Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. You're likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they're essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them.
Traditionally, defining a target audience involves determining their age, sex, geographic locations, and especially their needs (aka pain points). Check out usability.gov’s description of personas and how to do task analysis & scenarios for more details, or better yet, read Vanessa Fox’s upcoming book about personas related to search and conversion.
Digital marketing and its associated channels are important – but not to the exclusion of all else. It’s not enough to just know your customers; you must know them better than anybody else so you can communicate with them where, when and how they are most receptive to your message. To do that, you need a consolidated view of customer preferences and expectations across all channels – Web, social media, mobile, direct mail, point of sale, etc. Marketers can use this information to create and anticipate consistent, coordinated customer experiences that will move customers along in the buying cycle. The deeper your insight into customer behavior and preferences, the more likely you are to engage them in lucrative interactions.
Google Search Console – Click-through rates, or how often viewers click on your ads after seeing them, are some of the most important metrics of success and failure. A high CTR reflects positively on your content and advertising, and in turn widens your funnel for more prospects to enter, engage with your brand and content, and ultimately close, be it in the form of purchases or subscriptions. 

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our sample templates here. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question. For my full profile and other social networks, see the Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.
Meta tags. Meta tags still play a vital role in SEO. If you type any keyword into a search engine, you’ll see how that keyword is reflected in the title for that page. Google looks at your page title as a signal of relevance for that keyword. The same holds true for the description of that page. (Don't worry about the keyword title tag -- Google has publicly said that it doesn't pay attention to that tag, since it has been abused by webmasters and all those trying to rank for certain keywords.)
Google’s Gary IIIyes sent this tweet on August 18, 2015, saying that, “If you're an SEO and you're recommending against going HTTPS, you're wrong, and you should feel bad.” The “S” in HTTPS stands for security, and if your URL leads with HTTPS (https://example.com) instead of HTTP (http://example.com), then your website is secure. Google wants you to move your site to HTTPS so badly that they are now giving a ranking boost to websites that are secure. As we move into 2016, we will be seeing many new websites transferring to HTTPS. 
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.

But what kind of information should you gather for your own buyer persona(s) to inform your digital marketing strategy? That depends on your businesses, and is likely to vary depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C, or whether your product is high cost or low cost. Here are some starting points, but you’ll want to fine-tune them, depending on your particular business.
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. The Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ, two major directories which closed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, both required manual submission and human editorial review.[39] Google offers Google Search Console, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links[40] in addition to their URL submission console.[41] Yahoo! formerly operated a paid submission service that guaranteed crawling for a cost per click;[42] however, this practice was discontinued in 2009.
When launching, adjusting or creating search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, you work with a ton of keywords (words you choose and want to rank well in search engine results). In the SEO/SEM world, keywords can be a marketer’s best friend, if chosen wisely! The keywords you choose for your Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising campaigns can ultimately determine the success or failure of your campaign. In order to succeed, you need to find a good mix of different keywords, from branded to non-branded, to competitors terms, as well as generic and long-tail terms. There are plenty of excellent paid or free trial PPC keyword research tools out there to choose from. However, you can create a really extensive keyword list with tools that are 100% free  – Sweet!
How to apply: A majority of voice search inquiries are questions, which means that your keywords must be long-tail and have to be actual sentences, as opposed to keywords that consist of phrases and a combination of related words. Voice-based search terms work better when your content can be seen in Google’s Featured Snippet. When it comes to your content, make sure that the question inquiry and the answers would be at the same page, as Google tends to favor those sites more, and ensures that users would be getting instant results.
In the 1990s, the term Digital Marketing was first coined,[10]. With the debut of server/client architecture and the popularity of personal computers, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications became a significant part of marketing technology.[citation needed] Fierce competition forced vendors to include more service into their softwares, for example, marketing, sales and service applications. Marketers were also able to own huge online customer data by eCRM softwares after the Internet was born. Companies could update the data of customer needs and obtain the priorities of their experience. This led to the first clickable banner ad being going live in 1994, which was the "You Will" campaign by AT&T and over the first four months of it going live, 44% of all people who saw it clicked on the ad [11].
Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.

If you’re ready to jump into content production and want to start writing right away, I understand. But at some point, you’ll need to define why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. The decisions you make in this chapter will give you a strong foundation for your content marketing plan — and make you stand out as a content publishing guru.


Use your keyword list to determine how many different pillar pages you should create. Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with how many different products, offerings, and locations your business has. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.
2. Domain authority and page authority. Next, you should learn about domain authority and page authority, and how they predict your site’s search rankings. Here’s the basic idea; your site’s domain authority is a proprietary score, provided by Moz, of how “trustworthy” your domain is. It’s calculated based on the quantity and quality of inbound links to your website. The higher it is, the higher all your pages across your domain are likely to rank in organic search results. Page authority is very similar, but page-specific, and you can use it to engineer a link architecture that strategically favors some of your pages over others. Authority depends on the authority and volume of inbound links.
Consumers seek to customize their experiences by choosing and modifying a wide assortment of information, products and services. In a generation, customers have gone from having a handful of television channel options to a digital world with more than a trillion web pages. They have been trained by their digital networks to expect more options for personal choice, and they like this. From Pandora’s personalized radio streams to Google’s search bar that anticipates search terms, consumers are drawn to increasingly customized experiences.
All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (for example, root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?
By defining questions like this, you are able to uncover information about your potential customers that will simplify the way in which you go about creating content for them. Specifics like these seek to improve your targeting efforts by supplying you with enough information to personalize content and move personas closer to a positive purchasing decision.
For new visitors and potential customers to find your site, they typically need to interact with a search engine like Google, and the way they tell the search engine what they're looking for is by using keywords. Being able to anticipate the words and phrases those people use in large part determines how successful you'll be at SEO. The process of mining for these keywords is called keyword research.
Customers are often researching online and then buying in stores and also browsing in stores and then searching for other options online. Online customer research into products is particularly popular for higher-priced items as well as consumable goods like groceries and makeup. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet to look up product information, compare prices, and search for deals and promotions.[21]

When launching, adjusting or creating search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, you work with a ton of keywords (words you choose and want to rank well in search engine results). In the SEO/SEM world, keywords can be a marketer’s best friend, if chosen wisely! The keywords you choose for your Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising campaigns can ultimately determine the success or failure of your campaign. In order to succeed, you need to find a good mix of different keywords, from branded to non-branded, to competitors terms, as well as generic and long-tail terms. There are plenty of excellent paid or free trial PPC keyword research tools out there to choose from. However, you can create a really extensive keyword list with tools that are 100% free  – Sweet!
4. Semantic Grouping. As you go through your words, create a column to group them semantically. For example, words like “free website,” “free website creation,” and “free website tool” might be grouped under “free website.” These tightly-connected groups of words can be used later as your PPC ad groups. If you find a group with a large number of words, you might drop some of the ones with a lower search count.

To answer the question 'What is digital marketing?', we have put together this new visual definition summarizing all the activities that form digital marketing that needs to be managed across the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework. It's used in the new, 6th edition of Dave's Digital Marketing book. We explain best practices for all of these in our Digital Marketing Elearning course.  The infographic is divided into activities to develop and manage digital strategy at the top to the marketing activities at the bottom.
A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a Multi-communication channel where information can be quickly exchanged around the world by anyone without any regard to whom they are.[28] Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer.[29]
Special thanks to Isla McKetta for writing the lion's share of the guide, to Trevor Klein for writing a couple of chapters and wrangling the project, to Derric Wise, Kevin Engle, and Abe Schmidt for their fantastic illustrations (and for bringing Carl the Content Cat to life!), to Lisa Wildwood for her keen editing eyes, and to Ronell Smith and Christy Correll for their additional reviews.

Blogs have many benefits for content marketing too. Do you need a blog for your organization? It all depends but there are many befits and reasons to at least have a corporate blog (which doesn’t mean it should be company-centric). Blogs have many inherent benefits, can serve multiple (content) marketing goals and there are dozens of good arguments to get started.
Infographics. These are generally long, vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs, and other information. If you need some examples, here are 197 infographics on the topic of content marketing curated by Michael Schmitz, head of Content Lab at Publicis, Munich. Infographics can be effective in that if one is good it can be passed around social media and posted on websites for years. You can get a professionally designed infographic by hiring a contractor on a site like oDesk or if you want to remove some of the risk you can go with a company like Visua.ly. A decent infographic will usually cost you at least $1,000 to have designed, but can cost several thousand dollars if you are hiring a contractor or agency to include strategy and planning, research, copywriting, and design. There is also the matter of promoting that infographic to bloggers and the media. Or you could set up a board on Pinterest and curate infographics on a topic related to your business. That is also a form of content marketing, and it costs nothing but your time. Hey, it worked for Michael.
That’s exactly how the three can work together to help you meet your goal. Of course, it’s not compulsory to use all three. If your owned and earned media are both successful, you might not need to invest in paid. It’s all about evaluating the best solution to meet your goal, and then incorporating the channels that work best for your business into your digital marketing strategy.
Google Search Console – Click-through rates, or how often viewers click on your ads after seeing them, are some of the most important metrics of success and failure. A high CTR reflects positively on your content and advertising, and in turn widens your funnel for more prospects to enter, engage with your brand and content, and ultimately close, be it in the form of purchases or subscriptions. 
Establishment of customer exclusivity: A list of customers and customer's details should be kept on a database for follow up and selected customers can be sent selected offers and promotions of deals related to the customer's previous buyer behaviour. This is effective in digital marketing as it allows organisations to build up loyalty over email.[22]
Content is king. That’s the saying, right? It’s true in a way. Your website is really just a wrapper for your content. Your content tells prospects what you do, where you do it, who you have done it for, and why someone should use your business. And if you’re smart, your content should also go beyond these obvious brochure-type elements and help your prospective customers achieve their goals.

Remember also, that search engine marketing is only one online digital communications tool. For established brands, we commonly see from web analytics that more than half of site visitors arrive at a site, not through search engines, but directly through typing in the web address or following a bookmark (web analytics tools label these as ‘no referrer'). The volume of direct visitors shows the power of branding, PR and offline communications in driving visitor traffic.

Proper keyword research is important because it will make clear which search terms your audience uses. At Yoast, we frequently come across clients who use one set of words when describing their products, while their target audience uses a completely different set of words. These sites aren’t found by their potential customers because of a mismatch in word use.


The Digital Marketing course takes a holistic view of digital marketing, whilst really focusing on the more quantitative and data-driven aspects of contemporary marketing. You’ll be pushed to gain a clear understanding of a business’ goals and brand voice in order to launch a truly effective marketing campaign. Students will learn how to utilize analytics in order to make data-driven decisions ranging from audience segmentation and targeting, to what content resonates best with users.
To build your digital marketing strategy, you need to decide what content is going to help you reach your goals. If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than you did last year, it’s unlikely that your ‘About Us’ page is going to be included in your strategy -- unless that page has somehow been a lead generation machine in the past.
On a dating niche site I took the ‘ego-bait’ post one step further and had sexy girls perform a dance and strip to revel the names of the major bloggers in my niche written on their bodies. As you can imagine it got a lot of attention from the big players in my niche and my audience and is a little more creative for getting links, shares and traffic.

Google Search Console – Click-through rates, or how often viewers click on your ads after seeing them, are some of the most important metrics of success and failure. A high CTR reflects positively on your content and advertising, and in turn widens your funnel for more prospects to enter, engage with your brand and content, and ultimately close, be it in the form of purchases or subscriptions. 

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye by using overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempting to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.
In this excellent post, SEO and Digital Trends in 2017, Gianluca Fiorelli writes, "In a mobile-only world, the relevance of local search is even higher. This seems to be the strategic reason both for an update like Possum and all the tests we see in local, and also of the acquisition of a company like Urban Engines, whose purpose is to analyze the "Internet of Moving Things."
Keyword research is the first step in the SEO copywriting process and an essential part of any SEO strategy. Before you write your website content you need to think about which search terms you want to be found for and this means getting inside people’s heads to find out which words they use when searching. Then you can use these exact terms in your content so that you start ranking for them. This is keyword research and this ultimate guide will take you through the many steps involved.
The Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey conducted interviews in 26 countries to observe how consumers are using the Internet to make shopping decisions in stores and online. Online shoppers are increasingly looking to purchase internationally, with over 50% in the study who purchased online in the last six months stating they bought from an overseas retailer.[23]
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