Get Back to Basics with your Content Marketing Strategy
Digital marketing – as with almost any other industry – undergoes cycles of change. We’re often overwhelmed with information from so-called ‘Gurus’ about the latest trends that will supercharge our websites and gain thousands of new customers.
Type ‘Content Marketing Strategy’ into Google and you’ll be inundated with website-after-website extolling the virtues of a content driven strategy across all channels.
You’ll probably even be presented with case studies describing how ‘magnificent web agency X’ used mobile to flip the fortunes of their struggling clients.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one minute suggesting that content is not important, or that mobile is over-rated. No. At Devstars we’ve been using all of this and more to build great websites for years!
What we DO believe is, that there’s a need to get the basics in place first. After all, to paraphrase David Allan Coe, it’s not the beauty of the construction you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
So, if your web design agency is not implementing the basics from day one, chances are you’ll be missing out on new customers via search engine traffic and you’ll begin to lose ground on your competitors.
Designing and building websites that are search engine compatible is what we do best. Here are just a few of the basics that we consider when building new websites.
If your website contains many pages or if you regularly add new content, search engines may have a hard time crawling those pages and understanding which are a priority for indexation.
You need prospective customers to find relevant pages on your site when they perform keyword searches. If they land on pages that have nothing to do with their search terms, they will go elsewhere.
It’s like going to your favourite department store and wondering around aimlessly because you can’t find what you’re looking for. You’ll probably walk around for a limited amount of time before you get fed up and leave.
There are probably a number of pages that you don’t want the search engines to index. For example, private areas of your site such as application forms and personal data. Thankfully, you can block specific areas of your site by marking them as “disallowed” using these commands:
- User-agent: *
- Disallow: /cgi-bin/
- Disallow: /folder
- Disallow: /private.html
It’s also possible to block crawlers by name. If you know that a specific ‘bot’ is visiting your website and you wish to prevent access, you can use the following (replacing ‘Blockbot’ with the name of the bot you’re attempting to block):
- User-agent: BlockBot
- Disallow: /
Take care not to block ALL crawlers that visit your site as it will become virtually inaccessible and traffic will drop.
Have you uploaded your sitemap to Google Search Console? If not, login into Google Search Console and action the following:
- Go to ‘Crawl
- Then ‘sitemaps’ on the left-hand side
- Click ‘Add/Test sitemap’
Once completed, Google will test your sitemap for errors and submit it for indexation.
Follow these steps to check that pages are being indexed correctly using the ‘Fetch As Google’ function:
- log in to Google Search Console
- Click “Crawl”
- Select “Fetch as Google.”
- Enter the URL path of the page you want to test
- Click “Fetch.”
- Check status. It should have a green check and say “Complete.”
- Click “Request Indexing” if available.
Don’t underestimate the importance of taking these steps. Make sure that all pages on your website are indexed and accessible.
Creating a practical user-friendly website structure is at the heart of every Devstars project. In fact, having a solid understanding of search engine optimisation, navigation and site links is a prerequisite for any web agency.
Every agency would take these factors into account when starting a new project. But this is not the case, because planning a good site structure and putting content in a logical format takes time.
Not every web designer has the experience and capability to conceive a good site structure, which is potentially damaging to a website owner’s bottom line.
If search engines aren’t able to find relevant pages on your website, then it’s likely that users will also struggle to find what they’re looking for.
Meta Tags: Title and meta descriptions
Meta tags are still important. Basic code elements which help search engines and potential customers to navigate your site find relevant content.
In particular, title tags appear within Google search results. Indicating to prospective visitors what your pages are about. If well-written, they will also enable crawlers to understand the subject matter of each page.
So if you pay attention to optimising your title tags, it is likely that you will yield more relevant traffic via search engine results pages.
Consider these points when writing your title tags:
- Length: Title tags should be a maximum of 70 characters long, including spaces.
- Keyword Placement: important keywords need to present.
- No Duplication: Title tags must be written differently for every page on your site.
- Make It Relevant: Title tags should describe the content on the page.
Meta Descriptions may not be one of Googles’ official ranking factors, but they are still important because they appear in Google search engine results pages (SERPS).
Descriptions that include keywords relating to products or services that the user is searching for will appear in bold. That’s why it’s important to write descriptions that are related to what users are searching for.
Can you guess what the users’ search term was from this example?:
The message here is beware of false web designer prophets and ask all the right questions before engaging with a new agency on your next project.
If you are looking to have a new website designed & built for your company or brand or would like someone to review your current site’s SEO and content marketing strategy, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to discuss ways in which we can help.