Last week, we shared our thoughts on how brands should adjust their digital efforts given the recent announcement of Facebook regarding a major algorithm change in their newsfeed. One of the key takeaways we shared in that article is for brands to start acting like publishers and diversify the way they distribute their content. By doing so, brand owners shield themselves from potential risks (i.e. advertising cost) brought about by changes in system rules of these major platforms and more importantly have control on the way they build connections with their target audience.
The way to do this is for brands to invest on their owned media assets such as desktop website, mobile website and mobile apps. The easiest among these would be to launch a website. However, brands should be prepared to answer the following: What will make my website stand out? What tactics should I use to make my website show up when my customer is searching for my product/service? How can I improve my website’s organic ranking?
In this article, I will share 5 essential components of a high performing website.
Element 1: Be Mobile-Ready
Mobile is here. Period. It will be foolish for a brand to think “desktop first” vs. “mobile first”. This is important given the direction of Google to prioritize websites that provide a mobile-friendly experience to searchers on mobile devices. More importantly, Google will deprioritize websites that are not mobile friendly. There are 2 ways of developing a mobile website – mobile responsive or dedicated mobile website. Obviously, each would have its own advantage and disadvantages. It will really depend on the role of the website that you are creating. A general guideline we use in Mobext is if the intent is to give information to the customer then a mobile responsive website will suffice. If the objective of the website is to convert the customer (i.e. purchase, submit an application, etc.) then it might be best to develop a dedicated mobile website. What’s important is for Google to recognize that your website is mobile ready. You can easily do this by submitting the URL of your website to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Element 2: Page Speed + Performance matters
This should be a no-brainer. The longer your website loads, the higher the probability of your customer leaving your website which may affect your organic search ranking down the road. More importantly, Google has long indicated that website performance is included in their ranking algorithm. So it is a must that your website performs well in the eyes of Google. In this tool, you will be given optimization suggestions (i.e. browser caching, compressing images, etc.) that will help you quickly improve your website’s performance. All you need to do is submit your website’s URL and it will churn out the necessary fixes you need to apply. You may also use alternative tools as cross-reference.
Element 3: Long form content with the right keywords will do the trick
This is where you need to flex your muscles. There are different tactics when it comes to populating your website with the right keywords. This involves technical setup (making sure that your URL, title tags and meta descriptions contain the keywords you want to own) and the non-technical ones (what do you need to put in your content). In this section, I will first focus on how you should write your content.
First, it is proven that Google prioritize long form content. In fact, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 keywords. There are several theories why long form content usually performs better in Google – longer content generates more social shares, longer content shows that the site owner cares about publishing good content, among others.
Second, it is recommended that you incorporate LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords in your content. As a background, LSI keywords are words that are commonly found alongside your target keyword. For example, if you were writing about “best car brands”, then you’d probably mention words like “top selling cars”, “highly recommended car brands”, etc. These are LSI keywords. When Google sees these words in your content, it gives them confidence that you’re writing quality content. Fortunately, it’s easy to know the right LSI keywords for any keyword. All you need to do is search for that keyword in Google and scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says “searches related to”. Once you get your LSI keywords, try including them in your content.
Element 4: Enable social sharing buttons
Like what I mentioned above, brands will have to use different ways of distributing their content and social is one of them. Social signals may not play a direct role in your site ranking but it can generate more eyeballs on your content, which may lead to someone linking to you (Note: The more external links your site gets, the faster it will rank organically). In fact, several studies mentioned that social sharing buttons may increase social sharing by 7x. So make sure you display your social sharing buttons prominently in your blog posts and articles.
Element 5: Add Multimedia in your articles
Several sources show that content with at least one multimedia (i.e. image, screenshots, videos, etc.) ranks higher versus content that does not have a single multimedia. Moreover, image rich pages tend to get more views and social shares. As mentioned under Element #4, more social shares will increase the probability of someone linking to your website. So try to populate your content with several multimedia materials. Also engaging multimedia materials may reduce bounce rate and increase dwell time in your website which are two critical user interaction ranking factors in Google – low bounce rate + long dwell time = higher search ranking.
Reliance on one platform is dangerous for brands and a slight change in system rules will surely disrupt everything – cost, reach, engagement, among others. It is important to revisit your channel strategy and evaluate if you have owned assets that will shield you from potential risks brought about by these third party platform changes.