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Planning to update your company website? There’s more to it then just a fancy new design. You need to make sure that potential customers are able to find your site when they are searching for services or products that you offer. Otherwise, you’ll have a beautiful web site and absolutely no or limited visitors.
How do you get prospects to your online destination? By utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use really complicated algorithms to determine which sites get ranked higher than others in search engine results. The algorithm is based on a combination of keywords, useful, relevant content, and cross linking between your site and others.
“SEO is like an automobile with a lot of working parts,” says Pierre DuBois, owner of Zimana, a web analytics consulting firm, which offers online marketing strategy, operations, and financial analysis. “You need to get an idea of what those part are.”
If you are not able to hire an SEO expert to enhance your website, there are things you can do on your own. Here are a couple of DuBois’ tips to get you started.
1. Add images to your site. Photos will tell a story about what your services are and the end benefits that customers will receive. Images also help increase your ranking and if you apply keywords to your photos they will appear in searches for web images.
2. Consider creating a short video to explain your business. Video is another element that increases page ranking. The video should be about two minutes long, and if embedded in an analytics-tagged website, the video should have an event tracking code included to help count plays and determine visitor engagement. Try a video editor like Camtasia, which can merge images, music files, and even add narration. Remember, visitors do not like videos that play automatically.
3. Show recommendations from past clients. Although typically shown on sites such as LinkedIn and Yelp, accolades from former clients are extremely encouraging for visitors to do business with you.
4. Consider adding a widget to show your tweets or a Facebook Fan page to show updates. Online visitors are starting to respond more to companies with a social media presence. This is particularly helpful if your product or service has a social element to it.
5. Add keywords into the description tag of each web page. Not only does the description show in Google and Bing search results, but it also appears in social media sharing sites such as BizSugar, Digg, Delicious, and Seeded Buzz as well as when pages are shared across networks such as Linked In and Facebook.
6. Look for ways to refine keywords. As you understand what your customers are looking for, their choice of words changes over time. When you type a word into Google, use the Wonderwheel tool, which appears on the lower left of the search engine results. Wonderwheel provides additional suggested results that appear as spokes from your query. Click on each spoke to see new query hub and spokes for the given word — this can tease out new, unconsidered keyword suggestions for your pay per click ad or website. Use the content dashboards in a web analytics solution (Google Analytics, Piwik, Yahoo Web Analytics, Going Up!, Woopra, etc.), to review effective keywords phrases that produced average time on site, high conversion, and low bounce rate metrics.
7. Add comments about site changes in the annotation feature in Google Analytics. This will become not only a journal, but a way to see if a site change affected the analytics data and ultimately the visitor experience. You can also comment on dates of events that can potentially drive traffic.
8. Finally, never presume that just inserting the right keywords in a site is the secret ingredient to attract all traffic. Your site can be discovered in many ways, so don’t get hung up on one feature over the other. “Generating traffic is due to many methods — tweets, Facebook likes, podcast mentions, mentions in online videos, social sharing sites, online presentations, and offline activity via attending trade shows, presentations, appearances,” says DuBois. A web analytics solution usually examines direct referral and search traffic.