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A Complete Guide to Launching Your New Website

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A Complete Guide to Launching Your New Website

The decisions made in the planning stage of a new site launch can either constrain the site and force it to underachieve or serve as a foundation for seemingly limitless growth.

This guide to launching a new site will help ensure that it reaches maximum potential.

Whether it’s a new site, redesigning an old site, or joining two sites into one, these steps can help your new site perform at its peak potential.

Planning the Site

The first phase of launching a website consists of competitor research, defining the audience and their needs, establishing your goals for the site, planning a content strategy to support the site, and finally, making a promotional plan that works together with the content.

Competitor Research

Review the competition and make a list of their strengths and their weaknesses. Competitor research at this phase is simply about understanding what kind of battle your site is entering.

That’s why a review looks at weaknesses as well as strengths. The weaknesses are important because they represent your opportunities to do something better. A link review is useful at this stage, as well.

A full site crawl is not out of order as it can tell you a lot about the sophistication (or lack thereof) of their search engine optimization (SEO) and content strategy.

Does the site contain internal broken links? This may indicate poor SEO.

Are there duplicate title and meta description tags? This may indicate sloppy SEO.

How well or poorly does the site score for Core Web Vitals? A high score may indicate that you’re dealing with a strong competitor.

Competitor research is generally not about reviewing keywords.

It’s about understanding the barrier to entry and thereby getting an idea of whether you have a shot at carving out a comfortable spot in the niche and beating the competition.

Define Your Audience and Their Needs

Sometimes the competition is targeting the wrong end of the user base. It could be they are targeting one gender and excluding the other, for example.

Defining helps to clarify the focus of the content and the visual design and to build a visual identity for the site itself, including a site mascot if you want to go there with it.

Identifying what people need is important for content development, site design, and feature design.

Define Site Goals

Site goals influence content development and site design.

Content Strategy

All previous steps to here inform the content strategy. Importantly, the content strategy should be created in partnership with the link strategy.

Websites decide to link to web pages because it fills a need and makes someone excited and enthusiastic about the page.

Identifying what people are linking to adds context to the content strategy.

Promotional Plan

Will the content attract links?

How will social media work together with the content?

Are there opportunities for acquiring links, particularly opportunities that the competition may have missed?

Successful sites are promoted both online and offline.

Choose a Domain Name

Choosing the right domain is important. You definitely want to avoid negative associations in the words chosen for the domain name.

A popular domain name trend is using a misspelling of a keyword by leaving out a vowel or a consonant or misspelling the word entirely.

But once a trend is copied over and over, it starts to appear more tired than snappy.

For example, in the mid-2000s, SEO companies were branding themselves with the word “Media” as a suffix. So an SEO company called Beagle SEO would become BeagleMedia.com.

Today, naming your SEO company with the suffix “Media” sounds a bit silly because the expectation is that a Media company produces video and audio content.

My perspective on choosing domain names is formed from over twenty years of creating websites, blogs, forums, and consulting for other companies. And having watched trends come and go, I can tell you that following a trend can backfire.

There are (arguably) two kinds of domains:

  • Branded domains.
  • Keyword domains.

Branded Domain

A branded domain is when you have a business name that is a brand name.

A brand name can be based on the founder’s name or surname, or it could be something that communicates usefulness, an aspiration, or subtly communicates affinity with the target audience through the use of jargon or slang.

Keyword Domains

Keyword domains can be powerful because visitors tend to want what’s in the keyword. My own experience is that a two-word keyword domain can convert at a shockingly high rate.

Having just a single keyword and making it a combination of a branded and keyword domain is a good compromise, like FalafelKing or MattressOasis.

Make the Domain Name Easy to Remember

Avoid complicated domain names. This includes long names, domain names that are difficult to spell, and hyphenated domains.

You can almost never lose by focusing on simplicity and appealing to the widest group of people.

Choose a Domain Name for the Long Term

When choosing a domain name, be honest with yourself as to whether it encapsulates the full scope of what the domain will offer. Branding the domain with the word “shoes” will make it awkward when the business decides to also sell jackets.

Branding the domain with the word “forum” becomes limiting when the publisher decides to expand as a news site.

Sometimes, being less specific or more general is useful because it allows the site greater flexibility to grow.

For more information on domains (including “gotchas” that can drag your business down), read How to Choose a Domain Name.

Design the Site Structure

This is the part where many businesses can end up backed into a corner because of poorly conceived site planning that isn’t flexible enough to grow.

The first part of planning a site is to map out the site structure.

Document what the site intends to publish about; this is the content, services, and products you’ll present to site visitors. This is sometimes referred to as a taxonomy.

A taxonomy is used in science as a way to classify species of animals.

On the top level, you have mammals and then it goes to types of mammals (primates, marsupials, rodents, etc.). From that level, it gets more and more specific.

A taxonomy typically starts at a highly general level (clothes), moves to the category level (shirts, jackets, shoes), and sometimes proceeds to a sub-category level (formal shirts, rain jackets, running shoes), then right on down to a highly specific level (Nike shoes).

This kind of designing taxonomy is similar to the scientific taxonomies in biology. It’s the kind of structure that was used in the old yellow pages and what is used in internet directories.

In the SEO community, this is known as the Pyramid Site Structure. There are other names given to this kind of site structure, but the Pyramid Site Structure came first.

The name is called the Pyramid Site Structure because the site hierarchy resembles a pyramid.

The top of the pyramid represents the home page, which is the most general expression of what the site does (we sell clothes).

The next levels down are the top-level categories and lower down are subcategories then all the way down to the bottom of the pyramid which is wide can consist of thousands of pages devoted to specific products or articles on specific topics.

Read more: John Mueller Recommends Pyramid Site Structure.

Designing the site architecture should follow a similar pattern that can allow for growth, just like with choosing a domain name.

Sometimes it makes sense to give the top-level categories a general and wide topic to allow the opportunity for growth by adding more subtopics later on when needed.

Site Design

There are three levels of design to consider:

  1. Overall site level.
  2. Category level.
  3. Webpage level.

Overall Site Level

Choosing the CMS

What CMS and theme will be used? This is an important step because it’s going to lock you into whatever system you choose.

When choosing a page builder, theme, or shopping cart solution, try searching for the name of the software plus the word “vulnerability” to get an idea of how well that software is coded.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities are relatively common and seemingly most themes and plugins have had one or two of those.

But if you see a pattern of multiple vulnerabilities every single year, you may want to reconsider that choice.

Don’t just consider what a site looks like or the functionalities or special effects that they come with.

Consider how lightweight the code is in terms of kilobytes or megabytes. See how sites built with that software perform by testing them with Google Lighthouse or Chrome Dev Tools. These tools are recommended for debugging web pages in real-time.

Navigational Features

The overall site planning needs to focus on site navigation. Properly planned site navigation and site structure make it usable to site visitors.

Define the user interface features for the header area (top of page), footer area (bottom of page), and along the site.

These three areas are going to help users find the content or products they need. The focus should always be on how the features benefit the site visitor.

Site Functionality and Utilities

Choosing utilities and functionalities that do not overlap or clash with other software is important.

Examples of must-have add-ons:

  • Schema structured data.
  • Contact forms.
  • Anti-hacking defense.
  • Caching.
  • Newsletter opt-in forms.
  • Newsletter subscription management.
  • SEO software add-ons.
  • Backup utilities.
  • Analytics.

Planning for site functionality helps avoid overlap between plugins.

Security, anti-spam, caching, SEO, and structured data plugins can all overlap with each other and in some cases may cause in unintended consequences.

Style Guide

No template is ever good enough to use straight off the shelf.

The icons are always never optimized and can be squeezed to be smaller.

Attention is never given to minimizing render-blocking JavaScript assets and there are almost always too many bells, whistles and their associated CSS and JavaScript loaded on every page, regardless of whether they are used or not.

With regards to templates, the choice is between:

  • Starting with something minimalist and building up what you want.
  • Or starting with something that looks like what you want and removing the parts that are not needed in order to get to that magic place that’s your website.

Stakeholders need to agree on a style guide that outlines what everything will look like.

The style manual can include things like fonts, icons, a guide to image assets (widths and heights for images & optimization details), call to actions, buttons, colors, mascot, logo, etc. You want it to cover anything involving the look and feel of the site.

Stakeholders may be those in charge of SEO, web development, content, web design, graphic design, PPC, and whoever are the team leaders.

SEO informs what might be needed for on-page speed and Google’s UX metrics like Core Web Vitals. They can also speak about the optimization of assets and identify what may be problematic before the site is well into development.

Web developers can take the SEO wish list and make it happen. Web developers can identify and remove code bloat, suggest best practices for adding functionality to the site.

PPC can outline what they need a page to look like as can the content side.

All of these considerations should be planned ahead of time in order to have a consistent look and feel and to make it easier to optimize.

For example, determining featured and in-content image sizes makes it easier to create code that will avoid cumulative layout shift by being able to accurately declare height and width dimensions.

It will also help avoid the use of images that are excessively large and of random size, making it easier to optimize images.

The graphic design side can provide feedback on what kinds of images result in the lowest possible weight so that images are measured in kilobytes and not megabytes.

And of course, in the case of a redesign or a site migration where two sites are joined, the SEO and content side need to work together to decide what’s staying and what’s getting redirected to where.

Category Page Level

The Category Level is about defining how you’re going to make it easy to find content within that category.

A structure that makes it easy for visitors to find content or products is important. Sometimes this means showing links to new and popular content or products at the top of the page and lower down presenting an easy way to drill down to subcategories.

Making it easy to navigate to the most popular articles or products within a category is in general a best practice.

If 25% of visitors to a category page are interested in a specific article topic or product section, making it easy to navigate to those sections or specific pages will satisfy 25% of visitors to that category page. That’s a huge win.

The goal for category pages is to give visitors what they want with as little friction as possible.

Every decision made in the design of a category page should be made from within the context of how it serves the site visitor.

Planning in that manner will result in what’s best for Google and Bing and consequently the site’s rankings.

Webpage Level

Webpage-level planning is concerned with how the page is structured, what it looks like and how pages interconnect with other pages.

Will there be links to more content at the end of the content, within the content, or to the side of the content?

What kind of content will the product page have?

Will the product or content pages feature reviews?

What structured data is most appropriate for the content or product pages have?

These are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed, answered, and documented so that all the stakeholders can move forward together.

Stage the Site

Minimum Viable Product

Now is a good place to introduce Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

MVP is a product development concept that is a way of forcing a concrete endpoint – goals – for achieving acceptable functionality.

This approach helps to avoid paralysis by analysis, which is where a project remains in a constant state of development and never seems to be ready. A project can extend months longer than it needs to because of the quest to achieve perfection.

By writing down what needs to exist, how pages should look, which pages should be fully complete and functional, a project gains an endpoint that everyone can agree to. It defines when the project is ready to be pushed live.

An example of an MVP decision is not to finish a section of a site that isn’t critical in order to get the site live faster.

The less important section can be a forum, a directory, or some other section that isn’t core to the website’s mission or goals. It can be added in after the site is live and mostly “finished.”

Staging the Site

The final step prior to being pushed live is to stage the site. Site staging can be done online on any server. Just password protect the site and you’re good.

There are also plugins that facilitate staging a site and services that provide a hosted space for staging the site.

For both approaches, moving the site to live is as easy as clicking a button. I tend to like the convenience and ease of a site dedicated to staging the site and being able to push it to the live space once I’m happy with it.

This is the time when A/B testing can be useful for identifying unintended flaws in the site design.

For example, a heatmap app can identify where people are clicking. It can also help identify areas of a web page where people are getting lost or not understanding how to get around.

A/B testing can be as simple as asking people to find something or to read an article and see how they respond as well as asking for feedback.

Sometimes, the font kerning or line height might be off and making it difficult to read. A/B testing might give a clue to these kinds of problems.

Two Tasks Before Launching the New Site

1. Crawl the Site

Before launching the site live, if the current site is replacing an old site or is a joining of two sites, stop and crawl the old site first.

If you’re joining two sites, you need a list of the URLs from the old site (the one disappearing into the second site).

Once the new site is launched, you can now take the list of URLs from the old site and feed them into a site diagnostic software like Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog will ideally report that all old URLs are redirecting to new pages; they will show up as 301 redirects.

If something went wrong and pages that were supposed to be redirected were not, Screaming Frog will report those URLs under the 404 Page Not Found report.

You can also run all of the usual site audit checks to make sure that the new site is healthy and fine.

The process is the same if you’re just updating the site design or changing URLs.

Run your site audit software (like Screaming Frog) on the site before the update in order to preserve a snapshot of the old site that can be compared to the new site.

2. Back Up the Old Site

The second thing to do is to back up the old site. Download as many files as you can — preferably everything. Download your databases and your images and any other assets.

This backup will be your insurance in case something goes horribly wrong.

For example, if the new site contains malware and backdoors because of an installed plugin, you will have the ability to restore the old site fast and move the new site back to the staging environment.

The Site is Live… Post Launch Diagnostics

Once everything looks good and functions properly, and the MVP goals are reached, it’s time to push the site live. Next comes post-launch diagnostics.

Ideally, all outbound and internal links had been checked while the site was staged. Still, it’s always a good idea to run your favorite site audit software on the live site.

Many people use Screaming Frog and it’s a good software to have for checking a site after it’s been launched. It will tell you about broken links, if redirects are in place, alert you to missing assets, and so on.

But most importantly, you can feed the list of URLs from the old site into Screaming Frog and it will report on missing web pages and other errors.

Mistakes Are To Be Expected

It’s almost inevitable that some issues (usually minor) will present themselves after the site is live.

Some issues can be really bad, such as images downloaded via FTP using the ASCII Data Format instead of the Binary Data Format, resulting in corrupted images.

Most likely, you will discover less catastrophic but still important issues such as pages that display incorrectly, or colors that don’t contrast enough for color-blind site visitors, for example.

Despite our best efforts, issues with the new site are almost guaranteed to be discovered after the site is launched.

Don’t get too upset about it! The important thing is to have the site live and in a 99% (more or less) usable status.

More Resources:


Featured image created by author, April 2021

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This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything

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This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything

A recent unused poster design for 1977’s Star Wars has surfaced and reveals just when you think you’ve seen it all around this iconic movie, there’s always something new to talk about. Particularly as this rare and unused Star War movie poster art was so bad it could have ruined the franchise before it even launched.

The unused Star Wars poster from 1977 was posted on Twitter by film nerd’ account The Spaceshipper and many fans of the franchise were thankful it was never used. While some recent film posters, like new Ant-Man 3 posters that are a Photoshop nightmare, this rare Star Wars poster is bad on so many levels – it’s a graphic design fail, the slogan makes no sense and there’s little to engage with.

Star Wars film posters have been some of the best ever designed, from legendary artists such as the Hidlebrandt Brothers who painted the original 1977 poster that was used. Iconic poster artists have also designed for the franchise; the Drew Struzan Star Wars poster for The Force Awakens impresses and Hugh Flemming revealed all in our feature ‘the secrets of a top Star Wars artist’.

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How to Manage Your Online Brand?

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You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to manage my online brand?” It’s a valid question, especially if you’re not sure what managing your online brand means precisely.

In short, managing your online brand is the process of taking control of how others see you and your business online. This can involve creating and maintaining a strong presence on social media, developing positive reviews and testimonials, and monitoring your web analytics to track progress.

By taking the time to manage your online brand, you can improve your chances of success in today’s digital age.

In this article, we’ll explore some key reasons why managing your online brand is essential.

What is an online brand, and why do you need one?

Your online brand is the way you are perceived by others online. This includes your website, social media profiles, online reviews, and all other digital real estate that represents you when someone searches for you or your business.

It’s important to have one because it helps your potential customers get to know, trust, and like you before they buy anything from you. A strong online brand can also help you attract new customers and grow your business.

It’s good to remember that your online brand is the first thing people will see when they search for you, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your business well.

How to manage your online brand for success?

Your online brand is your reputation. It’s how people perceive you when they see your name, read your work, or interact with you online.

A strong online brand can help you attract new clients, collaborators, and opportunities. But how do you create and manage your brand for success?

1) Consider what you want your online brand to convey.

Are you an expert in a certain field? A thought leader? A creative visionary?

Once you know what you want your brand to communicate, be consistent in everything you do online.

Use the same name, photo, and bio across all of your social media platforms. Post regularly about topics related to your brand, and make sure the tone of your posts is consistent with the image you’re trying to convey.

2) Interact with other people online in a way that reinforces your brand.

When someone mentions you in a post, thank them publicly. If someone leaves a negative comment on one of your posts, don’t delete it – instead, respond politely and professionally.

By managing your online brand thoughtfully and proactively, you can set yourself up for success both online and offline.

3) Monitor your web analytics to track your progress.

Use Google Analytics or another web analytics tool to track how people are finding you online and what they’re doing on your website. This data can give you insights into what’s working well and what needs improvement.

For example, if you see that most of your website visitors are coming from Facebook, you might want to focus on creating more engaging content for that platform.

Or, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your blog but not your sales page, you might need to work on driving traffic to your products or services.

4) Make sure your website represents your brand well.

Your website is often the first thing people will see when they search for you online, so it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date and represents your brand well.

Update your website regularly with new blog posts, photos, and products. Use attractive visuals, easy-to-navigate menus, and clear calls to action.

If you’re not sure how to create a website that represents your brand well, consider working with a web designer or developer.

5) Pay attention to your social media presence.

Social media is a powerful tool for managing your online brand. Use it to connect with your audience, share your work, and promote your products or services.

Be sure to post regularly, interact with others, and use hashtags and keywords that will help people find you. You can also use social media ads to reach a wider audience or promote specific products or services.

6) Monitor your online reputation.

Use Google Alerts or another tool to monitor your online reputation. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about you online and take action if necessary.

For example, if you see a negative review of your business, you can reach out to the customer directly to try to resolve the issue. Or, if you see someone spreading misinformation about your work, you can correct it.

7) Manage your online brand proactively.

The best way to manage your online brand is to be proactive. Be thoughtful about everything you do online, from the content you post to the way you interact with others. By taking control of your online presence, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.

By following these tips, you can create and manage an online brand that will help you achieve your goals.

The benefits of having a strong online brand

Let’s look at a few benefits of having a strong online brand:

1) Stand out from the competition.

With so much noise online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you create a well-defined brand, you’ll be better able to cut through the clutter and attract attention.

2) Build trust and credibility.

A strong online brand can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. If people know what to expect from you, they’re more likely to trust and respect you.

3) Connect with your audience.

By definition, a brand is a way of differentiating yourself from others. But it’s also a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. When done well, branding can create an emotional connection between you and your audience.

4) Drive traffic and sales.

A strong online brand can help you drive traffic and sales. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. And if they trust and respect you, they’re more likely to tell others about you.

5) Increase your visibility.

A well-managed online brand will increase your visibility online. When people search for you or your business, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results. And when people see you frequently in their feeds, you’ll be more likely to stay top of mind.

6) Attract media attention.

A strong online brand can help you attract media attention. If you’re known for something specific, journalists and bloggers will be more likely to write about you. This can help increase your visibility and reach even further.

7) Enhance your career prospects.

Your online brand can have a big impact on your career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job, employers will likely research you online. And if you’re an entrepreneur, investors will want to know more about your brand before they invest in your business.

8) Make a positive impact.

Finally, a strong online brand can help you make a positive impact in the world. If you’re passionate about something, you can use your platform to raise awareness and advocate for change.

The importance of staying consistent with your branding strategy

As you can see, there are many benefits to having a strong online brand. But it’s not enough to just create a brand—you also need to be consistent with your branding strategy.

When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you, and they need to see that you’re consistent in your messaging and your visuals.

Here are a few pointers if you’re not sure how to stay consistent with your branding:

1) Define your brand.

The first step to being consistent with your branding is to define your brand. What do you want people to think of when they see your name or your logo? What do you want your brand to represent?

2) Create guidelines.

Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to create guidelines. These guidelines should include everything from your mission statement to the colors and fonts you use in your branding. By having a set of guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand.

3) Train your team.

If you have a virtual assistant or team, it’s important to train them on your branding guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what your brand represents and how they can help you maintain a consistent brand identity.

4) Monitor your brand.

Once you’ve launched your brand, it’s important to monitor it. This means paying attention to how people are reacting to your brand and making sure that you’re still presenting yourself in the way you want to be seen.

5) Be prepared to adjust.

Finally, be prepared to adjust your branding strategy as needed. As your business grows and changes, your branding will need to change with it. By being flexible and willing to adjust, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand is always relevant.

Wrap Up

A strong online brand is essential for any business or individual. By definition, your online brand is the way you’re perceived by others online. And while that may seem like a superficial thing, the reality is that your online brand can have a big impact on your business or career.

If you’re not sure how to create a strong online brand, start by defining your brand and creating guidelines. Then, train your team on your branding strategy and monitor your brand over time. And finally, be prepared to adjust as needed.

About:
Oscar is a passionate full-time blogger and a part-time author. In his personal blog OssieRodriguez.com, he writes about software, online influence, and different business models.

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How SEO Works in Digital Marketing

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how-seo-works-in-digital-marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.

SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.

Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress or results to the whole company.

This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.

How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of tactics (content, technical, link building, even website security and usability) that ensures that your website is easy to understand for search engines.

Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.

Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:

  • Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic,  it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.

In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.

Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.

Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important

The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means. 

SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?” 

Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:

  • Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
  • Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
  • Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
  • But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
  • IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
  • Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.  
  • Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.

Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.

Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.

Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.

What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?

As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them. 

Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for.  This will expose you to ideas others may not have.

As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth. 

Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.

Conclusion

SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.

Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).

Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.

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