Wondering how to improve your website’s SEO and increase web traffic fast? There are plenty of actionable steps you can take today. Most don’t even require a web developer or coding knowledge to get started.
Below we’ll review 12 best practises you can easily work into your business plans to help you:
- Rank higher in search engines
- Grow your audience
- Attract more leads
We’ll also give you tips on how GoDaddy can help you on your journey, plus share plenty of free resources you can refer to along the way.
1. Optimize your URLs
Optimizing your URLs is a good way to improve SEO quickly. It’s something that takes little effort but can help boost your rankings when done right. Here are a few best practices to look out for.
Go for shorter URL titles
When it comes to URLs, you want to keep them short and compelling. Shorter URLs are often easier to remember, which makes them more shareable and higher ranking. Make sure your URL is free of fluff words (like “and” or “for”) and easy to understand.
Note: GoDaddy’s Website Builder automatically optimizes your URL title for you by limiting it to 25 characters. Simply type in your URL title into the designated text box for “Page Title” and you’re done. It also fills in any spaces with hyphens following web convention.
Include primary keywords
Adding a primary keyword to your URL is another best practice for optimization and should also be applied to your:
- Meta title: This is the blue header in the search engine results page
- Meta description: This is the copy that sits beneath the meta title
- On-page title: This is the actual title of your work at the top
Aim for placing your keyword closer to the beginning of your URL title for optimal results.
Keep it relevant
URLs should also be relevant to the content you’re displaying on that specific page. Keeping them aligned with the page copy allows Google’s search bots to easily understand and identify the information for search queries.
The more relevant your information is to a search query, the higher it ranks on Google.
Think about how relevant it will be for future use. You don’t want it to be overly specific that it becomes less relevant over time.
For example, you can make a URL more applicable for future use if you avoid adding a specific year at the end. Peek the following URL endings to see how they contrast.
Instead of a URL that ends in: .com/best-fathers-day-gifts-2022
Go for something like: .com/best-fathers-day-gifts
If other websites link to your page, the URL without the year enables that page to keep hold of any authority and associated rankings in the future.
A note on changing URL titles
Editing your URL title is an option using GoDaddy’s Website Builder, but it’s not recommended you make any changes when dealing with older existing pages.
Changing an existing URL can hurt your SEO and result in decreased traffic, since it’s likely you have backlinks attached to the post you’re trying to change. This means that anytime someone finds the old link through a partnering site or newsletter, they might end up at the dead link instead.
Unless you really need to for rebranding purposes, it’s best you avoid this route to prevent any damage to you SEO.
2. Optimize metadata
The term “metadata” comes up a lot when researching how to improve SEO quickly. It refers to the data on a webpage that provides Google with information about a particular site. In other words, it’s data that describes other data.
By itself, metadata won’t affect SEO rankings. But it can help in the following areas:
- Boost engagement
- Increase click-through rates
- Give you the upper edge over your competitors
It’s a small piece of the SEO puzzle that is often overlooked but can be beneficial when combined with other best practices. Let’s look at two ways to improve your meta data below.
Meta descriptions appear in the search results page underneath the meta title. It often gives a quick snippet of what the web page is about and typically includes a call to action (CTA) to encourage more clicks.
Examples of these CTAs could look like:
- “Shop now”
- “Schedule an appointment”
- “Click here to read more”
As noted earlier, you’ll want to include a primary keyword within the description and keep the copy to 155 characters or less. The primary keyword will also appear in bold anytime it matches a searcher’s query.
The meta title (aka title tag) is the text shown in large blue font in the search engine results page. It’s often the first thing searchers will see and can sometimes be confused with the H1 tag.
However, the meta title and H1 tag are two separate things.
The meta title is named with SEO and Google in mind, while an H1 tag is more for the user’s benefit. A lot of times digital marketers will use the same title for both the meta title and H1 tag to cause less confusion for users.
When naming your meta title, you should always:
Editing the meta title and meta description is easy using GoDaddy’s Website Builder. Simply use the editor and go to the page you need optimized. Click on Settings (cog symbol) and then select Get Found on Google to edit what you need.
3. Check your speed
An important element of improving SEO is speed. The time it takes for your webpage to load will affect whether your users stay to engage or bounce back in search of something better.
Between July and August 2021, Google rolled out a measure of core web vitals (CWV) to help website owners evaluate their overall page performance.
This report is based on real-world user data (or field data) and includes three segments that evaluates a user’s experience loading a webpage — two of which are related to a site’s speed.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each one for reference:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP): This refers to the largest block of text, video, or visuals that take up the most amount of time to load after a user clicks on your site.
- First input delay (FID): This is the amount of time it takes for a browser to respond to a user’s first interaction on your site (typically when they click on a link or tap on a button).
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS): This has to do with any layout shifts your user be experiencing as they interact with your page. Too many unexpected shifts could result in a bad user experience if left unchecked.
One best practice is to score below 1.3 seconds when reaching the First Byte. This means that the overall responsiveness and speediness of your website should fall within this time frame after a user clicks onto your site from a search query.
How to optimize your CWV score
Rankings are affected by a CWV score, so it’s best to aim high in good rankings to increase web traffic.
Google’s search advocate, John Mueller, noted in a recent YouTube discussion that if a site had lost or gained traffic steadily over the period of the CWV roll out, then it was likely related to the website’s CWV score.
GoDaddy’s Website Builder scores nearly 68% in good CWV rankings and outperforms most other competitors. It’s a great option to consider if you’re looking for low-hassle performance speed on your site. Plus, it includes other fool-proof elements like SSL certificates and more.
For non-GoDaddy sites, your biggest priority is to minimize image sizes before uploading to your site. Try using an image compressor to cut down on load time and apply a lazy loading plugin if you have a WordPress site. This will display all images below the fold only when the user scrolls down.
4. Find the right keywords for your content
Improving SEO means creating content Google can easily comprehend. That’s why optimizing with keywords helps. It allows Google bots to decipher what your page is about so that it can provide relevant results to search queries.
Let’s take a look at some best practices for keyword usage.
How to choose the best keywords
When creating content for your site, try to think of phrases and terms your target audience may be typing into a search query. For example, if you’re a retailer that specializes in kid’s clothing, you could aim for keywords like:
- Toddler girl dresses for spring
- Zipper onesies for baby boys
- Activewear for boys and girls
Keep an eye on your competitors and note how they utilize their keywords for search queries.
It’s important to know the keywords your competitors are ranking for that you are not.
Let these findings guide you when deciding what keywords to create for your own content. Ensure your version is better optimized and more informative to win the upper edge.
Where to include primary keywords
Here are other areas where you should include primary keywords throughout your text:
- Each page on your site: Include a primary keyword for every 60 – 150 words in each of your posts. Ensure they sound natural and avoid keyword stuffing to prevent Google from penalizing you.
- On-page title: Make sure each page on your website has a primary keyword within the on-page title at the top.
- First 100 words of every page: Include a primary keyword in your opening paragraph for each post. The sooner you introduce it, the better.
It’s also best to add a secondary keyword that’s similar in meaning to your primary keyword. This provides Google with extra information (or clues) to what your page is about.
Editor’s Note: GoDaddy’s website builder automatically assigns your primary keyword as a required H1 header tag in the backend, so there’s no extra coding necessary for you. This makes things easier any time you want to adjust the font size or style. Simply edit as you go.
When it comes to keyword length, there are two things to remember:
- Short keywords with a large volume are harder to rank for and are more competitive
- Longer keyword phrases with three to five words are easier to rank for and are less competitive
Let’s imagine you run a clothing shop. Instead of choosing a generalized keyword like “T-shirts,” you can opt for something more specific like “cruelty-free vegan T-shirts.” The competition for the longer phrase is lower and has a better chance at ranking higher on Google.
On a similar note, you want to avoid including the same keywords and phrases on multiple pages of your website. This is known as keyword cannibalization and could lead users to the wrong page when they enter your site from a search query. It’s also not good for bounce-back rates.
The same goes for duplicate content. Try to avoid creating posts that are similar in topic, since this could confuse the search engine bots.
An example would be targeting “divorce lawyer near Los Angeles” on one page and “how to find a divorce lawyer near me” on another. The angles are too similar for Google to recognize the difference.
Helpful tools and resources
To help you optimize strategically, you can use the following tools when deciding which keywords to go for:
- Google’s Keyword Planner: This is a tool for finding keywords that many digital marketers tend to utilize – especially in advertising. But you don’t need to be an advertiser to use it. Anyone can sign up for free and use it for insight on keyword search volume.
- KWFinder: If you’re looking for a tool with more advanced features, try KWFinder. It offers a free trial and helps you find keywords that are easy to rank for.
- Keyword Tool: Ecommerce store owners can find extra ideas using predictive search tools like this one. It gives you free keyword search suggestions for Amazon, eBay and more.
Remember, it’s best to avoid using keywords that have volumes in the highest and lowest categories. Refer to these tools any time you need help.
5. Write for your audience
Developing content that improves SEO quickly should be centred around your audience first and foremost.
You need to know who you are trying to target before you begin writing posts for your website.
This will allow you to create content that is genuinely helpful to potential customers visiting your site. It’s also something Google will reward you for in rankings and will lead users to CTAs that apply to:
- Email sign-ups
- Inquiries and more
When drafting content for your site, you should note that there are two main categories to consider:
- Standard pages and blog posts: These typically consist of informational content. A standard page should have a minimum of 300 words, while a blog post should have 700 or more.
- Ecommerce product pages: Ecommerce pages focus more on product details. The recommended word count for these pages should range between 120-200 words.
Let’s discuss them even further to help you better understand why both are important for improving SEO.
Pages and blog posts
Pages and blog posts provide informational content to users but differ in the type of content displayed. Pages are more static and don’t often need updating (like About Me or Contact pages), while blog posts provide constant updates to queries that are relevant to your product or service.
Google ranks all web pages according to a mixture of:
- Relevancy for the searcher
- Value of content on a page
- The page’s uniqueness
- A website’s overall authority
Authority takes time and is something you earn as your audience grows. It’s not something you can control right away. But optimizing the other categories can help you achieve authority success down the line.
Google rewards websites with higher rankings if searchers stick around for a while (aka dwell time).
To increase dwell time, owners should write for their prospective customer and not for Google.
Write as if you are encouraging a friend to take the next step with your business offer. Use words that inspire and provide informative content that helps users with pain points.
Ecommerce product pages
Ecommerce pages provide users with information about your product or service, but also convinces them to follow-through with a purchase.
Many ecommerce sites miss out on visibility due to lack of content, which makes it hard to rank.
A general recommendation to improve SEO is to start by optimizing product and service pages first. You can do this by:
- Using long-tail keywords: This helps increase opportunities in competitive spaces and even converts better with keywords that are low in search volume. It’s better to have a small increase in web traffic and sales, rather than none.
- Hitting the 120-200 minimum word count: Do this for all products in your online catalogue and avoid writing beyond this range. Writing too much could be a distraction to the potential sale.
- Uploading enticing images: Try to aim for at least three images per product, including one that shows it in use. You might also consider adding product-specific text to images that highlight dimensions and special features.
- Avoid copying manufacturer descriptions: Google will consider this duplicate content and you’ll end up taking a hit to your SEO.
6.Leverage SEO with a blog
Blogging is the most efficient way to increase web traffic online. They serve many purposes but are often used for informational content. Even Airbnb and Paypal use blog posts to attract visitors to their site.
Here are just a few ways blogs can improve SEO rankings for your site:
- Drive organic traffic to your site: Incorporating long tail keywords into your posts can help bring new users into your site via Google.
- Increase dwell time: Posts that have engaging content will keep users on your site longer.
- Boost authority: Informational posts are often picked up by other sites who want to linkback to your site as a source.
Focus on quality over volume
When it comes to blog content, you want to ensure your posts offer users valuable information that’s helpful and relevant.
Don’t post articles for the sake of filling up space on your site.
Instead, aim to solve customer problems by answering common questions they might have.
For example, a wedding planner might write a long form article titled “What does a wedding planner do?” to address a common query users search for.
Remember to focus on one primary keyword per blog post and scatter it throughout the text naturally. Combining words like “How”, “What” and “Why” with your keyword will make it sound more helpful for users and Google alike.
Ensure your posts are easy to read
You can make readability more convenient for your users by:
- Using short sentences
- Keeping paragraphs concise
- Optimizing images for quicker page loads
This will allow users to quickly scan the text for information they need. Plus, it makes it easier for Google bots to crawl you site for ranking purposes.
Another best practise is to highlight important information by:
- Adding bold text
- Making bulleted points
- Italicizing blocks of text
Google’s John Mueller confirmed that bolding important words in a paragraph can improve SEO.
It’s also useful for ecommerce sites to include links to priority products and category pages on relevant blog posts. Just remember to make it sound natural and not too spammy.
Continue to audit older posts
Do revisit your old blog posts on a regular basis and update or extend them when possible. Google hates inactive dusty sites and will reward sites with fresh new content.
Don’t forget that your blog posts must also include a title tag and meta description. Be sure you include your keywords in the meta data and that it is up-to-date with Google’s standards.
7. Optimize images
Images are the second-most popular way to search online. They help users find what they’re looking for and serve as a visual guide in their buying journey.
But if you’re not optimizing your images before uploading, you might be missing out on valuable SEO rankings.
A couple of good ways you can improve SEO using images is so to:
- Include alt text: Alt text (aka image alt or alt attributes) helps search engines understand what the image is about. It also helps with accessibility for users with screen readers and displays when browsers can’t process images correctly.
- Compress images: This helps boost your on-page loading speed and can be done using Photoshop or by using a site like TingPNG before uploading.
Optimizing for both areas will make it easier for Google to crawl and decipher your site. But if you need a little more help with alt text, read the section below.
Key notes for writing alt text
Despite the latest advances in technology, search engine crawlers can’t see images like humans do. They must rely on the accompanying alt text to help them out.
One best practice for alt text is to keep it simple. These descriptions are meant be short and should include 125 characters or less (including spaces). There’s no need for gimmicks or extra filler worlds like “this is an image of …” Simply describe what the image is about in the most direct way possible.
For example, the alt text for the image above could be, “Close up of someone holding a pair of glasses.”
Image optimization made easy
GoDaddy’s Website Builder makes it easy to edit alt text on images. Simply click on an image insider the editor and write your alt text in the box designated for “Image description.”
You can also use GoDaddy’s Website Builder to automatically compress your images, along with any other large files you may have already uploaded.
8. Is your site mobile friendly?
Making your site mobile-friendly is an important factor for Google rankings. It’s a primary reason why mobile-first indexing was created and adds to the overall convenience for users on-the-go.
Users should be able to experience your website on a mobile or tablet device the same way they do on a desktop.
It needs to be easily accessible without needing to pinch or squeeze to view your content.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool is a great way to test your website when optimizing for mobile devices. Or if you don’t want to hassle with checking yourself, GoDaddy’s Website Builder has standard built-in mobile responsiveness.
9. Submit your sitemap
A sitemap helps search engines crawl your website and index it faster. It consists of a file that contains all the URLs on your page, plus metadata that shows each one’s importance and the date they were last updated.
If you’re not using GoDaddy or a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you’ll need to create one using a tool like XML sitemap generator.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is the last step in this process. You can do this by logging into your Google Search Console (GSC) account and entering it in the “Sitemaps” tab in the side bar.
Backlinko has a great step-by-step guide if you need extra help importing your sitemap link into your account.
10. Experiment with backlinking
Sometimes other websites will link to your site when they want to refer to you as a source of information. This is considered backlinking and it helps boost your authority when Google notices they are coming from relevant and reputable websites.
Another tactic is to partner with other websites in your industry and guest blog on their site. This allows you to share your expertise with similar audiences so that you can backlink and gain new leads.
It also helps to include links to other relevant blogs on your site whenever you find valuable information you can share with your audience.
Additionally, Google and major search engines consider a backlink from a site you don’t own as a vote for your business. Numerous studies suggest that backlinks from quality websites can help increase a site’s rankings and traffic.
11. Local business
Local businesses can make use of additional opportunities in search engines with things like Google My Business (GMB). This allows brick and mortar or service businesses to reach local audiences in the surrounding area through rich search results.
In other words, your business can have a dedicated profile with Google that appears any time someone submits a query for relevant businesses in their area. It typically includes things like:
- Your website’s URL address
- Photos that highlight your business or services
- Customer reviews and more
All of this info can be optimized to improve SEO and there are plenty of other distinct things to do to increase website’s traffic locally. You can find more information about local SEO with this handy guide from our blog.
12. Measure your success
Google Analytics (GA) is a free tool for monitoring website traffic from any source. Many digital marketers use it to collect insight on:
- Target audiences
- Website performance
- Ad campaigns
However, it can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never used it before. GA contains a wide variety of reports and data that take time learning how to navigate.
It can also be a challenge to set it up, since it requires a bit of coding knowledge to get started.
To make things easier, GoDaddy’s Website Builder integrates with Google Search Console to track search engine performance for you. It also provides technical SEO suggestions to help improve your website.
Most plans for GoDaddy’s Website Builder also include a simplified window inside the platform for essential organic performance. This makes is so there’s no need to log in anywhere else until you’re ready for more advanced steps. It’s a great launching point for beginners interested in learning more about GA.
Check out Google Analytics’ Analytics Academy playlist for more information.
If you want to have a competitive edge in today’s online marketplace, you need to ensure your business is ranking on search engines. The best way to do that is to improve SEO on your site, so that search bots can crawl it and easily determine what your site is about.
The more SEO-friendly your site is, the higher it’ll rank in search queries.
Users with GoDaddy’s Website Builder have the upper hand since it includes built-in benefits like:
- Standardized mobile optimization
- Automatic XML sitemaps that don’t need to be maintained
- SSL certificate with HTTPS for data encryption
- Access to Google Search Console
You also get the added benefit of 24/7 support in case you need extra help determining your next move. And you can even opt for additional plans (like GoDaddy’s SEO Services) to help boost your online presence even more.
Remember, improving SEO for your site is all about time and dedication. Now’s the time to jump in and capitalize on opportune moments that get your business noticed online.
What is a dedicated IP address and why do you need one?
Whether you’re new to remote work or a seasoned pro looking to up your game, you might be wondering, “What is a dedicated IP address?” or “Do I really need a dedicated IP for remote work?” Both are valid questions — especially now.
Since the shift to remote work, businesses and employees have dealt with increasing security risks and threats. Many telecommuters use VPNs or SSL certificates for a secure remote work experience, but it’s often not enough. Business owners and organizations are also advised to get a dedicated IP address for an added layer of protection.
The question is – is a dedicated IP worth it if you’re working outside of a traditional office space?
Before you decide whether to get a dedicated IP address or not, read on to learn to basics and benefits, including:
What is an IP address?
An internet protocol (IP) address is a unique address assigned to individual computers, servers, domains, or devices over the internet or a local network. Whenever you access a website, your computer communicates to the webserver through the IP address.
IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers, each separated by periods (x.x.x.x), ranging from 0 to 255, which comes out to around 4.2 billion combinations.
The conventional IP address we’re used to is the IPv4 (IP version 4). It was created in the 1980s and used a 32-bit system that didn’t account for how fast the internet would grow. We have long since exhausted those 4.2 billion combinations. Thus, a new internet addressing system called IPv6 was deployed in 1999.
IP addresses and the Domain Name System (DNS)
IP addresses aren’t random. They are produced and assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The ICANN is a non-profit organization that maintains internet security. One of its functions is to maintain the domain name system (DNS). You can think of the DNS as a phonebook that matches domain names to IP addresses.
The DNS was born because IP addresses are composed of a string of numbers – making it difficult for users to remember which numbers belonged to which website. Without the DNS, you would have to type in “188.8.131.52” to get to Google and other IP addresses to get to other websites.
How IP addresses work
Your network, devices and the internet use IP addresses to communicate with each other. Let’s look at how IP addresses work when connecting your device to the internet.
Before your device can access the internet, it must connect to a network. That network would likely be your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if you’re at home, while it would be public Wi-Fi if you’re outside your home network.
Internet activity goes through the ISP, which is shared with your device using an IP address. In this case, the ISP assigns an IP address to your device. That assigned IP address, however, is temporary. When you turn your modem or router off, your device gets disconnected from the network. Or, when you travel, your device uses another network to connect to the internet.
That new network you connect to (hotel, coffee shop, or airport Wi-Fi) shares a different IP address. This is but one of many examples of how devices use IP addresses to communicate with each other.
There are several types of IP addresses, which we’ll explore in the next section.
Different types of IP addresses
There are different types of IP addresses, which are further subdivided into different categories.
Consumer IP addresses and website IP addresses are the main types of IP addresses.
Consumer IP address
Consumer IP addresses are assigned to devices connected to the internet. There are two kinds of consumer IP addresses: private and public IP addresses.
These types describe a network’s location: private IP addresses are used inside a network, while public IP addresses are used outside.
Private IP vs. Public IP
Your network router assigns private IP addresses to your devices to communicate with it internally. In contrast, your ISP assigns public IP addresses. The public IP is the primary address associated with your internet network.
Private IP addresses exist because multiple devices connect to a household’s network. Modern homes have computers, smartphones, tablets and even Bluetooth-enabled devices such as speakers, printers or smart TVs connecting to a router at any given time.
Because your router connects to so many devices, it needs a way to identify each item. Thus, it generates private IP addresses that differentiate each device on the internal network.
While each device connected to the network has its own private IP address to communicate with the router, remember that all devices simultaneously access the internet through the router as well. Thus, they all have the same public IP address.
Public IP addresses are further classified into two kinds – static and dynamic. These types describe a network’s permanency.
Dynamic IP vs. Static IP
A dynamic IP address is an IP address that often changes, while a static IP address does not change. ISPs and web hosting companies automatically assign dynamic IP addresses while they manually create static IP addresses.
Dynamic IP addresses are the most common type of IP address. They are only active for a certain amount of time, after which they expire. Once the computer disconnects from the network, it receives a new IP address or requests a new one.
Advantages of dynamic IP addresses include cost savings and security. ISPs buy multiple IP addresses and assign them to users. Automating the movement of IP addresses means there’s no need to get users their original IP addresses. Once a user is disconnected, ISPs can reassign a new IP address and give new users the old one to use.
Additionally, a changing IP makes it harder for criminals to hack into your network.
Individuals and businesses seldom use static IP addresses. Servers hosting large websites or providing email and FTP services use static IP addresses so other devices can easily find them on the web.
Website IP address
The website IP address is the other type of IP address besides the consumer IP.
If consumer IPs are assigned to devices connected to the internet, website IPs are used for web hosting packages. There are two types of website IPs: shared and dedicated.
We’ll be focusing on these two types, specifically dedicated IP addresses.
Dedicated IP address vs. Shared IP address
You can get a dedicated IP address and shared IP address from hosting providers, but the main difference is the number of users assigned to it.
Dedicated IPs are exclusive to a single account, while a shared IP is assigned to multiple users.
Shared IP addresses are often common to shared hosting accounts. This type of web hosting plan hosts multiple websites on the same server, making it possible for these domains to share an IP address.
But, while shared IP addresses are common in shared hosting plans, it is also possible to have a shared IP address without a shared server. For instance, some Managed WordPress hosting plans share IP addresses but not server resources.
Shared IP addresses are often dynamic IPs, while dedicated IP addresses are static. You have sole use over them once they’re assigned to you.
Important: Don’t confuse a dedicated IP address with a dedicated server; you can get a dedicated IP address without signing up for a dedicated hosting plan.
Benefits of a dedicated IP address
There are several benefits to having a single IP address dedicated to your use. It’s fast and secure, and there’s a smaller chance of your IP getting blacklisted.
Let’s explore each benefit in detail:
1. Secure remote access
A dedicated IP address allows employees to connect to company resources securely. It enables you to control access to specific resources and sensitive company assets. You can do this by allowing specific IP addresses and restricting access to servers and gateways you choose.
2. Reduced risk of IP blacklisting
Another benefit of a dedicated IP address is safety and location privacy. Some people prefer it when they can’t be traced.
While sharing an IP address is generally safe, it risks country-specific blocking of your website. Other websites on your server might perform illegal activities such as sending out spam emails, viruses, or malware that could get your websites blocked by search engines.
When you use a dedicated IP address for remote work or otherwise, there is zero chance of your IP getting blocked — unless you do something malicious intentionally.
3. Faster and safer file transfer
A dedicated IP ensures faster site speeds. You don’t have to contend with web traffic because you’re the only one using the IP address.
A dedicated IP also allows you to build a file transfer protocol (FTP) server to share files within an organization. A private FTP server offers better protection and a faster file transfer rate.
4. Improved email deliverability
You will benefit from a dedicated IP address if you send large volumes of emails; anything above 100,000+ per year is considered a large volume.
The main reason?
An IP’s reputation can impact your email delivery rate.
Email services such as Gmail and Yahoo trust emails from dedicated IPs more than those from shared IP addresses. They often double-check emails from shared IP addresses because spam emails are more likely to come from accounts hosted on those IPs.
5. Direct access to your website
Dedicated IP addresses allow you to access your website directly using the IP address since it’s the only domain mapped to that IP. For example, typing in “184.108.40.206” would lead you directly to Google because that is its dedicated IP address.
While it’s not the main advantage of having a dedicated IP, it is a handy perk when domain servers are down.
Dedicated IP address: A must-have for remote workers
Bottom line: Beef up your cybersecurity efforts with a dedicated IP address. It securely connects you to your remote server and improves site speed. That’s a win-win for remote workers and their employees and clients.
3 Ways Marketers Can Earn — and Keep — Customer Trust
A 2021 survey of 1,000 consumers concluded that more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions, despite the fact that only 34% trust the brands they use. As trust in institutions diminishes, consumers are increasingly skeptical of where they put their money and receive their information. The author recommends three marketing strategies for brands to maintain and foster trust in their brands: 1) Do not overspin, 2) Avoid half-truths, and 3) Read the room and adjust.
It is no big secret that our world has a trust problem. Amid a global pandemic, economic crisis, and political instability set against a backdrop of deep cultural malaise, people no longer know where (or whom) to turn to for dependable information amid widespread disinformation and propaganda.
Similarly, government leaders, briefly seen as the most trusted institutions at the beginning of the pandemic per the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, squandered that goodwill when they could not halt the virus or restore economic stability. And per the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in U.S. CEOs is at 47%, and credibility has basically hit rock bottom in Japan (18%) and France (22%) as consumers wake up to the indignities and absurdities of unfettered capitalism.
Yes, trust is in short supply, yet it remains a vital currency in sustainable customer relationships. A 2021 survey of 1,000 consumers concluded that more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions, despite the fact that only 34% trust the brands they use. Consumers, of course, are not a monolith. And as it so happens, age is a key differentiator in understanding the intricacies of the public’s confidence in and perception of the news media, in particular.
Per a Gallup/Knight Foundation survey, older Americans tend to rely on maybe one or two sources for all their information, and they prioritize brand reputation and political slant when evaluating an outlet’s credibility. Conversely, younger adults (18- to 34-year-olds) are more likely to gather information from numerous sources and place more of a premium on how open that outlet is with its facts, research, and processes.
Younger consumers also view national news outlets with more skepticism, with just 29% saying they trust them compared to 41% of adults over 55. A credible media landscape is always critical, but with the line between marketing and media blurring each day, news organizations’ morale fiber can sometimes be linked to that of a brand.
To summarize, older adults are more brand-conscious, while younger adults are more process-conscious. As marketing experts, we can apply these findings to our brand messaging to develop credibility with our intended audiences as they age and evolve. Here is how.
1. Do not overspin.
Though Edelman found that trust in CEOs hit an all-time low in 2021, the same study revealed that businesses are still considered more trustworthy than governments, NGOs, and the news media. With such power comes great responsibility. CEOs and other business leaders must address today’s most pressing challenges and focus on societal engagement with great fervor. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 53% of respondents believe that business leaders have a duty to fill the information void left by the news media.
This is not the time for corporate platitudes. People are smarter than you think. If you attempt to fool them, they will find out — and the hit to your credibility will outweigh any short-term gains that you made.
Think back to summer 2020, when PR teams across industries jumped to distribute public denouncements of systemic racism. People were quick to call out the performative allyship of companies such as Glossier, whose public anti-racism pledge was at odds with former employees’ recounts of on-the-job discrimination and toxicity. So make sure you back up any announcements with actual steps. For example, Ben & Jerry’s is not one for empty promises, and its statement on racial injustice held a lot more weight because company leaders have a track record of on-the-ground activism.
Keeping your message free of excessive spin goes a long way with the public and protects you from potential PR gaffes down the line.
2. Avoid half-truths.
Pfizer has been in the news a lot this past year — mostly for good reasons. CEO Albert Bourla and his team cleared myriad hurdles to develop an innovative, effective Covid-19 vaccine in record time. But back in 2006, Pfizer was in the news for less-than-glowing reasons after launching a $258 million ad campaign for a cholesterol drug with Robert Jarvik, inventor of the first permanent artificial heart, as the face of it.
The tagline — “Just because I’m a doctor doesn’t mean I don’t worry about my cholesterol” — was catchy, but there was one problem: Jarvik was not licensed to practice medicine and, in fact, had never practiced medicine. The ads drew swift criticism that resulted in a congressional investigation and millions in monetary losses for Pfizer.
In the court of public opinion, omission is akin to lying. If a claim requires omission, then do not use it; and if you do make a mistake, own up to it. In fact, you may find consumers more forgiving if you show any semblance of contrition. Being vulnerable about where you have fallen short in the past suggests honesty, which sits at the foundation of consumer trust, brand affinity, and long-term engagement.
3. Read the room and adjust.
When was the last time you checked the pulse of your customer base? You should be continually evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by asking yourself these key questions:
- What is our customer sentiment? Negative? Positive?
- What are our favorability ratings? Are they rising? Dropping?
- Is our audience engaging with our content?
- And did we follow through on our promises?
By regularly checking whether consumers are picking up what you are putting down, you will find that you can more easily meet and even exceed their ever-evolving preferences. For example, Bryanna Evans, the social media manager at home fragrance brand SECC, told Buffer that her team’s social media-powered strategy focuses on in-feed customer engagement. Not only does the social team respond whenever someone leaves a comment, but it also nurtures consumer interest by regularly posting quizzes, contests, and giveaways. As a result, SECC has built an army of loyalists and grown its monthly revenue from $20,000-$30,000 to more than $100,000.
The fight for consumer trust is ongoing — and it will not be going away anytime soon. But savvy marketers can use authentic brand messaging to engender stronger customer relationships that stand the test of time. Implement these three steps to begin building a reputation as a reliable information source that people depend on.
How to Improve Email Deliverability
If you’re running a business, you need an email list. And you need to send great emails, obviously. But if those great emails aren’t making it to people’s inboxes, then what’s the point?
If you’ve been putting a lot of hard work into your email marketing but not seeing the results you want, then maybe your email deliverability could use some help. I’m going to share the four key factors that will help make sure more of your emails stay out of spam and land in the inbox.
And if you don’t have an email list yet, this will set you up for success right from the start!
The Four Pillars of Email Deliverability
When it comes to email, it’s all about deliverability. You can have the fanciest automations, the best copy, the best upsells, downsells, follow-ups… But if nobody’s getting those emails in their inbox, then it’s all for nothing.
This is where you’re up against the algorithms of the email giants that control more than 50 percent of the world’s inboxes: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. You’ve got to understand what they’re looking for—and play by their rules.
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to stay on the good side of the algorithms. Anyone can avoid the spam folder as long as they follow a few key guidelines.
There are four main pillars of email deliverability, and they form the acronym RACE:
Pat and email deliverability expert Adrian Savage covered these four pillars in depth in SPI episode 498:
In business, as in everything, reputation matters. If you’ve got a lousy reputation, no one’s going to want to listen to you.
When it comes to email marketing, you need to focus on what’s known as your sending reputation.
You see, the big mailbox providers are monitoring the emails you’re sending, and most importantly, how people are reacting to them.
The more they see people marking your emails as spam or ignoring or deleting them, the more they’re going to mark down your sending reputation. And they’re more likely to send your emails right to the spam folder.
That’s the simple version, but it means that everything you do with your email marketing has to be focused on preserving and improving your sending reputation.
How to Improve Your Sending Reputation
So what can you do to improve and maintain your reputation with the big email services?
First, use common sense. If you feel like you’re gaming the system, you probably are—and you’re eventually going to get found out.
A (not so) great example is downloading lists of email addresses from the internet.
The only legitimate way to get ahead now with your email list is to send emails only to people who have specifically asked you to contact them.
If you buy a list and start emailing people who haven’t given you permission, you’re much more likely to get spam complaints, which will hurt your sending reputation.
And what’s the only definition of spam that matters in the eyes of the mailbox providers? Whatever the recipient thinks it is.
There are also businesses out there, like Spamhaus and Cloudmark, that operate email addresses called spam traps. If you send an email to a spam trap address, then you may be added to blocklists that tell the world you’re a low-reputation sender.
If you do decide to buy a list of addresses for some reason, make sure you really trust the person providing the data—it’s much better to control it yourself.
Next, you’ll want to clean your email list regularly. That way, you’ll avoid hitting what’s called a recycled spam trap.
Here’s how that works.
Suppose 10 years ago you had a Hotmail address that you’d stopped using, and Microsoft canceled your account. For the next few months, if anyone tried to email you, they’d receive an error saying the mailbox didn’t exist. But a few months later, Microsoft might reopen that address and repurpose it to catch senders who weren’t looking after the hygiene of their email list.
Send enough emails to spam trap addresses, and you’ll end up on a blocklist.
So, only send emails to people who have said they want to hear from you, and keep your email list clean so you don’t get caught in recycled spam traps.
Authentication is the second crucial piece of improving your email deliverability.
It’s all about telling the world that you’re sending legitimate emails.
You’ve probably received spam from someone spoofing an email address that isn’t theirs. It’s relatively easy to spoof an address you don’t own—what’s not so easy is to authenticate one.
Authentication is what sets you apart from the spammers, and there are two steps you need to take to authenticate your email address.
The good thing is, this is usually a one-time thing you do when you’re setting up your email platform.
The two authentication steps involve a couple of acronyms.
Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
The first one is domain keys identified mail, or DKIM. This is how you get your email platform to digitally sign every email that you send.
You’ll need to look at your platform to determine how exactly to configure DKIM, because they all do it slightly differently. If you’re stuck, then find someone who can help you, because it is probably the most important single thing that will make the difference between hitting the spam folder and hitting the inbox.
Here’s guidance on setting up DKIM with some of the most popular email service providers (ESPs):
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
The second side of authentication is something called sender policy framework, or SPF.
SPF helps identify which mail servers are allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. This communicates which platforms you trust to send emails on your behalf, which can reduce the incidence of email spoofing—people pretending to send mail as you. Like DKIM, it’s a one-time thing, but crucial.
Doing those two things—setting up your SPF and DKIM settings—is going to make a huge difference in deliverability. And don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Here’s guidance on setting up SPF with the popular ESPs:
In the recent past, it was relatively easy to avoid the spam folder by being careful about the content in your emails: don’t use swear words, don’t mention Viagra, and don’t mention “free.”
Today’s spam filters are much more sophisticated, and the big email providers use a ton of artificial intelligence to figure out what’s junk and what’s legit.
In 2005, you might have gotten away with writing “free” as “fr.e–e” in an email, but today that’s a one-way ticket to the spam folder.
Making it to the inbox in 2022 is a lot more about being authentic with your email content. Here, another acronym comes in handy: WILF, which stands for:
Words are important, obviously. And when it comes to email deliverability, it means writing emails the way you’d have a conversation with someone.
Write like yourself. The more your emails sound like they’ve been coming from you, the more authentic it sounds, the more likely those big sophisticated algorithms are going to recognize it as authentic.
In most cases, shorter is also better. Don’t cut it down at the expense of not getting your message across, but don’t waffle unnecessarily. Because, let’s face it, people’s attention spans are getting shorter.
At the same time, don’t stress too much about content either. There are no hard and fast rules here, and you don’t want to follow a rule at the risk of ruining your message.
You can always send a few test emails and see what happens. Just remember, however, that email has evolved, and no two people have exactly the same email experience anymore. The same email might end up in Spongebob’s inbox and Squidward’s spam folder.
But you can still learn some things by looking at the big picture of what you’re sending over time. If you notice that emails written a certain way are getting delivered more often than others, use that as a data point to guide how to craft your email content going forward.
Images and Links
Here’s where things get even more interesting. To include images or not include images in your emails? And what about links? One? None? Many?
First, remember that there are exceptions to every rule. But in general—and testing bears this out—the more images you’ve got in an email, the more likely it’s headed to the junk folder. And the same goes for the number of links.
One of the quickest ways for an email to be viewed as a promotion by Google is if it has a graphical banner at the top, because that makes it look like a promo. So just cut to the chase with your message.
If you need images in the middle of the email to reinforce or illustrate things, that’s a different story. But only include them if they’re going to actually add value, not just for the sake of it. If you can manage three or fewer images in total, perfect.
It’s the same with links: the more you use, the more your email looks like a promotion. One of the biggest mistakes people make is using a bunch of little social media icons in their email signature. Before you know it, you’ve got five additional images with links in your email, you’re in the promotions tab.
When it comes to links, also be careful about linking to websites you don’t control. You can’t always be certain whether the domain you’re linking to has a good domain reputation or not. It’s much better to only link to content that you’re in control of—like the stuff on your own website.
Finally, there’s frequency. The more frequently you send emails to the people who want to receive them, the better you’re going to do. In the good old days, it was sufficient to send an email newsletter out once a month, but these days, mailbox providers are looking for consistency and engagement (which we’ll talk about in a second).
The more frequently you send emails to the people that want to read them, the better it’s going to look for your engagement. If you’re sending out an email three times a week, then you’re a lot more likely to reach more of your audience more quickly than if you’re sending one email a month.
That doesn’t mean you need to send an email every day—if you can, then great, if you’ve got enough to talk about—but the more frequently you can share some really cool value, the more people are going to love you, and more importantly, the more the mailbox providers will love you as well.
While authentication is something you set up once and pretty much forget, engagement is something you need to pay attention to on an ongoing basis.
By engagement we’re talking about, are people reading your emails? Are they opening them? Are they clicking the links? Are they actually reading them properly? Or are they just deleting it without reading?
One of the worst ways to hurt your engagement is when you send something out, it lands in the spam folder, and no one rescues it.
When someone signs up to your email list for the first time, that may be the only chance you’ve got to keep your emails out of their spam folder. So direct them to a thank-you page that instructs them to check the spam folder for your first email and move it to their inbox if need be. If they don’t, they may never see another email from you in their inbox again.
That’s the most important thing.
The other is maximizing the number of people engaging by improving your open rates. Here’s where it’s important to clean your email list regularly, so you’re only sending email to the people who are likely to read it.
It can be scary to clean your email list regularly—because it means deleting people from your list—but it’s absolutely a great thing to do for your email engagement, and for the health of your email list.
Why? It will show Google and Microsoft and Yahoo! that what you’re sending is of greater interest to your subscribers. The higher they see your open rate, the more likely they are to increase your domain reputation. The better your reputation, guess what? The next email you send is more likely to land in the inbox. It’s a virtuous cycle.
More Email Marketing Resources
If you’re just getting started building your email list, the best time to start thinking about and implementing these email deliverability best practices is now.
And if you’ve had a list for a while and things have gotten stagnant, the best time to start is… also now.
If you need more support with your email marketing, you’re in the right place! Here are a few more resources to help you build an audience and create more revenue with a robust email marketing practice:
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