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How to build brand awareness with SEO

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According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, marketers say the number one goal for their campaigns is to generate brand awareness. They also report that one of the most important ways for them to measure the success of their content marketing strategy (second only to sales) is web traffic.

You’d think, then, that marketers would spend more time obsessing over ways to generate web traffic in order to boost brand awareness. And yet, in this age of social media and digital advertising, our websites too often get overlooked.

Today, we put the spotlight back on the website, a humble yet effective vehicle for generating brand awareness. We’ll see that by harnessing the power of SEO, small changes on your website can lead to big results.

 

Start with data

search result for marketing analyticsIn order to assess your current web analytics, identify opportunities for improvement, and measure future changes, you’ll need a way to collect and analyze your data. We’re HubSpot fans here, but you can also use a tool like Google Analytics. The data these tools provide offer valuable insights into what’s working, what’s not, and can inform where to invest your resources in order to get the most impact.

Set up a dashboard to keep track of these web analytic metrics:

  • Sessions: generally defined as the number of visits to your site by any given user. Note that a session times out after 30 minutes of inactivity, so if a user comes to your site twice in one day, once in the morning and once in the evening, that will count as two (2) sessions.
  • Traffic sources: where each visit is originating. HubSpot breaks it down by direct traffic, organic search, referrals, email marketing, and organic social.
  • Top pages (or top posts): the areas of your site that are generating the most traffic
  • Conversion rate: a measure of expected or desired outcomes, calculated as the number of people who took the expected or desired action divided by the total number of visitors to that page, and expressed as a percentage.

There’s a bonus benefit of a marketing analytics tool that we should mention: our word alone probably isn’t going to cut it when your boss asks you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and investments. So, even though we’re telling you that SEO is worth your time, it’s a good idea to prove it with data from a marketing analytics tool.

Need help getting started with HubSpot? Give us a shout! As a HubSpot Solutions Partner, we can help you plan and execute your implementation.

 

SEO: it’s not for you

Before we dive into how to optimize your website for SEO, it’s important to remember one critical truth: SEO is not for you. Rather, search engines are optimized for the user. That means in order to capitalize on what SEO has to offer, you need to get into the mind of your prospects.

For example, unless you’re a major brand like Nike or Amazon, it’s unlikely that prospects are searching for you by name. That means instead of focusing SEO attention on, say, optimizing for the search term “Content Matterz,” you’d want to target phrases like “content marketing agency” or “content marketing Seattle.” If you do that, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the top results on search engines.

 

Optimizing your on-page SEO

Now, we can get into the good stuff. The most important on-page factor for SEO is, unsurprisingly, the content itself. However, updating all your content pages is a tedious and resource-intensive activity.

The good news is, when it comes to SEO, small changes – like optimizing on-page elements beyond content – can make a big impact on search performance. So, let’s start there.

Go through each page on your website and make updates as needed to these elements:

1. Title. Readers should know exactly what they’re getting from your content piece or webpage, just by the title. Bonus: SEO likes it, too.

For example, imagine you have a blog post or a pillar page on your website with a list of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes. Here’s some example titles:

Bad: Yum! Cookies

Good: The best chocolate chip cookies

Best: The 10 best chocolate chip cookie recipes ever

2. Title Tag. Make sure your title is accompanied by a single H1 tag to make it clear and easy to find for search engines.

3. URL. Like your title tag, your URL should be quick and clear, and include your keyword or phrase. If the content on the page is evergreen, then leave the date or year out of your URL. It should look like this: www.example.com/blog/best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipes.

4. Meta Description. Do not ignore your meta descriptions!Yes, they typically auto-generate for your pages. No, you should not just leave it be.

 A well written meta description will set your piece apart from all the others on a results page. Again, make it quick and clear – no fluff. Keep it short, sweet and to the point at under 160 characters.

For example: Find the chocolate chip cookie recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you like them chewy or crispy, with browned butter or extra chocolate chunks, we’ll show you how to make the perfect cookie.

5.Header Tags. Hierarchies aren’t just for ease of reading, they’re for SEO, too. If your title is an H1 tag, then your subheads will be H2. Under those come H3, and so on.

6. Image Alt Text. This is the written copy that will appear in place of an image on your site if the page is having trouble loading. It’s important for two reasons: for one, it helps describe images to visually impaired readers. Secondly, it allows search engines to crawl your site faster and to better understand what the page is all about.

soft cakey cookie with chocolate chunks

Keep your alt text short (fewer than 125 characters) and descriptive. For example, for the image above, your alt text could be “soft cakey cookie with chocolate chunks”

That may seem like a lot of new elements to consider when creating new web content, but you’ll be surprised by how quickly you get into the habit of optimizing for SEO. Just remember to keep an eye on your analytics so you can identify what’s working and what’s not! Expect a few months of experimentation before you land on an SEO strategy that works best for your brand.

 

Don’t forget about page load speed

Last but not least, you’ve got a need for speed! It’d be a shame to put all this effort into SEO only for people to reach your site and give up because it doesn’t load quickly enough.

Poor page loads will result in a high bounce rate, a poor user experience, and – are you surprised? – a negative impact on your SEO. Google’s Core Web Vitals update takes page experience metrics into account when ranking your site, so be sure your pages load in under 2.5 seconds for best results.

You can use the HubSpot Website Grader to examine your overall site performance, including page speed and load time. The free report will also include recommendations to make your site more effective at attracting prospects.

 

Need help?

We’re website enthusiasts over here because we deeply believe in the power of this asset to grow your brand. If you need help assessing, improving, or re-thinking your website, drop us a line.