A Growing Shift in Marketing
That’s the number of searches asked every second on the world’s leading search engine Google. That’s over 21 trillion every year and growing! With such tremendous popularity and use many successful businesses have now focused on harnessing the power of search engines and digital marketing to sell their products and services.
Many small to medium-size business think:
- Don’t have the budget for search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing.
- It’s is impossible to compete with other companies on search engines to rank on page one.
The truth is:
- Digital marketing such as search engine optimization (SEO) can reach more people with less cost than conventional marketing techniques.
- Many websites on that appear on search engines have no to little SEO efforts. Those that do often have many SEO opportunities missing.
In this article, I will explain some of what I call “missed opportunities” when new clients approach me with their existing website and wanting to get more traffic to their website from search engines.
Website Neglect is a Crime
“If you build it they will come…” This was the thought over two decades ago and still today many new and existing businesses still fall into this trap. They build a website and forget about it on the web thinking people will find them. This worked to some extent back in the ’90s but today there are over 1.6 billion websites registered worldwide. I know this number seems daunting to many but with the invention of search engines have helped significantly narrow down what people search for.
Search engines love to see new content regularly on websites. It tells them the business is active and not a dead website that has been hanging around for over two decades. When new content is added to a website search engines read it, place relevancy to the content and rank the website accordingly.
A content strategy for a website (and social media) is a must-have today to appear on search engines for what people are looking for. But in order to effectively start this, research has to be done to determine what people are looking for on search engines for your particular niche. The next section will cover this.
The Road to Nowhere and How to Fix it
Many times I find the client has engaged in regular content posting but the keywords or search terms used in the content have little to no search volume on the search engine. The truth is there are plenty of keywords on search engines that have zero search volume. Why? Possibly popular at one point and time and now not or in some cases, they are seasonal in popularity. A lot of times the research was not performed and the client started a content development solely based on what they believed people would be searching which is often far from the truth. Either way, ranking on page one of the search engines for keywords with no volume is not going to help.
Having the research done first will answer the questions before starting a content strategy:
- What are the keywords in my niche that have search volume?
- What is the depth of the market online for my niche?
- Where are people looking? (i.e. search engines vs social media vs forums, etc…)
- Where should I concentrate my content development efforts?
Added to this research should be keyword trend analysis. This will give a medium to long term indications on how much effort should be spent on each keyword.
Technical Difficulties – Please Stand By
As well as the content is written and following a comprehensive content strategy there could be roadblocks to ranking on search engines. Search engines love (and give points for) when the health of a website is excellent.
What do I mean by health?
It’s when the website can “talk effectively” to search engines. Here are some of the most common:
The Need For Speed
Today people and search engines love fast loading websites. Search engines only have a short time window to read the content on your website. When the time is up the search engine will move on to another website thus missing out on some content. People will do the same when their patience runs out. Slow page speed is often a combination of poor website hosting and/or the page not being optimized for page speed. Quick analysis can determine what action needs to be done to increase the speed of the page if not the overall website.
Where is the Map?
A site map helps search engines by specifically telling them specifically where to go. This saves the search engine time in not having to read the entire site from the top down. Often clients don’t have a site map on their website or they don’t have a site map that optimally provides search engines new content when it occurs.
Pardon the Dust – Retrofitting
Many times I find websites that do not optimally structure their content in a way search engines like to read it. This requires some adjustments on how the content is placed on the website, missing elements, cleaning up broken links, etc.
Do They Really Have Your Back?
Does a backlink strategy work all of the time? It’s been my experience that it doesn’t and the effort into it could have been spent more wisely on content.
A popular technique to build website strength is to build backlinks that point to your website. The thought here is to get other websites that have more popularity to point (with a backlink) to your website. This will increase your website’s domain and make you appear higher on the search engine ranks. In the amount of effort to obtain a backlink, it has been my experience that many of the backlinks do not have any relevance to your website’s content. I have had clients rank on page one of search engines on several search terms purely on content alone with zero backlinks. I have also had clients outrank other websites that had thousands of backlinks. Does a backlink strategy work all of the time? It’s been my experience that it doesn’t and the effort into it could have been spent more wisely on content.
Taking a Peek at the Competition
One of the great things about search engine optimization (SEO) is there are no secrets to what someone else is doing. An SEO expert can quickly look at others who are ranking and determine if there are any missed opportunities that can be exploited to gain a higher rank for their clients. As I mentioned earlier many websites on search engines are not engaged in any type of SEO.
They Made It! What’s Next?
Okay, you are starting to move up the ranks in search engines and visitors are on your website. Where is the business? Often I find websites that get plenty of traffic from search engines need adjustments in their user experience to convert those visitors into customers. This is not an afterthought when planning a top-down digital strategy with a client but something that is looked at when planning and executing. Even with a highly designed converting website, there is room for improvement. User experience tools can be placed on the website to monitor visitor actions and valuable information can be obtained on how they interact with the website and what adjustments might be needed. Also, powerful testing tools can be placed on the website to do sampling testing of different content to see which one gets the best results.