“Help, I built a website and no one came!”
So you have a new website, and you’re waiting for business to roll in…and waiting.
It’s time to act.
No matter how wonderful your new website is, traffic won’t come just because you built it.
Sure, Google and Bing will find your site eventually, but can you afford to twiddle your thumbs until then?
A website is just the beginning of a solid digital marketing effort. It can serve as the anchor for your campaigns, a place where visitors come to learn about your business and engage with your company.
But people have to find it first.
Getting found online is not hard, but it does take some consistent effort to rank well for the targeted search terms that your customers use to shop for what you sell.
When you build a new website, there are a couple of things to consider right from the start. First, your design and copy should be search-friendly. Often, the terms that rank well for SEO are not the ones you use to describe your product. Spend a little time checking keywords with Google’s Keyword Tool so you can optimize your web copy for high search rankings.
Code matters and speed counts. Your web developer should provide clean code that includes the proper meta tags (such as page titles and descriptions), correctly formated images and links with anchor text.
Your site should load quickly without lots of extra code to slow things down. You can check your web page speed with Google’s Page Speed utility, which will also provide tips on how to speed things up.
Hopefully, you hired a web designer that understands SEO so these on site factors are already incorporated into your new design. If not, address these onsite factors right away so you don’t lose hard earned traffic as soon as it arrives.
If your site is small, say just 10-15 pages of content, it will be harder to rank highly because you have less onsite content to index. Regularly adding new content keeps your site fresh and encourages the search bots to stop by often, which can translate to higher rankings. Try posting customer reviews, photos of products and articles about your business.
Adding a blog gives you an opportunity to post fresh content regularly, inviting more people to visit and interact, which Google applauds. Videos are also a good magnet for traffic, if they are properly tagged and relevant to the content of your site.
Step 2 – Expand Your Reach
On site SEO is only half the equation. What you do to drive traffic to your site is also important. Cast a wide net by moving beyond your website to other channels, such as blogs and social media, to generate inbound links and build interest in your site.
To help you generate traffic, here are a few suggestions that can help:
- Ask you business partners to add links to your site from theirs.
- Add your website URL to your bio and all your online profiles.
- Encourage employees to link to your company site from their social media profiles on places like LinkedIn.
- Include your website address when you comment on blogs or post on forums related to your business.
- Try online advertising with Google AdWords or other ad partners to drive traffic to your site.
- Include your website URL in offline advertising.
Don’t forget your industry associations and their online member directories for business profiles that link to your site.
More SEO Tips
These final tips may seem basic, but they are overlooked with surprising frequency. As you roll out your new site, be sure that:
- If you redesigned an existing site, any pages that have been moved need to have 301 redirects set up so search engines will know where they went. You webmaster should be able to handle this for you.
- Create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google through Webmaster Tools. This will tell Google what is on your site and what pages it should not index. (Note: This is not the same as the sitemap for users on your site. You need both.)
While it is tempting to expect instant results from your SEO efforts, patience and consistency are critical. It can take weeks or even months for changes on you site to have an impact on your search rankings.
Don’t give up too quickly. Monitor your site traffic with Google Analytics to see where visitors are coming from, what they like (the pages they spend the most time on), and what they don’t. (Pages with high “bounce rates” mean visitors are leaving before they get through the door).
Keep adding content, posting, linking and sharing, and your hard work will pay off.
Image by Michal Zacharzewski on sxc.hu.