Note: this is the sixth of our multi-part Optimise to Win series, where we show you how the best businesses get more conversions than their competition.
As of December 2013, there are at least 1.37 billion indexed web pages. That’s a minimum of 1 unique web page for every 3 people on the planet.
How on earth can your target audience find your site among the heap? It isn’t something that happens by accident – never fall for the “If you build it, they will come” fallacy. However, with a bit of prioritisation, planning, and work, you can earn thousands of pageviews.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
By default, when a site is created on a brand new domain, it does not exist on Google or any other search engines. It needs to be submitted to the search engines, after which it will be “crawled” by a spider (search engine bot) and added to the directory. But that’s just the beginning. Google doesn’t trust your new site; nor does it have any reason to refer its own users there. There are two primary tasks in SEO: categorisation and trust-building.
Categorisation – Tell Google who to send to your site
1. Keywords & phrases
Fundamentally, you need to develop a list of keywords and key phrases that your target audience uses when searching for your services or products. Fine-tune these with keyword tools that help you find similar words & phrases and give you volume information as to how often the keywords are searched in your targeted areas. This is a process that will continue throughout the life of your website, so keep it in mind. These are also vital in SEM, as you’ll see below, but SEM can help you fine-tune your most successful key terms.
2. Include key terms in your content and HTML structure appropriately
There are countless techniques for on-page SEO, as categorisation is generally called, but essentially, you need to use your key terms in headings, page titles, and paragraph text. Links with key terms as the linked text are more effective in building your search engine results than something like “click here“. Here is a good starting point for optimising your site for search terms.
So let’s assume your site has been fully SEO’ed on-page, and Google knows exactly how to categorise each page correctly. We need to show search engines that your site is worth sending visitors to in the first place.
1. Content development
If your site’s copy is immediately interesting to users, they will start referring your site to others (professionally, socially, or incidentally). Google realised that these referrals are in fact endorsements, and your site’s trust rating and PageRank will increase because of it. The only dependable way to get a high trust rating is to consistently have great content. That can be great products with well-written descriptions, or an engaging design and useful services, or even well-written blog content that people share with their friends or co-workers.
If you don’t think you can write engaging copy, we’d love to help you source a great copywriter who can give a voice to your unique brand and offerings. We will be expanding on the value of Content Development in Part 7.
Once you have good content, you can start building inbound links yourself. There are innumerable ways to generate incoming links that can build your trust rating. However, these will not be useful to you if you don’t have conversion-based, well-written, engaging content.
Create your Google Local listing, ensure that you’re on FourSquare and as many reputable directories you can find, and ensure that your users can share your content easily and unobtrusively. Grow a strong commenting culture on your blog posts, offer incentives to engage with your company on facebook or other social networks, and always remember to utilise your keywords whenever it’s fitting to do so.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is a term we use to describe paid ads in search engine results. These tend to have a cost associated with each click of an ad. These ads are usually at the top or right-hand side of search engine results.
The benefit of SEM is that your site gets guaranteed visits, no matter whether it is naturally on the search engine results pages (SERPs) or not. This is great for new sites starting out, in order to get some traffic, gauge the market and its profitability for certain key terms, and see what kind of copy (written text) most appeals to the audience.
In 2012, Google moved to using HTTPS on its search pages. For the user, this increased privacy was helpful and built trust — however, it means that site owners and administrators no longer have any insight into what keywords brought the users to their site. That function can be replaced to some extent by AdWords and other paid ads. They include much more robust reporting tools for tracking users who enter the site through an ad.
In addition, if you can nail down how much a given conversion is worth to your business (at least on average), you can easily craft an AdWords campaign with an eye for profitability in advertising. Seeing such tangible results and fine-tuning it for maximal results is a great way to improve your knowledge of your customers and market, as well as to increase your ability to plan for the future.
Case Study: We’ve helped Louder Than Words increase their leads by over 80% in the past year using a finely tuned AdWords campaign.
Case Study: Esurance reduced their cost per acquisition by 30% using AdWords mobile ads.
In the end, every website that’s serious about acquiring users or customers has to work at it. At Redfox Media, we’re experts at crafting your site to be as search-engine-optimised as possible and getting even more users through targeted AdWords ads.
For more, check out our other Optimise to Win posts:
- Optimise to Win: Why are you missing out on thousands of conversions?
- Performance & Page-Loading Speeds – Silent, but deadly.
- Design for Conversions – Give users what they want!
- Simplify – Focus & get rid of the clutter!
- Mobile-Responsive Design: Stay relevant & be usable on-the-go.
- SEO & SEM – Help your customers find you.
- Content Strategy – Good writing pays off!
- Provide Options – Spread the net wide.
- Be Natural – User expectations & how to exceed them.
- The Test-Improve Cycle – Never stop getting better!
At Redfox Media, we employ all of these methods and strategies for clients in our Online Accelerator program. Enquire now to discuss how we can help your business, and get a FREE SEO report!