The website is up, so what now?
The work’s not done after your website has launched. That however is where many businesses stop with their online or website strategy and it’s usually the reason that, despite that stunning design, the website is not performing. Having a website without effective SEO is a little like arranging a party and forgetting to invite the guests. “Guests” or your website visitors in this case, must to be invited. How else would they know about your website? It’s unlikely that they’ll flock to you in great numbers (or at all) if no one tells them where to go.
In “Website speak” we call that SEM, (search engine marketing) or SEO (search engine optimization) and it’s a bit of an art.
But shouldn’t SEO be included in the website development?
Yes and no. Website development skills and SEO skills are in many ways complementary. For a successful website, both have to work together. SEO has many components and, not surprisingly, the website content is one of them. At the very least your website designer should alert you to the fact that SEO is a critical component of the website journey and, if they do not have the SEO skills themselves then I would expect them to assist you with finding a suitable SEO partner. At best, the Website Design, Website Development and SEO company should be the same team or should work closely together from the very start, i.e. already at the planning stage.
So let’s assume that you’ve had someone design and build your website without any guidance on SEO. You believe that your website is well designed, but it’s not generating business for you. What can you do?
ORGANIC SEO – Things that you can do without paying for clients
There are many things that you can look at, but let’s stick to the most critical points here.
Many web designers don’t care much about the technical aspects and I’ve seen websites where not even the very basic SEO things have been taken care of. Some of these may get a bit technical. You should feel free to put the list to your web designer. Here are some things that need to be done:
- Register your website on Google through “Google Search Console”.
- Register your website on Google Analytics and learn to use Google Analytics. That will tell you a lot about who uses your website and how it is used.
- Make sure that every page has a MetaData Title and Metadata Description. While you’re at it, make sure that every image has an “alt” tag.
- Images should be optimized. Those images that come straight from your camera to the website without being cropped or optimized will usually take a long time to load. Google (and your potential website visitors) will quickly loose interest in slow websites. That takes me to “Page Speed”.
- Run Goolge’s Page speed analyser to see how your website performs. If it’s slow then something has to be done. Look at “caching” and “CDN”. You may need a technical person to help with that.
There is a long list of further technical things that can be done, I’m thinking of Schema Meta Data, (and look up more).
If those technical things are too daunting, then you need to get the help of an SEO specialist or a website developer with some technical abilities.
There are things however that you can do yourself. In fact, business owners of staff in the organization are best placed to get involved in this. That’s producing good content for your website. Good content is now more critical than ever.
Where your website is concerned, content is king. (You would have heard this before) and it’s very true. Analyse a common search for your business category, and you’ll probably find that the websites with good and useful content appear at the top of search results. (Try it: Search for “accountant” and see the type of content that the top organic sites have. There’s a good chance that the first entries will be content that provides useful information. The same is likely for most business categories.
- Let’s look at content. I bet that one of the first things your web designer wanted to know is information about your business. There’s a good chance that if you look at your website it’s all about that “your business”. Without being disrespectful, why would anyone be interested in that. Successful websites engage their visitors with what the visitor has searched for, and that is usually about something that they want to know for their benefit rather than for yours.
So when you look at your content ask yourself this:
- Is the content written for the benefit of your potential customers.
- Is the content informative
- Is the content suitable for your target market.
- Content and especially headings should contain (without being ridiculous) some likely search terms.
- Is the content neatly presented:
There are a few critical things to note:
- Every page or section should cover one concept
- Every page should have a main heading (H1 Tag)
- Every section on the page should have a subheading (H2 – H6 Tag)
- Naturally the headings and sub-headings should relate to the content
- Write so that it is easy to skim read.
- Write articles and blogs
- Make videos
Creating content is not straight forward. It’s time consuming and does require some expertise. Getting someone to write about technical aspects of your products obviously has to be technically correct, but it also has to sound convincing. Writing about your Data Services in the tone that is more suited to preschoolers is hardly going to instill confidence in your products. Make sure you have the right people to write your content of hire the right person to help.
But what’s the point about putting a blog for your website if no one visits?
Good question, and there are two answers. Firstly, SEO takes time and is self-generating (i.e. the more people that visit your site, the higher it will rank, the more people will visit and secondly, you should distribute your content.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. I bet that at least one of two of them will be relevant to your business. Even if you think that your customers are not social media users, what’s the harm in placing an entry on your business Facebook page and definitely on LinkedIn saying something to the effect that you’ve written an article. Identify who would find it interesting and use the right hashtags to attract that audience with a link to the article. You can do the same on Twitter and, if there is an opportunity for some visual content, then include it on Instagram and possibly on Pinterest.
There are other ways to spread that information. Since your content is useful to your potential customers, it’s probably useful to your existing customers as well. Send them an email to tell them about your article together with a link.
Paid SEO – Google Ads
We believe that every company should run Google Ads. Especially for new websites, organic search results are unlikely to bear fruit. Using Google Ads is a good way of targeting specific keywords and ensuring that site visitors land on the pages that your want them to see.
Google Ads is also a good way to test what keywords your audience is actually looking for. If one set of keywords does not bring you business, then you can try another, until you get it right and outshine the competition. Work out how much you’d pay for a sales team and compare that to Google Ads. The point is that Google Ads does not have to be expensive for your business. Definitely give it a go and get some help with setting it up.
SEO takes time. The best time to start is now.