How do you get your first 1,000 – likes, orders, karma, followers, transactions, audience, and so on? If you are a newly launched startup, this is not an easy feat, regardless how interesting or powerful your product(s) / service(s) are. One of the essential keys to this is carefully plan out your brand awareness program. However, it is undeniable fact, in everyone’s nature that we are reluctant to new things or new change. The older we are, the more comfortable we are with the status quo. But for a business, change is a necessity. So, how do we spread brand awareness for a new business / product / service? As we are in the subject of digital marketing, the answer is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Yes, you are not alone, if this is the first time you are hearing about SEO and not knowing the importance of it when it comes to marketing your brand.
How to get your first 1,000.
Before we get into the gist of how to get your first 1,000 – likes, orders, karma, followers, transactions, and so on – one should know what SEO is. In layman’s term, SEO is the process of creating relevant narration / content about your product / branding so it is easily accessible through search engines. Two of the SEO enablers are “keyword research” and “on-page targeting”. And by utilising these enablers optimally for your business, your path to getting 100, 1000, and more customers are not beyond your reach.
How to plan your “keyword research” (a)
In planning your keyword research or also known as keyword planning, there are few things you need to consider.
(1) Use keyword planning tools
There are some free keyword planning tools you can use. There are a lot of keyword research tools in the market these days, each comes with different features, reporting functions, data and more. You can at least try 2-3 of them to get yourself used to the dashboard, functionality, reports, and terminologies. Once you are comfortable to the such tool, you can always try others to compare.
Remember that some of these tools have subscription fees, but mostly provide free trial period. Subscribe to the ones you are convenient with and can fulfil your business needs. Some of the popular tools are Keywordtool.io, Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Explorer (more description on these tools can be found from this article on how to build SEO building blocks). Note that some tools get their data from Google Keyword and Google database. But some others have their own database such as SEMRush, Moz, and Ahrefs.
(2) Spy on your competitors
Using the tools mentioned above, you will be able to find out which keywords your competitors are using, how many times certain keywords are being searched online, and so on. By using the right keywords, the chance of your website or content be placed on Google’s first page will be higher.
With the right online tool, you will be able to see your competitor top pages and keywords, even details such as CPC (Cost Per Click), keyword rank, volume and more. Paid tools will give you more information and data. By having such information, you can strategise your keywords better.
(3) Decide on short tail and long tail keywords
Internet users will use keywords to find basically everything under the sky using search engine (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo). As a business you need to find the right keywords your intended users will be searching for. Wait, hold on! How are you supposed to know what’s inside the mind of your potential customers? You can use online tools for this, as well as by categorising or structuring your short and long-tail keywords.
Short tail keywords are more popular, and commonly comprise of 1 – 2 words, however they are more competitive as they are being used more often by other brands. Example of short tail keywords are “facebook marketing”, “facebook advertising”. Whilst long tail keywords are less common, less search volume, more specific, but they make up 70-80% of the online searches. Long tail keywords as the name suggests, have more words and more specific, for instance: “how to do facebook marketing”, “best facebook advertising strategy in asia”. We suggest, if you are new to SEO, learn more by reading about seo building blocks for website. The linked article will explain more about using categories, topic, top-bottom approach and more about how to structure you keywords.
Another place to find ideas about keywords are going to Q&A forum or online tools, such as Quora and Google’s related searches.
(4) Ask and think like your customers
Picture yourself as your potential customers. How would they find their intended product / service online? The best way to find this is looking at the intent of the keywords for different stages – awareness, evaluation and purchase. Some ideas in doing this:
- In the awareness stage, you can include questionnaire identifiers such as 5W (Why, Where, Who, When, Which) + 1 H (How), for example “how to make…” “where to find…”
- In the evaluation stage, you can also try summarised points such as “10 top methods to…” “3 ways to do…” “best digital products…”. This will help your auditions in their evaluation process, especially when they try to compare information.
- In the purchase stage, your audience most likely have narrowed their options and looking to buy, but waiting for the driver or “push” before making the final action. You can include drivers like “best discounts…” “best deals…” “refurbished items…”
How to plan “on-page optimization” (b)
Basically, on-page optimization means working with the right mix of SEO elements to reach optimal improvement for your website pages, so that your search engine can detect your content and rank it. And what are those elements?
(1) Create the link juices for your page.
When we talk about link juices, means making sure that your internal links (links to your old articles) and external links (URLs for external domains) work well together. As your links are working well and create the right proportion of SEO balance, your link will create “juice” (higher rank / quality) in your SEO, that helps promoting your page in the search engine. What I meant by SEO balance is that you should not have too much of external links vs internal ones (and vice versa). However, Moz believes that internal links are the most useful SEO elements to establish the right foundation and spreading link juices. This way search engine will be able to better index the keyword indices and able to crawl efficiently into your website structure.
(2) Incorporate the right content types.
Do you know that search engines will give a higher page rank if it includes videos and images? Based on Forrester Research, videos have 50 times more likelihood to be found in the organic search, and having higher CTR – all compare to plain text result. Whenever is possible, try to include either, images, videos, infographics, slides, clips and so on. This is if you need to reach out more for your customers.
(3) Where to place your keywords
There are several places in your website pages / posts where you can insert your intended keywords. Those places are page title, page header, permalink / slug, meta description, alt image, image description, and more. To know the complete listing of places to incorporate your keywords as well as understanding each item, please read “Where Should You Insert Keywords for Website SEO?”
(4) Use the right amount of frequency
As long as you are doing it naturally (not spamming your pages with repetitive keywords like most newbies do), you should be fine. It should look natural to the reader. Not only this will help you get higher ranking in the search engine, but also loyal readers.
Again, I need to stress that efforts to improve SEO for your pages are considered long term strategy. Unless you have a viral content, patience is required to achieve steady flow of SEO juices and improvement in ranking and ultimately improved brand awareness or whichever SEO goal you want to achieve.