Imagine the scene, it's a beautiful sunny crisp February morning, you're enjoying a quiet stroll in the countryside, your breath is forming a small cloud each time you exhale, and you feel a general sense of well-being as you start to notice the faintest smell, a delicious desirable familiar scent and you wonder, what does that remind me of?
You walk a bit further, the smell growing ever stronger and you ask yourself, what is that wonderful odour? You carry on, and as you get closer you hear it, a familiar sound, and you put two and two together, the sound, the smell, the unmistakeable sizzling and crackling, of bacon rashers, frying in a pan and you feel your stomach start to rumble. Someone walks around the corner just ahead of you, biting into a steaming hot delicious crispy bacon butty and your mouth waters and you think, I've just got to have one of those right now.
All very appetising, but what has this got to do with Web Design and SEO?
The point is a winning web site is a web site that will attract visitors from a distance, (SEO and promotion), and compel them to take action. Just like the delicious smell of bacon cooking draws you in from a distance, a well planned SEO strategy will draw in targeted prospects to your web site and well designed irresistible content will compel them to take action.
How can I get my website to smell like sizzling bacon?
Just like a delicious crispy bacon butty, it's all about the ingredients.
You will need a good quality website, by good quality I mean it should be well coded, beautiful to look at, user friendly, contain rich and original content and be a call to action for your customers.
You will need a well planned search engine optimisation strategy. This subject itself is a series of articles, but here are a few key points you need to consider.
Understanding your business objectives
You need to know what you want to achieve form your SEO. This gives you the opportunity to establish your goals and understand your business and its unique challenges.
Check your web site for code issues
One of the least obvious mentioned areas of SEO is poor web design. A web site may look wonderful on the surface, but if the code is poorly written or contains lots of redundant code, or the site lacks text, has duplicate content or just has poor quality content, all of these can have a devastating effect on your ranking.
It is extremely important to understand the keywords and phrases that your customers are using. There are a variety of available tools to achieve this. In doing this kind of research you can target those keywords within your web site. We often find during this process keyword phrases that are used by our customers but not used by competitors. Always a bonus!
Detailed analysis of competition
Looking at your competitors web sites, especially those that rank at the top can provide valuable insights. For example, you can find out who links to them, what search phrases they are strong in (and which are they missing out on). It is always a good idea to know who your competition is and what they are doing!
Installation of site analytic tools
Site analytic tools show you how people found your site, what they searched for or where they clicked from and what pages looked at, how long they stayed and what route they took through your site. Obviously this information is valuable, it's valuable for measuring the whether or not your visitors are finding what they are looking for and whether they are taking action. Imagine you're investing in a Pay Per Click campaign, you really want to know if the visitors you have paid for actually bought something or got in touch.
Review/Create a linking plan
Search engines look at links like they are personal recommendations. If you have plenty of high quality links to your site, it is like having lots of people say "what a great company". It is how they differentiate between two similar competing web sites. Please note though, "high quality links", not all links are equal! We also weed out the ones that may be harming your site!
Creation of search engine sitemaps
Search engines use sitemaps to crawl your web site. That is not to say your website will not be crawled if you do not have one, but all of it will be crawled if you do. Search engines like sitemaps because it speeds up the process.
Creation of Robots File
Robot files tell search engine which pages to visit and which ones to ignore. Sometimes, especially if you have for some important reason duplicate content, it is a good idea to get search engine robots to ignore all but one of the duplicate pages. You do this with a robot.txt file.
Review of current authority
You're probably already an expert at what you do, but does your web site reflect that, and more importantly does it reflect it to the search engines. The more of an expert you are as assessed by the information on your web site, the more quality traffic and links you will receive, the more important your site will be perceived, the higher up the rankings you will go.
On page optimisation
You will need to optimise each page to make them a search engine friendly as possible for a particular key word set.
A review of available site statistics
If you check your existing site statistics and analytics (assuming you have some). There is usually a wealth of information available the you can use to boost your current rankings.
Regular written updates
Effective SEO is an ongoing process that needs to be monitored. If you are serious about generating more business through your website then you need a proper plan and a strategy and you need to know what is working and what isn't.
Content development and copy writing
Search engines are about providing high quality accurate responses to customer queries, they are about content. People are looking for answers, answers are found in quality content. Analyse your existing content, create blogs, and write articles so your site continuously grows with quality content. Be an expert.
Social media has expanded enormously over the past few years and cannot be ignored. It is now a massive potential market place and we have strategies for utilising this media.
A38.com offers a range of irresistible web design and SEO packages. For an informal chat with our head bacon fryer about how we can make your web site compel like a sizzling bacon butty, visit our website and we'll get the stove on!
This article was written by Ian Bertie. Ian is the propriator of A38.com a web design and SEO company based in Plymouth and established in 1997. In his spare time he is a member of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, and a qualified SARDA Mountain Rescue Dog Handler. If you would like more information about web design or SEO, Ian would be pleased to hear from you.