Today I was on the phone with a client talking about his company’s new web design. It had been over a week since I had submitted the latest draft over for his approval and he asked me if his slow replies were a problem.
I have a customer-centric mentality and I understand that everyone is on different timelines so I told him it wasn’t a problem – and it’s not.
But left on my own, I will have this wrapped up in a week.
Because I want to get stuff done NOW.
There is no someday for me.
There is no shuffling papers and hoping stuff magically gets finished.
I am 100% motivated to make clients happy and timeliness and quick delivery goes hand-in-hand with project completion and results.
As the owner of RIVE, this is my mentality and it gets passed down to my contractors. We want to get to work. We want to provide solutions. We want happy clients and great reviews.
Our greatness doesn’t come from wishing and hoping, it comes from doing.
Besides pushing the pace and getting projects and campaigns finished on time, why else are we so aggressive?
Because aggression wins out.
All things equal, the aggressive party wins – in the real world and the digital world.
For example, I could wait to publish this blog post until I outline the content, hire a copy editor, sort through more stock photos, have enough sleep, etc. but I don’t because it’s more important to publish and get it done and move on to the next blog post.
We’ve got social media channels that need content.
The site needs more for customers to look over before they hire us.
Every day I wait to publish is a day of content age I lose with Google – and an opportunity to grow the number of pages on the site.
The same relentlessness has been in place with the creation of the entire RIVE digital empire.
- The website has undergone 4 redesigns.
- The social media channels didn’t have content for a month.
- We didn’t even have Pinterest until yesterday.
- I just added four services to the service section last week.
- We haven’t started our ad campaigns as of the morning I write this.
The list of incompletes goes on and yet we continued on and didn’t wait until everything was in place.
It’s way better to start somewhere and GO vs. not start anywhere and try to get every last detail perfect.
Time is money and there is tremendous opportunity cost in over-planning and overthinking. And here’s the other part: There’s so much uncertainty that it’s really not worth being defensive and delaying a campaign for a month while trying to figure out a particular course of action.
None of this is to say I advocate recklessness or sloppiness.
But we do do the best we can as fast as we can and it pays LARGE dividends in terms of production/yield and ultimately attracting clients who want to outsource their marketing to RIVE.
Show me two competitors in anything – business, athletics, crafting, whatever – and I’ll always put my money on the aggressor because they’re the one taking action while their opponent is trying to adjust.
And when you combine our aggression with the intelligence, knowledge, contacts, and skill level we work with… we prove ourselves dominant.
In fighting, if you can kick and punch well, you can win your tussle 95% of the time.
With on-page optimization, if you do four things well, you’ll have better on-site SEO than 80% of the websites out there.
The Big 4:
- Title Tag
- Header Tag
- Sufficient Content
URLs – Best Practices
Your URL is the most valuable place to place your keywords. Each page of your site – including homepage – has a URL (this is different from a domain name). Here’s an example of a categorical URL for RIVE Marketing:
Here are the best practices when it comes to URL structure:
- Keep them short – as short as possible
- Have the keywords show as close to the left side as possible
- Take out filler words (e.g. a, an, the, and, with, etc.)
- Limit the number of keywords you incorporate (no repetition)
- Avoid unnecessary categories and subfolders
This last bullet point is very important because I’ve noticed it’s a recurring pattern when company’s create sites: they love to create unnecessary folders. In the end, the category structure runs two or three levels deep and some of the lower tier URLs will end up looking like:
While a products folder is likely a good choice for site organization purposes, the content folder is not – it’s redundant, takes away valuable URL real estate from the page topic (targeted keywords), and pushes the keywords to the right, lessening their impact.
Another common mistake is including the keyword multiple times in the URL. Keep in mind your domain name counts towards your keyword count so if you have your keyword in your domain name, you usually won’t want to use it on the folder level.
For example, my domain is rivemarketing.com. Because of this, I will never need “marketing” in any of my folder level URLs.
Title Tag Optimization
You can locate your title tag by looking at the tab of your current browser. If you hover over it, you can see the full tag. In the HTML code of your site, the title goes in between the <title>[YOUR PAGE’S TITLE]</title> code. Here’s the title for the RIVE Marketing homepage:
I’ve elected to solely target my company name on my homepage and optimize for targeted keywords on my subpages. What you write here varies on your unique situation but there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Use keywords lightly – you don’t need to include multiple variations
- Keep your title tight and to the point; don’t try and stuff every last keyword in there
- Every title on your website should be completely unique
- Only use keywords once
The most important header tag is the H1. This is represented in the code as <h1>[MAIN PAGE TOPIC GOES HERE][/h1>.
You should only have one H1 on your page. Any other headers should categorically fall in line under level of importance. For example, all primary subheaders should be H2s and any headers underneath the H2s should be H3s and so on.
Headers help organize your site’s content for Google and Bing. Stylistically, they often serve the same purpose (organizing content for people visiting your site) but you definitely don’t want to use headers in this manner.
For styling, adjust your CSS code. For on-page optimization, use your H1s and H2s properly.
Taking it Further
For all of the three vital elements above, you want to remix them so they’re a little bit different from each other. We do this so as not to appear as if we’re overoptimizing for one keyword.
For example, one of my targeted keywords is “corporate marketing”. It would be a horrible idea for me to make “Corporate Marketing” my exact title tag, URL, and H1 – even though this would technically be correct.
What you have to remember is in Google’s eyes this is tantamount to trying to game the system so you want to appear more relaxed, more natural in what you use for your elements. You don’t have to go crazy with this but you do have to implement some finesse.
In my example, I will go with the following:
Title: Corporate Marketing
URL: https://rivemarketing.com/corporate (note how both keywords are included in the URL because of my domain name)
H1: Advanced Marketing for Corporations
The fourth thing I look at is page content: Is there enough content for Google to chew on?
It’s great to have an optimal header, title, and URL structure on your page but if you don’t give Google some content to chew on, there’s not a compelling reason for them to rank you.
For example, let’s say I publish this blog post and it’s got all of the elements lined up but there’s only 100 words of content in the main body of the page. Google’s not going to rank it.
There are 50 other sites with full guides on on-page optimization – some over 2,500 words – so why would Google feel compelled to show my post? Just because I have the basics in place — nope!
The basics (Big 3 talked about above) pave the way for an opportunity to rank but if there’s nothing rank worthy then it’s not going to happen.
To put the importance of good content in perspective, I’d rather have 1,000 words of text than a perfect title, URL, and header.
Text is the most important type of content but it’s not the only kind.
Media rich content is important. By media rich, I mean your text is loaded with video and images (graphics, illustrations, pictures, photos, etc.) Diverse content appeals more to Google as they know great content includes multimedia so you want to at least include some images in your content. Of course, YouTube videos work well.
As a simple guide, if you have 1,000 words, 2 images, and a video in each page, you’re doing really well. Couple that with the Big 3 above, and you’re cooking.
Of course, there is a lot more to on-page SEO like keyword density, LSI keywords, fresh content, alt tags, image file names, and authority links.
And then there’s on-site SEO (optimizing your site on a broader level) which includes siloing, schema, sitemap, and establishing topical relevance.
But when you’re evaluating the different pages on your website, if you can start with a good faith effort on the four things above, you’ll see an instant impact on your rankings.
The companies I provide marketing advice to are focused on their website – and for good reason – but as they advance, I inevitably recommend they build multiple web properties to strengthen their digital castle.
I usually get a “yeah, but…” reaction and their attention diverts to something else.
Instead of switching topics, let’s talk about this digital development and why it’s so strategically sound.
A web property in this context is any website and/or page you own.
Social media channels definitely work. For example, your Twitter page is a property. Same for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
As you already know, it’s wise to invest resources (time, money, energy) into these pages because the platforms can be leveraged to garner sales and/or eyeballs.
That said, when I talk about investing in web properties, I’m referring to the creation of independent websites that support your existing agenda.
The giant media companies are already doing this. In fact, Glen Allsopp of Viper Chill wrote an excellent article on how 16 companies are dominating Google SERPs (search engine results pages).
The end result of this search domination is a grocery store of information where we think we have all of these diverse choices of info to choose from when we’re really looking at a very few voices/messages repackaged.
Take a look at this screenshot from Glen’s post:
Hearst media is dominating this niche with four web properties spanning five of the top seven search results.
It’s brilliant strategy and one I advocate.
Here are the big 3 advantages:
Relatively cheap to buy up some of the most valuable real estate in the world
You control the narrative
Making Money with Multiple Properties
In the SEO community, the prevailing wisdom is once you rank #1 for a lucrative and/or important keyword, you don’t stop there, you proceed to rank multiple properties and own the Google real estate, displacing the competition and taking the lion’s share of the market.
For example, if you rank #1 for a targeted keyword like “crypto insurance” and it’s generating $150,000/month in recurring revenue, then you should proceed to rank websites for #2 and #3, etc. and take full control of the market. While #2 and #3 won’t make as much money (all things equal), it’s still available money that is yours for the taking.
Brand Management via Displacement
Of course, another benefit is making sure you’re in control of what shows up under searches for your brand name.
We all know how brutal review sites can be. Most products/services don’t receive reviews when things go right but any perceived mistake can earn negative responses from disgruntled customers and paint an inaccurate picture of your brand and ultimately tank sales.
You have 10,000 customers of your product.
80% or 8,000 think your product is amazing and worthy of 5 stars.
1,500 are fairly happy and would give 3-4 stars.
But another 500 are upset and ready to lash out and do so on an authority review site that just so happens to rank high in Google for your brand name. Of the 100 reviews on your company’s page, 70 are 1 stars and dramatically shift the way a prospective customer sees your company and product and they decide not to buy.
Unfair representation, yes. Real affect on your brand: tremendous.
In this scenario, it’s a good idea to have multiple web properties to move up in Google and thereby displace a review site like ConsumerAffairs.com, RippedOffReport.com, PissedConsumer.com, BBB.org, etc. to where it much more harmlessly shows up on page 2.
While you aren’t increasing sales per se, you are paving the way for would be sales to take place.
What sites or pages can we move up to page 1?
Branded websites associated with your company/brand are the best route. But social properties like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram can also be moved.
Controlling The Narrative
Similarly, sometimes you just want to control the information. We’ve talked about brand management but information extends well beyond that into other stuff, usually around generic keywords but there are no limits here.
In these instances, it’s best to have alternate branded properties (like Hearst media) that disseminate information that best fits your agenda.
Next Level Strategy
To enhance your web properties, you can acquire premium domain names to build them on. This can help both in terms of branding, credibility, and search engine optimization or SEO.
Hypothetically, imagine if Hoover was to acquire Vacuum.com and build out a content site on that. That would be powerful both in terms of immediately credibility (people recognize a great domain and know you have to be serious to build upon it) and SEO as any searches with the keyword “vacuum” in them would be more likely to include Vacuum.com once aged and developed.
In a Nutshell
Developing web properties to add to your company’s digital portfolio is an ultra savvy strategic move that allows you to invest in digital growth, insulate your company against the competition, and build a very valuable asset.
As you can see, major corporations are already implementing this strategy. No matter what niche you’re in, you should be too.