What is Web Presence Optimization (WPO)?
WPO, put simply, is the process of monitoring your Internet “footprint” on a daily basis and tweaking it in order to maximize the potential for customer conversion. WPO is about optimizing and monitoring content across your entire web presence, including your website, social media accounts, blogs, directory listings, etc – to improve your organic ranking in the search engines. It’s about dominating ALL search starting points so people can find your business during all phases of their online research. WPO is an important strategy for ensuring that keywords in any content related to your business is positive and tends to drive potential customers to your website and purchase your products and services.
Tips for Web Presence Optimization
- Determine your internet footprint
- Do some keyword research
- Test your results on social media platforms
- Spend time cross-linking your social media sites
- Listen for your keywords in social media channels
- Balance your time using both on-site and off-site content creation
How to Determine Your Internet Footprint
Start by taking an inventory of all the ways you show up on the Internet. This is your web presence. Are you using social media? Does your website show up in Google using keyword searches related to your business or only when you search on your own company name? Where does your company name show up when you search on it? That is, are there any other websites that mention your company, such as a review site or a blog? Make note of all the places online where your company and similar companies show up. Knowing how your competitors are optimizing their web presence can help you to make your own footprint more visible.
It’s important to understand what keywords your potential customers are actually using to find you, rather than what you think they are searching for. There’s a difference. Keep in mind that, while you might know what your business is all about and what kinds of services and products you’re offering, your customers don’t. They’re searching for information about services and products that are important to them. Your company may or not fill their bill; may or may not offer other products and services these prospects may well also be interested in.
The first step in figuring out what prospects are actually searching for is to create a list of potential keywords. One way to do this is by using a keyword research tool to see how certain keywords rank. Narrow down your list to the most popular searched phrases where possible. You can use Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Google Trends to help you create your initial list and determine particular keyword rankings (i.e. popularity of a given search term among people looking for the types of products and services you offer).
Brainstorm all the words and phrases you think a customer would type into their search box when trying to find you and try these out in the Google tools. Come up with enough search terms to cover all the products and services you offer. Don’t use generic words. Focus on words that are relevant, but not overly used. For example, if you own a cake decorating business don’t just use “cake decorator” or “cake decorating” as a prime keyword phrase; try specific terms like “Halloween”, “Children”, “Wedding” and “Themed Birthday”, depending on what you offer and time of year. Change it up constantly for maximum impact. Get help when brainstorming by asking friends, business associates and your existing customers. What would words would they/did they use when looking for your products or services? And be sure to look at what keywords your competitors are using, and make your list more targeted.
Test Your Results on Social Media
Social media content is searchable in search engines like Google. Valued, socially-oriented content can appear in the organic search results all on its own. For instance, popular Tweets, Google+ posts, and LinkedIn profiles can be seen in Google’s organic search results. Is your social media content coming up in a Google search, is it being found in a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn search (or whatever tools you are using now). Are your competitors showing up and you’re not? If so, what are they doing that you’re not?
Cross Link Your Sites
Cross-links are the links between posts within a blog or links between pages on a website, or social media accounts. Cross-link all of your social media accounts to your blogs, website, and other social media accounts. Add links to your posts, status updates, tweets and other content. Cross-link to your tweets from your blog and vice versa. In other words, make sure that if a prospect lands on one site, they can click through to another of your sites, especially your website where your online marketing efforts will pay off best.
“Listen” for Keywords
You can use Google Alerts to monitor when you and your company are mentioned online. Visit Goolge Alerts, sign in with your Google account, and type in your search query terms. Any stories or other online postings related to these keywords will be delivered to your inbox as they occur. You can also make use of Google Alerts to help you with your keyword research, by the way, by monitoring how often you are alerted by the search terms you’re trying out and how specific they are to companies similar to your own. Also use LinkedIn and Twitter Search to monitor online chatter. Participate by responding to conversations that show up. This will give you added online presence and create back-links to your profiles.
Balance Your Efforts in Optimizing Both On-site and Off-site Content Creation
You need to work on both your on-site and off-site content creation and optimization. Both work together to get you found online. On-site optimization includes all the content visible on your own website, as well as the meta content which is only seen by search engines. Be sure to include the most effective keywords in your website content to help get your small business found by Google and other search engines.
Off-site optimization is the work you need to do on other websites and social media platforms to increase your own sites’ rankings. Businesses need to participate in relevant online conversations and in social media to gain the trust and the opportunity to market their content (blog articles, eBooks, video, photos, documents, presentations, etc.) to their target audience. Off-site optimization is an ongoing process that contributes to your small business website increasing and maintaining a high ranking on search engines.
As organic optimization and the services required to “get found” evolve, so too must our tools, techniques and tactics. Focus is needed on quality and relevant content that your potential clients are looking for.
Are you using social media to help your business rank well on the search engines? What other Web Presence Optimization tactics have you tried?