Deciding on whether to hire an outside digital marketing agency to help you build or manage your website can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a sea of acronyms and industry terms to get lost in, but there are some basics that everybody should consider. The underlying goal here is of course to boost visibility, grow traffic and generate leads, which means we can’t discuss managing a CMS like WordPress without also considering the SEO effects of what we do. SEO simply means search engine optimization, and we want to make sure that everything we are doing is helping search engines, and ultimately users, find us online. Here are some of the on-page tasks you can expect a digital marketing agency or web developer to handle for you.
Keywords and Phrases
When deciding what results to show for a search query, Google uses hundreds of signals to rank pages. Content is king, however, and without relevant, authoritative content built following proper semantics and best practices is critical. Battling for position is an endless fight, but properly identifying and implementing key phrases helps give you a leg up on the competition. Professional tools like SERPstat exist to both monitor the performance of your website for keywords in search phrases, and even help you identify new ones to pursue.
When building a website, our goal is to make our content interesting and relevant to our users, but also easy for search engines to crawl and find. Using internal links helps connect our content and gives search engines an idea of the structure of our website. Properly implementing internal links establish our sites hierarchy and identifies which pages and post are most important, and deserve the most “link juice“.
Original, Authoritative Content
Have you noticed a pattern? Yes, another bullet point about content. A proper keyword strategy is critical to success, as is a properly nested website with clear hierarchies. But all of that is moot if you don’t have content to draw visitors in. Duplicated content is a shortcut to creating pages, but won’t help you in the long run. Ensure that the content you create is original, and make sure to update your existing content to maximize its potential!
URLs and Slugs
It’s not just your content you need to be worried about, but also where it’s located and how its identified. When saving a document or spreadsheet, you try to make sure the filename is something that makes sense and will be easy to identify later, right? The same goes for the structure of files and folders on your website. Take this post for example, we use the URL slug:
instead of something like
Not only does a human readable URL slug help us identify what the link we are visiting is going to be about, but the same goes for search crawlers! Plus, people are much more likely to click a link that identifies itself clearly, instead of rolling the dice with a meaningless jumble of numbers and characters. Note: the same goes for the names of images on your site.
The speed with which your website loads, on both desktop computers and mobile devices, has a two-fold effect. Page speed is one of the signals that Google uses to determine your performance on the Search Engine Results page, so optimization is key to SEO success. A study by Akamai Technologies shows that 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load. Page speed not only affects your search performance, but also whether or not users who do find you ultimately stay. Is your site loading slowly? Use a tool like Pingdom to analyze the performance of your website and identify problem areas.
With a properly built, easy to navigate front-end, we can now move on to those things working behind the scenes. The field of digital marketing, and particularly SEO, is ever-changing. For example, Meta Keywords are no longer used by Google and other major search engines to determine whether the content of your website is related to a search. It’s no longer as easy as simply spamming keywords to get yourself noticed, and in fact, doing so will even hurt your performance. There’s no shortage of people promising you quick solutions to get to the “first page” of Google, and black-hat marketers are hard at work trying to game the algorithms. Any potential benefits will be quickly lost as search engines get wise and improve, so ensure your agency is up-to-date with the latest in industry news and trends.
A sitemap is an XML file that you can provide for search engines to use to help identify the pages on your website. Regularly updating and maintaining sitemaps ensures you’re giving your content the best chance of being identified and indexed. For reference, you can review our sitemap.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS out there, and the content platform of choice for most bloggers and small businesses. Its popularity has created a huge community of developers creating plugins to meet your every need. However, as your webpage grows and its functionality increases, more time must be spent on managing all these interconnected processes. Finding an expert familiar with the constant changes to the platform will ensure your website is safe, secure, and up to date.
Fighting Hackers and Spam
If you’ve ever built a website in WordPress, you’re probably familiar with being bombarded with fake, spammy comments and attempts to hack your website. Properly managing and filtering comments to remove fake ones and promote and encourage real ones can be a daily battle, but one worth fighting. People taking the time to share their comments should be encouraged, while the spam needs to be eliminated for fear of losing trust or authority. A sound back-up strategy must be implemented, and further steps can be taken to fix or prevent WordPress hacks.
Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
The world of digital marketing can be intimidating for some, murky for others, or simply too time-consuming for the rest. Every online business and website has different needs and strives for different goals, but there are common best practices that all should follow. It’s important to sit down and identify what it is you want to accomplish, and develop a plan for the future with a trusted partner. If you’re ready to take the next step, why not drop us a line and see how we can help you?