It has becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to discern between the website optimization their website design or development vendor has done for them and SEO that will deliver measurable, results that are meaningful to their business and bottom line.
There are 2 sides to the conversation I have with new clients as we review their website SEO plan.
The first is the bad news that despite what their website vendor told them, the business website is not really optimized for search.
The second is the good news that all is not lost and their website can be optimized to rank on Google, reach target customers and positively impact the bottom line. Which, after all, is why they decided to build or redesign their website in the first place.
Unless you are a household name like Nike, McDonalds or Walmart, your business website must compete for the eyes and dollars of your customers online. This cannot be done with just an attractive website. It must reach qualified audiences. After all, what good is a beautiful website if your prospects can’t find it?
Every company should be able to expect their website to serve the business well as the first point of contact for new and existing customers, no matter what business you are in. Customers that are seeking products, services and resources are turning to search engines first. So, it is imperative that a website be visible to target audiences by keyword search. This is often an achilles heel for businesses who hire firms that are not optimizing properly.
The first sign that a web vendor doesn’t have a proactive SEO strategy for a website project is when they ask the client for a list of keywords. I have found this to be the ultimate kiss of death. I’ll clarify. To date, I have found that
100% of the businesses who’s website’s have been optimized using keywords they selected are not reaching qualified, target audiences. (click here to learn more about keywords). Now, add the fact that recent statistics report that Internet users are online more than ever, and using search as their #1 resource, and a highly competitive marketplace and SEO is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
If your business is worthy of a website, your website is worthy of SEO.
The million dollar question is…who will get the next sale?
Will your prospective customer find your website first…or your competitor’s?
A disconnect in Goals…
Have you ever noticed that the website vendor’s #1 goal is to design, code and deliver a website to go “live” and at that point they consider the project complete. This is a fundamental contradiction to the fact that it is only after the website goes live that it actually has any value to the business.
If website does not improve brand recognition, lead generation, sales or customer loyalty, the website is failing to fulfill it’s primary mission. If these things do not matter to your organization, not only will you lose business to your competitors, but you will never see a return on the investment made in the website.
So, how can a business know they are going to get the best possible results from the investment in a new website?
1. Treat the website as the marketing tool it is. You wouldn’t design, print and put postage on a mailer and never put it in the mail would you? The website should be prepared, deployed and measured much the same you would with any other advertising or marketing campaign.
2. Plan. You must integrate SEO, goals and marketing into the website before the FRP goes out, website interface design is created, or web copywriting begins. This is imperative if you expect the website to work for your business once live.
3. It’s all about numbers. Make the website accountable by monitoring how many unique visitors are coming to the website, what pages they are clicking on, how they found your website and how many your website converts to customers or leads.
4. Keep it alive. Don’t just post a website and hope that it will somehow magically generate millions of dollars in business for you. You must actively promote the site through traditional marketing, email marketing, PPC campaigns like Google Adwords and word of mouth marketing. And, be sure to update content frequently to make the site worthy of a click by new and returning visitors. The Internet is a highly active medium that literally changes every second. If you are not actively meeting the needs of your customers, they WILL find someone who will.
You may also request a professional SEO website analysis of how search engine optimized your website really is, so you can capture business you may be currently losing to your competitors.
Perhaps the most important recommendation of all…If you can’t afford to learn by trial and error over the course of months to figure out what SEO, optimized copy, usability and conversion meant to your website’s ability to impact your business, please seek the assistance of a professional SEO or Internet marketing consultant. This may very well save you from yourself as most novices make costly mistakes and sometimes put their website in jeopardy of being blacklisted by search engines.
Karner Blue Marketing offers more free tips on search engine optimization, website usability & conversion, internet marketing as well as a full array of professional consulting services, solutions and resources for those who are serious about making their website work for their business.
How “optimized” is your website…really??