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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 If your website has a virtual “burn out,” or in other words, becomes outdated or not optimally designed, then your customers get lost and head out in the wrong direction.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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

The Top 5 Ways that Your Website Might Be Misleading Them

Customer churn, or customer attrition, are two of the many names given to what happens when you lose specific customers for whatever the reason, who no longer use your services or engage with you.  This is a problem that businesses suffer from often, and no business is exempt — no matter how big or small.  Perhaps even worse than losing a customer who has used your products or services in the past, is losing an individual who was at one time interested in your business but never became a customer at all.

Whether your customers are not returning or are not converting, the “why” is likely the same.  Customers may not understand your business, what you do, how you help them, and why you can be valuable to their operation.  Some of that miscommunication can come from emails, in-person meetings, or a variety of other forms of customer communication.  However, it’s extremely likely that some of it (particularly with individuals who never contacted you in the first place), was from your website that failed you (and them).

Here are some of the ways that your website may be misleading potential (or existing) customers:

  1. Customers believe that you do not offer the services they want

Customers may believe that you don’t offer the services that they’re looking for if they can’t quickly find them on your website.  Not only should you make sure that each and every one of your services is readily apparent, but you should make sure that SEO (search engine optimization) is in place for each of your services.  Yes, SEO really is that important.  You can do this by ensuring that you are using keywords that people looking for those services are searching for.  You should also consider having a separate page for each of your services.

  1. Customers do not believe that you are a one-stop shop for their needs

Customers may not readily see the services you offer, including your other services related to their original needed service. They may assume that it would be easier to go with another company that can meet all of their needs in a one-stop shopping experience.  Make sure that customers know the comprehensive list of services you offer. One option is to have each of your services mentioned (with a checkbox) on the inquiry form.  Another is to add hyperlinks to and from each additional service from the individual service pages suggested above.

  1. Customers believe that you are too expensive (or more likely, too cheap!)

Customers may see your website and believe that you are too expensive based on your color choices, logo choices, and level of elegance on your page. While you want your page to be representative of your brand and the people that run it — you don’t want it to be misleading.  While it’s never okay to be sloppy, for example, or to have typos — it might be a bit overkill to have an extremely expensive website if you’re selling very basic and affordable services.

Or, if your target market is luxe and high-end, you probably want to avoid bright colors like neon yellow or patterns like polka dots.  Click here for a blog about colors and what they can mean for your brand.  You should also keep in mind that customers often equate quality with expensive.  So if you’re trying to decide between pricing levels, you should probably err on the higher side.  It will only help you.

  1. Customers believe that you are not approachable

Is there a contact form on your website?  Is it hard to find or hard to follow?  The length of time that it takes a customer to figure out how to get in touch with you is directly correlational to how approachable they think you are.  And also how receptive they think you’ll be when they need you over the course of your contract with them.  Be sure your website clearly communicates the various ways they can contact you and gives them a welcoming feeling.

  1. Customers believe that you are not the best at what you do

Do not assume that a customer will know that you are good at what you do.  Especially if they’ve never worked with you before.  And while it may seem artificial or uncomfortable to toot your own horn, it’s necessary, especially when marketing to prospective clients.  You should prominently display any awards that you’ve won, certifications that you or your associates have, and testimonials and/or logos of clients that you’ve pleased along the way.  Make sure to have a place or form where customers can review you. And use a regular system to get those up there as well.

You can never have too much information singing the praises of your company.  Also, having a well-maintained blog or newsletter articles that are published frequently on your website lends credibility to your business.  It’s a really important thing to do– and it’s so easy, you just have to do it!

If you feel that any of these potential issues may be at play with your website, you can benefit from a website review. This can help you figure out what the issues are and make sure that your customers know exactly what you can give them – – and take you up on it!

Question: What’s the most valuable part of your website?

If you answered high-quality content, you were right.

While a visually-pleasing website will draw visitors in, it’s the engaging, fascinating content that will keep them there. Content is more than blog posts; it’s a mixture of audio, graphic, video, and written information that represents your brand, informs of your offerings, and communicates with your visitors. High-quality content also increases the chances of prospects finding your website by improving the platform’s discoverability on the Internet’s search engines. Generic articles that don’t deliver value to visitors tend to rank lower on Google. They also run the risk of a high bounce rate with few returning website visitors. Neil Patel explains more about bounce rates and how to analyze them in his excellent article on Neil Patel Digital.

 

The Value of High-Quality Content

What’s deemed as high-quality content is subjective, but most will agree it is impeccably-written and well-researched information that cites sources and uses the most up-to-date facts available. It should perfectly capture your brand’s voice and provide prospects with the information they are looking for. Done well, content will drive a high volume of your target audience to your site.

Content should inform, delight, and persuade prospects to purchase the goods or services your company offers. Without content, you’re missing out on important sales opportunities. Research at intechnic.com shows that 52% of consumers say that blogs have impacted past purchase decisions while 42% of consumers use blogs and articles to help them make decisions about purchases. It’s not just B2C consumers that benefit from content. In fact, 60% of business decision-makers (B2B consumers) believe branded content helps them make better product decisions.

 

Content Planning Framework

To help build your content on your website, it’s good to start by knowing what kind of information your site will need. A useful framework for understanding what content you should be producing is the content marketing sales funnel. This process takes your website visitors on a step-by-step journey that converts them from a prospect to a loyal customer. It makes up part of your overall content strategy which defines how you manage the information on your site. For further reading on marketing planning, Hubspot provides a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about content strategy.

The content marketing sales funnel is made up of four stages:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

This is the ‘ideal’ process; the reality has several more loops, yet it’s still a good model to use to structure your content creation. Potential customers will require different information at each stage of the process. It’s your job to fill your site with valuable content for every step.

At the Awareness stage, the prospect isn’t looking to buy. Instead, they are searching for a solution to a problem or need they have. This is the stage where you make this prospect aware of your company and your industry expertise. You will want to provide blog posts between 500 and 1,500 words which can be your own content or provided by contributors, such as guest posts from other expert sites or from professional writers. You can also provide downloadable white papers, e-books, and webinars which visitors can access after signing up for free. Each blog post should talk about a specific problem and the solutions to that issue without actually mentioning your product or services just yet. To build content for the awareness stage, think about pain points your customers have and design titles centered on those problems. For tips on blogging, you may want to check out our article about the most common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them.

In the Interest stage, the prospect likes your company but isn’t ready to buy yet. You want to continue to inform them by adding educational content that relates directly to your products and how it can help them. The type of content you may want to include is product webinars, demo videos, case studies, and in-depth blog posts about how your product addresses their problems. Now is the time to talk about your products and showcase how perfectly apt they are to help your prospects.

In the Desire stage, the prospect is now ready to buy but is still perhaps undecided from where. This is the moment where you need content that encourages the prospect to contact you. This can include content such as product demonstrations, trial offers, proposals, and tailor-made emails. You could also develop custom-made emails to send those who signed up at the Awareness stage. According to epsilon.com, 80% of those surveyed are more likely to purchase from a company offering personalized experiences, such as emails and other content.

Finally, at the Action stage, the prospect wants to buy your goods and this is the moment where you need to support their decision, both before and after the sale. The content you will include is welcome emails, guidelines, implementation documents, and thank-you notes. This content should be highly personalized and can also take the form of blog posts, such as case studies of customers who use your product or service and can show how it has helped them. Later, you can request a testimonial from them to add to your customer reviews content on your site

Once you’ve decided on the types of content your site needs, the next step is to decide where to get content from, what topics to write about, and how often you should post.

 

Content Creation

While you should typically post on your social media pages daily, you don’t need to post every day on your website. Research from Hubspot says that companies that produce 16 posts or more every month had four times as much traffic as those that post four times or less. This means posting content once every two days is sufficient. That may still seem like a lot, but there are some ways to lessen the time burden.

One great tip is that you don’t always need to produce brand new content. In fact, you can recycle a lot of old content into different styles. For example, a blog post about SEO or keyword analytics can also be turned into a video, an infographic, and a podcast. This will help you reach a wider audience and saves the time of thinking up new ideas. If you don’t have time to produce your own content, then you can ask for guest posts from experts relating to your industry who may be willing to contribute in exchange for a link to their professional pages.

You can also invest in a professional writer who can produce high-quality content, which saves you time to manage the rest of your business. You can either give the writer the titles you want or they can pitch you different topics. To measure the return on investment, use your site’s statistics such as the volume of traffic and conversion rates to see how many sales and how much interest your content is generating. You can hire a writer with experience in SEO, which will help boost your site’s visibility. For more information on SEO, we suggest our guide to the importance of SEO for your website.

If you’re struggling to think of content titles, you can use tools such as the Hubspot blog ideas generator that will produce a list of possible titles based on your keyword input. You can also brainstorm topics that relate to your industry, problems your prospects may have that you can help with, and the advantages of your products as further ideas for content.

Uploading content every two days sounds time-consuming, yet it doesn’t have to be. You can actually mass-load content onto your site and schedule future publishing dates so they automatically self-publish on the day you want. You can do this weeks in advance so you have a steady stream of content programmed to publish over a period of time. You can do the same for your social media with social media scheduling tools, which helps save time and gets more content out there to your audience. Here are some of Sprout Social’s favorites for 2018.

Content is not only vitally important, but it’s also exciting to produce – after all, it’s the true mouthpiece of your brand and your company. At Komaya, we empower businesses with knowledge and support, allowing them to achieve all their online marketing goals. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you.

Okay, first of all, you may be wondering what SEO even is. Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO references the formula that computers use when they’re trying to sort through millions of matches for search terms.

Is SEO Really that Important

Here’s an example:  You just adopted a dog and you’re wondering how to properly train it.  You’re wondering who the best trainers and training schools are in your area and if it’s possible to start the training process at home doing it yourself.  You may ask your friends or family for advice (in person or via social media), but more than likely, you consult a search engine.  Let’s say you type in “dog training tips” and press enter.

You’ll likely get millions of matches, but they’re going to be ranked in a certain order.  In this particular example, if you type in those exact search terms into Google, the top 5 matches are the American Kennel ClubPetFinder.comRover.comCesarsWay.com, and NylaBone.com.  So basically, Google has provided you with information from the nationwide authority on pet breeds and shows, the number one site for finding or locating a pet, a popular dog walking app, the most famous dog trainer, and one of the most popular dog bones by sales volume in the United States.  What doesn’t show is a 16-year old’s blog about her pet Collie, pictures of dogs being trained, or questions from other people asking how to train their dogs.

Search engines know that you want the best information from the most reputable sources and they try to make sure you get what you need as quickly as possible.

Since search engines are not humans, they don’t know who’s really the best — so they must rely on the context clues provided to them.  Search engines will rank sites based on their popularity, the number of hits and clicks they have, the keywords they’re using, the quality of their content, how frequently their content is updated, and those are only a few parameters.

But back to the original question:  How important is SEO?  To which I’ll reply:  Very!  SEO is an integral part of doing business in today’s online world!  If your business has local competition, or you would like more customers, and everyone that you know already knows about your business (meaning you need to acquire customers that are strangers to you) — that means the internet is going to be extremely important to you.  And SEO is extremely important within the realm of the internet.

Experts know what search engines want, and they stay up-to-date with all the latest changes. To find out how your website is performing in terms of SEO, request a free website review from us.  Someone will respond to you as soon as possible with what you could be doing better, and it’s completely commitment free.

For all of your website building and branding questions,
Komaya

If you’re a business owner or manager who wants to succeed, you have probably familiarized yourself on SEO and what it means.  Search Engine Optimization is the art of making your site (or sites) pop up when people use various search terms on their search engine of choice (typically Google).   The higher the ranking, the more people that see you.  It’s the modern-day equivalent of having a business named “AAAA Aardvark Company” in the Yellow Pages, it is desirable as a business owner to have your company listed first in a certain category.

SEO Has Changed. Here are a few of our best tips:

What many people don’t know, however, is how exactly SEO works for them, and the logistics that go into it.  An analogy might be the kitchen faucet in your home — we know that it has an on/off mechanism, there’s a spout, perhaps a sprayer, and the water flows out — but we really couldn’t explain to someone else the exact passage of water or what to do if something breaks.  Similarly, we understand that computers help us and we know how to use user-friendly apps, but very few of us know how to take one apart and fix a faulty motherboard, for example.

What makes all of this even more complicated is that SEO, like all things technology, is constantly changing.  What you may have learned in a class or seminar two years ago may not hold true anymore.   Additionally, because more people know what SEO is (and there are more user-friendly apps available for people to master it), the competition is growing fiercer. At Komaya, we are always here to help you master SEO and make your business as successful as possible, so here are a few of our best tips to make your SEO stand out:

  1. Try a plug-in, like Yoast:
    If you use WordPress, there’s a free plugin called Yoast that basically functions like a “spell-checker”, except that it checks for readability and SEO. You can enter in your article, blog, or web content, and let it know what the target keywords are. Yoast will analyze the piece and provide scores on a few specific categories, as well as what you can do to improve the piece. It’s an SEO game changer.
  2. Use apps that analyze your competitors, suggest keywords for you, and give you an action plan:
    Apps like Keyword Finder (https://KWFinder.com) will analyze keywords and find words for you that you can easily rank for, as well as keywords that your competitors are missing.
    That’s just one example. There are a lot of sites out there that will analyze keywords for you, recommend them on a weekly basis, and even remember which keywords worked well for you at certain times of the year so you can go back to them for repeat business. They will even identify where there is a hole in the market based on the keywords your competitors are using, versus what consumers are actually searching for.
  3. Make your website as optimized as possible:
    For starters, if your website hasn’t been updated since 2012, there is little chance that it will rank over a site that was updated yesterday.  Keeping your content fresh and constantly changing is the number one thing that is necessary for website optimization.  You also need keywords that people would actually type into a search bar. There’s a difference between describing your item and optimizing your item’s description for search engines.
    If you sell hand-knitted sweaters that come in three colors and are made in Maine out of organic materials, your keywords should be “red organic sweater”, or “blue handmade sweater”, or “organic hand-made sweaters” and not “hand-knitted sweater Maine three colors”  because no one is searching for that, they just want a sweater.   You’ll also have a great deal of luck by making several pages with different titles and meta descriptions, as opposed to trying to put as many words as possible on one page.

We haven’t even begun to cover the ways your keywords, titles and meta titles, descriptions, SERP, and the way your page is searched and crawled, but that will be information in a forthcoming blog.

With all of that said, this can definitely be a confusing or overwhelming topic, but at Komaya we are here to help. Contact us today to get a consultation on your brand and what we can do for you.