to start the new year with the best of intentions, so this week I’ll be reminding you of five things we should all be doing with our online marketing in 2015. I’ll cover (our own) websites, email marketing, social media, online advertising and third-party websites. Taking these in reverse order, today let’s look at how we can make other websites work harder for us.
Other websites can provide three things. There’s general, long-term traffic, where they send you a steady stream of visitors, perhaps from a directory. There’s short-term topical traffic, where they send you visitors temporarily, perhaps from a news story. And there’s the link value, where they help promote your website’s performance in search engine results just by having a link to you. There are plenty of people out there who are querying the value of third-party links for search engine performance, but it’s still a major factor. It’s also a long-term play. Anyone who read this blog five years ago – and set up a steady programme then of taking every opportunity to get links – will be seeing seriously improved traffic from Google today. I suspect even a 10% increase in Google traffic for most companies would be worth thousands of pounds a year, when compared to the advertising required to get the same traffic.
So our new year tasks for today are as follows:
1. Take a look at the sites which link to you at the moment. Use Google Webmaster Tools, assuming you have it set up, or use a backlink checker like Majestic.com. Identify the directories which link to you and which are ranked highly, and investigate the links. Take a look at the page source of a page which links to you, and find the actual link to your company. Is the “a href” bit a nice clean link to your company’s web site, or some byzantine redirection (bad)? Does it say “nofollow” after it (bad)? If it’s a good link, see if there are other opportunities on the site for links, especially to internal pages on your site.
2. Take a look at the sites which link to your competitors at the moment, to see if there are any which you don’t have (but might get). If they’re good links, resolve to find time for a session every month this year, checking out other competitors to investigate opportunities. For important search terms, take a look at the websites which appear top in Google, and investigate what they’ve got that you haven’t. Just keep on finding new opportunities.
3. Find more sites which might run your news, take contributed articles or even produce their own original articles if persuaded. In terms of search engine impact, an original article run on a single, well-regarded site, is considerably better than having the same old press release published on half a dozen sites. Resolve this year to think quality, not quantity, when aiming to get articles on third-party websites.