I've never come across a supernatural presence in my personal life, but I have witnessed ample website and online marketing hauntings in the last decade. They are real, and these ghosts can do serious damage to your business and brand presence.
Unlike real world ghosts, their online counterparts don’t make much noise and do their work quietly. By the time they are done, you are left disappointed and angry because of meager traffic, poor sales and low leads. Here is my detailed checklist of digital troublemakers that might be haunting your online marketing efforts and search engine presence.
For the sake of simplicity, I have categorized them under following categories:
- Website structure
- Social media
Watch out for them because here they come!
Businesses spend huge amount of money on websites but they usually end up as ghost towns because designers and developers get some technicalities wrong. Make sure your team doesn’t summon the following:
Spirit of Wicked URL Structure
Website pages will not appear on Google unless they are optimized correctly. And URL structure is a big difference maker. Sadly, business owners discover it only when up and ready. Don’t let the spirit of wicked URL structure enter your website if you are planning to build one.
How to neutralize this ghost – If your URLs don’t tell what your pages are all about, then it’s time to have a serious discussion with your development team. Consult SEO specialists to conduct exorcism of badly planned URLs.
At some point in our lives, we all have visited websites that are disfigured and simply refuse to make sense. Such websites are created with zero consideration of UX (User experience) and IA (Information Architecture). Such websites not only scare visitors but send them running.
How to heal IA and UX – Sorry, but this is not something that can be fixed with few tweaks. It will require major design overhaul. If you really want the best user experience for your visitors and don’t want them to pull their hair in angst, then, think about a UX-centric redesign.
Broken Haunted Links
How would you like turning a corner of a road, and later on realizing that you have reached a dead-end? Visitors who come across broken links on your website feel the same. The broken haunted links leave visitors confused and helpless with no idea what to do next.
Getting out of the link maze – Tame the haunted broken links by checking all of them manually. Use redirections to take visitors to relevant pages. Put an end to dead-ends and create smooth roads for visitors.
Even if you have made provisions to keep site structure and design related demons at bay, there are many others that can trouble your online existence. Some super-technical elements play critical role in securing search engine ranking on Google and thus cannot be taken lightly. Here are some of them!
Ghastly Title and Description
Title and Google uses title and description to make sense of a page, and if they are a mess, there is very less chance of correct indexing and ranking. In short, carelessly planned titles and descriptions mean poor visibility on top search pages. Read on and learn how to clean this mess.
How do you clean the mess? – Undertake detailed keyword research before writing page title and description to make sure it includes most important terms for your business. Else, be prepared for never see your website on first page of Google.
Jigsaw of Website Content
Zero website content means lost ranking opportunity. Truckloads of content means low engagement. Duplicate content means demons from hell. I think you get the general idea of content’s complexity. But there is no escape from it because search engines love it.
Solve the content conundrum – Optimize your website content with relevant keywords and phrases to get search mileage. Here is a tool from SEMrush for keyword insights. Focus on branding while planning content but without compromising relevant search phrases.
Another link driven ghost, it derives power from its non-existence. When related website pages are not connected with each other, it shows its ugly head. Protect your website from this demonic entity by taking care of internal linking. Your website will also get benefits from search engines.
Connecting the links – Go through the most important pages of your website. You will automatically get to know which ones need to be interlinked. Always remember, nobody likes dead-ends.
Messy Rotten On-Page Tags
Sometimes, duplication of content is inevitable. Businesses with global presence come across language related challenges. Google has made provision to check such issues with on-page tags but most businesses get them wrong and eventually suffer. Don’t mess up tags, and ahead is a guide to get them right.
Winning the game of tags – Every on-page tag serves a unique purpose, and ought to be used carefully. Here is a list of 6 on-page SEO tags to rank high on Google.
Social media channels are traffic powerhouses if optimized and utilized aptly but most business owners fail to capitalize on them. Some even turn them into Internet nightmares. Here are the details that businesses usually get wrong in the beginning and get terrorized by later:
Channel Selection in Freddy’s World
If you are selling products to teenage girls and are still using only Facebook, then, you are no longer keeping pace emerging social media trends. There are many other channels such as Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram where your audience is more engaged. In other words, it is time wake up from the slumber.
How to wake up? – Spend time studying your core audience and where they are spending maximum time. It is only then you can pick the right channels. Make amends with this powerful social media tool.
Badly Timed Social Posts
Spending lot of time in planning creative posts but your notifications tab got cobwebs over it? It is quite possible that you are posting at the wrong time and thus are caught in a viscous circle. Here is how you can escape the sinkhole of ill devised timing.
Escape plan from bad timing – Jump into Analytics and go through user demographics to figure out the best possible time for sharing content. Stick to the findings and improvise if results still don’t met expectations.
Great to hear you have partnered with influencers with tens of thousands of followers to market your products and services. But do they actually have a say amongst your audience? Maybe they are just zombie influencers being followed by other zombies.
How do you know if someone's a zombie? – It isn’t difficult to identify zombie followers in virtual world. Rather than follower count, check engagement quotient and interactions. It will give a better idea of influencer authority.
After SEO, investment in ads is the most popular way to connect with your audience, generate sales, and increase traffic. But what if you are not getting the right traffic and subsequent sales from your money invested? This could be due to:
Lousy Mistaken Channels
Do you know what’s more important than having a big ad budget? The answer is ‘having the right list of channels.’ A big ad campaign will fall flat on its face if it targets the wrong websites and engines. Mistake in choosing marketing challenges are punished heavily.
How to hunt for channels? – List the channels that host your ads, and go through demographic reports. Also use Analytics to see which ones are working for you and which ones are just eating money.
Money-Eating Advertising Model
There are different ways of measuring advertising cost on the Internet. While cost-per-impression and cost-per-click are most popular, both are suited to different set of businesses and marketers. If you pick the wrong one, prepare for the unexpected.
Make the most of your money – If you have a small budget, then, obviously opting for cost-per-impression means disaster. Choose the advertising model carefully to get maximum value out of your investment.
Deformed Graphics and Placement
How your ad looks and where it is placed will make a BIG difference on returns. Using a boring ad? It will not get clicks. Place it somewhere unnoticeable, and visitors will never notice it. Again, detailed planning is required to make the most of visual ads and media.
From ugly to awesome – Select your ad positions carefully. Use high quality banner images and catchy yet meaningful marketing pitch to communicate your offerings.
Most website issues and online marketing glitches are not visible to the naked eye. You need a team of SEO and marketing specialists for that. But even they can achieve limited success without help of Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
The offerings of Google can help you:
- Track audience activity on site
- Check internal and external linking
- Keyword analysis
- Check phrases that trigger brand on Google
- Review online campaigns and conversions
- Improve page performance
- Gather behavior insights
The duo accomplishes a lot more for website owners who know how to mine them. In case you want additional insights, here is a tool for that!
If your website is struggling to meet traffic objectives and business goals, then, there is a fair chance that your website is being haunted by above entities.
Have queries about any of the website and online marketing points? Share them in the comments section and let’s answer them right now!