We get so many phone calls from potential web-design clients who start by asking if we do SEO (search engine optimization). Getting their website listed on the first page of an organic Google search result trumps all other goals in their mind, including (unfortunately) a good design and content.
More often than not, these potential clients have read something on the internet by “SEO” or marketing gurus who promise the moon. They allude to some closely-guarded tricks and practices only they can provide. Pay only $899 a month and they’ll “get your website noticed” or so they claim. They’ll even throw in the design and development of your website for a song.
Unfortunately like all other things in life that seem too good to be true, so is this. Getting to the top of an organic search results page, especially in a crowded market, is the result of a multi-pronged effort including meticulous planning, a well-designed and well-built website, bang-on strategy and of course, the right content.
Content, content, content…
Ultimately, content is what visitors are looking for. It’s the reason they’re on the internet in the first place. They want their questions answered. They want to compare products and services. They want to shop online or they want directions to come to you. They want to be entertained or they want to be informed. Figuring out what potential visitors want and then giving it to them in the best way possible should be your main priority.
Content is no good without the right packaging
It’s not enough to give pages and pages of raw information or an out-of-the-box online store experience with hundreds of your products rammed in there willy nilly. Users shouldn’t be faced with an impenetrable wall of dense copy or product. That’s almost as bad as not having any because the result is the same. If visitors can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they will leave.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips on giving your visitors the content they want, how they want it and in a way they can find and use it.
- Know who your audience is, where they are and what they want. Talk directly to them. Try using tools like Google Trends for overall search trends for your market segment. Look at your past analytics and any other metric you may have.
- Plan your objectives. Make sure they’re around your audiences’ needs, not just your organization’s.
- Identify key words and phrases. Organize subjects. Create a hierarchy of information.
- Generate relevant content. Ensure it’s organized and broken into manageable chunks. Prioritize your content in a linear fashion leading with the most important and giving options for those who want to learn more. Choose a writing style that is meant for your audience.
- Build a site around good design. All the best content in the world is no good to anyone if it’s buried in bad or unprofessional design, poorly placed navigation or tiny text.
- Build your site with multiple devices in mind. In today’s world, over 50% of users are accessing the internet through mobile devices. A responsive design is no longer an option, it is now becoming a must-have.
- Get social. If your audience is on social networks then so should you. Become part of their world in a way that gives them true value.
- Keep your content fresh! Launching your website is just the first step of its life cycle. Nurture it everyday.
The bottom line is if you provide an online experience that is geared to your audience and answers their needs in an attractive, efficient, social, accessible and mobile-friendly way, your chances of getting noticed improve exponentially. Add that to a sound overall SEO strategy and you’re off to the races.
by Eva Kiss
Director of Communications,
Neglia Design Inc.
- Google’s Own SEO Guide
- SEOMoz Ranking Factors
- Ranking Factors Infographic
- Link Building Strategies from Point Blank SEO
- Google’s Keyword Research Tool
- Google Trends
- SpyFu Competitor Analysis Service
- KissMetrics Infographic on Page Loading Times