Search engine optimisation: Never an afterthought

For many website builds SEO or Search Engine Optimisation can be an afterthought.

A lot of time and money can be spent on defining the needs of your website and its users, providing wireframes and site maps to see how the content and pages will flow, building prototypes, designing and development. But where is the consideration for your website’s visibility? Being seen by your potential customers. The old adage of ‘If they build it they will come’ no longer applies. Even if your website looks like a Ferrari of digital media if your user’s cannot find it your money and effort will be wasted. My advice to you therefore is consider SEO from the start and maximise your chance of getting prominently seen on Google.

With Search Engine Optimisation we focus primarily on three areas. These are website structure, content and authority. Let’s look at these now.

  1. Website Structure
    This is something your website designer can help you with. This will involve building your website to open standards. Optimising images and scripts. Using meaningful urls like http://www.mywebsite.com/website-tips/tips-for-better-search-engine-optimisation and not http://www.mywebsite.com/website-tips/?p=123321. Make sure your website works equally well on mobile as it does on desktop. Try also not to use too much Flash which cannot be indexed by search engines. Use HTML 5 and javascript to provide the interactivity that Flash provided before.
  2. Content Make sure you write relevant content on your website. Relevant content will be rewarded by a better page rank. Concentrate on writing content for your website audience rather than writing content that you think search engines are looking for. If you write content try and do so in bite-sized-chunks. Anything too verbose will bore your audience leading to them taking their business elsewhere. Remember to respect peoples’ time. Pictures and video get the thumbs up so include as much of this as is needed. You only need to look at the success of YouTube and Instagram to see where I’m coming from. Show your user’s that you are an expert in your field. Write a blog and update it as much as possible. If you run a beauty business provide information on the health benefits of your products, so your readers that you are an expert in your field, answer health questions and gain people’s trust. Your site’s SEO will be improved leading to returning customers and conversions. A win-win situation for everyone!

    Also be mindful that when writing your page content match keywords and add them to your page title, headings and paragraphs (Make sure you do not add keywords for keyword sake known as Keyword stuffing) Try Google AdWord’s keyword planner to help you out with this.

  3. Authority Try and get as many links and referrals from other websites. This will give your website authority and it will be rewarded by search engines. If you can get a link from a website which is ranked highly on search engines you will benefit from this too. Use social media to promote your business and write articles for your followers to read. This will cause online interest in your business and will be shared accordingly. Twitter is another excellent tool to promote your business by keeping in constant contact with your customers. This will require a continued effort though and time investment so you might decide to employ someone to run this side of your business. College leavers and recent graduates who are looking to gain experience in a particular field can be invaluable and cost effective.

How you measure the success of your SEO strategy is up to you. What is your goal for this? Are you trying to build a larger user base, drive sales or build awareness of your brand. Measuring sales can be easier than measuring brand awareness because you have a tangible figure to work with. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for comparing traffic levels today and in the future. LinkedIn Analytics will show you how many people are viewing your site and from where. The higher the engagement with your brand and sales will indicate that your SEO efforts are bearing fruit. But don’t stop there SEO requires a constant time and money investment and if you don’t see immediate results don’t be disheartened. Results like many things are tied to effort but will be rewarded in the long term as you see your business and revenue grow.

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