So after last week’s paean to the importance of understanding conceptual foundations, this week I felt it was important to redress the balance somewhat!
Irrespective of one’s understanding of what your site is about and how you want it to articulate itself to its audience, the reality is that achieving good authority levels when you are competing with all the other websites in your vertical take not only clear understanding and solidly focused projects but also work; lots of work.
When it comes to search marketing, this almost invariably involves wading through a substantial quantity of data and, of course, a solid understanding of your fundamental aims will ensure that you can be confident that the data you’re analysing is correctly collated with the correct questions in mind
Those questions tend to be the same for all sites, irrespective of quality, size of focus – you need to demonstrate authority through third party validation, you need to ensure your content is accurate, informative and clearly targeted to your preferred audience and, lastly, you need to ensure the technical and design elements of your website are optimised to ensure you please both search engines and human traffic alike.
Fortunately, this week has seen some good high level articles, detailing step by step project to achieve this analysis and that is what I’m focusing on today. Implement the techniques discussed below and you’ll have solid understanding of how to prioritise your search marketing activity.
Firstly, I saw this article on Search Engine Watch about getting you Google Analytics (GA) account in order. Without this, you have flying blind and GA is, undoubtedly, the best free product you can engage with – as long as you engage with it intelligently. From this data set, the weaknesses (and strengths) of your site will become clear and a plan for improvement will follow.
Secondly, we have a couple of great articles from Hubspot that help drill down into what makes your site (and its individual pages) effective. Reduction of bounce rate is a Holy Grail for all site developers and not onlty will it, de facto, improve your user engagement levels, it also supports improvement in site authority and, by extension, rankings. In support of that article, this simple guide to no-brainer UX improvements might help you see things with fresh eyes.
Thirdly, there is this outstanding (although slightly intimidating) article on carrying out a content audit. I don’t think I’ve seen another article that articulates the challenges one has to face and the potential gains one can achieve by being disciplined, logical and keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Lastly, I can’t leave with a quick return to the 20,000 feet view that I was espousing last week – take a look at this for exactly the position I was arguing for – a realisation that seeing the bigger picture is essential – without eschewing the need for getting your hands dirty with analysis and hard graft.