You have a business. You have a website. Your website is absolutely user friendly. This much was enough just a few years back. But not now! Now, you need to have a user friendly business website that ranks on Google search. Only then, you get customers to stop by. I know what you are thinking, ‘business is not as it was before’. But, that’s how things are and you need to ride the new wave. What you need is SEO growth hacking.
At this point you must be wondering, ‘SEO, I know. What is SEO Growth Hacking now?!’. Well, that’s a common reaction when you hear about it the first time. The good news is you are not the only one thinking like this. There are a lot of people out there trying to make sense of what growth hacking is. Here’s an image from Google Trends that indicates the popularity of ‘growth hacking’ as a search word. This image shows the trend for the last 90 days. You can immediately notice the constant peaks that simply refuse to die down.
Source – Google Trends
Sean Ellis CEO of Growth Hackers coined this term in 2010. He used this method successfully to promote growth of applications like Dropbox, LogmeIn and Lookout. So, what is growth hacking, really? Click this link to read the long answer. The short answer is it is a set of digital and traditional marketing techniques that are put to use to engage, retain and maintain customer interest in your product. (SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a major part of this process and hence the name!). The underlying principle is that if this is done and done right, growth is the only way your business will progress.
The next question that will pop up in your mind is, ‘how does one go about growth hacking?’. Going by the Google trends image above, you sure are one of the many millions who are thinking along the same lines for the very same question. Let’s get to understand a set of basic things that will directly impact your online business growth.
Before we start listing down things that directly impact your growth, it’s important to understand Google’s methodology of search and ranking. This particular video by Matt Cutts is particularly helpful.
Now we can proceed to understanding the following:-
SEO is not a choice anymore. It is a mandate. Makes SEO part of your business right from day one, if you want your business to be a success. Critical things to take care of get right are the robots.txt file and robot meta tags. These are the things that are first crawled by Google’s algorithm. Getting them right makes a whole world of difference in being ranked. It is important to have someone who is technically super sound to look into these aspects. Along with SEO, it is important to have a clean architecture and XML map of the website. Only with SEO as a strong foundation along with the other aspects we discussed, you can get to the notice of both Google and your customers.
Your website should have content for customers. This sentence by itself sounds like stating the obvious! Of course, content on any website is for customers, right!? Well, you would be surprised to know that most websites have content that doesn’t give enough information to a customer. Most times the content has to be dug out by a customer. Not all customers have that kind of time or patience. Create content that is purely customer centric on your website. Think about content from the point of view of your customer. Ensure all landing pages are a smooth find and not a treasure hunt. This should happen irrespective of devices like mobile, desktop or laptop.
Let’s face it, a .com domain is what you want for your website. Naturally! But, not finding a .com domain every time may or may not be possible. Sometimes it may not work in your best interest. Say, for instance, you are a company that sells perishables. Your market is local. In such a case having a country specific domain improves your chances of showing up in local search rankings of Google. This is a big boost to your business. Google’s search ranking depends on a lot of factors. A .com is not the only way to come on top of the search.
The role of keywords in search rankings is super critical and important. A keyword is the lead that gets your customer to your website. It has to be handled with lot of care and attention. Build content around keywords. In other words, let keywords drive the content creation for your website. Google’s keyword planner is a brilliant tool that will help you find the most appropriate keywords for your business.
The adage ‘content is king’ holds true even now. Only, in a way that is slightly different from how it was done a couple of years ago. One of the best ways to rank high is to have high quality blog posts on your website. The blogs by themselves are a great channel to promote your business. Plus blogs allow you the freedom of back linking. This is a credible practice and one which brings you better rankings. Make sure your website is supported by a blog that has useful and relevant content with three to five back links in each blogpost.
Include these methods in your growth hacking kitty to get the best out of your business.