BY ELVIJS PLUGIS
DIGITAL MARKETING SPECIALIST
Whether you are representing yourself or a company, you must have “some sort”of website. It's not always important to have a high-end website that takes thousands of pounds and many months for completion. Nowadays, you can simply start with a basic, automated website (like the ones available on WIX, Webs, and Foursquare!). On these platforms, you can use their templates and drag-and-drop content blocks to have a basic website up and running in as little as a few hours.
There are many YouTube tutorials that can help you make sense of how these website builders work. Sure, your website may not be very impressive in terms of visual appeal or SEO, but it will still get the job done, at least initially. As you keep on adding tweaks and upgrades, it will get better. It is important to bear in mind that a website is just like a business investment. There are many free website builders that help you create and launch your website instantly, and that too without the need to add domains or worry about hosting.
Based on your budget, you can get a basic domain for £0.99 to £10 annually, some reputable domain providers such as GoDaddy and Google domains that can help you with that. If you don't want to create the website on your own, you can hire a professional who can build for you for about £500 - £900.
If you're new to website building it is recommended to avoid server-based websites like WordPress, as they usually require extensive knowledge and are harder to maintain than websites made with automated web providers.
If nothing works, you can use Google My Business to launch your site for free and with minimal editing. Not many excuses for not having a website!
Brand Presence on social media.
Social media acts as an invaluable tool for the growth of many businesses. Nowadays, people spend a lot of time using social media, and it's the best place in today's digital age to make them notice your business. Your competition is already aware of this, which is why in 2020, businesses spent over $99 billion on social media advertising and marketing alone. Social media platforms currently have a total of 4.3 billion users worldwide, and if our business isn't there, does it even exist?
Sign your business on as many platforms as you can with all relevant descriptions and website links. This helps protect the brand and prevents copyright infringement. Additionally, each profile you create represents and promotes your business on that platform, and each web link will act as a backlink to the site, which confirms domain authority, leading to higher search engine rankings, and also helps attract potential customers.
Here are some of popular social media platforms your business should be registered on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Quora, Reddit.
TIP: I would highly recommend conducting some hashtag (#) research, and using these in your social posts. For example, on Instagram, try 12 – 18 hashtags per post, keeping only 3-5 the same, and changing the rest according to your post. – Make sure all hashtags are related to the post in order to prevent reach suppression. On Twitter, stick to 1- 3 hashtags. Remember, by having only one, you can actually have a higher reach than three
Recommended: Convert your social profiles to business profiles and then display the analytical aspects on your website.
Directories and Registries.
Advertising can be costly, but there are currently over 100 online directories and registries that offer free listing services for your business. You should check them out as they can help millions of people come across your services and products.
Your top priority should be search engine directories, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Make sure your business is listed on these so that you are visible to millions of potential customers that use search engines to perform their searches.
You will need a business address to sign up with these registries, but you can make it invisible so anyone coming across your business listing will only see the general business information with details of the services and products and not the website, unless you want them to see it. Your website link and contact info will still be available, so you don't have to worry about being unreachable.
Other registries and directories are split into international, national, and local searches. By registering with as many registries and directories as you can, you will maximise your reach to potential customers/clients. Business locations are usually required, but if you don't have one you can try using a friend's office address. There are also many postal addresses available for use as a monthly subscription.
Registering manually on all these platforms can take some time, but the ROI is worth it. If you have a budget set aside for this purpose, check out dedicated platforms such as Yext, Yell, Semrush and others that provide automated placement and management for a monthly fee. These fees usually range from about £20 - £60 per month for each location.
Here are some directories: Yell, Bing, Yahoo, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Yellow pages, Hot Frog, BOTW and others.
Let me add here that the same principle applies to both social media and the registries and directories. Each profile plays the role of business promotion on these platforms, and on search engines, and each link will be a backlink for your website, helping with domain authority and additional traffic generation due to organic ranking on search engines and from registered platforms.
Blogs have grown to be elements of huge importance over these past few years. Blogs are a great place to talk about one's experiences, expertise, thoughts and so much more. Blogs attract traffic that's hard to get otherwise - they boost online visibility by directing traffic to your blog, and by using blog content to build your website and brand keyword ranking through on-site SEO with keyword-rich text, and off-site SEO with interlinked backlinks that confirm keyword and domain page authority. This all helps your business appear higher on relevant search results.
There are no set standards for how a blog should look, but it is advisable to have a minimum of 1000 words, along with a good presentation and content that resonates with your target audience, is informative, and enjoyable. Make sure to post frequently and see how it all works out as time goes by.
There are many ways to create a blog that helps boost the online presence of your business.
Blog on your website: In this manner, you will direct traffic to your website. Certain parts of your blog can be used to generate internal web links to categories, products, or services. It's okay if you are not too familiar with this, as what's most important is that you have a blog that speaks to your audience.Third-party blog sites: Don't have a website? Or do you want to increase the number of backlinks to your existing one (you definitely should!)? Try third-party blog posting platforms like Google blogs, blogger.com, ghost.org, and many others! Create original blogs or rewrite old ones and post them on these sites, with a link back to your website if you have one, or social networks, or just your contact information; there are endless possibilities. Refrain from using the exact same content for each blog as search engines will quickly detect that and will lower your link ranking, which significantly reduces online visibility. Instead, rewrite your existing blogs and make sure you're always brainstorming to come up with new ideas.
Guest blogs: This is the process of producing content and posting it on other businesses' websites with a link back to your website, which increases traffic and improves page and domain authority for your website, which in turn helps with relevant keyword ranking on search engines. These websites often require some kind of payment or blog placement exchanges. Even if you don't have a website at the moment, it still helps your brand boost its online presence and visibility.
Again, remember to rewrite your content for each blog so that it remains unique. Copy-pasting does more harm than good!
It usually takes anywhere between 3 to 24 months for your blog to properly get indexed on search engines and yield notable results. However, there is a workaround that is discussed in the bonus strategy at the end of this article.
The science and art of increasing the visibility of your website, blog, and other pages in search engines is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) SEO is the key to help you boost traffic to your website through organic search engine results or, in other words, to enhance your company's online exposure on over 100 web search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing and others.
SEO is a highly complex thing, and it requires endless hours to understand even the most basic concepts about its functionality. Not to mention the constant regular search engine algorithm changes that must be kept track of, as well as the technical aspects of websites and servers that need to be managed. But I will break it all down for you in a simple manner so you can apply it as much as possible, and help your business attract potential customers.
An SEO mainly exists as two types:
On-site SEO or on-page SEO: It is work done on your website to optimise page content in order for it to rank higher in search engines. Google, for example, examines the content of your website to decide whether it is a relevant result for the search query. Part of this procedure entails searching your site pages for keywords and keyword-related information.
Try to ensure that your website, page, and blog content is related to the keywords you want your business to be visible online for. Implement this across headers and main content sections. Any pictures or video clips you have should also be renamed to relevant, keyword-related names. Exercise caution when doing this, and make sure you don't oversaturate the text with certain keywords, as that may sometimes be detected as spamming which leads to a lowered search result ranking.
As talked about in the blog section, the text should appear natural. AI is very smart these days and is just as if a human is viewing your content, so always ask yourself - does what is written here make sense? Does it get the message across nicely?
Since August, Google's new on-site SEO algorithm update has priority over off-site SEO, which will help your business in getting discovered online.
Note that the same principle applies to your social profiles, social posts, registries, directories and other content related information that is out there. What is your business about? What do you want to be found for?
Offsite SEO or Off-page SEO: Some actions are not performed on your own website, but they have the power to influence your rankings in search engine results pages. Backlinks are another word for this.
This usually appears above guest blog posts and dedicated blog site posts. You create backlinks as you keep adding your website links to the text. These backlinks have segments like do follow, no follow, as well as tier 1,2,3 and others, but we will leave that to the professionals. What you should ensure is that there's a backlink for your website in all the content you post. An even better approach would be to include an interlink on words in the text that you would like to link back to your website. The link that you add to that one word or word group will determine its meaning, for example, I am an expert marketer residing in London.
Now, the link to my website is added to the phrase "expert marketer" which will show search engines that I'm confirming that my website is about a marketing expert, and if someone searches for one, I may show up in the results. However, if on-site SEO is not carried out accurately, and there is no mention of me being an expert marketer in my website content, the results won't be as good. On-site and Off-site SEO both go together and work hand in hand.
There is much more to all of this, such as competitor analyses, difficulties in ranking the keyword, and strategies you will need to implement over a course of 3-6 months in order to start seeing notable results. But on a fundamental level, even if you apply the basic concepts I've talked about above, you'll see that you already have an edge over other lower-level competitors.
It's important that you remember that every time your website is mentioned on social media posts, it acts as a social signal, almost identical to a backlink. The same principle applies to re-shared posts and brand mentions. All of these things assist your business in boosting its online visibility across social media and web search results.
TIP: Make sure you get in touch with all sites, friends and colleagues who may have your brand-related content on their websites or blogs, and ask them if it's possible for them to quickly add a link back to your website.
Online activity equals visibility
Once you have successfully completed the gruelling task of coming up with engaging and unique content across all of your social profiles, online directories and other web addresses, you will see that your business now has greater visibility online than it did before. Now, it may seem like this is the end of it all and your work is done, but it is actually just starting!
There are several methods for ensuring online engagement while establishing brand signals, and increasing exposure via authority and presence side by side. But I am simply going to highlight two of the most important and simple ones.
Social media platforms: It is advised that you set aside some time to work on your social accounts' engagement and on a daily basis. Try to remain active on your account, and engage with accounts that follow you, as well as those you follow back. Make sure you also reach out to accounts outside your following. One of the best ways to get this done is by finding content via hashtag searches that's relevant to your own brand and engaging with those posts in an authentic, creative, and genuine way.
Let us consider an example. So, your Facebook and Instagram profiles are related to houseplants. You type the hashtag "#houseplants" in the search bar, and proceed to like and leave creative comments on all of the relevant posts that come up under this hashtag. Sometimes, you can also reach out to the account that posted the content via DMs and Messages, just to strike up a conversation or genuinely compliment their content. It has been observed that 5 out of 10 times, they will appreciate your kindness, will follow your account, and will even start liking your posts, as well as leave some comments on a few of them. And even if they don't do all of that, your social profile will still be regarded as an active one and will get ranked higher, which will lead to much better post outreach.
Another great way to boost account engagement is by joining and interacting with relevant groups and communities and becoming a valuable member of their circle. When engaging with groups and communities, take special care as to not spam, or shard sell. Respect group rules, be nice to all members, take the time to leave genuine and meaningful comments on posts, and just make an effort to genuinely engage with people and add value to the group. Then wait and watch as the favour gets returned.
Forums/Blogs: Keep an eye out for online blogs and forums where people either write about topics related to your business or your potential clients and then try to actively engage in their comment sections and online conversations.
The best site that I can recommend to you would be Quora, which is a buzzing community of curious people where someone is asking or answering different types of questions all the time. Filter through their questions or subjects that are related to your niche and then provide informative, valuable answers from your business profile. If it seems to fit the answer, you can also mention your website and them to check out your product/services. Just make sure you use common sense when answering the question, and be mindful of the way with which you provide information. And the best part in all of this is that if your answer is genuinely helpful, it will become a valuable asset for search engines and Quora's website forums, which in turn will astronomically increase your online visibility.
Nothing says more about your business or promotes it better than an independent, unbiased opinion.
Amazon has a very famous approach about this – they state that one good word from an existing customer has the power to reel in 10 more customers, but one bad word leads to a loss of 20 customers.
Use any opportunity you can possibly find to get other parties to promote your business online. This will undoubtedly work 10 times better than what you try to do on your own. Let's talk about some of the most solid approaches everyone should know about:
Reviews: Try to get as many reviews as possible on listings, websites, and social media platforms, as they will show people what others' experience was with you. The more positive reviews you earn, the better it will be for your online presence, audience reach, and overall visibility.
Influencer marketing: Based on your budget, look for micro or macro-influencers and ask them to give your business a shoutout in their circles and social posts. This will introduce your brand to all of their followers, which you may not have been able to reach on your own.
Affiliate marketing: Give other people the chance to bring you some clients and sales via affiliate marketing. This works well for both parties as they will make money, and you'll get more clients/customers.
Usually, affiliates make their best effort to boost your brand's online presence however they can, because their own income will depend on the number of sales you make.
Consistency and Quality
Quality: There is a famous expression that's well-known in the marketing world – "Content is the King". The reason behind this is that information about what you give and how you provide it is important across all platforms and tiers. It truly has the power to make or break your brand, as it will either increase the visibility of your company or reduce it.
Consistency: Aim to remain consistent and active at all times, and regularly focus on developing content for all your online platforms. All platforms thrive on consistency, as this allows them to make accurate analytical predictions. If you would like to make one blog post every month, make sure you do it on the same date. Similarly, if you want to make 3 weekly posts on social media, do them on the same day every week. Over time, this kind of consistency can really yield impressive results.
When it comes to paid visibility, there are many categories and a huge number of opportunities, but let me talk about the two main ones.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): When it comes to SEM, the most popular players in the market that you'll be familiar with, are Google Ads and Microsoft ads. This is a pretty straightforward avenue where you can use search engines, web placements and other web-related ads to advertise your products/services, boost your business visibility, and convert visitors into customers/clients/leads.
This is a paid service and as long as you are willing to pay for it, your business will enjoy heightened online visibility. Even though the ad option is available to everyone, I would highly recommend that you look into free online courses about Ad management. For instance, Google Garage offers extensive step by step training that can help you effectively run ads on unprecedented levels.
TIP: When you are signing your new business up for Google My Business, you will also receive a free Google Ads voucher worth £70 that can be used to run experimental ads. However, make sure you take a good look at your budget settings to make sure everything looks alright.
Social Media Marketing: Most social media platforms offer a wide array of advertisement opportunities. The most notable ones would be Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, but let's not forget Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest Snapchat and others. Similar to SEM, there are numerous free online courses available that can help you learn how to make use of paid marketing opportunities on social media platforms. Not to mention, YouTube's step by step tutorials are a great way to learn about this. The core principle is the same - as long as you can afford to pay for these ads, your business will remain visible on that site and its extensions. You can use these social media ads to grow your audience, boost following, acquire leads, direct viewers to your website, and even convert them into buyers.
TIP: Always refrain from purchasing fake followers and other such activities, as social platform algorithms will instantly detect bot activity, which typically leads to your profile getting shadow-banned. Instead, make use of each platform's promotional tools. Of course, this is a more expensive option, but you can rest assured that all followers and engagement will be from real accounts that you can even choose to target, based on your business audience analyses.
For parliamentary Society magazine readers, I will quickly offer an effective online marketing strategy that can help you increase your brand's online visibility.
Create a unique, informative, and engaging blog post that is at least 1000 words long.
Record yourself using the blog post as your script, but bring it to life in a way that's identical to talking with someone face-to-face. You can even record this on your phone with a shelf or stand help. Just ensure that your sound is loud and clear. If possible, record both vertical and horizontal versions.
If you don't already have one, go ahead and create a YouTube channel (It's free and easy, and there are countless YouTube guides on how you can do it yourself). Include your logo, links, and your business information.
Upload your video to your YouTube channel with an appropriate and relevant title and description. At the end of the description, make sure you include your website so that you can have a backlink to your website.
Now, you can go ahead and post your blog either on your website or on a dedicated blog site, such as Blogger and google blogs etc. When you make a blog post, find the plugin that will help you attach your YouTube video to it. Usually, web providers provide you with the option to add videos with a link extension or with developer input codes that are under the video. You can find a step-by-step tutorial for this on YouTube. For example, you can search up "how to add YouTube video to Wix blog"
This way, your blog is available as both information and as a video, helping you avail online visibility on 2 of the largest search engines in the world – Google and YouTube.
You should now create social media posts with web links that promote your new blog. This will create social signals and will attract more traffic to your website/blog page. Use all of your creative ideas, and don't be afraid of diversity! Perhaps a poster promoting the blog, or maybe some short reels? The possibilities are endless.
If there isn't one already, create a Pinterest account for your business, and make sure you add all the relevant business information, logo and all related links.
Now, create some image and video pins that contain web-links to your blog.
Make sure the titles and descriptions you use correspond to the information you want people to discover them for and are common searches connected to your business. Make sure to include a blog link in all of your entries.
This will increase your page authority and drive visitors to your website/blog page directly through your articles, as well as indirectly through organic searches in the future.
Elvijs Plugis is a Digital Marketing Specialist with over 9 years of experience in running and consulting multimillion pound revenue businesses in the UK and Internationally. Currently he has his own marketing management and consultancy company Sigulp Ltd, where he helps businesses, individuals and corporations and he is also the managing director for a Digital marketing Agency Techtadd Ltd. Currently he is the Vice chair and marketing advisor for the Parliamentary Society.
DIGITAL MARKETING SPECIALIST
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