26/06/2017 | Digital Marketing | 15 minutes
Your website has cost you money. But is it an asset? If it's not delivering sales, enquiries or raising awareness of your brand, it's not delivering a return on investment. If you haven't considered the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your site previously, or haven't revisited it in a while, you're missing an opportunity to deliver on your business goals.
The path to increasing ROI from your site isn't through adding flashier functionality or cooler design – it's by increasing its visibility and relevance. You can easily achieve this with your existing site and a bit of effort.
Improving the search visibility of your site through search engine optimisation (SEO) will drive more traffic. More traffic means more people converting to sales, enquiries or awareness. But that's not the end of it. Making sure your site appears relevant from the second users land will keep people on site and increase engagement. This will not only improve your conversion rate (and ROI), but also helps your site to rank more highly.
SEO is often considered a dark art, and it's true that there are some complex elements. However, getting the basics right can have a big impact on the visibility.
This can take some effort, but taking these few steps will help your website climb up the rankings and deliver real benefits to your business.
Finding relevant keywords is the starting point to making your site rank higher in search engines. You need to think about the terms that your users are plugging in to search engines to find products and services like yours.
But keyword relevance isn't the only consideration. You also need to take into account search volume and competition. Search volume is the figure that shows roughly how many monthly searches each term gets. The higher the number, the more potential visitors it could send to your site. Your competitors will also be targeting these keywords, and if they're established it can be difficult to battle your way to the top. Looking at the 'long tail' – those searches that are less common, but make up a significant proportion of search traffic – can be a key to boosting your visibility. These long-tail keywords are less popular, but can still attract decent traffic. The competition for these terms, however, is significantly lower. This gives you a much better chance of ranking highly.
The keywords you identify through your research should be included in your page title, URL and on-page content. Focus on one (or two at a push) phrases per page for maximum impact. Search engines are sophisticated, so don't stuff them in. Your content is for humans so remember this as you write.
There are many online services that can help you with your keyword research. Here are a few to get started with:
Search engines get smarter every day. But they still don't truly understand the content of your website. You can fix this by using standardised code in the background – schema markup – that helps search engines understand what's on your site.
Schema markup is a widely recognised 'language' that's used to give meaning to different content and data on your site. It allows you to tell search engines that an address is an address, highlight what content relates to products, or indicate an event. This structured data uses a format that is agreed and accepted across the web, so adding it to your site can have wide-ranging benefits.
If you know your way around your content management system, and HTML doesn't terrify you, you can add structured data yourself. There are a number of resources that can help you to get it right:
The major search engines have their own business directories that link with their search and map offerings. By submitting your site to these and providing accurate, up to date information you will increase your search rankings as well as making it easier for clients to find your business. For businesses that have a physical location that clients visit, such as a shop, office or studio, this is even more important.
Typically, you just fill in an online form to register your business. To check that the information is correct, search engines will ask you to verify your data. This might mean waiting for code to arrive via a postcard, phone call or other means that you have to enter before your listing is approved.
The main search engines each have their own interface for adding your business information. Here's two to get started with:
Adding your business information to online directories – digital versions of the old Yellow Pages – is another way you can give your website a boost. These listings provide another route in for your customers and add to the number of external sites linking to yours, which can boost its visibility. Some directories can be more harm than good to your rankings though, so it pays to be cautious.
If your business is established, it's possible that you already have a presence in some of these directories. However, this data can be inaccurate and this can hurt your search engine rankings.
Many of the old-school printed directories, such as the Yellow Pages, have moved online. But there are a wealth of online only directories, often providing better value. Finding the right ones can be tricky, so using a service that allows you to manage your listings across multiple sites is a good place to start.
If your business is niche, there may be specific directories for the products or services you offer. A quick search will often bring these up. Similarly, if you are a member of any professional bodies, these may have listings where your business can be featured.
Getting clients to visit your site is just the start. Once they are there we need them to convert to deliver maximum ROI. Tweaking your pages so that they are relevant and have clear calls to action will help you to do this. Making your pages relevant will encourage users to spend more time on the page. This increased engagement and reduced bounce rate will reflect positively on your search rankings, but also improve your conversion rate. In turn, this can boost your bottom line, providing the ROI you need from your website.
Think about the search terms you've optimised the page for – they need to be reflected on the page so that users know they have reached the right place. Use clear headings to indicate this. Your main heading (also known as your H1 doesn't necessarily have to include your keywords, but it should be clear that the content of the page is related.
Make sure your content has value and is well structured using subheadings, bulleted lists and paragraphs to break up text. This helps to encourage engagement,
Once you've got your users to your site, it's important to get them to do something. If you want users to buy something, call you or fill in a form, make it easy for them to do so. Clearly labelled buttons and active language can help you to do this.
If these steps seem like a lot to get your head around, we're here to help. Our digital marketing service can cover all of these steps and a lot more. Our combination of in-depth technical SEO knowledge and user focus helps businesses of all sizes to get results. If you'd like to learn more about how we can deliver real ROI by improving the SEO of your existing website, contact the Urban Element team today.