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How to improve your online presence.

How to improve your online presence

Before you drive into how to improve your online presence, you should conduct an audit of your brand. If you’re not sure how, we covered this in the previous article. Now, that you understand why online brand visibility is important and how to audit your online presence, here are a few strategies and ways to improve them.

  1. Online business listings

Online listings are basically digitized yellow pages. Popular listings are such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. When searching for your brand name online, Google My Business will display your Business Profile, list you on Google Maps and Local Pack Listings, and also display your Google Reviews (view examples below). All these displays take up huge real estate on the front page of Google. The reason for this is so users get the most relevant and useful information as fast as possible.

Take for example if I were looking for the restaurant Soleil and typed “Soleil”, the first thing I notice is the Business Profile that shows the location, opening hours, contact information, menu, map, and reviews. Just in one search, I have all the information I need to make my decision to go or not to go to Soleil. Apart from Google’s and Bing’s listing services, you should strategically scout other useful listing platforms. For example, if you’re a restaurant or hotel you would consider getting listed on food review sites.

Google Business Profile.
xample of a Google search with a Business Profile on the right.
How to improve your online presence. Google Local Pack.
Example of being listed on the Local Pack.
Google Reviews
Example of Google Reviews. 
  1. Social Media

Using the same metaphor earlier, if listing your business online is similar to being listed on the yellow pages, then social media is your visibility within your social circle, such as showing up to gatherings and participating in a conversation. Just as it is important for you as an individual to socialize, your business requires socializing too. Being active in social media will increase the likelihood of increasing your reach (how many people see your activity). The more people see you, the more visible you are. 

Social media is also an important space for people to talk about your brand and growing your online presence. Being discussed on social media is called “Social Mentions”. These are the number of times people type out your brand. Monitoring your social mentions is a great way to know your relevance and reputation. 

  1. SEO and Content

If your brand isn’t well known, it is unlikely that customers will search for your brand. This is where SEO and content will boost your brand visibility and this is exactly why SEO and content are very valuable online. Let’s go through the purchasing process. A person is looking to buy a shoe. They have a budget and style in mind. They look up their favorite brands and fail to find the product they’re looking for. So now they search “black heels for women” and the search results show shopping links and images for black heels. Now the customer is not limited to purchase from brands or shops they knew. New purchasing opportunities have been discovered through a simple search.

So what can we take away from this example? If you sell shoes and have not optimized your product or page with strategic keywords (in this case, “black heels for women”), your product will not be seen, hence, no visibility. To resolve this, you should have an SEO strategy based on strong keywords. If you’re not sure about what keywords to use, you may use free tools such as Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner to discover the right keyword for your strategy. 

  1. Reviews 

Having reviews on your business is a great way to gain buyer confidence, but it is also a strategy to be seen. Going back to our earlier point of listings, you should also prioritize platforms that have review systems. When people search for a product or an activity, they’re likely to sort their preferences by reviews. If your business has high reviews, it will be listed on the top. Therefore, your strategy should not only focus on getting your business listed for reviews, but your strategy should also include getting satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. 

  1. Inbound links.

Inbound links or backlinks are links outside of your website linking to your website. This is a popular strategy to increase traffic to your website. Google ranks websites by authority. You can imagine it like a reputation. When a website with low authority links to a website with higher authority, the website with higher authority does not gain much authority. However, when a website with high authority backlinks to a lower authority site, the lower authority website gains authority significantly. Authority is a strong factor to appear on the first page or even the first result from a search engine. Being the first result of a search is very significant in increasing your brand visibility.

Does my business have online presence?

Does my business have online presence

How to audit your online presence and measure your brand visibility.

Branding is very important to a business. When we think of branding, our thoughts naturally gravitate to logos, company stationery, and store signage. But online, it’s a completely different playing field.

What is online brand visibility/online presence?

To put it plainly, brand visibility or online presence is a measure of how accessible the information of your business or brand is online. As you can imagine, having strong brand visibility online is great for your branding efforts. So, do you know how much online brand visibility or online presence you have? 

How to measure your brand visibility/online presence.

To answer this question, you need to conduct an audit commonly known in the digital industry as “brand visibility analysis” or “online presence analysis”.

What can you expect from a brand visibility analysis? This analysis should answer these following questions;

  • Can your customers easily learn more about you or your product/services online?
  • Are people talking about you online?
  • Is the perception of your business ideal to your business goals?
  • Does your competitor produce more search results compared to you?

With these questions in mind, these are ways to analyze your online presence or brand visibility.

Webpage

Your webpage is the most important channel for your business online. It is not just a place people go when they want to learn more about you and your products/services. It is also where you run multiple digital marketing strategies such as SEO and website optimization.

  1. Web optimization

Is your website working on all browsing platforms?

It is important to ensure that your website works on all major platforms both on mobile and desktop. This is to ensure a good user experience regardless of what browsers your customers use.

Is it mobile friendly? 

Majority of online users search on mobile. If your page is not optimized for mobile, you will be losing a lot of potential visits.

Are your pages easy to navigate through?

If your webpage is designed extravagantly but navigating through information is difficult, your users will get frustrated and abandon their visit, resulting in bounce rates.

These are a few simple ways to optimize your pages to ensure the best user experience to lower your bounce rate. The lower your bounce rate, the stronger your page authority becomes, the more favored your results will be in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page). 

There are free tools that you can use to monitor your web page performance, such as Google Analytics and Website Grader.

  1. SEO

These steps might get technical as onsite SEO are mostly coding related. Google analyzes pages using bots. Therefore, good web developers understand how these bots function and how to communicate the purpose of your website. Go through the points below and see how well your current website meets these criteria. Alternatively, you could use free tools to analyze your websites such as UberSuggest and WooRank.

Ensure you have a  sitemap. 

This sitemap ensures the bots know where to look when trying to understand your website. Do you have a sitemap and is the XML sitemap submitted to google console?

Making sure your images are also optimized using alt text

Alt text is the written information of an image. As you can imagine, identifying the purpose of an image through bots might be difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, optimizing your images using alt text is very important.

Ensure your tItle tags are specific and accurate

These are essentially titles in HTML format. For example

 <head><title>Example Title</title></head>

This is valuable information for bots to understand the purpose of the page. If a page is about flowers, but your title tag is about rainbows, then you can understand how this is misleading to users and creating an unfavorable visit, decreasing the favourability of your website.

Making sure you have an organized URL structure for your pages

For example, if your website is www.flower.com, you might have multiple sub-pages for different purposes. If you have pages for different information, for example, roses and orchids, the proper structure would be like;

Good example:

www.flower.com/roses

 www.flower.com/orchids. 

A bad example:

www.flower.com/page1 

And lastly, content. 

A website with good content contains information that is searched for and linkable. If your website has content that no one is interested in or focuses on keywords that no one looks for, it is unlikely that customers will find you through search engines simply because no one searches for it. And if your website has valuable information but it can not be shared, for example, if your website uses flashy videos, animations, audio, or requires a login to view, that could not be accessible through links and pages, people could not access nor share them. Having content that is unlinkable is like creating an unnecessary barrier to access your content. 

Social Media

There are multiple social media platforms out there to grow your brand presence. However, are your social media efforts all in vain? Go through this checklist to audit your social media presence. Use tools such as Facebook and Instagram insights to analyze your current metrics. 

Main account

If you don’t have main accounts in all relevant social media platforms, create them today. Also, check if anyone else is using your brand name either to represent your company or a different company that has the same name as you do. Ensure your customers know your right social accounts.

Followers/Fans

How many followers do you currently have and are they growing? If you don’t have a steady stream of followers, your brand will not be reaching enough eyeballs to gain any brand recognition. The current industry standard is 7.5% growth rate. Anything below this is bad.

Reach

Reach is how much people see your post, and through that, sees you. The global social penetration rate or reach is 49%. This should be the benchmark for your posts. Identify what posts or social ads that do not meet this and re-plan your strategy.

Engagement

Industry-standard for engagement is 10%. You can easily do this by checking how many followers you have and compare that to a total of how much likes + comments + shares you have on a post. If it’s not within 10%, you are below industry standards.

Mentions

Are people talking about you online? Through tools such as SocialBlade, you can check if people within social media are tagging you, and talking about you. Identify 1. If people are talking about you at all and 2. If the mentions are positive.

Once you’ve audited your website, measure areas you should improve and implement strategies to keep optimizing your online presence. Learn how to improve your online presence in our next article.

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