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6 Ways to Improve Owned Digital Assets

Josh McCoy
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I come bearing gifts. It is difficult, from time to time, to get the creative juices flowing -- especially when it comes to finding strategic next steps for a client. For a longstanding initiative, you have likely tested and performed a lot of tactics in reaching digital marketing success.

This time of year doesn’t help at all either, as our brains are mostly fried from a busy year of keeping up with the many changes and needs born from the digital marketing industry. With this, I thought it would be fitting to discuss of a few tasks you can undertake with little innovative or creative thought.

You Already Own It

Yes, that’s right, you own these areas I’m writing about, this facet of the commonly referred to marketing segments of Paid, Owned and Earned marketing/media assets. Some may find this familiar, as they are the track designations at the upcoming ClickZ Live.

My last attended SES made me think of this topic. We know that Paid efforts take dollars and Earned marketing takes creativity. Right now, our minds are on gifts, holiday parties and hopefully a few days off, so let’s look at Owned assets in online marketing. There are several different areas where you can better your Owned assets from within an SEO lens, as well as from a holistic digital view, with little effort.

Links, in Relation to Robots/404/302

I see this all the time and love when I have the chance to do some link harvesting with a tool like Open Site Explorer. Review the top linked pages on your site. You may find that from this report that you have links pointing to pages on your site that are excluded from search engine view via robots.txt or the Meta Robots tag. This is link value that is not getting through the door.

Also, take a look at those pages heavily linked to that are 302 temporarily linking to another page on your site. Turning this into a 301 permanent redirect will help search engines start giving credit to those links. Last, how many links are pointing to pages that are now 404 error pages where you may have accidently deleted the page or someone has got the domain linked correctly but the page name is incorrect?

Bad Redirections and Old Domains

This may sound a little similar to the above topic, but with a different twist. Do you own any other domains that have link value/domain age and are not permanently redirecting to the current site? I see this issue often, where a new site is created and the old site/site pages are 302 redirected to the new site.

Additionally, do you have any other old owned domains that are simple sitting aside and not being redirected to the current business or organization site? There could be additional link/age value to pass on to the current domain.

Referring Site Links

We all know it can be hard to get a good link, but what happens after we get the link? Many of us may cheer as we have accrued additional SEO value, but what you should be thinking about is the traffic potential of links.

Review Google Analytics Referring Sites and find those referring sources that are not from social media, email, etc., and visit the referring page. You may have a link from the source, but could the link be presented above the fold on the page? Should the anchor text be more enticing? Should the messaging around the link be more relevant? It is great that this referring source is bringing traffic, let’s have it bring some more!

Images/Video Driving Traffic

You did it! You have images driving traffic to your site via image search or universal image results… and you probably didn’t know it. Review Google Analytics Referring Sites and then view specifically /imgres as a source, in relation to a secondary dimension of Landing Pages. See what pages image traffic is likely landing on and then you may get a better idea of successful imagery.

Next, look in Google Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics at Search Queries data by Landing Page and filter, to only look at Images driving impressions in search results. This will help you get a better handle on which pages are hosting referring image traffic, but also the likely keywords that are ranking your images.

Once you have honed in on that, ask yourself how might these images be doing so well? It may be based on how captivating it may be to a click, but also look into how is it ALT tagged and ask, how relevant is this to the surrounding text and keyword theme of the page? This may shed some light on what you should be doing with other site images.

Aside from image referrals, think about the opportunity from heightened referrals from the world’s second largest search engine, YouTube. Is your homepage or video-relevant site page linked from the beginning of YouTube video descriptions? This is a quick fix to cater to those interested in your company, who want to know more or are bored with the video and still would like to review more about your company.

Those Damn PDFs

Sorry, I hate PDFs. Who likes a search result that traverses to your site organically, yet you cannot track it with an analytics snippet? Anyway, beyond losing this traffic from organic data, you still want this traffic to get to your main site. Remember, PDFs often don’t carry the navigational theme of the site and often times carry no link back to the main site. This forces the user to remember your brand and then search or directly visit the site. Add a link from the top of PDF back to the site to help funnel traffic back to the site. I would do this to all PDFs, but if you are short on time, I recommend running a report on all ranking site pages in SEMrush and then identifying any pages that are ranking which are PDFs.

Big Traffic/ Big Bounce

Take a quick look at highest referring organic landing pages, but also those with ugly bounce rates. If you are a seasoned search marketer, you may be able to simply look at the page and assess bad calls to actions, crappy messaging, display issues and such that can be quick indicators prime for bounce rate turnaround. If the page doesn’t have elements that seem responsible, do a few days testing using CrazyEgg or LuckyOrange to get a good example to typical page visitor behavior.

Still nothing? Once again, look at SEMrush and see what terms these pages are ranking well for. Then review the pages again and assess for relevancy between those terms and the messaging/keyword theme of the respective pages.

See, That Wasn’t So Bad

We were able to touch on some of the main areas of Owned assets such as links, social media, site content and site URLs themselves. Even better, we didn’t have to “Pay” for these assets and we didn’t have to “Earn” anything. We were simply just fine tuning what we already owned.


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