Your website is your most critical asset to your search marketing—everything revolves around it. The keywords you target should accurately reflect webpage content, link building works to build your site’s trust factor and ultimately drive traffic, social media profiles provide new ways for your brand to interact with your target audience and so forth. Without a great website to hold it all together, the rest of your search marketing efforts will just go to waste. But you’ve got to first make sure your site is worth a strong SEO campaign, and that means keeping in a brandable entity.

1. Don’t launch a site that’s built to rank
Keyword heavy sites and microsites are the lazy marketer’s way out. If you build a site to rank with no consideration for the overall user-experience, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, it’s important that the search engines find and index your site properly, that’s how they determine what kind of search queries it should rank for. But the search engines are not the ones that are going to be doing business with your company, people are! A “built to rank” site is often very spammy, has low-quality content that is stuffed with keywords, lacks a central purpose (other than to rank) and doesn’t do anything to help build your brand!

2. Tie everything together
There has to be a smooth transition from any off-site branding to your actual site, otherwise your visitors feel like they’ve been brought to the wrong place. What kind of personality do you bring out in your social profiles? That same personality needs to show through on your website. What kind of topics does your content marketing focus on? Those topics should also form the basis for your webpage content. There has to be cohesion amongst all the online touch points you develop for your company. You can’t treat your website like an online brochure—it is an extension of your brand and brand identity.

3. Keep your website at the center of your online marketing
I’ve heard the recommendation that companies should do away with their websites and turn their social profiles into the hub of their online marketing and I strongly advise against this. At the end of the day, you are just “renting” space from the social networks. You don’t completely own your profile—Facebook does. You are at their mercy and that leaves you in a vulnerable position. What if Facebook decided you were violating its code of conduct? They could just boot your off their site and you’d be left with nothing! A website can be designed to look, feel and read exactly the way you want. On social networking sites, you have to adapt your brand to fit inside their formula.