When it comes to search engine optimization, not all sites are created equal. Ecommerce sites require a different structure than informational blogs. Community message boards require different strategies than a simple landing page for a business. Before placing the first building blocks of your new digital home, sit down and set a list of objectives. Who is your audience? How will it make money? Is the site even supposed to earn revenue? Getting this questions answered first will make the following steps exponentially easier.
Simplify. If your site is more than a landing page, its navigation needs to be as simple and easy to use as possible. If users have difficulty navigating a site, search engines won’t do much better and it will hurt search engine optimization (SEO) rankings in the end. Keep your site free of broken internal links and create an XML site map to give your page a directory and help search engine crawlers index your site correctly. Services like XML-Sitemaps.com help build a directory without all the manual work of optimizing it for Google.
Write for People. How do you make content shareable? Make it worth sharing. The notion sounds cliché, but no matter what the SEO strategy, writing for the Web is about readers, not rankings.
- No matter what, include a blog with your site and write about any and all topics under the umbrella of your industry. Invite others to write for your site and participate in comments.
- Connect with others in your industry and guest post for their blogs, too. Don’t post spam for your own company. Write an article with value. It’s okay to mention your brand but offer something more.
- Create new ideas. It’s easy to follow trends and reinvent them on your own site, but take what people are talking about and build originality from that.
Forget Keywords. In a recent update from Google, the search engine made it difficult for marketers to measure raw data using keywords. SEO analysts can no longer rely on specific anchor texts to measure incoming traffic and keyword effectiveness. Instead they only see analytics data reported as “(not provided).” This sounds like a disaster to those craving better rankings for specific phrases, but digital marketing agencies like iAcquire.com have it covered. Its employees use the mantra above, “write for people.” Make your content real, original and worth sharing, and those results will continue to improve.
Authors with Authority. Websites earn authority based partly on other sites that link to it. But now, who writes for a site could be just as important as who links to it. Google’s most recent update, Hummingbird, could favor authorship as a variable for a site’s ranking. Google authorship is growing for freelance writers and marketers who write for a variety of digital publications across the Web. The more published the writer, the more juice Google will give to each post he or she writes.
Writing guest posts for others’ sites opens the door to have them write for you. The more active with Google authorship, the more their posts will drive rankings for you site. The lesson is to connect and network with as many industry leaders as possible.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders