Your website represents your business. For companies that don’t have a storefront, your website becomes your storefront. Even for businesses that do, a website is your virtual storefront.
The image that you portray on your website is crucial. A lot of customers and clients will go to your website before making their final purchasing decisions.
Organizing your website in a way that makes sense and allows your users to find what they are looking for is key. Your success depends upon it. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to SEO your website, and some website design basics to get you started.
Website Design Basics
When it comes to a website, there are two goals a business needs to think about:
- Can your website be found by potential customers and current clients?
- Is it being indexed by a search engine? (Can it be found when people search in Google?)
If you answered no to either of these questions, you have some work to do. SEO, or search engine optimization, helps Google and other search engines find you. Without being SEO optimized, your site will have very few visitors.
Nowadays, your web design goals require much more than merely creating a site that looks nice and stylish. SEO needs to be a part of your marketing and digital strategies from the get-go.
While having a beautifully designed website is great, no one is going to see it if you don’t implement solid SEO tactics. How do we do that? Let’s take a look.
Why You Need SEO
There are a variety of reasons a business may not have SEO happening to their website. It may be due to low resources, a lack of staff, or simply underestimating the benefits. The good news is that you don’t have to hire an expert to start implementing SEO for your business.
You can do it yourself or carve out a couple of hours per day from a current employee’s tasks to make it happen. Why is SEO such an important part of website design basics?
Not only does it help you appear in Google searches for customers near you, it helps you appear first. Imagine that you have a yoga studio in your town. Someone navigates to Google and searches for “yoga studios in Pikesville.”
If you don’t have SEO, all of the other studios in the town that are doing SEO will no doubt appear in the search results before yours even populates. This means that your business won’t show up until page 2, 3, or worse.
Most people don’t look past the first five listings on Google – let alone past Page 1. Consequently, your competition will beat you out every time if you don’t have an SEO strategy in place. SEO is crucial if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, sell a product or service, or raise brand awareness.
Going back to our example, if people are searching for “yoga studios in Pikesville,” that means they are primed and interested in your service. You are not cold calling or trying to sell your services to someone who is not interested. Capturing their attention is key to your business success.
Let’s dive deep into the strategies of SEO that you can start implementing for your website today.
Now that you know how important SEO is, you can start brainstorming the types of keywords that boost your business.
Marketing firms built entire businesses around keyword research. It’s an extremely valuable task that provides a great return for your business. Let’s go back to that example.
If you’re a yoga studio, finding a high ranking keyword for your services is easy. You want to incorporate words that people would use to search for you. Using a keyword like “high-intensity workout gym,” for example, would be false and misleading.
You might be able to rank for this keyword, but people coming to your website aren’t going to call you or become a customer. They are expecting to see high-intensity workouts, not a yoga studio. How do you know which keywords to use for your business and if you’ll actually be able to rank for them?
There is a great tool called the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. The keyword planner allows you to create a simple list of 5-10 keywords associated with your business. Again, for a yoga studio, you might use yoga, yoga studio, yoga workouts, yoga classes, etc.
Once you input these initial keywords into the keyword planner, it will spit out a whole other list of words. These words are based on search volumes. Keywords that people are searching for often will display on this list.
It shows you the most up-to-date and relevant data, providing you with the last 12 months of information. It allows you to see if the keywords you chose are relevant and garnering high search volumes. It even shows you if it’s competitive and used by other businesses.
Deciding on Your Keywords
Once you have a list of keywords, you begin building your SEO strategy. The most important keywords are the ones that have a high search volume. This means lots of people are looking for them when they go to Google. If these high volume keywords have low competition, you’re golden.
You can still use them if they have high competition. Just note that the higher the competition, the harder it will be for you to rank organically for it – especially if your company is late to the SEO party. Remember, your company’s success hinges around your keywords.
Spend a lot of time when doing keyword research and pick the most relevant keywords directly related to your niche. If you think people search for “yoga studio,” but Google’s Keyword Planner tells you they actually search for “yoga classes in studios,” tailor your keywords to that information.
Without the proper and relevant keywords, your other SEO activities will fall flat. With the right keywords, your business will take off and all of the other SEO and website design basics will be a piece of cake.
Making Relevant Content
Now that you know how to pick the best keywords for your business, and you’ve put together your keyword strategy, let’s write relevant content.
In past years, creating, building, and hosting a website was enough. However, after the Internet exploded, there’s a constant rush to make your website better, faster, and more valuable.
Building your digital marketing strategies with this in mind helps to achieve relevant website traffic that is highly likely to become your next set of customers and clients.
The number one question in marketing still remains the same: Who is your target customer?
Think about your ideal customer. What characteristics does he or she have? What type of information is he or she looking for? How do you develop your brand and position it in a way that reaches him or her?
Communicating this information in an effective way brings your content to the next level. If you provide low-quality information that doesn’t have value for a client or potential customer, they won’t come back.
Who is Your Audience?
Do you want to get website traffic that converts into leads, clients, and customers? Start understanding your audience.
The more you know about your audience, the better your marketing strategy will be. Using the information that you do know about your audience, you can create what’s called a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer that you create based on market research and real data about your existing customers and clients.
Information to note when creating your buyer persona include:
- Marital Status
- Purchasing Habits
- Personal Interests
If you discover anything else about your potential customers in your research, add this information to your buyer persona. It’s important to realize that the information you collect and discover might reveal that a different target consumer might end up being better suited for your business to market to.
Marketing to Your Audience
The next step in building your relevant content for SEO optimization is determining your marketing goals. What are you trying to accomplish with your website?
Is it to get customers to purchase a service or product, to raise brand awareness or visibility, or to simply generate leads that you can market to?
Having a clearly defined goal will help you steer your marketing efforts in the right direction. Along with this goal, you need to craft your company’s unique brand value proposition.
When you were doing your keyword research, you got a glimpse of what your competition looks like. What sets you apart from that competition? Why would people choose your business over others? Developing a strategy around your unique value proposition helps to communicate to customers why they should choose you.
Now that you know the best keywords to target, your audience, and your value proposition, SEO becomes much easier. Be aware though: incorporating SEO into your website isn’t a one-time task. With Google in charge, algorithms and procedures are constantly evolving.
Creating relevant content using your chosen keywords on a consistent basis shows to Google that your information is not stale or old. If you aren’t producing new information or updating old content, Google will usually lower your search engine ranking.
Typically, although not always, Google wants to know that your site is providing relevant and new information that is valuable to searchers. That post that went viral in 2007 isn’t going to cut it anymore. Google crawls your website to see when you’ve last updated your pages and adjusts your ranking accordingly.
We get it: if you don’t break it into digestible chunks, all this information can quickly become confusing and overwhelming. However, by following the guidelines in this article, you’ll become an SEO pro in no time.
There are two types of optimization when it comes to SEO. On-page and off-page optimization. On-page strategies are those controlled by your business.
They include a majority of the things we have discussed so far. Using keyword research to find and select the right keywords is a precursor to on-page optimization.
Using the keywords that you’ve selected, you can now use them in your current website pages. Place them in appropriate spots on your website pages such as headers, alt tags on images, titles, and the meta description on your page.
Another area that Google scans to find keyword information is in your URL structure. Placing your keyword directly into your URL helps boost your ranking.
Internal links also play an important role. Linking to other pages on your website provides a great information architecture within your own site, leading the user from page to page. This also guides the search engine crawlers across your site.
Add images, videos, and bulleted lists to the content you’ve already created. Putting in alt text and descriptions for your images that contain your keyword also helps with SEO.
Lastly, having a website that is responsive is super important. The majority of people searching the web are doing so from their mobile phone. If your website doesn’t display correctly on a mobile device, you’re missing out on a large part of your audience.
Off-page optimization is not controlled by the website’s owner. It’s more about reputation management and getting other sites to refer back to your website. It helps you become a valuable and reputable source when other credible sites link back to you.
SEO rankings and organic website traffic increase when other sites link to your site or pages or their social media channel mentions you. Both of these signal to Google that you a reputable source of information.
White Hat Techniques
Everything you’ve read about above are considered white hat SEO techniques. As you know, your company’s SEO will greatly improve based on implementing the tactics listed above. This results in a larger volume of website traffic, more conversions and sales, better lead generation, and a higher search engine ranking on Google.
Remember when creating your website, it’s not just about looks and design anymore. Website design basics include SEO optimization, getting to know your customer at a deeper level, and providing content that matters to them.
Looking for more help with SEO and web design basics? Schedule your free breakthrough strategy session today.