So you have a brand spanking new website. It exhibits your company’s professionalism and exceptional skill. It’s pretty and shiny and everything you hoped it would be, so why aren’t you getting any new customers? It’s a mystery that many website owners are frequently left to contemplate once their website has been designed and published for the world to see.
The answer to the mystery is really actually quite simple. It’s SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION and if your website doesn’t have it, it will quite likely be lost in the great abyss that is the World Wide Web. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO will make your website easier for search engines like Google and Yahoo! to find. If done well, your website will rank better when someone searches for one of your keywords.
Have I lost you yet? This is one of the things that most of my clients find positively mind-numbingly boring, but it’s essential if you want your website to help you increase your bottom line. So, let’s liven things up a little by using an example. Let’s say you own a Rodeo Clown company called “Foolish Jim’s Rodeo Clown Co.” located in Burlington, Vermont. The first step in optimizing your website would be to determine what words and/or phrases people would use to search for a company like yours on Google, Yahoo! or Bing. These phrases are called “keywords.” I personally don’t have any rodeo clown companies as clients (yet :-)), so I have never done any keyword research on the topic, but there are tools out there to help you choose which are the best keywords for which to optimize your website, such as Google’s keyword tool and Wordtracker. Some keywords that we might come up with for this company could be “Vermont Rodeo Clowns,” or “Burlington Rodeo Cowboys” for example.
Once you have determined which keywords you’d like to optimize for, the next step is on-site search engine optimization. This means that you strategically place these keywords in important places on your website so that the search engines will find your website when they are bringing up results for your keywords. Some examples of good places to add your keywords are:
- In your page title
- In your page headers
- As “alt” tags in your page images
- Peppered strategically throughout your website’s text
- In your meta description – (ask your web designer if you’re not sure how to access this)
- In your URL
A blog that focuses on your area of expertise is another great way of providing the search engines with fresh content that can be optimized for SEO purposes.
The next phase of SEO is getting your site’s URL out on the worldwide web by creating links to your website from other sites. Some of my favorite ways to do this are:
- Using Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., etc., etc.)
- Writing and distributing online articles
- Writing and distributing online press releases
- Submitting your company to industry directories
- Commenting on blogs and or forums that are related to your industry
So there you have it, mystery solved! With a little work on SEO your shiny new website can actually be all that you imagined it would be and do what it was meant to do – bring you business!