09 Feb 2012

Don’t Launch Your New Site Before Using These 4 Website Marketing Techniques

February 09, 2012Content Strategy

Don't Launch Your New Site Before Using These 4 Website Marketing TechniquesDoFollow Thursdays

Many businesses that are new to Internet marketing start with building out their site and then look at the type and volume of content they will deploy. This approach is exactly backwards. Many brand sites that we work with have thousands of pages that are, quite frankly, ineffective because of the way they built their site structure and their content focus. Had they done the keyword research first and determined their content focus and volume, they would have built out their sites very differently and the Internet marketing techniques used to grow their traffic would be much more effective.

The four  website marketing techniques listed below will save you time, trouble and effort as you deploy your new website. By following these techniques, you will be able to determine the best keyword phrases to focus on, the type and focus of your content, the structure of your site as well as the phrases you should use for your anchor text in your initial link building efforts.

1. Keyword Analysis

One of the most effective things you can do as a start-up is to determine what keywords you will focus on for your business marketing. Many terms are extremely competitive and it will be very difficult for you to acquire a top 3 search engine listing. Other, long-tail terms will have significant volume in the aggregate but will be less competitive and give you the opportunity to rank and gain traffic.

Some things to think about as you do your keyword research:


Volume is certainly important. You want to target terms that have enough traffic to make writing content around that keyword worthwhile. You’ll find that the most competitive terms have the most volume. You want to rank for these terms but you’ll also want to look past this very competitive set of terms and find others that have a good search volume but a lower competitive index.

Competitive Index

You can use Google AdWords to determine the competitive index for a particular keyword phrase. The index is based on a 1-100 ranking. If the keyword phrase is 100, it is the most difficult with a 1 being the easiest.

Keyword Research

We build a keyword research document for our clients that looks at these phrases and organizes them to quickly see the opportunities. Using color in the spreadsheet gives you a quick visual of where to focus your efforts.  Highlight your column in EXCEL and apply conditional formatting.  It will give you a color scale as shown below.  You would want to stay away from the terms in the red scale and lean more towards the green. In our example, “what to do in phoenix” offers a good monthly search volume with a low competitive index.

Once you’ve determined your initial keywords, it’s a simple matter to brainstorm ideas for content.

2. Developing Your Content

The following technique is one we use at Vertical Measures and it will help you generate lots of content ideas around your keywords. You should end up with a solid content calendar with many long tail terms focused on good traffic volume and lower competition.

You’ll need some time to do this and a way to capture your new list of ideas.

Content Suggestion Tools

Start with http://soovle.com. This site allows you to type in your keyword and see suggestions from some of the main search engines. It will give you ideas for long tail terms and you’ll find some terms you never even thought of. Enter your keyword slowly and look at the suggested terms as you are typing the phrase. Make a note of the suggestions. You’ll start seeing the keywords from your initial research as well as many others.

Another great resource is http://www.ubersuggest.org. This site takes your base term and extracts Google suggestions for it. You can download all the suggestions via a text file.

Armed with your keyword list, you can come up with ideas for content. Before you actually go to the next step, you may want to run all the additional ideas through Google AdWords to determine the competitive nature and traffic potential so you can focus on the terms that will give you the best leverage.

Your Content Should Solve Problems or Answer Questions

The above process is designed for you to come up with ideas to build your content around. Look for things that will answer your client’s questions, solve their problems or engage them on your site. What terms lend themselves to infographics, video, top 10 lists and how-to articles? Content with headlines that solve problems are often the most popular.

  • Top 10 Ways To…
  • 7 Secrets of…
  • How to Fix Your… In 10 Minutes

With this in mind, visit a few other sites like:

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/
  • http://www.quora.com/
  • http://www.linkedin.com/answers
  • http://www.facebook.com/questions/ (depends on friends as you can only see friends’ questions)

Start by entering your phrase in the search section and look for the kinds of questions people are asking about your keywords and your business focus. You can get more results by using variations of your phrases. Make note of these questions and any others that come to mind while doing this research as they will make good ideas for content headlines.

By now, you should have lots of ideas that are vetted for traffic and their competitive nature. Put these in a spreadsheet and start adding title suggestions and content types. Some of the keywords will lend themselves to written content, others to video or infographics.

Take your list of ideas and add them to your content calendar.

3. Developing Your Site Structure

It gets a bit tougher here. Now with the type and volume of content you plan to deploy, you’ll need to determine the kind of site structure you’ll need. This is one of the most important things to get right as you develop your web presence. I can’t tell you how many clients we work with that have gotten this part very wrong. If your site is set up incorrectly, then it’s difficult to maximize the value of content, link building, social media and other Internet marketing techniques.

Start with determining the categories and the directories you’ll need. Sometimes, based on your content focus, it’s really easy. But with some clients that have a tremendous number of products or a wide variety of content it becomes more difficult. Set your directories and wire-frame the site. Getting a visual of the site often allows you to “see” things that don’t line up well or places where you can revise and simplify your site architecture. Sites like mockflow.com and gliffy.com can help you with this step. You can try Gliffy for free.

I’ve always been an advocate of “owning” your own publishing platform. That is, to be able to add content whenever you choose. We work with so many clients that tell us it takes weeks to add content. Don’t put yourself in this boat. Use a content management system that allows you to post content whenever you want and to add directories as well. WordPress is a great content management system as are Drupal and Joomla. Many small businesses and start ups have very limited budgets. I recommend these as all of them are free and have strong development communities around them which provide ancillary plug ins and other features that enhance the core content management systems. There are also numerous paid CMS systems.

4. Link Building

Your content is written; video is shot and edited; now it’s time to get links to your site. Start with manufacturers or vendors if you have an e-commerce site. If you are selling services, then go to any of the professionals you’ve used to get started and have them link to your site.  These are great places to get your “first” links.

Go back to your initial keyword report and determine the long tail terms that have a lot of volume and low competition and start building links with those terms.

Most of us focus on off-page links but don’t forget the value of internal linking. Make it a point to show the search engines what you think is important on your site and what keywords you value the most by using your anchor text with them. Many sites use terms like, “click here” or “learn more” rather than using their keyword phrases. If your content is important enough to link to, then use a keyword in your anchor text.

Other ways to get links to your new site:

Guest Post

Write an article about your new products and services and post it on another site with a link back to your site.

Strong Content Builds Link Attraction

Write link-worthy content. That is, make your content compelling enough that other webmasters would naturally want to link to it. Free-guides, infographics and Top 10 lists work well here.

Press Release

Write a press release about your new business or product offerings and use one of the many press release sites.  We always end up with links when we do press releases for our clients. The minimum number is around 50 but most end up with well over 100 links from a single press release.

Your site will generate more traffic if you follow these four techniques prior to launch.  What other things do you suggest prior to an initial website launch?

DoFollow Thursday Icon

It’s DoFollow Thursday and we invite all of you out there to leave a comment. If it adds real value, we will approve it, and you get a “DoFollow” link to your site. How’s that for an easy link? All we ask is you include your real name in the “name” field. We will just delete stupid, irrelevant, spammy stuff – only truly useful comments will be allowed.  Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a DoFollow Thursday!


  • Luis Alejandro Ramírez Gallardo Feb 09, 2012

    I wouldn’t say these are marketing techniques but a must have roadmap to a successful SEO campaign. I would place Soolve in the Keyword Analysis section though.

    Interesting post, still lack of real value due to over optimization on links and poor content development.

    I like the part talking about the solving problems suggestion. I strongly believe that quality content is about giving answers to the users and not just writing a long line of words without a useful approach.

    Nice work

  • Alex Barrett Feb 09, 2012

    Another tool I find useful is using Google Alerts for the main keywords you are targeting (which is how I learned of this article) which gives me an up to the minute idea of what’s happening in the “blogosphere” and what might be useful for my current and potential clients.

    Also, in terms of content, I believe that a rich site with a wide variety of content, that not only promotes your product but provides in depth information, can only help as you can attract people across a wider range of search terms without falling victim to clumsy keyword stuffed articles.

    I also agree and endorse that guest posting is certainly helpful too, particularly in building up not only links but also relationships with potential colleagues!

  • Laura Jablonski Feb 09, 2012

    Excellent advice. I would suggest that any business that is about to have a site built, talk to their potential website development company about all four points. It is my experience that these things are often overlooked. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mike Huber Feb 10, 2012

    Hi Laura,

    I agree. Many times we talk with clients ‘after’ they have already deployed their site and we spend time and their resources on fixing what should have been done prior to launch.

  • Mike Huber Feb 10, 2012

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, setting a Google alert is an excellent way to get ideas for content. Rich content trumps duplicated and thin content. The wide variety allows you to cast a larger net and get indexed for more keyword phrases.

  • Mike Huber Feb 10, 2012

    Thanks for the comments Luis. Solving your customers/clients problems is the key to any successful business and a great way to attract links and traffic.

  • Tommy Griffith Feb 20, 2012

    Regarding keyword analysis, I’ve found over the last year or so that when I give SEO advice to newbies, I often start by telling friends and clients to INVERT their search volume numbers once they’ve exported their keyword list from the Google Adwords tool. It’s no longer effective to tell people “Pick your keywords, and also pick a few lower volume, long tail keywords” because most people that are just getting into internet marketing won’t listen. They’ll shoot for all the high volume head terms, and compete with companies that have large SEO budgets and a multi-year presence at the top of the SERPs.

    In almost every vertical, there are usually hundreds of long-tail keywords that you can start ranking on the first page for with just a well-title post and URL structure. When launching a new site, my advice is to always, always, always go for low-volume phrases FIRST!

    – Tommy

  • Walker Thornton Feb 22, 2012

    This is a great article. In addition to helping my clients I will use this advice personally. I’m thinking about a new venture and this has given me some practical thoughts about narrowing down the focus of my idea, using soovle.com, as well as launching the site. I’m a huge fan of WordPress…have several blogs there and highly recommend it.