The harsh reality is this: very few people stumble upon any website by accident. Usually they are directed to a particular website as a result of a Google search, or they have clicked a link in a social media post.
This ‘Field of Dreams: build it and they will come’ mentality has given rise to a multitude of false hopes among many with a new website. Unfortunately, having an aesthetically-pleasing website is no guarantee people will drop by. It is akin to setting up your homemade lemonade stall in the middle of a forest and expecting to make money, with no signposts telling visitors where to find you!
So you need ‘signposts’.
There are several things you can do right away.
In order for your website to be found by the search engines you will require ‘links’ – the bridges that will bring prospects to your site. There are basically two types of links: on-page and off-page – a fair smattering of each will stand your site in good stead and help more people find you.
There are several technical aspects to on-page optimisation, such as correctly formatted metadata, which is beyond the scope of this article. However, the aim is to fill your website pages with keyword-rich content that will be of immediate value to your audience. Our advice is to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ – where you repeat the same keyword or phrase to excess – and write with your audience in mind rather than the search engines. Each page needs to be optimised so the keywords and content are relevant and exclusive to that individual page.
Successful off-page optimisation is all about building relevant inbound and outbound links to and from your site. There are a dozen ways you could go about this, but a great place to start is to make a list of online organisations relevant to your business or industry that already have a strong presence in Google’s eyes.
- Do you belong to a Chamber of Commerce or trade organisation? In which case, your business will almost certainly qualify for a link from their site to yours.
- Google My Business: Formulated for all devices, GMB (formerly Google Places) connects you with potential customers on Search, Maps and Google+ and is especially good for boosting local SEO. Find out more and sign up here: https://www.google.com/business/
- PR: Start a profitable ongoing relationship with your local press, trade magazines and industry directories, through generating exclusive content for their audience, (which is also your audience, naturally!)
- Social Media: Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like to promote your blog content. Include social share icons with your blog posts too so that readers can readily share your content.
- Blog/ Website Guest Posting: Possibly one of the most underrated, underused tactics for promoting your website, but also one that can deliver significant rewards when you get it spot on.
The key here is to ask yourself: “Who’s got what I want?” Which thought leader or non-competing business owner already has access to the audience you want to capture? What valuable content could you offer the blog/ business owner in return for a ‘warm introduction’ to their tribe?
Valuable Content is the Key to Success
Can you see just how easy it could be to achieve almost instant recognition for your website and your business through creating a steady stream of valuable content that draws prospects to you?
A word of caution here; don’t ever be tempted to buy cheap backlinks from so-called ‘link farms’ with the thought that you might fool Google into elevating your rankings unnaturally. These aptly-named ‘black hat’ practices could see your site plummet into oblivion overnight – the resulting hassle is simply not worth any short-term gains. The other major downside to black hat link-building, is that having all and sundry link to your site (whether relevant or not) is the fastest way to devalue your brand.