Contrary to Popular Belief, SEO Isn’t Magic
As a business owner, you hear often that you must optimize your website for searches. You seek out information, learn what you can about SEO, and still aren’t sure what it all means. To help you break it down so you don’t need to panic, we’ve got some answers to guide you in the right direction.
What is the purpose of your website?
Believe it or not, many people don’t have an immediate answer to this question. Is it to get people to pick up the phone and call you? Is it designed for a client to order your product or service online? Or is it simply designed to inform people. Over 82% of Internet users research a product or service online before making a purchase. If you don’t know the purpose of your website, your clients won’t either.
Take away: Decide what the purpose of your website is and build on it from there.
Create your website for people
If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re an Internet user. (Just a magical guess.) Now that we’ve established that you’re probably an Internet user, for my next trick I’m going to guess that you are also a person. (“Amazing, how does he do it?”) Now that it’s settled that you’re an Internet user and a person, ask yourself, what made you choose to read this article? There are hundreds of thousands of others out there. Is the layout easy to follow? Is the text readable? Is this page clutter free without too many ads or distractions? Creating your website for people can be as easy as deciding what you do and you don’t like about other websites. Overloading your website with too much text, too many choices, and too much clutter will often cause someone to look elsewhere.
Take away: Create webpages that are easy to read, easy to navigate, and have a clear purpose.
What’s your most important webpage?
If you could print out all of your webpages and lay them down side by side, how would you order them from most important to least important (or highest value to lowest value)? You might be surprised that often people’s highest-valued page (the page that converts to actual sales) is the least-optimized page on their website. Why or how could this happen? People focus too much time and energy into driving traffic to the sales page that they forget to make it the best page on their website.
Take away: Make a list of your most valuable to least valuable webpages and begin optimizing from there.
What are your clients searching for?
Keyword research is a critical part of the optimization equation. Knowing the many different keyword phrases, monthly search volume and ranking difficulty can easily give you a leg up on your competition. If you have no clue where to start, look at your competition. How are they getting found? What keywords do they see as important? There are many different free SEO tools you can use to determine what your competition sees as important. One of the easiest is the Google AdWords keyword tool. Here you can search any number of phrases and keywords to see the monthly search volume. If you’re trying to optimize for keywords that nobody is searching for, then nobody will hear that tree fall in the forest. Another good place to start when searching for the right keywords is to answer your customer’s questions. Put yourself in their shoes and see what you would ask yourself. After you’ve found the right keywords, design each page around that one long tail keyword, question, or phrase. Trying to optimize a webpage for multiple keywords is often times confusing for search engines. It’s better to be on page 1 for one keyword than on page 10 for five keywords.
Take away: Research the heck out of your keywords before you start optimizing.
If you’re still not sure how to go about optimizing your website, there’s no shame in asking for help. Companies exist solely to help small business owners discover solutions. If you’ve invested in a website, you should go the extra mile and get assistance for optimization. Otherwise, your investment is for nothing.
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