For many businesses, a website may be the first and only outlet for new sales and customers. The power of the internet allows you to put your content and products directly in front of your potential customers, but with it’s almost limitless range the internet is very competitive. Gone are the days where a business adds the letters “AA” in front of their name just to appear higher in the alphabetical list of a directory.
So you want a new website. What should you bear in mind?
Having previously worked as a search consultant, I have seen far too often a website built without considering SEO. Then an expensive search agency is brought in to fix the problem and optimize the website for SEO. So when building a new website, take these basics into account.
CMS Can Help
Going back and fixing title tags is annoying but relatively easy, while redesigning a site structure/ architecture or rearranging all the URLs to be more SEO friendly is difficult and requires development work. Choose a CMS that takes care of your basic SEO needs from the start so that you don’t have to come back and make expensive development changes.
Know your customers with Google Analytics
You want to make sure that you are tracking what your customers are doing on your new website. The best starting point is Google Analytics. If you are using a CMS like WordPress or Magento (which are really CMS for ecommerce websites) it is incredibly simple to add the tracking code on every page of your website. This piece of software will tell you where your visitors came from (Natural search, Paid search, referred from another site, or thanks to any campaign you are running). It also tells you what they did on the website (how many pages they visited, did they make a purchase, did they bounce, etc.). This software package will also help you understand your customer base better with demographics data (Sex, age, interests). Google analytics can do so much more than can be covered in just a paragraph.
Another free software package that gives you insight to the health of your website from a search engine point of view is Google Search Console. This can tell you what keywords your website is getting clicks and impressions from and if search engines are having any trouble crawling your website.
Now that you have a new website, how do you get it indexed in Google & other search engines?
Once you have a website you want to get it in Google’s index. This just means that you want Google to crawl your website and know what you are offering so that it can return it to the correct queries. Essentially you don’t need to do anything. Google will find it. Submitting it to Google search console as discussed above will notify Google that it exists and that it can be crawled.
You may also submit a sitemap to search engines so that they can easily find every page on your website, however if you interlink well on your website this might not be necessary if your site is small enough. You might also want to make sure that you haven’t got your robots.txt file blocking access to any of the required pages on your website.
How do I get in front of my customers?
Now that you are visible on the internet how do you make your content rank better? If you are a local business, there is plenty you can do to increase your local SEO ranking factors, but you might want to learn about getting a Google+ listing and using schema mark up to disclose your address information to search engines.
To get keyword rankings Google and other search engines, use backlinks from other websites as a signal to how popular or authoritative your website is in a given topic. There are plenty of articles on the internet on how to go about acquiring links, but the important thing to remember is it’s about quality not quantity. Having a large backlink profile of unnatural, spammy or paid links can result in your website being penalized.
The best approach would be what we call “Digital PR.” This comprises creating partnerships with relevant publications pertinent to your niche, by sharing content, research or anything else that is worth their time covering. If you are new to this, I would recommend reading Moz starters guide to link building.
Is SEO the right option for me?
This all depends on your situation. If you think that digital is going to be a big part of your future and believe you are going to rely on online sales, then it is probably key. If, however, you need to start generating revenue overnight, you probably won’t get much traction with a new website, as authority and backlinks take time to build. A quicker option might be doing paid search engine advertising. While doing organic in conjunction, this means you will make some revenue now (slightly more inefficiently) but further down the line you will be able to perform organically. It is also worth noting that in most cases, creating a successful paid campaign is a great test to see if you will actually be able to perform organically.
Author: Jack Cornwall is a Search Marketing Specialist who has worked for many brands. With a love of insights, he is currently using data driven strategies to grow his new start-up https://watchdoc.co.uk. Watchdoc is currently selling watch repair equipment in the UK, and are soon to launch and grow into Europe.