From the initial design brief meeting to the day your website goes live can be a fun, thrilling and exciting time. However it does not and cannot end there. For the person who clicks on your site for the very first time, your website must fulfil so much.
Perhaps the first great task of your website is that it must fit in with the expected image of what the site will look like. The viewer’s mind’s eye quickly generates this image based on the description they initially clicked over before landing on your site. Colours, shapes, and the overall ‘feel’ of the site can be subconsciously created and ‘seen’ within the millisecond it takes for your site to pop up.
The headache occurs when that poor viewer is disappointed with the inconsistency between the description and the sites they end up viewing. Often this can lead to an immediate scroll to the back arrow and bounding off the page. Something you do not want. Although there are millions of search attempts that fail to satisfy the viewer as a result of poor search terms, your site could be leaving your viewers disappointed even if their search term directly fits with your offering.
Whilst great design is essential in providing a cure for the above occurrence, a beautifully crafted website that no one sees, or more importantly the wrong target audience sees is useless. This is where SEO comes in. Below are 4 top SEO techniques to enhance your sites ability to attract not just an audience, but the right audience.
1) Identify who it is you want to reach
The keyword here is keywords. You need to fully understand who your audience is and also what they are likely to type into a search box to try and find you. These few words must relate to your site in a clear and concise way. Bad methods of achieving this can result in awkwardly written descriptions in order to get as many keywords as possible. Far better to sound like a human, remain focused on a few keywords that can differentiate you from the competition and integrates with your other online and/or offline messages. This leads us nicely to point 2…
2) Integrate and create consistency
If your website is only one part of how you communicate with existing and potential customers or users, it is a good idea to get consistent. Often a website is an extension of a brand. Brand extension can work very well, but is hindered through lack of consistency across all platforms.
The big things like colour scheme, contact details etc are paramount, so too is the tone of voice. A viewer of your website will be constantly looking for reasons not to trust you, and finding incorrect or inconsistent information is a big turn off. As well as this search engines love consistency. So if your keywords correlate to what is written in the text, phone numbers in code descriptions match numbers on the site, then your website gets big thumbs up from search engines who want to offer their users legitimate, clear and concise sites.
3) Think local
A big part of the online revolution is the ability to cross continents at the click of a button. Whilst this is great, many of the search engines like to feel they can produce a set of websites that their users can legitimately use. No good searching for a washing machine repair man and up pops a great guy who fixes every machine known to man… in Sydney Australia….. and your sitting in your flat in Ealing… with dirty clothes.
To get your site ranked, viewed and used by all those wonderful local people (your neighbors), you can use techniques such as local directories, Maps facilities, such as Google places. Many of these have the ability for your customers to leave reviews for your potential customers to see and begin their relationship with you. All this allows your website to gain a decent online presence without you doing much leg work.
4) Sort out your reputation
Talking of presence. Your websites online reputation will ultimately guide the search engines to make clever choices about whether or not to rank you 5th, 15th or 50th in a search term. Ways in which you can build an online reputation are through link building. This is a method of basically forming a line of communication with another site that lets the spiders in the search engine form an opinion of your site. And just like that time when you met your hoping-to-be in-laws for the first time, the company you keep matters.
Ensuring you build links with reputable, trustworthy sites far outweighs the quantity of links that can be made using suspect techniques. It’s quality versus quantity here. For ideas for your website link potentials, think of any people, friends, family, acquaintances you know who have a decent website that may correlate with what your site is offering.
Other ways to improve your online reputation is to offer a blog on your website subject. Put to one side the SEO benefits, this is great way to keep visitors interested and returning to your site with a three-fold benefit of keeping your website filled with fresh content.