There is one key determinant of online success i.e. generating and converting leads. Any website which effectively carries this out will have a steady stream of the right kind of visitors. The best approach to achieve lead generation and conversion is through inbound marketing.
In a nutshell, inbound marketing is a systematic strategy for attracting people to a website, turning them into customers, and keeping them coming back for more. When effectively carried out, inbound marketing boosts a website’s SEO, generates leads, converts leads and creates a loyal customer base.
Ultimately, inbound marketing can enable a website to achieve its goals – irrespective of what the goals are. However, these benefits don’t come by default. They require a systematic, well-directed and consistent effort. The best way of creating such an effort is through developing an inbound marketing strategy.
In brief, an inbound marketing strategy is an organized approach aimed at harmonizing inbound marketing activities in order to achieve specific goals. Such goals can include attracting more visitors, enhancing the brand, increasing sales, improving SERP rankings and increasing market share.
An inbound marketing strategy is basically made up of four key components i.e. specific goals, success indicators, a marketing plan and M&E. Let’s take a brief look at each of these components:
Specific Goals – An effective strategy should be aimed at achieving specific goals. Examples of the goals have been mentioned above (i.e. attracting visitors, increasing sales, etc). Without specific goals, the marketing strategy will struggle to succeed.
Success Indicators – Having specific goals isn’t enough. You need specific measures for those goals. These are the success indicators. Basically, success indicators are benchmarks which you use to measure whether or not you have achieved your goals. For instance, if your goal is to attract visitors, the success indicators could be the number of new people who visit your website.
A Marketing Plan – This is the most important part of a marketing strategy. It basically outlines the key activities, timelines, subgoals, persons responsible and budget. A great marketing plan should be an execution plan i.e. it must indicate a step-by-step approach which will lead to success.
Monitoring & Evaluation – As soon as you begin executing the marketing plan, you need to be able to track your progress. This is where M&E comes in. This enables you to keep track of what is happening, and change strategies where need be.
In a nutshell, those are the core components of an inbound marketing strategy. However, once you have specific goal, success indicators, a marketing plan and an M&E plan, you now need some inbound marketing techniques.
At the core of inbound marketing is great content. There is no way around this. The primary reason why people visit websites is to access information. As such, the best way to keep visitors returning to your website is to maintain a fresh supply of great content.
Now, the definition of “great content” will defer depending on the purpose of your website. However, great content must address the needs people have within your niche. On top of that, it must be well-written, properly formatted and spiced up with graphics, images, videos and audios.
Besides the website copy, other examples of content include newsletters, blogs, white papers, infographics, and even physical items like T-Shirts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbound_marketing). The bottom line is that in order to succeed at inbound marketing, you first of all need to create great content for your website visitors.
Besides great content, an important aspect in inbound marketing is UX. This is basically the kind of experience visitors have when they visit your landing pages. This includes the overall design, ease of navigation, loading speed and mobile access.
The ultimate goal of UX is to provide a seamless experience to every visitor irrespective of the device they use to access your website. This means that using a responsive website design is invaluable. The hosting should also maximize loading speed. In the end, every aspect of your website should work together to impress visitors enough to make them want to return.
Also known as inbound links, backlinks are the most important aspect of inbound marketing. In fact, every activity carried out in inbound marketing is directed towards generating backlinks. As such, mastering the basics of backlinks is essential for anyone who desires to succeed in inbound marketing.
At a basic level, a backlink is actually something quite simple: it is a link from another website to your website. This seems quite straightforward. However, the way Google deals with backlinks is quite complex. In fact, over the last few years, Google has revolutionized the way it deals with backlinks. Understanding these new approaches is essential for maximizing the power of backlinks.
Now, there are three essential aspects which every inbound marketer needs to understand about backlinks. These three aspects capture the core of with which Google deals with backlinks. They are the following:
Ever since the Penguin update, Google has altered the way it views backlinks. It broadly classifies backlinks as “good” or “bad”. Good backlinks can boost a website’s SEO. However, bad backlinks can cause a website to be downgraded in Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
There are four major things which Google uses to classify a backlink as “good” or “bad”. They are the following:
Relevance – Is the content of the website from which the backlink is coming relevant to your website content? If the answer is YES, then Google will consider the backlink good, and vice versa.
For instance, lets imagine that your website sells children’s sports shoes. A backlink from a kids’ sports camp website, a kids’ fitness website or a blog which offers parents kids shopping tips is considered “good”. This is because the content of such websites is similar to yours. However, a backlink from a graphics design website, or an engineers’ blog is considered a “bad” link. This is because their content isn’t remotely related to the content of your website.
Quality of Content – Is the website from which the backlink comes from renowned for providing good quality content? If YES, then the backlink is considered good. If the website is renowned as having “spammy” content, then the backlink is considered bad.
Security – Is the website known for being secure? Or is it often used by hackers to attack other websites? Backlinks from insecure websites are generally considered “bad”.
Search Engine Indexing – Is the website properly indexed by search engines? Or has it been blacklisted for generating spam, perpetuating cyber attacks or using blackhat SEO techniques. Generally a backlink from a blacklisted website is considered bad.
The main point here is that you need to look for good quality backlinks. Don’t fall prey to unscrupulous people who market lots of backlinks for a few dollars. Such backlinks are usually the bad ones. By the way, having lots of bad backlinks can get you penalized. You can read more about the kind of backlinks which Google considers bad, right here. (https://blog.monitorbacklinks.com/seo/types-backlinks-violating-googles-guideliness/)
Finding the right kind of backlinks is a good start. However, it isn’t good enough. You also need to properly format the anchor text on the backlinks. Google’s policies towards anchor text are actually constantly changing. Still, the following guidelines are invaluable when creating anchor text.
The first is using a variety of anchor text. The natural inclination of most people is to use keywords on each anchor text. This seems great for SEO. Unfortunately, Google hates this, and penalizes it. As such, you need to use a variety of text. The good news is that Google’s algorithm has become smarter. As such, you can use synonyms, long tail keywords and other varieties of text on your anchor links. Just don’t use the same phrase over and over again.
The second guideline is grammar. Google wants anchor text to fit “naturally” in the context in which it is used. Basically, it hates anchor text which doesn’t make logical, semantic or grammatical sense. As such, when using anchor text, make sure it makes grammatical sense. Even human readers will appreciate it.
Now, anchor text is actually a long and fairly complex topic. We cannot exhaust everything about it right here. If you desire to find out more about its nuances and complexities, here is a very helpful guide. (http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/113429-Do-it-yourself-SEO-Understanding-Anchor-Text-Link-Profiles/).
So, how do you actually get the backlinks? Well, numerous techniques have been devised for generating backlinks. These are commonly classified as “black hat”, “grey hat” or “white hat”.
Now, black hat and grey hat techniques are actually disliked by Google and search engines. If discovered, they can get your website blacklisted. As such, we will not get into them here. If you are interested in finding out about them, numerous websites offer helpful tips. The caveat is that you use blackhat and grey hat techniques at your own risk.
Here, we shall focus on white hat techniques for generating backlinks. These techniques are approved by Google. They include the following:
– Posting Guest Blogs or Guest Articles
– Creating or Using Private Blogging Networks (PBNs)
– Posting Content on Social Media Sites
– Using SEO Directories
– Writing and Distributing Press Releases
An essential component of any inbound marketing strategy is analytics. This is essential for tracking, measuring and evaluating your inbound marketing activities. It is critical for understanding how your activities are progressing. It can enable you to track the success of your efforts and be able to refine your activities to enjoy greater success.
There are numerous tools which are helpful for collecting data and conducting analytics. Example sites for collecting valuable data include Moz.com, Ahrefs.com, SEMRush.com, SpyFu.com, and Majestic.com. For web traffic analytics, we recommend using Google Analytics. These tools can provide you with the right data analysis and web analytics which are essential for making informed decisions about your inbound marketing activities.
As you have probably noticed, inbound marketing is no easy feat. Creating an effective marketing strategy requires skill, dexterity and lots of experience. Executing the strategy requires both time and financial resources.
The good news is that you don’t have to hustle with any of this. We can help. Our High Ranking SEO package is specifically designed for people like you. We can create for you a marketing strategy, execute it and constantly update it according to the changing needs of both you and your customers. To find out more about our package, click here!