2014 is almost over, but we’re still finding that for some of our new business prospects and clients it’s still 2004 when it comes to SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just a buzz phrase, it’s an absolute necessity. A few of our smaller to mid-size clients are still a bit resistant to optimizing their site and we know why.
They don’t speak SEO.
It’s that simple. Just when they prepare to optimize their site they talk to a vendor, customer, competitor, or somebody who purports to be the expert and bam – they want to wait. They get confused by the jargon and may think one or more of the following erroneous thoughts:
- I’m a small local business. I don’t need to optimize because prospects will find me and solicit my business based on geography.
- I’m doing a great job with word of mouth, and my clients are mostly referrals.
- My company doesn’t do any e-commerce, so why should I drive business to my site?
- My company name is my web address, and my product is my company name. Won’t that drive business to my site?
- My website was built in a CMS that automatically optimizes my content.
- I’m on Facebook – doesn’t that help my rankings?
- We’ve already spent money on our website, we shouldn’t need spend MORE on SEO!
SEO is a process, and if you have a website, you need to optimize. We’ve seen it happen over and over – we build a great website loaded with shareable content, that is user-friendly, welcoming to visitors AND it’s optimized for internet search and the rankings increase. When this happens overall interest in the company’s services and products increases, too. It’s a good thing for everyone – our clients, their customers, their bottom line AND us!
YET, all too often our customers want to continue to invest in traditional media and delay updating and optimizing their site. Here are some of the basic terms and functions of SEO. When you speak SEO, you can better understand the need for an optimized site and better content.
Keyword – this is more or less the holy grail of searches. It’s the word or words a prospect (or client) would use when trying to find your good or service. Your keyword should be reflected in the copy on the page with a density of about 5%. For example, if you are a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, your keywords would like likely be dentist Columbus Ohio or cosmetic dentistry Columbus Ohio. If you are an online wholesaler for the specialty baking industry, your keywords would likely be bulk flour, bread flour, or gluten free flour. If you want to attract even more surfers for some of your more popular items, you may want to add bulk almond flour, bulk pastry flour, etc.
You want your keyword reflected in the following places on your website:
URL – your web address.
Title tag – what a viewer sees at the top of the page that describes the content of the page.
Heading tags – the boldest, most prevalent line of copy on the page. They are coded with the abbreviation H1 & H2. Generally this is the headline and subhead on the page, and both should include the keywords for that page.
Alt image tags – like H1 & H2’s your alt image tags are coded with the keywords for the page.
The rules for the keywords and where and how to use them hasn’t changed much over the last few years. They are still important elements to improving search, but the importance of fresh long-form content on both your webpages and a frequently-updated blog has been growing. Information-heavy content that is well written and includes your keywords has been growing steadily in importance as it affects your rankings. The obvious advantage of having all this content on your site is that it encourages visitors to stay and look around, read information and get excited about your brand. The more clear, relevant content you have, the more likely your visitors will stay and look around your website.
The benefit of having a great blog with relevant content is it encourages sharing, and having another company in your business segment link your blog can greatly increase your rankings. In some cases, this is easy to achieve – you share another company’s blog, it will increase the chances that they will share your blog. Updating this content regularly increases your Google rankings because Google is constantly looking for fresh content.
Your site also has to be responsive to mobile surfers. It’s a fact that more websites are accessed via mobile devices that via laptops. To you this means your site needs to address the needs of surfers on the go. This may mean having a dedicated mobile site that only hits the important features of your product or service as it relates to a mobile user. Using the click to call feature is a MUST, as is having actionable information easily accessible such as coupons, offers, hours of operation, etc., AND a site that loads quickly – in just a second or two. This also helps your local rankings, as people that access your site via a mobile device are also using location services that will reinforce your local presence.
Once you optimize for your prospects, customers and Google, you’ll quickly notice an increase of unique visitors to you site. Be ready! Make sure that you have an appropriate, fast response to requests for additional information, and that your site is true to your brand message.
It’s never too early to optimize, but it can be too late! If you have numerous competitors who are “doing it right” when it comes to SEO, you may find that they have built a following. If that is the case, you need to get busy, yesterday.
Get FREE SEO help? Call Holland today.
We’re offering a FREE website consultation that includes a keyword ranking report that shows how well your keywords are ranked on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We can help improve your website and your SEO language skills to help take your business to the next level. Ring in the New Year with an updated, optimized website. Email Bholland@HollandAdvertising.com or call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.