Every website showcases content (text, photos, videos, etc.) and the content should naturally include keywords explaining the nature of the website. After a website is created a sitemap is submitted to the search engines to scan the websites in search of these keywords so that they can start ranking the website. When someone types in the keyword to search, the website ideally should pull up in the ranking to be clicked on and viewed.
Goal of SEO
The goal of successful SEO is to have your website become a trusted authority for your set of main keywords and rank on page one to get found.
Having original website content is crucial to a website ranking well in the search engines. Make sure your text embodies the vision for your brand while connecting to the need of your target audience for optimal user experience.
The Basic Website SEO Musts
Let’s lay the groundwork first and make sure that your current site has the SEO basics covered…
- Is responsive, meaning that the website adapts to the device screen it is being viewed on, for the best user experience. Not requiring to pinch or zoom on mobile or tablet.
- Unique page title tags that naturally showcase your keyword/keyword phrases.
- Image alt and title text in a title format that are applicable to the image and include your keywords appropriately.
- Heading titles are used (example: H1, H2, etc.) are used to break up the section and content setting up the topic/service/product for optimal user experience. This also helps the search engines understand what important keywords on the site should be ranked.
- The website navigation is easy to understand and allows for easy accessibility to all website pages.
- Make sure all images are optimized for the web for quick load speed.
- The nature of the website must be concentrated and not diluted with multiple topics or industries that are directly not related. Google needs to know what you specialize in to rank your website. If you offer too many different kinds of products or services you will have multiple keywords confusing the search engines as to how to rank your site, diluting your SEO efforts. For example: you want to go to a doctor that specialized in one area, not one that specialized in multiple completely different areas, it loses credibility as an authority.
Is your website not ranking well?
Every industry is different, some more competitive than others. SEO results vary depending on your competitor’s efforts but if you already have the basics covered and you have allowed an average of 3-6 months for the site to rank with no success you may want to consider beefing up your website. Make sure you are leading with a marketing message that is true to your brand but is highlighting the ideal end result or emotional benefit for your target audience. This will create a better user experience, captivating the audience and then guiding them with a proper call to action to naviate the website.
The below suggestions are not only helpful for the site visitor but will also help your SEO since the content will be organically infused with keywords.
- Update your social media accounts consistently so Google knows you are alive and kicking. Your social media profiles are linked to your website creating a web on the web. Google is watching to see if you should be ranked as the authority for your keywords so updating regularly helps plant these seeds.
- Add a separate Testimonials, FAQ and/or How it Works page to guide the site visitor to better understand the nature of what you do and build confidence that you can do it well for them.
- Create separate pages for services or products that are showcased on one page currently. Each individual page will focus specifically on a set of keywords that will help your SEO.
- Reassess the layout and priority of the homepage content somewhat regularly to optimize the user experience. This can apply for seasonal specials or as the world and needs of your customers change. Stay relevant and rank higher.
Final take away…
Consistently keep your website and all profiles fresh with original content while always keeping your target audience in mind to rank better organically in the search engines.
A website homepage is usually the first page a site viewer will see when they visit your website so you want to make a good impression. Having a direct message to grab and hold the viewers attention is crucial. Here are 3 important questions to ask when designing or redesigning your homepage.
Is your business branding clear?
Your logo, site colors, images and overall style all add up to your business brand, so make sure it is consistent and matches what your demographic will be attracted to.
Is your navigation easy to find and navigate?
Make sure the placement of your navigation is easy to locate and not overly customized or broken out into multiple menus in different places. Make sure you do not have too many pages listed to overwhelm the viewer. Also, keep the names of your pages general enough but include keywords so viewers understand what content topic will be on that page.
Do you have a call to action in the top section of your homepage?
A call to action that shows up on your website homepage and is visible without having to scroll down is crucial. Determine what your goal is for the site (i.e. obtain inquiry lead, collect email address or sell a product) and then use a form or button to have a clear call to action that requests the site viewer to click or complete the form. Don’t be shy, it’s ok, everyone is doing it, don’t miss out on using your website as the best marketing tool it can be.
Is your website content speaking directly to your demographic?
Tailor your website content to appeal to the needs of the target audience, painting a picture of the outcome they can expect from your company or product. Connect emotionally with the needs of your audience rather then just selling or pitching to them.
– Keep your look consistent
– Make the site easy to navigation
– Include a clear call to action
– Relate to your audience don’t just sell to them
Your site design and content should guide each visitor through your website. Your content and call to action are important so the visitor connects with the site to achieve the site goals (i.e. make a sale, call for a quote or possibly fill out a contact form with lead details).
Less Can Be More
Yes, you want to showcase all that your business does or has on your website. You want to have content that is rich with keywords so that your site ranks properly in the search engines, but less can be more when it comes to content.
Keeping your site visitor’s experience in mind and including content that is most applicable and appealing to visitors will keep them on your site longer which can better allow for a sale or lead. Group content and categories together and include information that your site visitors need to know or will be looking for, but do not inundate them with details that are unnecessary.
Appeal To Your Audience
If you are redesigning your site or taking a major overhaul on the content then go back to the drawing board and plan out and rethink your pages and content. Streamline your navigation and drop-down menus so that the site is easy to navigate. Pay extra attention to planning out the homepage text, photos, call to action and sections to ensure that you are addressing the different types of site visitors:
The Spontaneous Visitor: They get to your website from a referral or by search and want to call, email or inquire about your services or products.
Suggestion: Have a phone number, contact form and/or email address easily accessible on the page(s) so this type of visitor doesn’t have to hunt for this information. You only have a small window of time to hold a visitors attention and if they do not find what they want from a site they will click out.
The Researching Visitor: They are looking for a product or service and want to easily navigate the site to learn more, get pricing or find out which company is the best for their needs. These visitors usually want to learn more about the company, years of experience and/or reason for why the company was started and return or warranty policies.
Suggestion: Have not only a shop now, buy now or contact now button on the homepage, but also have a learn more button. The visitor that is doing their research may be drawn to learn more about the product or service since they may not be ready to purchase or provide their lead details. Make sure to have an option on the learn more page to buy, shop or contact now just in case the visitor decides they are ready to proceed after learning more.
The Review/Testimonial Seeking Visitor: They are looking to research other peoples experience with the company, products or services.
Suggestion: Linking to or adding a feed for a trade industry or reputable online community site for reviews can be helpful. Video testimonials are very popular and can be uploaded to YouTube and then embedded into the website for easy viewing. Add a link in your website navigation for testimonials so that a site visitor can easily access the page. You can also add an excerpt of a testimonial on the homepage or interior website page sidebar.
It does not matter who your customer is or what type of design you are creating, quality images are a must. If you have not outsourced your photography needs to a professional photographer there are a couple of options that can work for you.
Below are some tips that will make you look good…
All Google Images Are Not Free Images
The images that show up in Google Images are pulled from all different websites, referencing your search phrase, and these images are owned by the websites that posted them. You would need to make sure that the images are public domain images since these images can be used by anyone. You can do an advanced search on Google and filter the search by usage rights. Even still, Google advises that the image license can not be guaranteed. I would suggest steering away from using Google images for business photos. Even if an image is free to use, who knows how many other businesses are using the same image. Stand out from the rest!
Purchase Quality Stock Images
Keep your business brand and customer in mind when selecting stock photos so that the images you purchase have the most impact on your target audience. When purchasing stock images you will have size options to choose from. The larger the photo the higher the cost. If you are purchasing images for print (flyers, brochures, business cards, etc.) you will want to go with at least 300 dpi. There may be multiple options that are 300 dpi so check with your designer before purchasing the image to make sure it is large enough. If you are purchasing an image that will be used on the web, you will want to purchase a small image, 72 dpi. Again the size will need to be selected to fit the design, which your designer will be able to help you with. Keep in mind if you are purchasing images that will be used for both web and print, you can purchase just the higher resolution images since they can be reduced in size for the web. Below are some stock photo websites…
If you are feeling brave or on a budget, you can try taking photos on your own. There are some things you should keep in mind:
- If you are photographing a professional headshot make sure the subject is wearing the appropriate clothes and accessories. Make sure to use soft lighting and angle one of the subject’s shoulder away from the camera slightly.
- Shoot photos with ample light. Make sure the light is directly over or on the sides of the subject(s), never behind.
- Do not use the flash on the camera if the subject is a person or if the object may reflect the light.
- Do shoot in a clutter-free space with a solid colored background (white or black, contrasting with the content of your subject).
- If you are shooting a product you can purchase a photo lightbox kit or if you are crafty you could make one yourself. This option will show off your products with an optimal background and professional lighting.
- Consistency is key so if you shoot a series of photos for a gallery or to show in a brochure, try to keep them either landscape or portrait in orientation.
- Once you are done shooting your images you will want to edit them. You can use any photo editing software to crop and/or resize your images.
Wikipedia says color is a very influential source of information when people are making a purchasing decision. Customers generally make an initial judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interaction with that product and about 62%-90% of that judgment is based on color. People often see the logo of a brand or company as a representation of that company. Without prior experience to a logo, we begin to associate a brand with certain characteristics based on the primary logo color.
Wikipedia says brand management is a communication function that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target audience the brand is aimed at and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand.
We all know that keeping your website updated and relevant not only helps with your search engine rankings, but also keeps your current clients/visitors close and coming back for more. Here are 3 things to keep fresh and up to date on your website:
- Make sure the information on your website is correct. When is the last time you really reviewed your website content? If you have an event calendar, pricing or any time sensitive content make sure it is up to date. Scheduling consistent website updates on your marketing calendar will keep your site fresh.
- Add to or change up banner and gallery images. Keep current with trends or seasons by updating your website images that connect with your demographic and let them know you are not only still in business but on the ball with fulfilling their needs.
- If you have a blog make sure to regularly post to grow your following and establish or maintain validity for your industry or platform.
Tip: Use social media and email marketing to share when you make significant website updates. Stay fresh in your clients/visitors mind so that they will want to stay connected.