So you’ve spent hard earned time and money building out a fantastic website. You’ve done everything right it seems. The website is nice and professional, has a clear call to action, and loads crazy fast. If you haven’t done these things, not to worry – our professional web design services can help! Needless to say, your new website is a lean mean customer generating machine. Now it’s time to sit back and watch your bank account start filling up, right? Not quite.
Go Google or Go Home
With the decline of paper phone book directories (remember those?), more consumers are turning to digital services to locate businesses that meet their needs. In 2016, roughly 40% of all online business transactions originated from a search engine, and the odds are pretty good that search engine was Google. If your business website isn’t search engine optimized for related search terms, Google won’t have a way to correlate the goods and services your business offers, to the specific search terms consumers are using to find them. This means you could be missing a huge opportunity. What’s more, only 10% of people ever advance to page 2 on Google. This means that unless prospects are able to find you on the first page of search results, you probably won’t be earning their business.
OK, So How Do I Optimize My Website?
We’re glad you asked! It used to be that one could just stuff a bunch of keywords on their site, and that would be good enough to make a small fortune online. Heck, at one time, just having a website meant you were already ahead of your competitors. In today’s heavily crowded online space, these tactics just no longer work. Google has caught on and learned from the tricks of the past. As a result, today, search engine optimization is a fast-changing animal. What we might have considered good strategies months, or even a few weeks ago, might not apply today. Also, what works well for one business niche, may not for yours. Your strategy will also vary greatly depending on whether you are targeting customers locally, across the country, or even across the globe. Generally, the greater your reach and the more competition you have, the more difficult earning a good ranking will be. Ranking is also a long-term effort and may take months to reach your target position within search engines. The good news is that with a good strategy and regular maintenance, SEO results are generally longer lasting than alternatives like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads (such as Google Adwords), which provide traffic to your site instantly but only while you keep paying for that traffic.
What the heck is ‘quality content’? Have you ever found yourself in the middle a news article or blog post and found yourself nodding off? You probably clicked the back button in your browser, or moved on to a different page, right? You were probably also less prone to recommend or share that page with others.
Google is smart enough to pick up on when users are engaging with your content in the same way. On the flip side, if you have articles, video, or other content that users are enjoying and sharing regularly, Google will see this too. It’s one of the biggest ranking factors for your website. It’s not as scary as it seems. We utilize a few tricks we’ve learned over the last couple decades to help us select and curate the best possible content for your site and we also work to constantly post new content on your site to keep users coming back for more.
With careful keyword research to identify search volume, trends and keyword competition, we’ll also make sure your content is keyword optimized so your content is being found by ideal customers and brand ambassadors. For example, search terms like ‘Wichita SEO’, ‘SEO Wichita’, ‘SEO in Wichita’, ‘Best SEO Service in Wichita’, while similar will all yeild different results and it’s important to know which search terms your ideal target audience is actually using. We’ll also make sure your keywords are specific to the geographical location your business serves. For example, you might want to use ‘SEO Kansas’ instead of a specific city if you were targeting the entire state of Kansas. We’ll show you which keywords are trending for your business niche and which could be a waste of time due to low search volume or sheer competition.
You may have heard of backlinks, or ‘link building’, and probably not in a good way. Backlinks are essentially any links that exist online back to your website. There used to be a day when you could pay just a few dollars to have tens of thousands of ‘blackhat’ backlinks created in a few minutes and you would become the king of your online hill. Today, this same practice could get you banned from Google, for life.
Backlinks are still alive today though and remain a huge portion of your website ranking on search engines. That said, all links are not the same. What you are striving for is ‘quality’ links from websites in the same niche, that Google trusts and ranks relatively well. One of the most popular ways to build backlinks today is by utilizing guest post opportunities, where you are helping curate engaging content for other websites in trade for a link back to your site. There are countless ways to earn links back to your site though and the key is creativity. The last thing you want to do is go crazy and build thousands of spammy links to your site in a short period of time. Google is clever enough to know what you are up to and could penalize you as a result. We utilize a safe mix of Google compliant link building strategies to help get your website ranked quickly.
Local citations are any instances where your business name, address and phone number (or what SEO specialists refer to as “NAP”) appear online such as in local business directories like Yelp and Foursquare, apps, or even social media platforms like Facebook. Citations help users find businesses within their community and as a result, are a huge ranking factor for Local SEO. Local citations can also negatively impact your local ranking if you have a low number of them, or if your existing citations are inaccurate or inconsistent. In the same way, you wouldn’t want your business listed incorrectly in the yellow pages, you definitely don’t want your business listed along with a wrong phone number, address or website link. The main thing is to make sure your business citations are accurate and consistent across the board. We can help clean these up and help you build citations where appropriate.
One of the most common blunders for businesses is neglecting to use Google My Business. You may have heard of Google My Business under a different name. The service has gone through a few iterations over the years so you may recognize it as Google Local or Google+. Google My Business is by far the easiest way to assure your business appears when users search for businesses nearby from Google’s other products like Google Maps for instance. This is especially important for mobile users, which now account for the majority of web users, where these other Google products are closely integrated together. We’ll make sure your Google My Business page is set up correctly and accurately.
When searching for a business, you are probably more likely to trust a company you’ve heard of or has positive reviews. Google knows this is also the case for most consumers and generally ranks companies with a better reputation higher than those who have no social proof or a negative reputation. This means it’s now more important than ever to offer excellent service and follow up with negative experiences where possible to prevent negative reviews in the first place. Although there are rare exceptions, in most cases negative reviews online are permanent and will not be removed simply by contacting the forum where those reviews were left. We utilize a mix of outreach and reputation management to not only build on the number of positive reviews your business has but to prevent negative reviews.
Social media can be a ton of work. Updating your status, feeds, responding to messages, selecting hashtags, updating news, the list goes on. Who has time for all that? We hear you. If your company is not participating on social media platforms and making it a breeze for users to share content, it could be hurting you however. One of the first places Google goes to see if your content is being shared with other users is social media platforms like Facebook. Also, when you consider YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet today, and almost everyone has a Facebook account, it’s easy to see the marketing potential these platforms can offer. It’s also a great way to build brand awareness for those who may be in the market for your services in the future. We not only help you set up new accounts on these platforms, we’ll help you decide which platforms you should be using, and which may be a waste of time. We’ll also make it simple for users to post and share content with your social media accounts and utilize the latest trends like Facebook bots to help keep your user experience positive.
It’s important to note that some things are just beyond your control. As you may have learned from the ranking factors above, Google is pretty smart about knowing exactly what might be relevant to a specific user. Google typically keeps a running history of prior search queries, and by combining this with your browsing habits, your physical location, and a plethora of other data, one person’s search results may often be completely different than another. You’ll want to keep this in mind when looking at search results yourself. Try to focus on an average of how your website has ranked in various searches over a period of time for a mix of users. We can help you analyze these results and build custom reports. We’ll even review these reports with you to break down the terminology and highlight what to pay attention to and what can be safely ignored. In this way, you’ll be able to spend your SEO budget more efficiently each month.
When Other Companies Zig, We Zag.
While SEO can be complex and has changed immensely over the last several years and months, much of the basics to good SEO remain the same. Where many companies will have you focus on the latest SEO trends and fads, it’s important to realize those typically only lead to short term results. We instead recommend focussing on your end user. Build an experience that engages your ideal customer, provide them with a wealth of valuable content, and you’ll already be far ahead of your competition.
Not Sure Where to Start?
At Wichita Designs, we’ve always believed in business relationships built on trust. You can count on us to cut through all the noise and tell you flat-out what needs to be done to generate results for your business. Don’t let an SEO agency overload you with technical jargon or statistics you don’t understand. There are no secrets in our SEO tactics. We’ll help you understand exactly what is being done within any SEO work we perform so you can hold us accountable. While any SEO campaign will take time to yield results, all of our campaigns contract-free! This means it’s up to us to prove that it’s worth rehiring us each month.
Give us a call and we’ll provide you with a FREE SEO analysis of where your website stands today, and what you should focus on going forward.