One of the most frequent concerns entrepreneurs have about their websites is implementing an effective SEO (search engine optimization) plan so that more visitors find them and become customers. It’s probably the most common topic that I discuss. But to many people, SEO seems like a mystery, especially when there’s always a new and latest tip or trick to follow.
So what’s a site owner to do? Well, to improve your website’s visibility and SEO, forget about the tricks. Instead, all it takes is following the ABCs (Architecture, Buzz, and Content) and investing the time to do it right.
Paying attention to how your set is set up and organized can help produce better results in search engines. Not only will you signal to search engines what your site is about (and what’s important on it), you’ll also make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
To start with, think about your home page. What you link to from the home page is usually more important than pages buried more deeply in your website. So use this to your advantage. Focus on the main categories of your products or services, and include these pages in the site navigation menu. People and search engines can now easily find content on your site. And these main category pages, or top-level pages, will have lots of internal links from within the website naturally pointing to them, which is another indication to search engines of their importance. So optimize these pages with some of your best content (see C below).
Subpages from these main pages most likely will include details on specific products or services, blog posts, and other meaty content. These don’t need to be linked to from everywhere in the site, but rather they should be linked to from their appropriate top-level pages. The key for successful SEO, though, is that the pages on your site aren’t just dropped in but that they are thoughtfully organized and easily accessible from the corresponding top-level pages within the website.
If you think the secret to effective SEO is simply a well-coded website, think again! You need to create buzz around your business or nonprofit, and an engaging social media presence is a large part of that.
Ideally, you need to be seen as an expert in your field, one who commands authority and trust. Through social media, you can achieve that via a variety of methods:
- Get involved where your clientele is. This could be well-recognized platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, or more industry-specific blogs and forums. Don’t forget offline media to raise awareness, too. Remember, though, this will only be most effective if you get involved where your target audience is. If they’re not on Facebook, then don’t bother with Facebook!
- Be engaging. Post thoughtful, helpful, unique content, and you’ll notice that it has a better chance of being shared (and showcasing your authority) than recycled or ordinary content.
- Respond to and participate in conversations. This includes not only your own social media accounts but also in industry blogs and other experts’ online presences as well.
- Follow the experts, and encourage them to follow you. Most likely, your industry’s experts are selective in whom they follow, so if your content is unique and helpful, and you are active online, you may find that they consider you an expert, too.
Effective content gives search engines something to index and show to people looking for websites. It also gives people a reason to visit (and return to) your website. What makes some content stand out over others? Great content is timely, entertaining, helpful, and/or otherwise unique. If it stands out from other websites and it’s useful and appealing to real people (not written just for SEO purposes), people will respond, and search engines will like it.
Just remember that once you create the perfect content written for your target market, make sure it’s appropriate (and updated) for your home page and top-level pages. Additionally, fresh content added to your blog is a great way to keep people and search engines coming back.
Put it together
If you take some time to remember your ABCs of SEO, you’ll put together a website that has a better chance of achieving higher visibility in search engines and finding more customers. Stick to the basics, and with a little time and effort, you should see positive results!