Are you designing your website with SEO in mind?
If you are a business owner that has a strong desire to grow your business, then odds are you know what SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is and how it can help you generate more revenue. But, is your website built for SEO? SEO helps make your business visible when potential customers use certain keywords and terms in various search engines. If used effectively, then your company name is going to be among the first that pops up when customers do a search for a product or service your company provides.
There is no doubt that SEO is an important tool to guide people to your virtual doorstep. However, are you sure you are giving them all the necessary “directions” so that they can find the correct address? You can’t just plug in some words and pray. In an article for NBCNews, SEO consultant Chloe Spencer lays it out, “you can’t simply create a website, whip up some content, and then sit back expecting to get ranked in the search engines.” Your website is your beacon to lead people to your business. Think of it like your lighthouse, guiding ships in and leading them in the right direction. If the light in a lighthouse burns out, then ships get lost, crash, or well, you get the picture. This concept also applies to your website. If your website has a virtual “burn out,” or in other words, becomes outdated or not optimally designed, then your customers get lost and head out in the wrong direction.
It is no surprise in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world that web marketing is a big factor in a company’s exposure to the masses. However, you need to make sure your web content is matching this pace. You should always be updating and analyzing your website to make sure it is doing everything it can to work for YOU. The main thing is to make sure your website is designed in a way that will work with SEO to bring the right people to your front door. The words you use need to be optimized to work with today’s search engines.
Not sure what people are plugging into those search engines? Then you need to do your research. There are numerous apps and sites available to help you analyze keywords, identify what words people are using when they search for certain things online, and track your success, or lack thereof, with keywords you have used in the past. For example, the free keyword tools found at WordStream can help you track how your landing pages compare to the competition and give you perspective on how the content of your website is working at leading people to you.
Everything, and I do mean everything, about your website should be designed with SEO in mind. Not just the content and the title, but your URL and even the way your site is structured, will have an effect on how your website lands in the search list. You mustn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to the layout and material within your site.
Knowledge is power. When you arm yourself with the “know how” of how to create a successful SEO fueled website you take a crucial step in making your business more visible. When the visibility of your business increases, it stands to reason that your customer base will increase along with it. So what should you do?
Here are a few do’s and don’ts of SEO best practices to get you moving in the right direction:
- What’s in a Name? — Everything! Choose your domain name very carefully and make sure it includes the main keyword you want to rank, is easy to remember and is relevant to your business. If the name you are hoping for is not available, keep these factors in mind when choosing your plan B. Don’t use a domain name that is confusing, has nothing to do with your business or is nondescript. This will not do you any favors when it comes to people locating your business or remembering your business.
- Do Your Research. — As I mentioned before, knowing is half the battle. Make sure you have a clear idea of what keywords work, which are dead and which ones are leading people to your competitors. Take this data and use it to effectively incorporate the right keywords throughout your site, and across multiple pages. Don’t work against yourself. Make sure you have a unique target word for each individual page.
- Have a Plan. — Map out your site. Think of your website as a pyramid – your homepage on the top and everything flowing down, starting with your most important pages. You want to make sure that your site is laid out in a way that leads visitors easily to your main pages and makes it easy to navigate between them once they are on your site. Don’t go willy nilly with your website and end up with visitors that become frustrated because they cannot find what they are looking for. When a customer wants a simple answer they also want a simple way to find it.
- Understand Your URL. Don’t neglect your URL. Understand how important it is for your URL to reflect your website and lead people to you. The structure of your URL is essential. The web hosting service, HostGator, explains that “The URL is one of the most important parts of the page Google looks at to determine what a page is about.” Make sure your URL references what is on a specific page. Don’t cram a bunch of keywords into your URL, run words together (instead use hyphens to separate) or have disconnects between your URL and what is on the webpage.
- A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words. Well, it’s only worth what you put into it. Make sure the images you use on your website are also optimized for SEO. Design the name of your image to include your target keyword and make sure the alt text includes your keywords as well. Again it’s about making sure everything on your website is designed with SEO in mind – so this includes all of your images. Don’t throw pictures onto your site just to fill space or be “eye-catching.” They have to work, too. So don’t miss an opportunity to use your images as optimizers for your site.
Just like everything in the world of technology and business, SEO has many different factors and is always changing. It is important as a business owner to stay abreast of these changes and make edits when necessary. I hope you will continue to familiarize yourself with the important ways in which SEO can work for you and your business, and how the right web design can make all the difference. If you aren’t sure if your website is effective or not — we can offer you a free website review to identify key changes that you might want to make.
Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to effectively market your business and build your web presence.