I thought that online marketing was so important I decided to study it in college. Full Sail’s Internet Marketing program. This wasn’t all that long ago but in 2008 the term “SEO” was incredibly misunderstood and horribly abused. Without venting too much about my frustration with this part of the industry, here are my thoughts on what’s most important in your online marketing:

  • Be better online than you are offline.

    Especially in customer service, consumers have high expectations when doing most things online. Provide better customer service with live chat or a great ticketing system; do whatever it takes to avoid frustrating your audience. Subtle things help.

  • Optimize for speed.

    Before you take one look at on-site SEO you need to make sure your site was built by a real-life web development professional. The barrier of entry is really low when it comes to learning HTML and CSS but takes someone who understands how HTTP works (at a high level), can wade through a network waterfall, and can write solid and maintainable code that makes your site look great on any device that has a browser. Which brings me to

  • Responsive design isn’t a choice.

    “Responsive design” is no long a buzzword or an upcharge, it’s an expectation. Google punishes sites that aren’t mobile friendly and removing them from SERPs, so make sure you’re reaching your audience when they’re on their phones and tablets before you talk to me about keyword density.

  • Nobody reads. Hire a copywriter.

    This is a weird one, but few people actually want to read paragraph after paragraph of marketing bullshit. Cut your content in half, rinse, and repeat. Only include what’s absolutely necessary and be mindful of how you format it. Bullet points go a long way along with well-placed headings.

If you’re not doing everything I mentioned then you’re focusing on the wrong things. Before you hire an SEO company, hire a world-class design team and seasoned web developers. They can actually fix your marketing problems.