What do digital agencies do? What services do they offer and how can those services help your business? Our ULTIMATE GUIDE looks at each of the valuable areas of work digital agencies can bring to your organisation. Why? Because understanding the work of digital agencies can be the first step to making the most of asking an agency for their specialist help.
Read on to discover: What is web design, and how does it differ from development? How does SEO work? And what are the benefits of social media marketing? We’ll also give a complete overview of digital marketing and take a closer look at content marketing, especially content clustering, as well as explore the importance of training (digital or otherwise!). Let’s go behind the scenes of a digital agency and start with their web designer…
What is Web Design?
If we’re going to go by the classical definition, the design is exactly what it sounds like; the overall aesthetic and visual presentation of whatever it is you’re looking at. Ultimately – and to be extremely general – the sole responsibility of a web designer is to make sure that all the visually presented aspects of the sites they’re working on areas eye-catching and appealing as possible. However, like much of the work of a digital agency, this has, of course, evolved over time.
A web designer uses all their collective artistic expertise to present their client’s vision (as well as theirs) on electronic web pages, in order for a viewer to get the most out of their experience. As it is with any form of design, web design follows the same visual elements in order to deliver a pleasant (and profitable) end-user experience. Some of these elements include:
Pretty much any visual element on a web page falls under the graphics category; pictures, clipart, logos, icons and more. But it’s not as simple as just filling pages with relevant flashy art; a web designer has to make sure every graphic is strategically placed in order to work with the rest of the elements of web design, such as colour and content, all while making sure not to slow down the page or mess up any of the other elements.
It’s a part of the designer’s job to make sure the colour scheme and palette of a website’s pages are appropriate for the purposes of their clientele and the eyes of their potential leads.
Colour, more than anything else, is a reflection of the organisation or brand responsible for the website, it should help convey what they’re about and specifically appeal to their demographic well enough to facilitate a conversion.
A more professional business might opt for a traditional black and white scheme, while someone more on the independent or artistic side of things may opt for a wider array of vivid colours. A web designer has to take all of this into account in addition to user-friendliness and web-safe colour options in order to make the most out of it.
Perhaps one of the more specialist parts of any designer’s work is the choice of font. Most people might not even notice whatever type of font is in use, they’ll just read what there is to read and be done with it. Subconsciously, however, there’s this almost direct correlation with font style or aesthetic and the level of satisfaction or investment the end-user puts into the content of the website in question.
To that end, web designers put in a lot of effort into the choice of fonts, even though most web browsers out there only function on a select number of “web-safe” fonts, so there’s not a whole lot to choose from. Your designer will have to work within these widely accepted constraints in order to put out something visually pleasing.
The key part of any web design process is the arrangement of elements on a web page. It’s imperative that the graphics, text, ads, icons and all other aspects are arranged in a manner that facilitates a smooth end-user experience. Nobody wants to go to a website and be turned off by chaotic placement.
A proper layout ensures that the viewer finds all the information they want within seconds and without any strain. This is a crucial element of any web design process. Thus, it takes a lot of creative effort when it comes to maintaining consistency, balance, and integrity of the overall design.
Creating quality content is key to any online endeavour. You’d be surprised how well web design and content can mesh together to offer a significant boost to the overall message of the website. A content specialist will, ideally, step in to work with the designer to create the right text, videos and images to engage the viewer.
Aren’t web design and web development the same? Well, VERY broadly…a web designer looks after the aesthetic and a web developer works with code. This is, of course, a very generalised view but explains the difference.
Web development mainly refers to the plumbing behind the scenes; the code, the mark-up languages, the lines of computer language that ultimately make your website come alive.
There’s the front-end which is the code that governs how the website displays all the hard and creative work the designer brought into being. Meanwhile, there’s the back-end which is responsible for data management and other technical concerns. Back-end basically delivers data to the front-end to be properly displayed. In real life, you’ll notice a lot of overlap when it comes to web design and web development.
What Do They Use?
Developers have a function over form approach to how they go about their side of the website building process. Equipped with technical skills and a hefty helping of logic, they use their computer science and/or programming expertise to make sure the gears stay turning.
On the other side of the digital spectrum, web designers handle the form more than the function; they use tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator as well as InDesign.
Creativity is their bread and butter. They employ both a keen intuition and a vivid, active imagination to materialise whatever concepts clients give them to work from. With a strong and superfluous understanding of colour gradients, typography, user experience and spatial relationships among many other seemingly abstract principles, they’re the difference between your website’s success or failure.
All in all, both designer and developer work hand in hand to deliver the end goal. The goal is a functional, efficient, appealing and enticing website that has the ability to attract its target clientele. It should also facilitate the conversion process. Both professions must work in perfect tandem to maintain a smooth user experience. Imagery needs to properly convey the brand and the functionalities and interface aspects have to make the end user’s experience as quick and painless as possible.
Designer VS Developer
As with many services delivered by digital agencies, the line between developer and designer is fading away. Both professions are blending into each other more and more with each passing year. Designers take it upon themselves to learn a thing or two about coding. Meanwhile, developers make time to understand design theory and the principle behind the proper presentation.
It’s becoming more common to find qualified digital agency staff who say they are both web designers and developers. In this case, they learn about the other’s job to the point where they can form a homogeneous unit, making them that much more capable of taking on whatever they may be tasked with.
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Where Does SEO Fit In?
What part does SEO play in the services offered by digital agencies? In short: SEO thinking should form part of almost everything an agency online. That’s because finding your brand through Google will be a major source of traffic – ie. potential buyers – for your business. Making sure you are seen by the right people, who can respond in the right way, is the life-blood of your online world.
What is SEO?
The term SEO refers to “Search Engine Optimisation” which refers to adapting your online content in order to rank high on the various available search engines. Another useful term that you should be aware of is SERP or “Search Engine Results Page”. When it comes to SEO, your target is to rank as high as possible on the relevant SERP.
You can achieve this by optimising your website and content to the search engine’s liking. This boosts your SEO score and consequently your ranking. Before we get into the details of SEO, let us first understand how search engines work.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines employ various algorithms in order to display the most relevant links to a user’s search terms. Most of these search engines make money through ‘display ads’. This makes their number one concern customer experience which is achieved by producing the links that are most relevant to the user’s search.
You are probably familiar with Google which is the most used search engine in the world. However, the way their algorithm works isn’t entirely known. Instead, Google releases guidelines that ensure that your page achieves its highest ranking potential. To the average user, all they need to do is input their search term to be immediately presented with the most relevant websites for their query. Seems simple enough, however, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes in order to ensure the user gets to the pages they are looking for.
Crawling the Web
To begin with, search engines use a program called a web crawler to browse through the whole internet and index every page with its relevant data. The web crawler checks your website’s content. Additionally, the web crawler also checks your hyperlinks and the actual HTML code to see if your website is efficient in its use of resources. After an index of every single website is created, now comes the hard job of ranking them.
PageRank is one of the algorithms that will rank your website. It ranks pages by how often they are referenced or viewed. However, PageRank does not just depend on quality. Instead, links coming from a more popular and trustworthy website will significantly boost your rank.
This is to prevent page owners from cheating the system by constantly linking to a certain page. The first page of the search results consists of the highest ranked pages according to PageRank. In addition to the popularity of your pages, PageRank also considers how long your domain’s been up. Which is an even better reason for you to hang in there because when it comes to page ranking, consistency is a very important aspect.
You also need to consider the fact that PageRank is not the only algorithm that determines your ranking. Search engines are constantly adding new algorithms to prevent a better service to their users while also filtering out spam.
Why Do I Need SEO?
There is a reason why SEO has become so popular. Every single business employs SEO tactics because they work. In simple terms, YOU can use SEO to help your business grow.
Customers will be more likely to click on your link if it ranks higher on a SERP. The best part about SEO is that you only have to do it once, and then you’ll continue to reap the benefits for a long term to come. Before we approach the various SEO techniques, let’s first look at the benefits of SEO
- Increases Your Traffic: By ranking higher on the SERP, you will naturally get more traffic to your page. And depending on the content of your page, that extra traffic can be directly converted into profit. Additionally, the generated traffic is much more likely to trust your business because people tend to trust their search engines.
- Efficient Return on Investment: The best part about SEO is that it is relatively inexpensive. That means that for very little resource allocation, you can expect great improvements to your business’s visibility.
- Brand Awareness: Everybody uses the internet. This also means that everybody can potentially be exposed to your business if you’re popular enough. Many use the internet to shop for products and services. Research has determined that a customer’s buying decision is influenced by how often they are exposed to a brand. This gives you an even better reason to do your best in order to rank as high as possible on the SERP. If you’d like to learn more about how your brand influences customers, be sure to check out our article on brand attributes.
- Improves Your Odds: In the competitive world of business, you should always be trying to win over customers from the competition. You can achieve that by convincing the potential customer that your business is better. Remember, what is SEO? The “O” stands for optimisation. Not only does it improve your SERP but it also ensures that users have an enjoyable experience browsing through your website. Through optimising your titles, page loading speed, and content you can convince your potential customers that your business is superior to the competition.
- Better Security: By following the SEO guidelines and eliminating unsecured protocols like flash. You can rest assured that your website doesn’t have any vulnerabilities that might compromise your operation or your customers’ data. After all, what is SEO but a means to ensure a good user experience.
Types of SEO
By now, you should hopefully be convinced in what SEO can offer. Now that it is time to implement this, there are various types that you should consider. Each type has its own benefits and applications. However, you should not stick to only one type since they complement each other extremely well. Before we go into the details of applying your desired SEO, let us first observe the three main categories that SEO falls under:
Strategies that fall under “white hat” are widely accepted by experts and search engines alike. These tactics aim to improve the user experience through optimisation which is generally the aim of SEO. By following search engine guidelines you can ensure that your website is professional and easily accessible to all users.
The white hat SEO techniques generally involve improving your content, optimising the HTML code, and acquiring more links to your pages. The results of these tactics might be slower than others but they ensure you a steady growth that will last and are sure to survive any changes to SERP ranking rules.
Search engines are actively encouraging the use of white hat SEO. This is because it follows their rules for their intended purpose. And since it is up to the search engine to rank you, it is a good idea to be on their good side.
You can follow these guidelines by offering quality content on your website. Additionally, you should also focus on keyword research to find the topics that are most popular among your target audience. After you have optimised your content, you should also consider making it easier for search engines to find your pages and understand its content.
A meta description is a short snippet of text that tells search engines a summary about the content of your page. This helps with your page indexing and ensures that search engines deliver your content to users looking for that relevant piece of information. The meta description is usually hidden in the HTML code and is only intended to be viewed by the indexing bots.
Black Hat SEO refers to using aggressive SEO techniques simply for the aim of increasing a website traffic. In this case, the user experience isn’t their main concern and instead, the principle of “quantity over quality” is employed. These techniques are generally frowned upon since they are considered to be full of spam.
Some of the techniques used in black hat SEO include using invisible text to stuff more keywords, excessive use of commonly searched keywords (despite irrelevance) or changing the page entirely after it has been indexed.The major setback of black hat SEO is that it is extremely short-lived. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to prevent black hat abuse. Additionally, black hat SEO can get that page banned entirely from SERPs.
This type of SEO is a sort of middle ground between black and white hat. These techniques are more aggressive than white hat but also less risky than black hat. These techniques may be considered to be a nuisance by some yet not malicious enough to warrant a search engine ban. It is basically using new techniques that haven’t been classified as black or white yet. As a digital marketer, you should always be striving to be ahead of the competition. This means that you’ll sometimes have to employ experimental techniques that are not commonly known yet.
Thankfully, it is pretty easy to determine the effects of such techniques. As long as you keep user experience in mind and avoid exploiting search engine algorithms, you will be fine. These techniques should, however, be employed only by experienced users that are fully aware of SEO rules.
- Page Speed: According to statistics, 63% of traffic in the US came from mobile devices. This means that its a big portion of your audience. Naturally, Google has also shifted its focus towards mobile-friendly websites. This means that optimising your websites for mobile devices will give you a significant SEO boost. When it comes to mobile optimisation, here are some of the most important things you need to implement: Mobile users care about accessibility. Which means that the loading speed of your website will heavily influence their choice of using your website.
- Reduce HTTP Requests: By minimising the number of requests a browser has to load, you can get your viewers to your content faster.
- Use Asynchronous Loading: Asynchronous loading essentially allows the browser to load multiple elements at once in order to save time.
- Check Your Time to First Byte: Time to first byte (TTFB) is the amount of time it takes for a page to start loading. Naturally, you want that to be as small as possible. You can use bytecheck to measure your TTFB. Google recommends 200 ms so you should ideally aim for that. Thankfully, there is an easy answer. The simplest way is to change your host. Ideally, you should strategically host your website depending on your target audience. Another great way to improve your TTFB is to implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This basically means that your content is available on multiple servers to serve your readers no matter the location. Here are some of the best content delivery networks out there, like MaxCDN, CloudFlare and Sucuri.
- Cache Your Pages: Instead of having your server produce the page every time someone requests it, caching keeps a copy that can be delivered to the reader without stressing your servers. Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress, caching is as simple as installing a plugin.
- Get rid of Flash & pop-ups: Flash has always been an issue since most mobile devices won’t support it. This has made it essentially obsolete after the introduction of the universally compatible HTML5. Similarly, you shouldn’t use pop-ups simply because they’re annoying. No one likes pop-ups.
- Design for Touchscreens: You should keep these mobile users’ main input method (touch) in mind. That why your interactive elements need to be large and far apart from each other to prevent any frustrating misclicks.
Your meta description is a short snippet of text that helps the web crawler identify the contents of your page. Normally, that piece of text is not visible by users and is instead used by search engines to index your pages. You can expect to see your meta description below your page on a SERP. This means that it influences the user’s decision to choose your page over the others.
This makes it extremely important for you to master good SEO meta descriptions and thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most important things to consider when writing your meta description:
- Make Sure Its 150 Words or Less: This limit has seen frequent changes, however, Google always seems to revert to the 150~170 range.
- Use the active form: Not only is the active voice more engaging for the reader but it also keeps your statements short and simple.
- Keep it relevant: Nobody likes a disappointment which is why you should make sure that your meta description accurately describes the content of your page.
- Stay Focused: You should always ask yourself what is SEO? It is focusing your content around focus keywords. That’s why it is important to include your focus keywords to tell the search engine to include it in that word’s search.
- Don’t Repeat Yourself: Also, nobody likes reading the same sentence twice. Which is why you should create a unique meta description instead of re-using a part of your content.
Once you’ve found your perfect meta description, now is the time to add them to your content. Thankfully, its quite simple to add it to the HTML code here is an example: <meta name=”description” content=”Your meta description.” />
How to utilise focus keywords? When you ask yourself “What is SEO?” the first thing that should come to mind is the focus keywords. This will be the main topic of each of your content pieces. By focusing on keywords, you can ensure that they come up in their relevant searches.
To begin with, make sure you conduct the appropriate keyword research to obtain popular keywords that your target audience is looking up regularly. Next, you need to create content around these keywords for your website to show up in these search results. Now that you have your keywords, let’s see how you can implement them.
SEO is great but you need to remember that your end goal is the reader. That is why you should make sure that your titles are readable by humans. That’s why you should stick to about 70 characters. Additionally, your title should attract the attention of the reader. That’s because SEO will only display your title, but it is ultimately the user’s decision to click on it. Here’s how to create interesting titles:
- Make them exact
- Keep them simple
- Don’t add too many keywords
- Make them unique
- Keep them engaging
After you’ve got your SEO title, it’s time to add it to your content. Here’s how to do it via HTML:
<title> Your Title Here. </title>
When you’re working on your website’s optimisation, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, performing an SEO Audit can help you know where to start on your website. An SEO audit is basically an inspection done by professionals to show any weaknesses that might be affecting your SEO score. Fortunately, there are many online tools that will help you audit your website.
This free SEO auditing tool will help you understand what is SEO? To begin with, this tool will give you an overall score to tell you how well you’re doing. You’ll also get a score for every relevant category which includes:
- HTML Headers including titles, meta descriptions, and Body Tags.
- Keyword consistency & frequency
- Content & Images
- Links including the number of external, broken or internal
- Device compatibility
- Lack of flash
- Page size & speed
- Image optimisation & compression
- Social media links
- SSL security
- Up to date plugins
- No email addresses in plain text
This is another great free SEO auditing tool that’ll help you improve your SEO rating. This useful tool will check your page speed, size and amount of requests. Additionally, it’ll also check for HTML optimisations such as title, description and meta tags to ensure that you’re properly indexed by the search engines.
The Hoth will also check your copy to ensure that it meets search engine criteria. This includes focus keywords, formatting, amount of words and links. Here’s a full list of the various sections that this tool considers to be what is SEO essential:
- Page Speed
- URL Optimisation
- HTML Optimisation
- Copy Analysis
- Mobile Analysis
- Link Optimisation
- Domain Analysis
In addition to rating your current website, this tool will also generate a checklist of tasks that you can address in order to improve your website’s SEO. This makes it one of the best tools to use when you’re not sure where to get started.
This tool is perhaps a bit advanced but it will provide you with the most in-depth information you need for your SEO efforts. These tools were created by Google to help you comply with their high standards. The following list contains what is SEO from the point of view of Google:
- HTML: this includes title tags, meta descriptions, and any non-indexed content
- Keywords: which keep track of your most used keywords and their variations
- Data Markup: which allows you to categorise your content whether they’re articles, review or even events.
- Sitemap: this shows how the user is able to reach certain pages in order to optimise their experience
Google Search Console
This allows you to check how Google crawled through your website. This allows you to check your sitemap, links, and crawl errors. By fixing these issues, you can be sure that your website is accessible by search engines which ensures that you show up on the relevant SERPs. Additionally, you can use this tool to learn about your most popular keywords and the number of users that they have brought to your website.
For what is SEO is concerned, engagement is the amount of time a user spends on a page. Research has found that pages with higher engagement tend to rank higher than others. Initially, it might prove difficult to track user engagement but thankfully, we’ve got you covered to help you quantify it. Before we discuss how to improve engagement, let us first identify how engagement is measured:
- Search Traffic: This is also known as organic traffic which is traffic generated from users finding your page via search engines. SEO aims to improve this measure by boosting your SERP.
- Direct Traffic: Direct traffic is the simplest type of traffic. It is traffic generated by the user typing in the URL to your website. This can be the result of physical marketing or word of mouth.
- Referral Traffic: This one is pretty straightforward, this metric tracks the users that were referred to your site from another one. This can be done by separately tracking every referrer using google analytics custom URLs.
- Social Traffic: Social traffic is similar to referral traffic however it is exclusive to traffic generated from social media.
- Paid Traffic: Paid traffic is traffic that your website obtains from paid advertisements. This can either be in the form of pay per click (PPC) or pay per thousand impressions (CPM). There are many sources for paid traffic. The first being Google Adwords where you can bid for certain keywords in order for your link to show up on the top of the page as an Adword listing. This is independent of ranking which means that you’ll always show up on the top of a SERP.
- Facebook ads: Next is Facebook Ads which allows you to display your ads on news feeds on both desktop and mobile version of the site. Additionally, you can also display your ads on their various other applications including Instagram and messenger. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out our facebook marketing strategies article.
- Total Visits: Total visits is simply the summation of all the previous sources of traffic. This can show you the overall popularity of your website and allows you to compare with previous years to see your progress.
- Alexa Global Rank: This global internet ranking done by Alexa ranks every website based on their collected data. The ranking considers the number of unique visitors & page views. This makes it an incredibly useful resource to figure out how well you’re doing in relation to your competition.
- Time on Site: This metric measures the average time users spend on your website. This can be a good measure of how engaging your content. Additionally, you can use it to measure and compare the effectiveness of various campaigns that you’re running.
- Bounce Rate: In digital marketing terms, a bounce is when a user views only one page then leaves your website. This can either be due to a frustrating user experience, irrelevant content or simply a misdirect. Typically, a high bounce rate means that your website is not serving its purpose. This usually means that you should consider a change in layout or content.
- Conversion Rate: A convert is when a viewer of your website is converted into a customer by doing the desired action. This action could be a sign-up, purchase or subscription. What is SEO’s end goal? It is to optimise your content in order to obtain more customers. That’s why we’ve got you covered with ways to achieve conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Here are some of the benefits you can expect from a conversion rate optimisation for what is SEO is concerned.
- Better Understanding of Customers: Your CRO efforts not only boost your sales but they also help you understand your target audience. This helps you better adapt to their needs.
- Improved ROI: A higher conversion rate means that your campaigns are much more effective. This means that you’re getting more benefits out of the resources you’re allocating to advertising. By having a better ROI your business can remain competitive without affecting your profits.
- Enhanced User Experience and Customer Trust: The purpose of conversion rate optimisation is to convince the user to choose your business by providing them with an enjoyable experience. This not only improves the number of sales but it also builds customer trust and encourages customers to recommend your business to others.
A big part of digital marketing is content marketing. Basically, it is the process of creating interesting, engaging content in order to attract more viewers to your page. A big part of content marketing is keyword research which basically involved observing the current trends in searches by users in order to cater your content to your target audience.
Another great use of keywords is in SEO where they allow you to rank in that keyword’s SERP. By centring your content around a certain keyword, you can start ranking for that keyword which means that you will show up for users when they search for that keyword. This can be a great tool for the natural growth of your page as proper keywords research can generate lots of traffic for your business which ultimately improves your SEO score.
Social Media Marketing
In the age of digital friends, social media marketing has become an essential tool for any digital marketer. This incredibly powerful opportunity gives you access to millions of users for a relatively low cost. To begin with, you should create a page for your business on these sites.
This will act as an anchor where users are directed and the end-goal being getting them to reach your website. Once you have established your presence on the various social media sites, you can expect an increase in traffic. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to further enhance the generated traffic.
To begin with, you should use social media as an opportunity to engage customers. By answering their inquiries and replying to their comments you can earn their loyalty. Additionally, you can use social media to launch campaigns with the aim of generating more traffic for your website. This can be done through competition, exclusive offers or even viral content.
When you’re just starting out with your search engine optimisation, it can prove rather difficult to implement on your own. Thankfully, there are several agencies out there that will help you optimise your website. Not only will they audit your existing website, but they will also recommend and implement improvements based on their experience in the field of SEO.
This involved optimising each individual page to ensure that is suits all SEO criteria. Their on-page SEO focuses on four main elements. The first being Content where they will make sure that there are no duplicates and that your content is engaging for visitors. Afterwards, they check your metadata to ensure that your page is accurately indexed by search engines. This helps you reach potential customers that are searching for the product or service you’re providing.
Next, your pages are checked for usability in order to ensure optimal user experience. This heavily influences your SEO rating as we’ve previously discussed which makes it one of the most important factors of on-page SEO. Finally, they will also check all of your images in order to make sure that they are properly implemented. They will also replace any old protocols that your site may be using such as Flash and iFrames.
This is another essential part of the SEO journey. For what is SEO is concerned, off-page SEO mainly deals with linking to your website or page. It is well known that the number and quality of links to your page affect your SERP rank. This means that you can see immediate impactful results from optimising the links to your page. Here is how they do it.
Because the agency’s aim is to provide you with long-term improvements, they have to strike a balance between artificial and natural link growth. Artificial links are often the result of creative marketing where you benefit from current trends in order to go viral online. On the other hand, natural link growth is a result of establishing your brand online. This is the natural growth you obtain by having a strong presence and quality services that cause users to talk about you.
Additionally, the agency will also monitor and report their progress to save you time. This means that they will regularly measure the results of their campaign and will provide you with in-depth reports to help you understand how far you’ve gone.
As we’ve previously discussed, social media marketing has become a huge aspect of SEO. This is mainly due to the major amount of traffic you can generate for your page through your various campaigns. This agency will help you generate traffic for your content by ensuring that your social media posts are optimised to reach the largest audience possible. This is done by determining your most influential social platforms, the type of content you share and the timing for each post. Of course, this is heavily influenced by your target audience which they will help you research and understand.
In addition to the previous fields of SEO, they will also help you with your content marketing. This is mainly done by their team of professional copywriters that can create content around your focus keywords to help you rank for them. Additionally, they can also create copy for your online store to help you better showcase your products and create an interest in them.
SEO – A Summary
We’ve discussed what is SEO and how to utilise it in order to improve your page ranking.
First, we defined all the relevant SEO terms, then we discussed the various SEO techniques. Additionally, we’ve provided you with some useful tools that can help you conduct keyword research, SEO analysis, and auditing.
Finally, we’ve discussed SEO agencies, what they have to offer and how to find one that suits you. Understanding some SEO basics will help when you work with digital agencies to have a clear view of how this vital consideration can, and should, affect the decisions made about your brand online.
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An Essential Overview of Digital Marketing
The days of marketing being a separate discipline from other work by digital agencies are long gone. Digital marketing permeates everything an agency will do, meaning a sense of the foundations of digital marketing will help make the most of your partnership with digital agencies. Our overview gives a broad picture of this far-reaching and ever-changing specialism.
Why is Digital Marketing Ever-Present in Digital Agencies?
Digital marketing is a term you will see over and over again in the digital age. Why? Because digital marketing theories as the basis for much of the thinking around driving traffic, creating conversions and engaging audiences. In short, it is the science of making people want to click, react and stay involved in a brand. Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements involved in how digital agencies use digital marketing…
What Is Digital Marketing: The Rise of a New Channel
So, what gave rise to digital and online marketing? First: huge exposure; the diverse and large number of audience. Digital media gathers a huge number of people. Almost half the world’s population are Internet users. “Globally, more than 1.4 billion households now own at least one TV set, representing 79 percent of total households.” Therefore, marketing through these channels is a huge opportunity that advertisers cannot miss. Second, online marketing introduced the groundbreaking concept of custom-made ads. Ads are no longer random, advertisers can now aim their ads to a particular group of viewers.
Advertisers select their audience based on data these users provide online. For example, their age, location, interests, and search history. Targeting audience makes advertising more relevant to potential buyers than ever. It makes online marketing more powerful and efficient than traditional marketing.
What Is Digital Marketing: Digital VS Online
Although many use “digital marketing” interchangeably with “online/Internet marketing,” digital refers to any electronic device or technology tool. Digital marketing does not only refer to Facebook ads or online platforms, these are only a fraction of digital marketing. What is digital marketing? Any marketing done through an electronic device qualifies to be digital marketing. Internet marketing is any advertising or marketing that requires being “online.”
That being said, you can categorise digital marketing into two types: online and offline.
Email marketing is the exchange of any marketing emails between a business and its audience. Those emails don’t have to include direct ads. They may include newsletters, updates, latest offers, or any important announcements like the opening of a new branch, for instance.
Companies send these emails to enhance the relationship of the company with its current or previous customers. It also encourages customer loyalty and repeats business.
Email marketing is cheap, effective, and easily measurable. These three factors make it an attractive marketing channel for any business type.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the first channel that pops into mind when one hears “digital marketing.” Perhaps because social platforms clearly highlight their sponsored ads. On social platforms, users are the energisers of the business.
That keeps social platforms a busy market for advertising and brand presence. Although users don’t go to social media to buy things, businesses use those busy platforms to grab the attention of viewers and motivate them to create brand awareness.
Businesses also use social media to drive traffic to their websites with an inviting call to action.
Search Engine Optimisation
Many consider search engine optimisation to be the most powerful digital marketing channel, and for valid reasons. SEO ads have the highest conversion rates, and organic SEO results bring a great deal of traffic for a website that ranks high. SEO is more efficient than social media because people do not go to social platforms with the intention of purchasing a product. However, it’s highly likely that a user searching for “Nike trainers” wants to purchase a pair of trainers. So, what is SEO?
Organic SEO Reach
Search engines, especially Google, have millions of search queries per day using “keywords.” This has made search engines a great place for businesses to display their websites, if they are relevant to the keywords the researcher is looking for. Therefore, businesses adjust their websites’ content and technicalities to get a better appearance on search results.
The more a website is “adjusted” to these SEO rules, the higher it will rank on the results pages. This will increase the website’s traffic and drive in more leads.
Paid SEO Reach
Paid SEO reach also works with keywords. Businesses optimise their websites to match specific keywords. The difference between paid and organic SEO is that companies can buy their place at the top of the results page through ads.
Google AdWords, for instance, is an advertising service by Google for businesses wanting to display ads on Google and its advertising network. These ads are called Pay per Click ads, as the business only pays Google once a user clicks on their ad. You will go through Google AdWords in a little more detail later.
Online Public Relations
Similar to the offline world, the digital marketing world has its own public relations. Instead of newspapers and TV shows, there are blogs and YouTube channels. There are also online public figures and influencers who have built their popularity online. YouTube, Instagram and Twitter are particularly popular for influencer marketing. Magazines, newspapers, and TV channels which have both offline and online activities act as the link between the two worlds. Establishing good online connections and getting blogs to review your products and services has an immediate return of investment on the business.Online PR also creates wide brand awareness and a strong presence which helps you set a brand identity.
Content marketing is not a digital channel. It is rather a marketing approach that could be incorporated in every marketing channel. However, it is commonly associated with digital marketing. Marketing through content is about providing value to potential buyers instead of just “selling” them products.
By providing a value, or a story, people perceive a business as a trustworthy entity rather than a place that wants to make money. Content marketing is about building a relationship and addressing the needs of the audience. In fact ProfileTree has been recently recognised by an exciting online platform. We have been recognised as a top content marketing & copywriting company on DesignRush and you can find us DesignRush via this link.
Marketing through video is very much of the future. The amount of video content being shared and watched is skyrocketing, and experts are suggesting it will continue to grow. Visuals and motion do have their magic. For that reason, more social platforms are adopting video and enhancing its quality as well.
YouTube remains the home of video, however, Facebook and Instagram are picking up fast. Video marketing has the biggest capacity for creative content. It offers three irresistible ingredients to create content with: audio, story-line, and visuals.
Having a website is a fundamental part of a digital presence. It is the most professional and authentic digital gate. A business website plays a more important role in saying who the business is than any social platform. Websites are also great tools to measure real interest, traffic, conversions, and registered customers.
All your marketing activities should lead back to your home website. Once a website gains popularity and maintains a high number of visits, a business can use to gain revenue through affiliate marketing and banner ads. That way, a business website becomes a marketing channel.
Many companies either ignore the influence of mobile marketing as a digital marketing channel, or abuse it. Mobile marketing has huge potential, if used wisely and cautiously.
Hammering your target customers with text messages or calls won’t get you anything except a bad reputation. However, using this channel wisely to inform customers about personalised offers and promotions, or things they are particularly interested in, gets you an immediate conversion. The effectiveness of mobile marketing lies in the fact that it has higher and guaranteed potential reach.
Digital Marketing Strategy
A strategy is much more than a To-Do list. A marketing strategy is a detailed plan of actions to reach a set of goals and objectives within a budget. That’s why it is a fundamental part of digital marketing. So, let’s go step by step into creating a digital marketing strategy:
This is an essential ingredient in any marketing strategy; offline and online alike. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character representation of customers. Usually, a business has different types of customers who come from different backgrounds and have different needs. Since every marketing campaign should be tailor-made to fit its target audience, an advertiser must have a deep insight of the product’s different buyer personas.
A buyer persona is not a random guess, but rather a character built on research and real data about consumer behaviour. It should answer questions concerning the consumer’s age, location, social and marital status, interests, goals, problems, and needs. Your marketing strategy should be in alignment with all these aspects. A persona is the compass that’ll guide the rest of your digital marketing efforts.
Qualitative and Quantitative Data
Without research, you are diving in blindly. To build an effective strategy, you need to have solid and authentic data through which you can take calculated decisions. Data is collected through customer reviews, surveys, comments, and industry analysis.Researches are either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research focuses on numbers, statistics, and mathematical outcomes and percentages in regard to sales and prospects. It aims to quantify a problem into numerical values that can help us understand.
On the other hand, qualitative research is exploratory. It has more to do with deeper issues such as psychological behaviour, objectives, motivations, and potential problems. Both approaches are keys to a thorough market analysis.
Position and Goals
In today’s global trade and business world, the market is vigorously diverse and busy. The starting point of any marketing strategy is to define where your business stands in the crowded market. Some questions that you must answer are:
- What differentiates your products and services from competitors?
- Which market segment are you targeting?
- What is your reasonable market share objectives?
- How will your product pull customers away from your competitors?
- Which category does your product falls into?
Defining your product’s position in the market makes it easier to determine the shape of your marketing efforts. The more you know about your position, the better you can communicate it to the consumers.
Product communication is how you will present your product or service to the world. It is also known as product identity. A product identity is the overall personality of your product. A personality is the themes, values, and benefits the product associates itself with. For example, a specific type of running shoes may associate itself with elegance, simplicity, and comfort.
Meanwhile, another pair may be associated hype, colours, and youth. Each one has a different target audience, a different voice, and a different marketing approach. Without a product identity, a digital marketing strategy will be blurry and hesitant. The advertiser has to know what this product stands for in order to give it a distinguished marketing campaign.
Budgeting is a common pain point. Many business owners fail to match their marketing strategy with their budget. Overspending money and wasting resources on a strategy that doesn’t have a real ROI doesn’t sound good. Similarly, setting up a tight marketing budget and expecting a large sales growth doesn’t make sense. High growth demands high investments.
However, if you don’t have enough resources, you must make sure that every dollar spent is going in the right direction and will pay off. Start by calculating your annual gross revenue. For start-ups and new companies, at least 12-20% of your gross revenue should go to marketing. For established companies, dedicate 6-12% of your revenue to marketing, at least.
A marketing calendar or a content calendar organises the milestones and details of your strategy. A calendar’s function is to have a clear plan on what you need to do next. It helps you divide and concentrate your effort. Companies usually put up a calendar every quarter. This is where you roll up your sleeves and document every action, post, article, campaign, or event that’ll take place to market your business.
A calendar will also be a source of evaluation and redirection, if your strategy goes off track. In addition, your calendar should define which channels you will focus on, online and offline.
It should cover what kind of content you want to produce and what kind of resources needed to create that content.
Analysis and Modification
Now, you have objectives to reach, a plan to execute, a budget to fund, and a calendar to follow. You need to analyse your campaigns and your consumers’ feedback. Evaluate how your strategy has affected your revenue. Repeat ideas that proved to be successful and eliminate those who failed.
The more your practice with different approaches, the more you will learn about your audience’s preferences. This means that your strategy will improve with time.
Digital Marketing: Three Main Platforms
One can’t answer What Is Digital Marketing without coming across three standout platforms…
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram have a huge number of diverse daily users. That makes them busy advertising platforms. There are many different types of advertising that the two platforms offer. Whether it’s video ads, carousel ads, or a dynamic catalogue of products, Facebook and Instagram have a variety of ads to suit any type of business.
In addition, their ads also take your objective into consideration and customise the price for the ad accordingly. For instance, if your target is getting new leads, you will pay for every new lead you get through your ad. Meanwhile, if your goal is to get engagement, you will pay for every time someone reacts to your ad. This technique makes Facebook and Instagram flexible and custom-designed for the advertiser’s needs.
Google has 2.3 million searches per minute, making it a gold mine for advertising. Although Facebook ads are cheaper than Google ads, Google AdWords have the benefit of higher ROI. This is because the intent of purchase is higher with Google AdWords than it is with Facebook. On the other hand, the two giant platforms use the same pricing process: bidding. Bidding means that advertisers compete with each other to buy your target audience. On Google, they compete on certain keywords, while on Facebook advertisers directly bid on the audience.
For example, a sports shoe advertiser has defined a set of keywords that he/she wants his website show up when a user enters them. Surely, this advertiser is not the only one who is targeting these keywords, so he/she will have to compete for the price of these keywords. The price of the same keyword differs from one place to the other, or from one industry to another, according to demand.
YouTube is the biggest video platform and the second biggest search engine in the world. YouTube’s different nature dictates a different type of ads.
Mostly, displayed ads on YouTube are pre-roll videos. However, there are other ad types that the platform offers which do not involve a video. Some video ads are skippable, so the advertiser needs to capture the viewer’s attention in seconds, while others aren’t skippable.
Moreover, having a search engine, YouTube also works with keywords and SEO. So, as a digital marketer, you should use both paid advertising and organic reach to promote your content on YouTube.
Digital Marketing: Some Essential Tools
Now that you’ve understood the main ideas about What Is Digital Marketing, it’s time to talk about the tools that any digital marketer would need. Analysing consumer behaviour data is a core ingredient of a marketing strategy. It’s the only way to take effective and relevant decisions. A marketing strategy must be relevant to the market, that wouldn’t happen without real data and insights.
Therefore, to be successful at digital marketing, you need to consider all the available metrics. Luckily, there are many tools to find out those digital metrics.
By now you should know that a website is a must-have. However, many small businesses are discouraged to have their own website. This is because building a super-duper website could be a hefty and expensive task. The good news is, as a starting business or a medium sized one, you don’t need a super-duper website.
All you need from your website is to look professional, friendly, and unique. A website builder can help you achieve that, and it doesn’t require any special skills. There are many website builders out there, each has its pros and cons: Wix, Shopify, Weebly, Jimdo.
Web Traffic Analytics
Website analytic tools are those which give you insights about your website’s visitors. Visitor insights include how they find your website, where they are located, and tracking ROI through conversions. Also, they can also show how visitors behave on the website: the duration of their stay, the total number of viewed pages, etc.
Website analysis tools also show you which pieces of content drives the most traffic, and the loading time of every page. The loading speed is one of the factors that affect SEO. In brief, website analytic tools give you a detailed report of everything related to your website and its visitors. This data has a great use when it comes to understanding your audience and redirecting your digital strategy accordingly. Google Analytics is the most popular tool used by several huge websites. It’s free and it gives you access to other Google applications. See Also: What Is Google Analytics?
Similar to Web Analytics, Facebook also offers you a powerful tool: Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights tracks user interaction on your page. Insights truly have it all.
It shows you the interaction for each post, the best time of day to post, the potential people you can reach (friends of fans,) where your fans are located, and the number of people talking about your brand. This data can help you fine-tune your Facebook strategy and tells you where you should focus your campaigns. The best part is that this data is available for free once you create a Facebook page.
Keyword Research Tools
A keyword research tool should be your best friend if you want to optimise your website and rank high in search results. Keyword tools give you all the information you need about keywords. This information includes the volume of the keyword, i.e. the number of times users search for this word per day. It also shows its cost per click, whether or not this keyword is a current trend, and relevant keywords as well.
All of this data is extracted according to the location you choose. So, if you run a business in different part of the world, keyword research tools can assist you. Among keyword tools are SEMRUSH, Google Keyword Planner, and SERPSTAT. Most of these tools are free, and they also offer premium features for a monthly fee.
See Also: Free Keyword Research Tools
Social Media Management Systems
As social media presence became crucial for every business, businesses adopted multiple social media accounts on several platforms. Thus, managing multiple business social accounts became hectic. Digital marketers who moderate multiple accounts for different businesses found it too uneasy. Then, came social media management systems.
A management system is a tool to keep track of all your accounts on all channels through one system and under one account.
What Do They Offer? These tools give you great flexibility and ease of access to swipe from one account to another on any platform. They allow you to post from different accounts at the same time without having to login or logout. You can also schedule posts for later, which is particularly useful for managing different time zones. Moreover, several team members can easily co-moderate your social media presence without sacrificing security.
A team leader can also delegate certain tasks to certain members. For example, if there are 30 mentions that your business needs to reply to, the team lead can divide the work and assign it. Social media management systems keep things smooth and organised.
What is Hootsuite?
This is one of the most popular social media monitoring tools on the internet and is extremely popular due to their support of a wide variety of social media websites. Their dashboard supports Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and Youtube. Additionally, you can customise your dashboard using the user created apps. This will allow Hootsuite to support other websites like Reddit, Tumblr, and many more. You’ll find some essential features…
- Scheduling Post: This will allow your online brand to have a 24/7 presence. By preparing content ahead of time and scheduling it, you can just set it up and forget about it. To your audience, they’ll be impressed by how consistent your schedule is which helps strengthen your brand in their eyes.
- Collaboration: Hootsuite allows you to set up various “streams” that keep an eye on certain keywords. Your marketing team then has access to your pre-set streams which streamlines the process of teamwork and ensures that everyone’s on-brand. Additionally, you can designate roles for team members in order to ensure that the content is approved before its posted by senior employees.
- Cloud Compatible: Thanks to their support of the various cloud hosting services, You can directly access your hosted content right from the dashboard to simplify the process of importing your content for scheduling.
- Social Analytics: Not only does Hootsuite filter content for you, but they will also track and measure the performance of your posts. Additionally, you can designate certain posts to certain campaigns in order to separately track them. This is an essential feature of any digital marketing tools since they help you evaluate your marketing efforts.
- Capitalise on Social Interactions: Thanks to the ability to create search filters, you can be sure that you do not miss out any relevant conversations about your business. Optionally, you can choose to interact in these conversations which allows you to strengthen your brand’s online presence.
If you’d like to start using Hootsuite. They offer a free plan for individuals trying to boost your brand. Once you’re ready to go pro, you can check out their 30-day free trial. . Your pricing will depend on how many users you’d like to use your account in addition to how many social media websites you’d like to integrate. However, you can be sure that you’ll be getting your money’s worth. If you’d like to learn more about Hootsuite, be sure to check out our article on how to use Hootsuite
Templates and Stock Photos
Since images form a huge part of the digital world, graphic design naturally became central.
For those who do not possess those designing skills, things can be daunting. It becomes worse for a start-up who cannot afford to hire a full-time designer. Fortunately, templates and stock images are there to save you.
- Canva: Canva is a website that offers thousands of designs for images and posts. You can use these designs, many of which are free, or use them for inspiration. Even those who come with a price are usually affordable. The best advantage is that editing these designs to fit your brand can be done in minutes, without any special skill required.
- Xtensio: If you’re planning to send a newsletter via an email campaign, Xtensio is a platform to design cool looking documents, presentations, and newsletters which require little to no design skills.
Again, sometimes a photo is really worth a thousand words. So, content creators need great looking images to add to their digital marketing campaigns.There are many websites who offer non-copyrighted material which you can use for your business. Pixabay and Pexels are two great examples which offer free images. Meanwhile, if you are willing to make a small investment, iStock is the best photo platform where you can purchase high-quality stock images.
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
Those who are artistic enough to master advanced designing skills will be able to create the most authentic brand identities. Unique designs are key to express what the business represents. Naturally, original designs are more unique, and therefore, more efficient. The two most popular design tools are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They are used by all guru designers.
There is much educational material available online to learn everything about Photoshop and design. If you would like to take this further, you can also go for an online graphic design course.
SEO Digital Marketing Tools
As SEO is all about optimising your content for search engines, let’s also take a look at some headline tools to help with this digital marketing essential. Doing so will boost your site’s score which will lead to higher rankings on SERPs. Having a higher ranking means that you’ll naturally get more traffic to your website since users are much more likely to click on higher-ranking links.
In its beginning, SEO was a completely technical part of digital marketing. It had a high barrier to entry since you needed to understand how search engine algorithms work. However, with its increase in popularity, it became accessible to everyone thanks to the various digital marketing tools available to the public.
We’ll be discussing the various SEO digital marketing tools that can help you boost your SEO score and achieve that high ranking you deserve. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, be sure to check out our SEO ultimate guide.
This is an all-in-one SEO solution for your business. They advertise it as a complete toolkit that will help you throughout your journey. So, let us take you through the full SEO experience.
A big part of SEO is understanding your target audience and knowing what they are searching for. The terms they are searching for are known as keywords and you need to find them. Once you found them, you can create content around them to “rank” for these keywords. MOZ’s keyword explorer will allow you to find all the relevant keywords to a topic or theme that you enter.
They will also provide you with the number of users that search for this keyword, the difficulty of ranking and their priority. This will help you prioritise content in order to always keep up with the current trends. If you’d like to try out this tool, MOZ offers 10 free queries per month to get you started.
Now that you’re ranking for your primary keywords, you should keep track of your progress. Moz’s digital marketing tools include a ranking tracker that will show you your current ranking as well as provide you with reports to show your changes in rank over time. This is an incredibly useful tool that will help you identify the type of content that most works with your audience.
Additionally, Your in-depth reports will include useful information such as the amount of computer vs mobile users which will provide you with a reason to optimise your content for mobile viewers in order to increase your traffic. Thankfully, MOZ offers you a trial of this professional tool because they’re confident in the power of their digital marketing tools.
This useful tool allows you to identify any issues with your website that are negatively affecting your SEO score. Additionally, it will also ensure that web crawlers are able to index your site. You’ll also be provided with various suggestions to boost your SEO score thanks to their algorithm that ensures that you are up to date with all SEO requirements.
This is another SEO tool that will audits pages for you and recommend improvements to improve the user experience. This will save you lots of time and provide you with measurable goals that you can work towards. Additionally, it will also provide you with suggestions for content that you should create in order to boost your on-page SEO and obtain more traffic.
Links have a huge effect on your SEO score. By having numerous links from trustworthy sites, you can expect a significant boost in your SEO ranking. This is why MOZ’s link research tool will help you improve your score. By analysing your “link profile” you can see the sources of links which allows you to compare them with the competition. You’ll be able to find out the sources of their links as well which should give you the competitive edge. Additionally, your link profile will also track your progress and produce reports that tell you how far you’ve come in your link building efforts.
All of these features make MOZ one of the best digital marketing tools available if you’re looking to work on your SEO. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, be sure to check out our guide on the various SEO techniques.
This is another one of the top digital marketing tools available for free online. Their tools are mainly for SEO but they have a lot to offer. They aim to make it easier for you to come up with strategies to improve your business’s digital brand and here’s how they do it.
When it comes to SEO, SEMRush will provide you with a full technical SEO audit. That will show you any major technical flaws in your current website that might be negatively affecting your SEO score.Next, they’ll show you where you currently rank and keep track of how much progress you’ve made. They’ll also provide you with suggestions to help you increase your organic traffic. Finally, they will also analyse your links to show you your points of strength and weakness when it comes to link building.
Paid traffic is a great way to generate interest in your online presence. However, it can sometimes be difficult to track the efficiency of the sources. That is what SEMRush’s paid traffic analysis tool aims to help you with. By analysing your various campaigns, you can know which ones where most effective which should help you plan out any future campaigns. Additionally, you will also be able to analyse the competition in order to gain that competitive edge over them.
With this tool’s streamlined design, you can be sure that you’re not wasting any time. You’ll be able to group keywords, campaigns, and sources of traffic to ensure that you can easily keep track of them.
When it comes to carrying out a content plan, it can sometimes prove difficult to keep track of the various posts on the various social media profiles you have. That is why SEMRush’s social media tool will help organise your data. You’ll be able to check how well your posts are doing, see the most popular ones and even find out when is the best time to post your content. Additionally, you’ll also be able to keep track of the performance of your competitors to ensure that you’re always ahead.
When it comes to content management, SEMRush’s Content tool will help you with backlinking, discovering trending keywords and even show you which promotional channels are getting the most views for your content.
SEMRush’s digital marketing tools aim to help you better plan out your digital marketing plan for your business. They’ll also simplify the process of monitoring the progress by providing you with instant reports and visual representations of your data. This will save you a lot of valuable time and ensures that your marketing team is doing their best to make sure that your business is getting as much exposure as possible.
This is one of those digital marketing tools that focuses on a single function and perfects it. This tool is dedicated to keyword research. By staying up to date with the most popular keywords, you can be aware of the current trends among your target audience which helps you cater to them. This will not only increase the traffic to your site but it will also give you an edge over the competition. By conducting regular keyword research, you can start noticing trends which will help you address new keywords faster than the competition.
By typing in a certain topic or keyword, this tool’s smart algorithm will offer you the various keywords that are relevant to that topic. This can be a great source of ideas for your content. This newly created content about popular keywords is sure to boost your SEO ranking and also provide you with more traffic. If you’d like to learn more about keywords, be sure to check out our guide on long tail keywords.
Digital Marketing: A Definition
So, what is digital marketing? It’s the marketing of products or services using any digital channel to reach consumers. Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet. It includes mobile phones, social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing, television, and any other form of digital media. Approaching digital media requires a new understanding of marketing approaches and consumer behaviour, such as content marketing.
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Content Marketing: An Introduction (via Content Clusters)
You are – hopefully – already aware of how content can, and should, be used to drive and engage your audience. For example: Great content helps attract clicks from search to a landing page, great content helps keep the viewer involved and great content helps create conversion. Before you work with digital agencies on content marketing, let’s look at a content theory you can use to help your thinking around content. That theory: content clusters.
What Are Content Clusters?
Content clusters are the bridge to enhancing your digital marketing strategy, linking your SEO and your content. Many content creators and marketers are turning towards content clusters for meaningful results but, there is a science to this.
Search Engine Optimisation changes every day and marketers need to keep up, or even ahead of it. SEO experts are turning their efforts to creating the right content cluster marketing strategy for their businesses. But the question is, does content cluster marketing apply to your website and business and is it worth changing your strategy?
SEO and social media marketing are no longer enough to drive traffic, increase your Return on Investment (ROI) and brand awareness. The trick to content cluster marketing is finding the right strategy and building on it with meaningful SEO content.
Once one content cluster succeeds, you can start to create several different types of content clusters, catering to different demographics. This drives more traffic to your website, leading to more in-bounds and loyal customers.
This is a win-win situation for both parties. For users, they have no need to search further with access to all the information in one place. For your business, you have increased visitors and decreased bounce rate, while increasing brand awareness and the likelihood of in-bounds.
To understand that question, you must better understand the what, why and how of content cluster marketing strategy. In this article, we will provide you with the need information to understand and create content clusters for your business strategy. We will also explain to you the importance of content clusters marketing and its benefits.
What are Content Clusters and Pillar Pages?
Firstly, you need to know what content clusters are so you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Content cluster articles and pillar articles are the backbone of your model but, what are they?
Contents clusters, also known as topic clusters, are groups of similar content that makes your content stand out. They are a series of topically related content intended to build authority and influences in the eyes of search engines and visitors. This is used to a show your users that you are an expert of your industry. It is also used to guide users into more related topics, keeping them engaged with your business.
The content cluster model shifts your focus towards targeting a specific topic you want your brand to recognise as an expert. From there, you create content for different keywords related to your chosen topic and then link them to each other. By doing this, you not only eliminate the risk of your content competing with each other for SERP rankings but also boost your content’s SEO by providing quality back-links to it.
According to Market.kapost.com, a content pillar is simply an in-depth piece of content, such as an eBook, whitepaper, video, or research report, that can be broken out into many smaller assets, such as blog posts, infographics, and emails. This is the foundation and the main topic to your entire model that will bring in more users.
Components of a Content Cluster Model
For every content cluster marketing strategy, there are certain components that you need to have for it to be successful and effective.
- Pillar page: The pillar page is an article between 3,000 and 5,000 words long. Even though this article covers every aspect of a particular topic, it still leaves some room for other articles for more in-depth information. This article is the foundation of your content cluster digital strategy.
- Cluster content: The second component of this model is the different content cluster articles surrounding the pillar page. Unlike the pillar page, which centres on a specific topic, each of these content focuses on a targeted keyword related to the topic you want to rank. They also contain a text link that brings your reader back to the pillar page. The pillar page may be the foundation but, content cluster articles can be a gateway for more visitors.
- Hyperlinks: Of the three, this component is perhaps the most important. That’s because this is what binds the pillar page and the cluster content to each other. At the same time, it connects the different cluster content to each other.
- Keywords: The keywords within your articles of the content cluster strategy are just as important as Google is still dependent on the SEO for page ranking and searchability. The best practice is finding relevant keyword for all articles. As for each cluster article, the relevant keyword must appear but, there should be a customised list of keywords to ensure its ranking.
Pros of Content Clusters
The benefits of content clusters are endless, enabling you to cater to your audience and increase brand awareness. Firstly, a content cluster marketing strategy builds authority. By generating multiple content pieces surrounding one pillar topic alerts search engines that you are an authoritative site on a topic. It’s necessary that you focus on one topic and build out from there, instead of creating random pieces of content targeted at particular keywords. The most important thing to remember is to link content and similar content back to the pillar page, or the transaction page. Search engines use links as a signal of authority.
Secondly, a content cluster model improves search results. Through creating content clusters improve search results for every piece of content around a specific topic. Nowadays, users expect to be able to search less and find more which is why content clusters are so crucial. Instead of typing in specific keywords, you can search for general topics and the search engine will provide you with tons of relevant content pertaining to the topic.
Thirdly, a content cluster method grows revenue. Content clusters can draw attention to a service/product that generates the most amount of revenue and grow it. Additionally, by internally linking your clusters you help build up the authority of your core transaction pages. Building content around your lead revenue-driving products or services will help lead potential customers to your service/product landing page and make a purchase.
Cons of Content Clusters
Just like anything in this world, there is a downside to everything and content clusters are no exceptions. Here are some of the disadvantages to content cluster marketing. Writing pillar pages is time-consuming to produce. Writing a comprehensive guide or step-by-step walkthrough that is going to anticipate and answer all of the reader’s questions isn’t easy. Depending on the topic, it could take days to weeks to create a single comprehensive pillar page.
Pillar pages aren’t replacements to blog posts. It is only the foundation for more content. However, it is best to have both working simultaneously on pillar pages, content cluster posts, and blog posts. This ensures that your website remains active and brings in the most traffic possible.
Content cluster marketing strategies consume a lot more resources due to the quality of content within pillar pages. Writing a comprehensive guide not only takes up time but, it also uses up collected data, visuals, design features and interactive components. This also means that creating material for your content clusters marketing is expensive. Either you need to have a full team working on producing a single page, or you need to outsource the work, which can be a drain on a tight budget.
There are no guarantees that the content cluster method can transform your business. Of course, content clusters are trending and it has amazing potential for your SEO. However, there are no guarantees of success and whether this method is for you.
How to Create a Content Cluster Marketing Strategy?
The first step to creating a content cluster marketing strategy is choosing the topic you want. It should be specific enough that you will be one of the experts of the field. On the other hand, it should be broad enough to write several different cluster articles as support.
The second step is to decide on the topic of your pillar page and its type, whether it is an eBook, video or comprehensive guide. You, then, go on gathering and creating the content needed for the pillar page. For example, if your business is about sportswear, you can write a guide about sportswear and the different types a person might need for your pillar page.
The third step is determining your content clusters articles. The articles should surround your main topic, or pillar page. The best practice for content cluster articles are about five to ten articles per pillar page. This guarantees that your users can find as much information as they might need on several different topics.
The fourth step is to review your existing content can be updated to fit your content cluster marketing strategy. This way you maximise on your current content and focus your content creation by filling in the gaps you may find.
The final step is to link all your content together with links. Make sure to link your content cluster articles with your pillar page, as well as to each other. When you’re linking your content, make sure that the links are two-way.
Substitutes for Content Clusters
Sometimes, content cluster marketing is not the right fit for your content strategy but, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate traffic for your website. You can also continue with blog posts. You can also change simple things in your website.
One trick you can do is organising your blog into categories and subcategories to allow Google to understand the division. This lets users find the content they need quickly without having to search through the website.
Pillar pages shouldn’t be too niche. This will cause restrictions when creating content and finding resources. Also, niche pillar pages will cater to a niche target audience, reducing the results in more than half.
Another trick is to link comprehensive guides to headers and footers, funnelling traffic into it. Moz’s footer is a perfect example of linking to high-value content, where you’ll see their Beginner’s Guide to SEO specifically called out and linked to.
It’s also vital to review your content every now and then to make sure your blog’s organisation is up-to-date. This guarantees that your user experience will stay friendly, not driving your bounce rate up for simple reasons like getting lost in the mountains of information.
For example, if a user is looking for content on running sneakers information, they would look within your blog for a category “sportswear”. If your user is unable to find the category right away, they will most probably look elsewhere with a better navigation system.
Content Clusters: A Summary
This type of marketing is the next level for improving your SEO game but, you must make sure you are willing to invest time, resources and money. With the SEO trend constantly changing, it is vital for marketers to stay up-to-date and relevant.
Content cluster marketing is all about gaining trustworthiness from your users by providing a large scoop of information on a particular topic. With your pillar page, you provide them with a complete guide on a topic while, leaving room for branch articles.
When picking a topic for your cluster model, you must keep in mind that it should be broad enough to write several types of content. Also, keep in mind that the topic mustn’t be too broad to keep the user experience friendly. Though there are no guarantees to the success of this method, if done right, you’ll see results in search results, website traffic, authority, and revenue.
What does this mean for digital marketers? It means that we need to start focusing on becoming the most relevant content resource around a given topic, rather than solely focusing on optimising pages for keywords. Ranking for a keyword based on an exact-match search is no longer going to work.
The focus change from intercepting keyword searches to understanding the buyer’s journey and answering the most important questions they have. In this respect, your content not only gains the exposure you are looking for but also creates the loyalty that comes from putting the needs of others first.
Social Media Marketing: Some Unmissable Benefits
Social media marketing is growing every day in the digital age; this is because users have changed their behaviour. So, when working with digital agencies taking this factor into account is essential. Buyers’ behaviour is often completely dependent on the internet; users browse through websites and social media platforms for all the information needed to make any purchase.
With social media platforms, you can reach plenty of new clients and your current clientele. You can increase traffic, brand awareness, and annual revenue with social media marketing alone. Social media marketing is all about strategy and creativity; marketing on social media platforms is about standing out. There are plenty of benefits to social media marketing that many businesses haven’t yet tapped into. However, not all businesses are aware of the benefits of social media marketing.
Social media marketing has become a vital pillar to the marketing industry for all different types of businesses. So, whether you are marketing for your blog, small business, or Major Corporation, social media is the place to start. You no longer need to be a social media guru to tap into the benefits of social media marketing to reach your target audience. With a few tricks and practices, you can increase your brand awareness and traffic for your business; you can do so by promoting and selling your products and services.
What is Social Media Marketing?
According to Word Stream, Social media marketing, or SMM, is defined as a form of internet marketing that includes creating and sharing content; you should do so through your social media networking platforms to accomplish your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and other content; it drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.
One of the main key factors of Social Media Marketing is social media optimisation (SMO). Like search engine optimisation (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing new and unique visitors to a website. SMO can be done by adding social media links to content, such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons; another way is promoting activity through social media by updating statuses or tweets, or blog posts.
Social Media Marketing and Communication
The main goal of social media marketing is to improve communication with your audience; increasing brand awareness and visibility, while reaching more new customers to your business. By creating a bridge for your customers, you provide them with a platform to provide you with feedback; it will enhance your business or to recommend your business to their friends and family. With social media, you and your customers can interact with one another; it improves the experience on both sides of the engagement, guaranteeing that everyone is pleased in the end.
This type of SMM is called Social Customer Relation Management (Social CRM); this leads to enhancing credibility and return on investment (ROI). Social media presence is a necessity for many customer-driven enterprises; it gives the impression of an immediate connection between the customer and the seller. Moreover, campaigns spread through social media are believed to have more resonance; they are usually discovered through links shared by trusted sources.
How can a Business Benefit from Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a great fit for most businesses as there is a market for every industry online. But, how does it benefit your business?
- Branding Opportunities: A benefit of social media marketing for your business is the different branding opportunities. Every social media platform you maintain, you increase the chances of customers discovering your business.
- Find Leads: Social media provides an easy way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products. Lead generation is such an important benefit of social media for business; most social networks now offer advertising formats specifically designed to collect leads.
- Customer Engagement: Social media marketing is a give and take platform for both you and your users. Social media enables you to interact directly with people that are already fans of your brand, as well as find new fans. This provides your customer with the means to communicate with you for feedback of improvement. Best advice would be to listen to their feedback and respond as soon as possible to negative ones. A few unanswered negative comments could affect your future social media marketing strategies.
- Customer Service: This might be one of the top reasons for your business to be active on social media – these days, people simply expect brands to be available on social media; they’re increasingly going to brands social profiles first for customer service queries. The faster you can respond, and the better you are able to help, the more likely it is that those people will become customers, and recommend your business to others.
- Learn about your customer: People share plenty of information on their social media; this means there’s a lot to learn about your target audience; this allows you to personalise your campaigns and posts.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Business
The main groups to benefit from social media marketing can be the small and medium-sized businesses because social media is all about connecting and community. Your customers have access to your business 24/7 from anywhere in the world. This helps your business to log into the business profile anytime and share images, updates, events, etc., about business and its products/services, anytime.
Another benefit of social media marketing for small businesses is that it’s inexpensive and efficient. Most social media marketing is free. With organic posts, you can reach many of customers already interested in your product/service.
- As for the paid ad campaigns, small businesses don’t need a large budget to go a long way. Most social media users lean towards smaller business because of the quality and service. Social Media Marketing is an easy way to connect and communicate with a large number of targeted audiences with less effort and within less time.
- Social media marketing is best known for increasing and improving the traffic to websites so, sharing informational content will bring customers into your website time and time again. This is how a small business can generate more traffic to the website. It also provides an opportunity to convert visitors into prospects.
- The ranking of your website is a major factor when it comes to organic search results. You should make your presence on social media platforms encourages customers to follow you.
- Another major benefit of social media marketing for small businesses is better customer service. These platforms allow one-to-one interaction and acts as conversation channels. By communicating with your customer directly, you have the chance to rectify any problems while also improving your product/service.
- According to social media today, 53% of small businesses are using social media websites as a two-way conversation tool.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Bloggers
When it comes to blogs, the benefits of social media marking are different. It’s essential for every blogger to create and maintain social media profiles to connect with their readers. These profiles could be the make and break for the traffic of your blog.
- Firstly, one of the most important benefits of social media marketing for blogs is getting better SEO-oriented results. Social media marketing is closely linked to Search Engine Optimisation and studies have shown that social media platforms play a major role.
- Another benefit is creating promotional campaigns to increase traffic into your website is ideal for a blog. These campaigns will bring in relevant readers to content they are looking for.
- Social media marketing also allows you, as the blogger, to connect with other brands. This will combine both your followers and the other brand followers, funnelling into both businesses. These days, brands like to walk an extra mile in order to win over their customers and generate new leads. As an influencer, you can certainly help them in plenty of ways.
- Fourthly, there is the benefit of making your content shareable for your followers and new readers. It is the easiest way to reach out to more people in less time. People love to share interesting visual content on social media. If you are able to deliver just the right kind of information to your audience, then it can go viral in no time.
- Lastly, as a blogger, you can’t deny how important networking is. Not only brands or your readers, you can also get in touch with other like-minded bloggers too. This can give you a chance to collaborate with them as well. It will help you get noticed and will automatically provide fruitful results to you in the long run.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits
When it comes to non-profits, social media marketing is an amazing platform to engage current supporters and bring in new ones. Social media platforms are good venues to have a meaningful conversation with your existing donors, volunteers and members. Start the conversion with them by sharing real stories about successful projects or the people that your organisation helped.
- Social media is a good platform to increase your non-profit supporters, also known as “friend-raising”. It causes promoters are twice more likely to volunteer their time than non-social media promoters and to take part in an event.
- Social media cause promoters are more than four times as likely to encourage others to contact political representatives compared to non-social media promoters (22% vs. 5%) and five times as likely to recruit others to sign petitions for a cause or social issue (20% vs. 4%). It also causes promoters are equally likely as non-social media promoters to donate their money in support of a cause (41% vs. 41%).
- Another benefit of social media marketing for non-profits is a platform for funding. Of course, there is a fine line to communicating with your followers to donate and bombarding them. An occasion post to encourage donation would go a long way. Platforms like Facebook are creating a market specifically for non-profits, encouraging them to donate to causes partnered with their business.
- Lastly, another benefit for a non-profit is a platform for a call to action and community building. Social media is an effective tool to mobilize individuals to volunteer or take part in an event. Social media allows a group to have a 24/7 community where everyone can share. Also recommended, is to create a private group. Private groups allow people to have a safe place where they can share without fear of being seen by the public.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Online Businesses
Online businesses and e-commerce websites have plenty to benefit from social media marketing. With a strategy in place from the beginning, your business could suffer greatly. However, if done properly, your business will shoot up to success as customers are turning to online shopper more often than not.
- The main benefit of social media marketing for online businesses is the huge boost to your SEO. Your SEO rankings can be affected positively or negatively depending on the role you make social media play on it. This simply means, your online store’s social media activity determines whether it is a trustworthy source on the internet or not.
- Reacting to Current Events: News-jacking is a method to consider when planning your social media strategy. It’s simply planning your posts and social media activity to a trending topic on social media. This works if you can blend your marketing message with the trending news story outside your industry are focusing on, on social media. There are several trending stories on Facebook and Twitter which you can ‘hijack’ as long as you can make it relate to your business.
- Website traffic has always been one major aim for every online business. Since the goal of your eCommerce site is to get sales and conversion, social media is a very helpful technique. Your eCommerce store will have a back-link on every social media site that will take your visitors back to your site. This is how visitors and leads get to know your site leading to more traffic.
- Your social media marketing allows your customers, old and new, to connect with your business. When a customer interacts with your brand positively, that makes a better impression on new customers. This will convert them into loyal customers.
Social Media Marketing Trends
Social media trends play a major role in your strategy and it’s a method to keep your business relevant. One of the trends is videos. Video is all the rage on nearly every platform, offering a visual way to share ideas, information or events with audiences.
Facebook Live videos are among the leading ways that brands can engage with their followers. Social media reports show that these videos are also much more engaging; with audiences interacting six times more with live content than with traditional video uploads. Live videos are also available on Instagram, YouTube and SnapChat, meaning that you don’t have to limit yourself to Facebook as your primary engagement platform.
As for your target audience, most marketers have targeted the millennial generation since they’re the majority. 2019 marks a big milestone as the earliest members of “Generation Z” are now coming of age and entering the workforce.
Social Media Marketing Changes
In social media marketing, there has been a lot of excitement around digital assistants with Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, but a different type of digital assistant is making a big impact on social media markets – the chat-bot. The social media marketing industry and the habits of its users are ever-changing, making it nearly impossible to predict its future. For all anyone knows, an entirely new platform could emerge as a leader in 2019, just as SnapChat did not too long ago and Instagram before it. The only certainty is that the way people and brands use social media is ever-changing.
With the sheer amount of competition in the social media space, popular platforms are routinely shifting their focus to emphasise more personal connections, making advertisers work harder – or pay more – to make connections as users clamour for new features and unique, engaging content like live videos and AR.
Social Media Marketing: A Summary
Most small businesses are careful about what type of marketing strategies they invest in. When you have a limited marketing budget, it’s important that you spend it wisely to get the most for your money. Marketing through social media is one of the most versatile and cost-effective strategies that small businesses can use to reach their target audience and boost sales over time. That’s why 97% of marketers are using social media to reach their audiences.
Social media marketing gives you a valuable opportunity to gain new insights into your customers. By interacting with leads and current customers on social media, you are able to see what your customers are interested in and what drives them.
If you periodically take a look at what your customers are talking about on social media, you can have a better understanding of what they care about most. For instance, through social listening, you can find out what your customers greatest challenges and concerns are and then work to create more content around these topics. You can also use social listening to see what customers are saying about your brand specifically, and then use this information to make changes to improve customer satisfaction.
Social media also allows you to better understand what your customers’ online behaviours look like. For example, you might use the analytics platform on Facebook to see which types of content are most popular within your target market. You can also measure your conversions for posts and ads across channels to see which campaigns are working well and which need a little more work.
Digital Training: What Makes Training a Wise Investment?
When you start to consider how working with digital agencies could help your business, you’ll find that some agencies offer training services. Let’s look at the reasons to invest in training the employees in your company. The question of whether your company succeeds or not depends on your staff or employees.
Therefore, providing sufficient training for your staff is crucial to the development of their performance and to the survival of your company. A company’s staff is the engine of a firm’s success. And like any engine, it needs fuel to be able to work. The training that a company invests in its staff is exactly that fuel.
Attracting Talent and Reducing Competition
Why invest in training staff? Well, competition for talent will grow as each day passes. Therefore, offering a development programme for your staff as part of your perks and benefits is an effective way to attract talented candidates to your company rather than your competitors.
Furthermore, helping your staff fine-tune their skills will give your business an edge over your competitors. Remember, job applicants will want to work for a company that provides extra professional education. Although certain aspects like salary are crucial to the applicant, they won’t be the ‘be all and end all’
In addition, by offering a training programme, you’re expecting employees who are willing to attend the programme to be better at what they do. Therefore, with that understanding, you will be attracting employees who are ambitious and hard-working. Furthermore, training your staff through development programmes can ease the hiring process, and help keep your team together for a longer period of time. Also, your company will have a better reputation for being a good employer that cares about the development of its staff. This is also helpful for recruitment.
Improving Employee Performance
It goes without saying that any employee who receives training will perform better as a result of enhancing their skills and education. This applies to all employees in all the different sectors, departments and levels.
Furthermore, a training and development business plan provide your employees with extra confidence. As a result, they will have a much better grip and understanding of the purpose of your business. Also, they will have more awareness of the responsibilities of their job.
In addition, a training and development plan can make a company more flexible in the market. Why invest in training? Well, by training your employees, you are making them better able to respond to changes in the market. As a result, your company will most likely find success in the long term.
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system (LMS) is a software that creates, manages, and delivers training content. In addition, companies use language management systems for the purpose of communication between employees and trainers. Also, it monitors the performance of employees in training programmes.
When using a learning management system, you need to be able to customise it however you want. Reason being is to meet your company’s and employees’ needs. Also, when using a learning management system, make sure to integrate it with other platforms that your company uses, such as HR modules and CRM systems.
Remember, if your company lacks the resources to deal with the installation and management of a learning management system, you may need to use a cloud-based LMS. Such platforms don’t require much technical knowledge to run or maintain.
Companies are using learning management systems to help with their training and development programmes for a number of reasons:
- Employees are not taken form their their main job duties to provide training for others.
- Companies don’t have to pay for trainers, hiring spaces, or conferences.
- Employees can receive training according to the employee’s schedule.
- A learning management system report provides valuable decision-making information. Also, it allows leaders and managers to track the progress of their employees and prevent them from falling behind.
- A learning management system software allows employees to take advantage of various training methods, such as case-based, problem-based, scenario-based, and narrative-based training.
- Multinational companies use learning management systems to provide training regardless of an employee’s location and language.
- Learning management systems use tools to increase employee engagement and motivation. It involves features, such as badges, chat-rooms, forums, and social media integration to share progress and increase competition.
Employee Up-Skilling and Multi-Skilling
Note that effective training can “up-skill” or “multi-skill” your employees. Up-skilling involves increasing an employee’s knowledge of an existing skill.
On the other hand, multi-skilling is the process of training employees in new or related work areas to increase their functionality within the company.
Remember, employees with diverse skill-sets can perform a variety of tasks. In addition, they can easily adapt and transition to other roles within the company.
For your employees to be potential future company leaders, they will have to learn as much about your company as possible.
Therefore, your best employees will need to undergo mentorship, cross-training and management programmes. These training programmes will provide them with the necessary knowledge in management.
Interestingly, several studies show that there are many positive results from mentoring the mentors themselves. Therefore, mentorship programmes are effective for all types of people.
Remember, a proper training and development business plan will create workers who are ready for promotion. A training and development business plan trains your current employees for potential future promotion.
Moreover, trained employees form a pool of candidates for future promotions. Reason being is their intellectual development over time. As a result, using this pool, you needn’t spend much effort looking for the right candidates for managerial positions.
When a company invests in employee training, it makes the employees feel like the company values and appreciates them. Remember, employee replacement can cost a company between six and nine months of the employee’s salary. Note that, employee turnover refers to the number of workers who leave a company or who are replaced by new workers.
A high turnover rate affects the company’s market position, profitability, and revenue. Therefore, by offering training services, your company will avoid high turnovers, and your employees are likely to trust your company more.
Investing in the Future of Your Business
As you make employee training and development programmes part of your company, you will always need to update what you’re offering. Therefore, you have to think ahead about refining your training methods. As a result, you will have a long-term plan that meets the future needs of your employees.
Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure that your business is moving along the trends of your industry and ahead of the curve. You’ll also need to assess the possible changes in your business so that you can place a new training programme if you need to.
Remember, employee training and development should be a responsibility among employees, managers and the organisation. As a result, the company will gain a lot of benefits that will motivate the growth of both its staff and therefore, its success. Why invest in training your employees? Well, it’s only logical that by improving the skills of your employees, they are going to be better at their jobs, which means more business for you.
Also, training programmes provide high levels of employee engagement. As a result, the training programmes will boost the bottom line of your business.
There are so many agencies out there – and some great examples can be seen in this list.
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