SEO is marketing, and the entire aim of marketing is to both know and understand the customer so well that the product or service essentially sells itself. You rarely have to “sell” something someone most defiantly wants.
Ah that age old adage, “The customer is always right.” You often hear salespeople and employees gripe, grumble, and moan when told this, mainly because it is fervently believed otherwise. But the fact of the matter is the customer is indeed always right, at least in regards to what they want and are willing to purchase. Of course they’re right, it’s their money/time and they’ll spend it however they deem most suitable.
The simple idea that customers don’t always know what they want, or what you happen to offer is better than what they “think” they want, happens to get more business people in trouble than any other logical fallacy you can fathom. What you think people like does not equate in the slightest to what is actually desired. It’s a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people, especially those that sell opinionated things or designs specific to certain tastes, such as fashion designers and musicians.
Kanye West was deemed the “voice of a generation” only a few years ago, but after a few odd songs and even odder public interactions, the man can barely sell enough tickets to keep a tour going. A highly decorated musician selling millions of records in the matter of a few years had his own fans turn on him. We may see something similar with Justin Bieber as his actions have become rather questionable, and as a result, his music reflects that.
Conversely, let’s look at a clothing designer that has withstood the test of time and carefully mulled over customer wants and expectations, Levi jeans. Levi Strauss began making jeans in 1853, and even though over the years they may have fallen off in popularity at times, they still exist. And why might you assume they’ve been able to do that? Simply because they have continually looked at customer wants and delivered, they didn’t try to create what those wants would be; affordable, comfortable, and lasting jeans. They haven’t broken that strategy, customers expect that from them, and that’s what they offer. I would be willing to bet so long as they don’t stray for their businesses core competencies that they will last another 150 years.
That long winded intro aside, how can business people dealing online help to make their websites perform better? Do you want to know how to generate more traffic, increase sales and conversions, decrease bounce rates, increase brand awareness, and overall make every metric your measuring improve? Because it’s rather simple, just give your customers exactly what they want and don’t become sidetracked by thinking you can influence that decision too greatly. The problem with SEO first of all it is convoluted, which makes it great for marketers finding clients as it seems like brain surgery when we explain it. But in reality, it’s hardly much different than traditional marketing. If at least that much is kept in mind you’ll be much better off in the future I assure you.
That said, let’s go over a handful of guaranteed ways you can improve your websites performance overall. Now many SEO agents wouldn’t fathom giving a guarantee of any nature as the internet and those that use it are finicky, picky, and flaky. But for what is about to be mentioned there is NO WAY they couldn’t help you if they weren’t being done. The only things I can’t promise is when the benefits will become apparent and how great those positive results will be. But rest assured that if you accomplish these, they will not negatively affect you, and will in some way help. That much every SEO agent would admit to without a doubt.
Good Site Health
Having a healthy website essentially means that all links go to where they are supposed to, video’s work properly, page load times are reasonable, and the pages are displayed as they are intended. In essence it means that the website is functioning properly and as it should. Having a website with poor site health easily causes people to become frustrated, nervous, and in the end regret having attempted to visit the site at all.
Typical site issues you may run across which decrease your sites overall health include, but are not limited to:
- Empty or missing Meta Titles
- Duplicate page content
- Duplicate page titles
- Robots.txt file errors
- Long URL’s (Over 115 characters)
- Overly Dynamic URL’s
- Temporary Redirects
- Title Elements that are too short or long
- Excessive on-page links
- Missing meta descriptions
- Permanent 301 redirects
- Poor Page Load Times
Proper Use of Social Media
Social Media’s importance to a websites overall performance has been steadily increasing every year. From its humble beginnings, Google has wanted to provide the most relevant and authoritative search results to those using their service. Many websites speak and touch on the same issues, which is where ranking’s come into play. But much of the ranking factor used to be determined by the number of links you received from other websites as that was a sign of overall trust as well as authority. The more links you received, and especially from highly trusted sites, the more your site was trusted.
But that game soon became rigged my marketers and Google has long been trying to find a solution to figure out a way to determine how trustworthy a site really is, or how respected they are in their specific field. Well what better way to determine this than by REAL people’s interactions with that website. As such, Social Media has begun to take some of the measuring weight away from websites online, and has given value to actual people. Now the big Social Media platforms being measured now is Twitter, Facebook, and Google +. Google tracks every share, like, tweet, re-tweet, follower, friend, and numerous other metrics when involving an associated website.
As such, it is becoming more important as time goes by to become involved in Social Media. More specifically, those three social medias, and for the futures sake, any others Google chooses to provide ranking value to. So in the least you need to start up an account under each of those platforms, attempt to get followers, and read up on how to market on them. Because even today they are more important than most people give credit to, and in the future, it is likely they will be even more critical to pay attention to.
Great Content Creation
There really shouldn’t need to be much said for this point. If you want people to value your authoritative opinion, then you need to prove that your opinion is worthy of being authoritative. Unique, engaging, informational, educational, and humorous content is what you should strive for every time. Never create something without it providing value in some way, as what is the value in that?
You will want to read up on content creation strategies, but typically those aren’t very difficult to create. As you no doubt know a lot about what you already sell or offer, you just have to pick and choose what you think your potential customers want or need to hear. Once a strategy is in place, you will want to fervently share it across your social media platforms, and remain engaged with people who respond or act based on that content. The value of quality content should not be underestimated, in fact it can’t be. Because if all you produce is low quality content, you will soon realize you don’t have many visitors, or if youdo, you won’t have many repeat visitors.
Strong Link Portfolio
Link building is an extremely important part of SEO, and proper link building is even more important. Your link portfolio, which comprises all of the inbound links you receive from other websites, should include nothing but links from quality sites (meaning ones with high Domain Authorities or Page Rank), relevant sites (meaning websites that contain similar topics as yours, Law to Law, Cars to Cars), and ones that essentially don’t appear spammy. If you ensure that all links coming in are quality, Search Engines will have greater faith in the quality of your website.
Now you can’t always control where you receive links from, and in fact, people do perform what is called “negative SEO”, where you get links to a competitors site from low quality, spammy, and even distasteful websites. This obviously isn’t the most honest or fair approach, and don’t assume it’s being done to you, simply be aware it is possible. So when looking through your link portfolio, if you notice you are being linked to from any sites you yourself don’t trust or like, try to have the website take the link down, or in the least make it a no-follow. Most webmaster will probably not even reply to your request, but it is still worth trying. Simply shoot them an email, ask politely, and hope.
Natural and Ergonomic Navigation throughout Site
People like things that come easily, and conversely, they become rather frustrated when they are not able to find what they want, or get to where they know they want to be. In our era of instant gratification, if you force a person to go through a maze of a website to find what they are looking for, or even purchase something and check out, they are likely going to quit well before they get anywhere near finishing.
Natural and Ergonomic navigation throughout a site also allows for “funneling” which is the process of directing users purposefully through a site with direct goals in mind. Whether that is to provide information, up selling, or simply to help them make a purchase. As such, you will want to map out your website and all the pages to make sure that the links on every page, including the navigation bar on top, flow in a manner that you deem fit. The easier it is to navigate through a website, the higher the likelihood that people will not leave it.
Hopefully these tips will help your website perform better, and remember that SEO is not something that once it’s done, it doesn’t have to be kept up on. You will always find problems that need fixing, styling that could be made better, color schemes that are easier on the eye, images that display products better, content that is more useful, and so on. Also, SEO is similar to a foot race amongst similar websites on the web. The more time you put in, the harder you work, the greater your gains will be. But your competitors will be doing the exact same thing, which means the only way to get ahead is to try harder. Which is our final words of advice…. Try harder. In the least, you will still be increasing your websites value even if you don’t surpass your competition by leaps and bounds.