When it comes to business, we all need to think of strategies to get more business through the front door. Considering some companies have a bricks and mortars front door, some have only a website as a front door and some have both. Clearly, if you have a website, it’s important to figure out how to get more traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most prominent ways known.
Not that SEO is the only way. There’s also pay per click (PPC) to increase your site’s visibility as well. But, the math may not always work out for PPC. For instance, if you sell a product that is less than $100, a $500/month budget means you have to sell at least 5 “things” to break even- not that breaking even is a good goal to shoot for. Considering that it can take about 5 ad clicks (people clicking on your ad) before one person calls you, then you need a fair amount of impressions and clicks to get the sales you need. If you have an average client sale of, say, $2000, then a monthly budget of $2000 means you only need 2 sales a month to make money with PPC. The odds of getting that with a strong ad campaign are really good.
But, with SEO, the numbers aren’t that simple and clearly outlined. It can take weeks to month to get on page one- which is clearly one of the goals or key performance indicators (KPI). Many SEO experts joke about hiding Jimmy Hoffa’s body on page two of Google’s search results. There’s a lot involved in getting your website to page one. There’s what you can do to the site itself (on-page optimization) and the stuff you do to get the site noticed externally (off-page optimization)
Keep in mind, the list of on page optimization stuff is not inclusive (but it’s pretty good). If you knocked out everything on the list, it doesn’t guarantee page one ranking because A) there are no guarantees in SEO and B) a lot depends upon your search engine competition (i.e. what comes up when you type in your primary keywords). It isn’t all about your actual industry competition. Sometimes, your biggest competitor isn’t even on page one.
But, speaking of keywords, it’s important to think like your target market and consider what the searching masses might type in the search box to find what you do. There are some tools you can play with to discover traffic patterns for specific keywords. If you go through the motions to set up a PPC account with Google, you’ll have access to the Google keyword planner. Keyword Eye also has a pretty user friendly tool and Google Trends has a nice tool to find out the regional interests of certain keywords or phrases.
Once you have determined the keyword strategy, here’s what you need to do on each page for SEO:
- Use a keyword in your page titles, but write them for conversion rather than SEO
- Use a keyword in your meta descriptions but write those to get the clicks as well
- Whether you’re writing a blog post or landing page, use keywords in:
- Early on in the content
- Last sentence of the content
- Use variations throughout the text, but use them naturally
- Use keywords to label each image on the pages (called alt tags)
- Link related pages together on your website
- Link to authoritative sites occasionally
- Have a blog post on your site & add posts at least weekly
- Always have at least one image on each page with alt tags
- Check the size of your images and watch your page load speeds
For off page optimization, there are really two primary strategies- increasing social signal and getting backlinks. With backlinks, it’s definitely quality over quantity. There is no magic number, but it’s a pretty good idea to try to get industry specific sites to link back to you. There are a variety of strategies you can use to get that to happen, but avoid reciprocal links (where they link to you if you link to them). These types of backlinks can actually hurt you these days. Another type of backlink which can be useful involves directory listings. This is where you list your site in directory sites like yelp, merchant circle, hotfrog, etc. These links just sit there and point back to you.
Social signal is all about how often your business gets mentioned on social media sites or social bookmarking sites. Google is able to see these mentions and while they say they don’t use them as a ranking factor presently, it is a sign of credibility for your site.
Doing most or all of these basic SEO tasks will help get your site moving in the right direction. Every business owner needs to consider whether or not it’s worth their time to try SEO on their own or leave it to the professionals. We’ll be happy to help.
For the past 10 years, Make It Loud has been working with small to mid-sized business owners to establish and maintain a professional web presence. We help design great websites, social media marketing campaigns, SEO and more. Call us today or visit our retail storefront for a free consultation today.