Digital marketing agencies must offer a website service, and knowing how and when to pair it with an SEO campaign is critical. Whether you’re working with a startup, an established local company or a virtual store, your clients’ customers need to find them. Search engine optimization is a vital component for connecting with an identified target audience. You may wonder when it’s the right time to implement an SEO strategy. In virtually all situations, the answer is, “today.” Regardless of whether your clients have an existing site, are leading a redesign or are launching a new one, it’s always the right time for an SEO campaign.
Launching or Relaunching a Site
Your SEO strategy is an ongoing process, which means it’s never “done.” The sooner you get started, the sooner you can see what works and reap the rewards of your hard work. Planning the site with the search engines in mind can save you a lot of work and rewrites later. If you’re redesigning an existing website, the following steps can help you conduct an audit. This will provide a roadmap for making improvements.
Choose an SEO-Friendly Domain Name
The domain name gives search engines context for the page content. The URL associated with your site should meet several criteria:
- Relevant to your brand
- Easy to remember
- Incorporates a primary keyword
Although the domain doesn’t need to match the company name exactly, it should be something easy to remember. The shorter the title, the better search engines like it. If possible, avoid using hyphens, numbers and other special characters. This makes it more difficult for people to spell and can result in not finding your site. Don’t get too creative as it can confuse people searching for you.
Once you’ve decided on a name, check its availability using a domain name checker. Search for different top-level extensions such as .com, .org. or .net. There are nearly 2 billion websites worldwide. If the name you want is not available, go to Plan B. You can select a .net or other extension if .com is unavailable. However, many visitors automatically go to the .com option, taking them to a different site. A thesaurus can help you find words similar to your first choice. Popular keywords for your industry or niche can also become part of an effective domain name.
As you develop or re-develop the site, the best SEO practices include consideration for the user experience. UX isn’t rocket science, and in many cases, it complements your SEO strategy.
Before crafting site content, develop a list of relevant keywords. These are words and phrases your target audience uses when searching for similar products and services. Get started by asking yourself these questions:
What is the purpose of the page? Are you selling a product or service? Is education the primary goal? By defining the intent for the page, you can identify highly relevant keywords. This is more effective than using generic terms.
What is the page topic? Is it a how-to guide or a list of features and benefits? When you know the type of content going on the page, you can target applicable keywords and phrases. Use a keyword tool to expand your list of keywords.
Discover Searcher Intent & Language
Keyword research helps you identify the best keywords for your content creation team. You can pinpoint the words searchers use when describing the problems they have and the solutions they want. As a result, not all keywords and phrases have the same intent and meaning that you may expect. You may also discover several words and phrases that searchers use that you would not normally consider. When expectations become apparent, implement several long-tail keywords as part of your SEO strategy. Now you can deliver content that matches what visitors want.
Attract the Click
Optimization is about more than improving your website’s location on the search engine results page. It’s also about searchers clicking to your site. Give them a reason to click your link instead of the others on the screen. Start by ensuring page has a unique title and focus on a single topic. This not only confirms its intent for the search engines but also avoids confusing visitors.
Capture readers’ attention using language and terms that encourage the click. Once on a website site, visitors don’t read everything on the page; they scan it. You have about 8 seconds to make an impression that piques searchers’ interest enough for them to browse your site. Make sure it fits the keywords and offers useful information related to the page topic. Craft a meta description for each page. You have up to 300 characters to impart the most important information, but only the first 150 characters typically display. Focus on providing content searchers may find the most valuable first.
Clear, simple content that’s properly formatted is an effective component of an SEO strategy:
- Use bullets to make critical data stand out
- Highlight important information
- Focus on one idea per paragraph
- Use subheadings to separate topics
Content is anything published on your site that attracts, educates and entertains customers, such as
- Blog posts
- Brochures and tip sheets
- Frequently asked questions
- Reports and whitepapers
- Sales pages
- Webpage content
High-quality content is vital for users and search engines. When developing page content, focus on your human audience, not the search engines. Make it original and enticing, useful and persuasive. Use catchy titles that catch the readers’ attention. There’s no perfect word count. However, 350 words for landing pages and 500 words for blogs are average minimums. A good rule of thumb is to provide enough useful information to answer questions about products and services, regardless of page length.
Instead of putting all your content on one page, focus each on a single subject. Use links that direct searchers to additional or related topics, needs and solutions. Mix graphics, pictures and video with text. This invites visitors to spend more time with your site and explore.
Follow Smart Steps for a Redesign
If you’re helping a client undergo a redesign, you want to avoid negatively affecting their SEO ranking. This can happen if you are modifying the URL structure of any existing pages. Before making any changes, download a copy of your current site, as the redesign will likely result in restructuring.
Avoid affecting the UX by copying your website to a temporary URL and giving it a checkup. Identify broken links and confirm the CSS and features perform as they should. When the redesign is complete, you may find that site URLs have changed. For example, the About Us page may have evolved from www.yourwebsite.com/about_us.html to www.yourwebsite.com/aboutus.html. Implementing 301 redirects for each changed URL can ensure that both the original and updated links work.
A redirect also prevents a site from losing SEO benefits gained from the original address. If done incorrectly, search engines will see 404 “web page not found” errors and downgrade your website, moving you down on the SERPs. Avoid this situation by switching to the new site only after finalizing and testing the design and redirects.
Specializing in Small Business Marketing
At Boostability, we focus on delivering digital marketing services to partners servicing small businesses. Whether your current SEO strategy offerings includes improving social media presence, boosting search engine ranking or increasing link building, we can help. Contact us today and learn more about how we can tailor a marketing solution to your business needs and budget.