So you finally decided to build a website or hire a developer to do it for you. Then you thought about running a Paid Advert campaign on Google, expecting visitors to flood your website and customers to roll through the doors of your business. The only problem is, it is not happening and you are stumped. You have spent a huge amount of money on getting the website built and are spending an x amount every month on Google ads, but you are disappointed with the results.
It has come to the point where you are considering going back to traditional marketing methods, which is by the way, much more expensive than Google AdWords and way less effective. So where did it all go wrong? It went wrong from the onset of your projects.
Many times when we do a website audit, we make use of SEO auditing software which gives you an in-depth analysis of the website covering everything from canonical links, broken links, low word counts, backlinks, missing alt tags, H1 – H6 headers, doctype declarations, duplicate pages and meta descriptions, keywords, click through rate, domain authority, page authority, etc. Most of the websites we have analyzed up to date are doing poorly with not only SEO but also page and content analysis.
The problem starts even before the actual building of the website. Building a website is much like building a house and involves a lot of planning. (Is There A Smarter Way Of Building Websites) The first phase of any web development project is the Strategy Phase during which you have to define your website’s goals by reverse engineering the overall goals of your business. Your website goals should be SMART goals to help you properly measure your website’s impact on the business. SMART stands for Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant and Timely. Next, you will have to do UX or User Experience research to uncover user insights that will guide you through the rest of the strategy stage. The research may be qualitative, quantitative, observational, or a combination of all three.
Your next step would be to create a Jobs To Be Done framework which will help you identify the underlying needs of your audience and what it takes for them to switch to your company’s products and services as a solution. Now you also need to refine your fundamental assumptions. This involves refining and/or creating new user problem statements, unique value proposals, situational triggers, current user customs, switching concerns, and more. Fundamental hypotheses are at the core of the success of your users, business, and website.
The next step is to develop buyer personas using the deep understanding you have gained from your research. You will need to forecast and map the buyer’s journey of what happens before, during and after they interact with your business. By mapping your persona’s journey, you will have a direction for how to knit your website into your persona’s life and solve their problems along the way.
After mapping your buyer’s journey, you will have to develop a website-specific strategy that includes elements such as site architecture, on-site SEO, key sections and pages, integrations, technical requirements, etc. This brings me to another critical aspect of building a website; an aspect which for the most part is either neglected or considered as irrelevant. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the cornerstone of building a high performing site and takes multiple factors into account. Google’s algorithm draws on hundreds of different things – ranging from on-page elements to links to your site, to how visitors interact with your site to determine which searches your site will appear for.
SEO is part of the general area of SEM or Search Engine Marketing which groups all marketing strategies related to the search process. SEM covers both paid and organic search queries and is part of Digital or Online Marketing. Everything involved in you paying for ads to be placed on search engines is grouped under SEA or Search Engine Advertising. SEA measures involve you paying for your website to be listed in the display area of a search engine result page when a specific search query has been entered. Both organic and paid adverts appear at different positions of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Currently, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. (InternetLive Stats) This means that every second your website is not indexed on Google you are missing out on thousands of opportunities in which someone might have accessed your website, viewed your content and bought your products or services. By optimizing your website for search engines, not only can you improve its ranking, and thus be found by potential customers, but you can also create a better user experience. That is the key to SEO: you are optimizing for your visitors, not just for search engines.
Successful SEO does not consist of short-term actions to achieve good rankings rapidly but is rather a constant process in which you are continually changing your website.
It is important to constantly change and better your website because search engines are always upgrading and changing their criteria for good rankings. You should therefore always aim to give users and search engines the best possible result for every relevant search. It is not difficult to get your website indexed by search engines, but it can be challenging to ensure it is listed in association with particular keywords. Search engines look at four things to determine the ranking of a website: rank, authority, relevance and technical issues.
The rank is the position your website occupies in the SERP for particular searches. Your rank is an indicator of how relevant your website is for a search term from a search engine’s perspective and what authority it has.
Search engines determine the authority and credibility of the content of a website, using such factors as the type and quality of inbound links from
other websites. The age of your website also determines it’s authority.
Relevance is one of the most crucial ranking factors. Not only do search engines detect that you are using certain keywords, but they also determine how relevant your content is in relation to a particular search query. Search engines further also examine the actual text on your website pages, their structure the use of keywords in your URLs, the formatting of the page and which keywords appear in the title and body of the text.
To rank highly in SERPs with your website content, you should choose the path of “least resistance.”
Striving for a ranking by using high-traffic keywords and terms might seem logical, but it will only lead to frustration and wasted resources. However, choosing the right keywords is not always easy. If you sell bouquets of flowers, you would like your website to rank for the term “florist.” If you optimize several pages of your website for a particular bouquet of flowers, you will have greater success ranking for the niche word. A good example would be “bouquet of king proteas and white roses” (a long tail keyword).
People searching for the long tail keyword will be fewer than those searching for “florist”. You can be sure though that those will get to a later stage in your sales funnel and are more willing to buy your product or service than those searching for “florist”. Long tail keywords are therefore far more effective, for they are aimed at people who want to do something or are looking for specific information, such as product or a service that can solve their problem. If you optimize for long tail keywords you will reap the benefits. You will find it easy to achieve good rankings in search engines, get
qualified traffic, and convert that traffic into leads and customers.
Everyone is familiar with the adage “content is king.” Without exceptionally rich content you will find it quite difficult to achieve good rankings with specific keywords. You will also not get much traffic directed to your website. If your content fails to provide users with any value, it will not help to acquire leads and/or customers. You must, therefore, create content that can fully satisfy the website user’s needs. Your content must be relevant to potential searches.
Think of likely questions about your offerings and try, with your content, to answer those questions as fully as is required and as succinctly as possible. Create unique content which appears nowhere else online. In this way, you can improve the likelihood that your website will achieve better
If you create multiple web pages about the same subject, you are wasting your time. You should instead focus on one web page. When creating content, there are various ways in which you can expand your online presence and improve your ranking chances without repeating yourself in the process:
Homepage: Use your website to convey your value proposition and your general marketing messages (known as “high-level messages”). Your homepage is the one page which should be optimized for generic keywords.
Product/services pages: If you are selling products and/or services, create a separate page for each service or product.
Knowledgebase: Give your users access to a page that offers them added value and provides further information about your subjects.
Blog: Blogging is a great way to stay up to date while easily creating new, related content. Blogging frequently (ideally twice a week at a minimum) can have vital implications for search engine optimization since each new blog entry represents a new web page.