If 2011 is the year that you're really going to nail your company's web marketing, then here are 10 things you cannot fail to do -- and a few in-depth articles from the Search Engine Watch library to help you achieve them.
I Will Reinvigorate My Paid Search Campaign
The trouble with search advertising is that so many companies set theirs up and then just leave it alone.
Over time, the quality of your campaign deteriorates and, although it might remain profitable, it won't be earning you the revenue it could.
Take time to reinvigorate your campaign for 2011 and then keep on top of it as part of your regular website maintenance.
I Will Blog
Blogging is at the heart of so many core search engine optimization (SEO) and online marketing strategies. It fills your website with naturally keyword-rich content that people will (hopefully!) link to.
It's social, conversational, and builds your online reputation, both as an individual and as a company. It's informal and personable, while also making you look authoritative -- and that's to name just a few of the perks.
Take the time to update your blog in 2011 and you will soon see what a difference it makes.
But make sure you're writing interesting, high quality stuff -- the web is bursting with weak, churned out copy and it won't raise you above the competition.
I Will Integrate My SEO and Marketing Teams
Your SEO is a part of your broader marketing work and that means the two teams will work better if they work more closely.
Don't see your optimization as some peculiarly techie thing that happens independently of the rest of your marketing, it isn't.
Instead, make sure your staff are frequently liaising, comparing notes, and working together to suppose the overall promotion of your website.
Your PR team can promote topics and subjects that your SEO team is keen to build links for, while your SEO team can teach your PR team how to create content that's attractive to search engines as well as humans.
Read Harry Gold's "Social Media Marketing Doesn't Exist in a Vacuum" at ClickZ for some prime examples of how different areas of marketing belong to more than one team.
I Will Start Guest Blogging
Onsite blogging is great, and guest blogging is even better. Don't be fooled by people who call such work "link building." It does much more than that.
Guest blogging is social, it spreads brand awareness, it really enhances your authority, it helps forge industry connections, and it builds links.
But these links aren't the only benefit of guest blogging. Short-sighted guest bloggers who chase links with poor copy are to blame for some criticism of the practice.
That's why I enjoyed Jeremy Bencken's "Reports of the Death of Guest Blogging for Link Building are an Exaggeration" earlier this year. It flags up the real priorities you should have when guest blogging.
I Will Meet More With my SEO Agency
Although I've mentioned the importance of integrating your SEO and wider marketing teams in 2011, many businesses won't be able to do so because they use an SEO agency.
Effective optimization work can absolutely be done by an outsider agency, but you need to bear in mind your own responsibilities.
By regularly communicating with your SEO agency, you can ensure all your marketing efforts are working toward that higher Google ranking, and that work isn't being repeated or opportunities missed.
A hard-working SEO agency won't want to bother a company too frequently in case they frustrate them -- but it will be delighted when a customer takes a real interest in working more closely with it.
Read Bas van den Beld's recent article "Rules You Have to Know Before You Can Become an SEO Client" for some tips on being the perfect customer. There's some good discussion beneath it too.
I Will Use Twitter
If you aren't on Twitter, then you're missing a trick. At the least, you should monitor Twitter for mentions of your business so that you can keep an eye on your company reputation.
However, it can be a powerful tool for building brand influence, making industry friends, and even building links.
Twitter has to be part of your social strategy, especially if you're bothering to blog and attend conventions. People no longer ask if you're on Twitter, they ask for your username. So set up an account and take advantage of this great platform.
Check out my Search Engine Watch article "10 Things You Need to Know to Get Started on Twitter" for some beginner tips.
I Will Attend At Least One Conference
All the perks of blogging, Tweeting, and other kinds of online socializing, but you get to drink a coffee and put names to faces!
Industry conferences are massively useful whatever your sector -- and for your online marketing work too.
By building contacts and making industry friends, you increase the chances of being offered guest blogging slots, of having your tweets retweeted, of having your blog read and linked to.
Real life industry socializing will enhance your online socializing -- and that's in addition to all the benefit you'll get from the speeches and workshops.
For example, SEOptimise staff almost always attend SES London -- and the networking opportunities are even more valuable than the speakers.
I Will Do More With Social Platforms
The Internet is a social place and customers expect to be able to interact with you through a variety of platforms -- from blogs, to Twitter, to Facebook.
Many companies don't have the budget to target every one of these areas, as social media marketing can be a time-consuming business. But it's worth building a social presence, even if it's just through one website. It makes businesses seem more approachable, human, and modern, and also provides many more advertising opportunities and brand reach.
Even B2B marketing can work socially. Read Ryan DeShazer's article "Social Media + Search Marketing = B2B Marketing Success" for some useful tips.
I Will Consider Local Search
Make 2011 the year you capitalize on local search opportunities and enjoy all the benefits of easier rankings and highly relevant customers.
Google is really improving its location-based results. Searchers are going to prioritize their local businesses, so it's never been more important to work on local search.
Even better, it's often more affordable than trying to compete on a national or international scale, so it levels the playing field for smaller businesses.
Read Ray "Catfish" Comstock's excellent article "The Importance of Localized Content -- Local SEO Takes Center Stage" for some good tips.
I Will Stay Abreast of Changes in Online Marketing
Online marketing isn't something you learn once and then apply forever. It changes, evolves, and presents new challenges and demands.
Whether you're an SEO exec or an in-house web marketer, you need to stay on top of changes in your industry or you risk becoming irrelevant, or even damaging to your employer.
Attending conferences is one way of keeping on top of things, but it's better to be keeping a daily finger on the pulse so that you can react rapidly to new developments and move fast to secure the best position for your client or company.
Regularly reading online marketing articles and blog posts, and engaging in the discussions and debate they provoke, will ensure you remain on the ball.
If you've implemented any of the tips in this article, don't then consider yourself up to date -- the bar gets higher every month.
Check out blogs and industry news sources, especially Search Engine Watch's daily articles, to keep yourself on track. Maybe next year you won't need any resolutions, because your marketing will be working as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Register today!