Your Website Is Your Queen. Here Are Four Ways Put It to Work and Attack the Market.
Like many Americans (about 63 million) with too much time at home these days, I binged the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” earlier this year. I have delved into chess off and on over the years, including regularly edging out my then 8-year-old. However, the show reignited my passion for the game and reminded me how engaging and rewarding it could be.
This led to the purchase of new boards, re-watching “Searching for Bobby Fisher” for the fourth time, and watching “Magnus,” the documentary movie on the life of Magnus Carlsen, the current World Champion and one of the best chess players of all time. I highly recommend the latter. It also led to regularly losing to my now-11-year-old and leaving me with mixed feelings of pride and embarrassment.
So rather than pile up humiliating losses to my children, I decided to apply what I’ve learned from chess to my preferred game of strategy: digital marketing.
Your Website is Queen
While the “Queen’s Gambit” series title represents different layers of the show, it also denotes the playing style of lead character Beth Harmon. The queen’s gambit is an aggressive opening move that immediately puts the opponent on the defensive and allows the lead player to dictate the game’s pace and flow.
In marketing strategy, the website can play the role of the queen by driving action in a dynamic and aggressive manner. Unfortunately, many marketers are too passive with their web presence and utilize it as an informational warehouse or as an endpoint for audience members first engaged through social media, email campaigns, or digital advertising.
Instead, I like to view the website as the dynamic queen of the digital landscape. It can work in harmony with the attacking rook (email) or the targeted bishop (digital advertising) or the unpredictable and quirky knight (social media) to drive the action on the board and strategically capture key market segments.
However, a strategic website is powerful enough to drive action and use pawns to push the board (a.k.a. market) into an advantageous configuration that will ultimately end in victory. We will explore a few of the areas where you can use your site to attack the market and drive desired action.
SEO & Organic Traffic
I know that saying is often that “your website is king,” but let’s be honest and admit that the king on a chessboard is a pretty uninteresting and boring piece. The queen is the piece that represents power and diverse skills.
Nothing demonstrates the power of your website more than organic traffic. Much like your queen moving across the chessboard to pin the opposing king, organic traffic is your website moving strategically across the web to connect with your targeted audiences.
To ignite this power within your website, you need to adopt search engine optimization (SEO) into your philosophical approach. This approach means incorporating SEO into everything on your site, including video, blogs, news, landing pages, service pages, images, etc. There is nothing that goes on to your website that should not be assessed through the prism of SEO and maximized for searchability by your audience.
In developing these content types, it is important to keep SEO in mind, which means that you have done your keyword research and are integrating those keywords seamlessly into the content. The research includes identifying:
Quick win opportunities
While this may feel forced to some content developers, it does not have to be. It is important to remember these are the terms resonating with your audience and allowing them to engage with the content and your organization.
In addition to the keyword research, you should also consider technical SEO, which involves optimizations that make your site more efficient to crawl and index so Google and Bing can deliver the right content from your site to searchers. This tactic is more about how the site is built and what is going on behind the scenes.
For more information about keyword research and technical SEO, I recommend watching our webinar, “Content Strategy & Your SEO Roadmap” to hear some excellent tips from our SEO expert Tim Prestianni.
Engaging Use of Video
The queen stands above the other pieces on the chessboard and actually has an emotional and psychological impact. In this way, the queen is a bit like the use of video on your website.
Even before the pandemic, the consumption of web video was on the rise. Now, people spend countless hours on their laptops and phones consuming video. These behavioral changes are reflected in their expectations and preferences when visiting a website, even for the most business-oriented or academic visitor.
Additionally, website content management systems (CMS) have evolved and developed excellent methods to integrate video seamlessly into the visitor experience.
Moreover, video is just a fantastic way to engage with your audience. As much as you may love the written word, video allows you to take your storytelling to a new level and keep the audience engaged. Even your most boring topics can be presented in an entertaining way to draw the audience in and truly convey your organization’s brand.
Lastly, video also supports the first point: Search Engine Optimization. The fact is that Google – which coincidentally owns YouTube – loves video. When Google is assessing the quality of your content, it doesn’t just look at text. It is scanning all types of media to determine if you are providing informative and valuable content. Additionally, video can keep visitors on your site longer, and visitors are more likely to share or link to a video. The result is a clear gain in your SEO.
The trait that makes the queen the most powerful piece on the board is its ability to go anywhere. Your website must also have this ability.
In the past, there has been a push to make websites mobile-friendly. However, that is an antiquated way of thinking. Per Broadband Search, the majority of global website traffic has been by users on mobile devices for the last three years. In 2019, more than 53 percent of all website visits occurred on a mobile device, which is a 222-percent increase over 2013 when only 16 percent of web traffic was mobile devices.
So rather than mobile-friendly, the mindset of your website needs to shift and focus on having a website that can effectively engage the visitor regardless of the device they are on.
Unlike a “mobile site,” a responsively designed website reacts to the width of the browser window and adjusts the display of content on your site to fit those dimensions. Additionally, certain elements can be hidden to optimize the view on smaller screen sizes and allow the user to engage more directly with key content and engaging calls-to-action.
Like with video, Google and other search engines are fond of responsive design and will reward those designs in their search algorithms.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Once you have created a dynamic and engaging website with responsive design and great SEO, you still want your visitors to take one more step. A website must educate and entertain, but it also must lead visitors to take action.
Like the queen on a chessboard, your site must drive action and take your visitor on a path that serves them and meets your goals. Whether it is scheduling a meeting, registering for a webinar, asking for information, or completing a sale, the site must regularly drive your preferred outcome.
Referred to a conversion rate optimization (CRO), this is like chess's endgame and where all the previous moves should come together. It is also where missteps can undo all your previous work. Also, like chess, it is often the most difficult part of the match.
This is where I would like to share some magic remedies to ensure CRO for your website. However, proper CRO is a mixture of data analysis and testing of interactions across your website. Like Beth Harmon scouring chess guides from generations before, you will need to explore various online resources and produce a strategy for your site. HubSpot, Moz, and Acquia are among many excellent resources available online.
The Mindset of the Queen’s Gambit
Beyond all the strategies and tactics, Beth Harmon separated herself on the chessboard with a mindset. In a couple of instances, her aggressiveness resulted in a setback. However, the changes she made were not to become more passive but use her aggressiveness more strategically to ensure it was driving favorable reactions and results. It is the same mindset that can be used to get the most out of your website and drive the digital results you are looking for.