Your website is of little value if no one can easily find it. More than 60% of consumers use search engines to read about products and services before a purchase. When a prospect is looking for information or a product, they often input the key word or phrase into the Google or Bing search engines.
Will they be able to find your website at the top of their search results?
The first test that you can do is to put yourself into the shoes of your perspective customer, and create a list of phrases you think they might use to find your website. Remember, more than 75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search results, according to Marketshare Hitlinks. In fact, over 60% of all clicks go to the websites that rank in the top 3 positions of the first page!
Conduct an Internet search for those keywords and phrases. Does your website show up on the search page?
If you want, you can use the Google Keyword Toolbox to conduct a more thorough keyword search. You simply type in a word or phrase and Google will tell you other keywords and phrases that are similar, how many times people search for those terms and whether there is a lot of competition on the Internet to rank high with those terms.
You could hire an SEO Specialist to help you identify more keywords that you can use to grow your business
The more keywords you rank for, the more traffic your website will receive.
It is often more cost effective to get 1000 visitors from 200 keywords then to get 1000 visitors from 10 keywords. High volume keywords are also high competition. Not only will it probably take less time (and less net cost) to rank for “buy car insurance in Toledo” than “car insurance”, the visitor may also be closer to making a purchase decision than the one looking for just “car insurance”.
If you are not ranking for the right keywords, then you need to modify or add content to your website so that the search engines know that you are a source of information for that particular keyword.
- You can hire someone to write articles or blog posts using your selected keywords. These articles need to be written in a certain way to be effective for search engine optimization, yet readable for human beings; an understanding of how many times you need to use a particular keyword before it gets noticed by the search engines is an example of how the article needs to be written.
- You can often control what Google displays in the search engine results as the description for your website homepage
- You can optimize the page description of every webpage that Google displays with appropriate keywords that users are searching for; hire someone write well thought out and creative meta descriptions for each page.
- Linking your website pages to one another not only helps all of your pages to rank for their target keywords, but also makes sure your users are linked to other relevant content on your site.
- And of course, you need to ensure your website is “cross-browser compatible”, so that your web page looks correct in all popular browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
How to hire an SEO Specialist
The search engines also look at things that a casual visitor to the site will not see. These tend to be quite technical in nature, requiring an SEO specialist. However, how do you know if your website needs to be SEO optimized? More importantly, after you pay for someone to optimize your website, how will you know that it was actually optimized?
You don’t have to be overly technical to ensure the work is completed properly. Before I would engage an SEO specialist, I would ask them to give me a report about the state of my on-page website optimization and specifically request that they describe what service they would do to fix it. Once the SEO specialist is done, they should re-run the reports so that you know that something was actually completed.
If you’re a bit technical, then you should expect their report to include a search engine crawl report, which would indicate how many coding errors would have to be fixed on your website. This could be generated through Google Analytics Webmaster, a free service, or one of numerous tools an SEO specialist should have in their toolkit. You should expect their report to talk about duplicate content, such as duplicate HTML page titles. Any images or videos on the website should be properly titled for search engine consumption. The SEO specialist should ensure that every page gets crawled, which can be easily done by having the website dynamically generate an XML sitemap every time something gets changed on the site.
Speed is important to search engines and users
An emerging issue for both search engine rankings and user experience is how fast your webpages load into the user’s browser.
You can go to Pingdom, enter your URL and conduct a free test to determine the speed of your website. If it takes two or more seconds for the page to load, and you’re testing from a location that represents an important geographic market for you, you should get an SEO specialist to speed optimize important pages of your website.
Some WordPress layouts, such as the Thesis Theme, are faster than other themes, for example. Photoshop images tend to take up more space and time to load than any other images, but there are tools available to speed them up. Plug-ins are available to add to your WordPress website, such as the W3 Total Cache plug-in, to improve your speed.
An SEO specialist will worry about the technical aspects, while you worry about whether the load times improve dramatically after they’re done.
You probably have duplicate content on your website!
One more thing that could derail your site’s ranking is duplicate content. Sometimes you have duplicate pages for very good reasons, such as landing pages. For example, you could have a promotion offer running on Google Adwords, your Facebook page and via an email blast, all at the same time. You want to measure which is more cost effective. So you would create three identical landing pages on your website and have any Google Adwords traffic go to landing page number one, any Facebook fan page traffic go to landing page number two, and any e-mail triggered traffic go to landing page number three.
The search engines don’t like duplicate content regardless of reason, but there’s an easy way to handle that. There is a file as part of your website called robots.txt; this is where the SEO specialist should tell the search engines not to crawl or index these particular landing pages.
This is only part of the story
SEO is one of the most cost effective lead generation activities you can do. Website SEO optimization, often referred to as on page search engine optimization, merely makes sure that your website can be properly crawled by the search engines. It’s a very important activity. More important, however, is what’s referred to as off page search engine optimization. You need both on page and off page SEO to effectively rank your website with the right keywords and phrases.
Marketing Outfield can help you grow your company’s profitable revenue with outsourced services from independent service providers that best meet your unique requirements. If you want your website to be found easily on the Internet, one of the first steps you need to do is optimize your website for search engines and for your users. Whether you’re trying to optimize the technical aspects of the website, or optimize your website for selected keywords and phrases that you think your prospects will use in the search engines to find you, there’s a specialist that can help you.
Although for some people websites can be technically intimidating, hiring an SEO specialist or content creator to clean up your website is really quite analogous to hiring a plumber or painter to clean up your house. You don’t have to be a plumber to hire a plumber. You just need to select an experienced service provider and make sure that there is clear, mutual expectations of what needs to be accomplished. Hiring outsourced services extends your marketing team, allowing you to get more marketing done within a limited budget, and gives you higher confidence in executing your marketing plan and growing your profitable revenue. Marketing Outfield is your marketplace for the most cost effective marketing for small and medium business.