Serious entrepreneurs know that the key to scaling a company is having a strong online presence.
But the thought of competing for attention online sounds about as easy as getting the attention of your friend across the room at a Justin Bieber concert. There’s lots of noise, lots of motion, and a lot of distraction.
Showing up on page one of the search results is a solid place to start, but even that is an uphill battle. Or is it?
If you’re putting in the work and doing the right things, you have a shot at attracting an audience. So, what are the right things? Let’s take a closer look at five important steps to getting found online.
1. Find the Right Competitive Keywords for You
The first thing entrepreneurs do when trying to compete online is choose keywords, right? Right. But even though having target keywords is a smart strategy, it comes with two main challenges.
The first challenge is that it’s a shot in the dark. Many entrepreneurs treat keyword research as a guessing game. They make a list of general terms that they assume people type into the search box to find their product. Then, they go guns blazing toward ranking on page one for those broad search terms.
The problem with this is the broader the search term, the broader the searcher’s intent.
The second challenge is finding where you can compete.
If you’ve ever used Google’s Keyword Planner for keyword research, you’ve seen the column that says whether a term has high, medium, or low competition. This competition is only on the Google Adwords platform, which means the ranking only has to do with how much you’ll have to pay to have your ad show up on page one of the search results. It has nothing to do with organic searches.
If you want to rank for organic searches, you must understand how to know if you can compete on page one of Google. This gets a little trickier. You need to have a solid understanding of how valuable Google thinks your website is.
One of the best ways to find this out is to go find your Domain Authority through Moz by using their free tool, Open Site Explorer. Your website will be ranked on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the more competitive you are.
Compare your Domain Authority to the others showing up on page one for the keyword you’re targeting. If everyone else’s is higher than yours, you probably can’t compete and should choose another keyword to target.
Don’t spin your wheels trying to beat out high-ranking websites on page one. It won’t work. Instead, find the keywords where you can rank and infuse those in the content on your website. You’ll have a far higher chance of showing up on page one faster, making you more visible online.
2. Come Up With a Plan For Your Content
Ever heard the expression, “what gets scheduled, gets done?” It’s true, especially in the world of entrepreneurship when you’re juggling 117 different balls in the air at once.
You found your keyword in step one but now you need to incorporate these keywords in your website through content. Creating that content takes time.
Although you know the importance of blogging and producing high-quality content, it’s easy to push to the side. But, if you want to rank online, you need to prioritize your content production. Without a robust website, you’re not giving Google any reason to rank you, or people as much of a reason to talk about you.
Plan your content marketing around the keywords where you can rank (as you found in step #1). Come up with ideas around each keyword and then put those blog post topics on your editorial calendar. Commit to writing them. Schedule your content creation like you would schedule a client’s work.
The more content you create, the more reason you’ll give for search engines to rank you and for people to talk about you.
3. Forging Business Partnerships Online
Here’s a sobering fact: It’s much harder to get people to talk about you when they don’t have any skin in the game. Your customers? The only skin they have in the game is their reputation.
I’ll talk more about how to use this to get them talking online in a second, but first, let’s look at the group of people who have more incentive to talk up your brand – other businesses.
Partnering with another business online can be done in a variety of ways:
- You could create content for their blog
- You could offer your product at a steep discount to their audience
- You could take over their Instagram story for a day (and let them take over yours too)
- You could host a business partner on your podcast
The list goes on and on but one thing remains: the key to a quality partnership is when you’re both offering value to the end consumer. Businesses online are always on the hunt for new ways to bring value to their audience. Come up with a way to offer that value and you’ll get more exposure online.
Exposure sounds great, but there’s one more added SEO bonus to forging business partnerships online: It makes you look good in front of Google.
When you create content for another website or give another business a reason to link to you from their website, you’re showing Google you’re valuable. That backlink can boost your Domain Authority, which as I discussed in point #1, can help you rank higher in the search results.
4. Telling Your Customer’s Story
You’ve filled out several buyer personas. You might even have a bulletin board hanging in your office with pictures that represent your target buyer. You’ve done a lot of digging, but still, there’s confusion over who is reading your stuff and what’s really going on in her mind when she’s looking for you.
And therein lies the disconnect between your content and your conversions.
The crux of getting found online depends on speaking a language that excites your buyers. This excitement stems from letting your buyer see herself in your content. To do this, you need to understand the way she views the world.
Seth Godin said it best when he said, “Enough with the facts and figures and features and benefits. They rarely move people into action. It’s our worldview (the way we acted and believed and judged before we encountered you) and your story (the narrative we tell ourselves about who you are and what you do) that drive human behavior.”
The better you tell your buyer’s story, the more likely she is to share your content, share your business, and share your mission with others. When your buyer does that, your word-of-mouth marketing (the most trusted and least expensive kind) will take off. You’ll get found online simply because your customer loved what you were saying enough to share it with her network.
5. Moving the Conversation Off Your Website
Creating content boosts your website in the search results. That we’ve covered. But what happens when your content appears and gets shared on social media?
Although there’s no direct SEO benefit to sharing your content on social media, there is another benefit – exposure.
“Build it and they will come” has never been a solid growth strategy, so it makes sense that it’s not a reliable strategy for content marketing either. Social media offers an excellent way amplify your content so you get more traffic and quality traffic to your pages.
If you’re creating valuable, interesting, and quality content that speaks to your audience, that traffic will then turn into shares, which will help spread your marketing message to the masses. And that in turn, will help you get more of the coveted backlinks, which will help boost your Domain Authority and help you rank higher in the search engines.
So, We’ve Come Full Circle
- Find keywords where you can compete for a spot on page one of the search results.
- Plan your content because what gets scheduled gets done.
- Work with other businesses in your niche to get more exposure and get backlinks to bolster your domain’s authority.
- Understand your customer’s worldview so it’s easier to share your content, and again, get more backlinks.
- Amplify your content on social media so you increase your chances of getting seen.
There’s a lot that goes into these five steps, so consider this a bird’s eye view of what needs to happen in order to get found online. Doing at least one of these well will inch you forward and bolster your website.
About the Author
Kimberly Crossland is the owner of The Savvy Copywriter, a content marketing agency that offers content marketing strategy, copywriting, and other digital communications. Visit her website to claim your free worksheet on defining your customer’s worldview and help your business get found online.
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