Building and Marketing Beyond Search Engines

arrow hitting target bullseyeSearch engine optimization (SEO) is one of those inescapable buzzwords, and for good reason. Following SEO principles and achieving page-one positioning on major search engines is definitely a big deal; however, there are many other factors responsible for your online success.

Taking into account the user experience of your audience is essential for being taken seriously enough for a customer to want to give you repeat business. This isn’t to say that search engine optimization is a relic of the past – far from it. Learning to bridge the principles of search engine optimization with all of the elements that create highly engaging websites is a great way to expand your online visibility while creating happy customers.

Components of an All-Star Website

The silver lining in all of this is that the components of a compelling website are the same ingredients that you’ll need to pass today’s SEO best practices checklist. Customers and search engines are both after many of the same things.

Content is King

The algorithms in search engines essentially want to refer customers to websites that are most relevant to their needs. One of the ways that search engines determine relevancy is by looking at your website’s content.

  • Do : Content that is neatly arranged and relevant to the user’s needs is truly the holy grail when it comes to getting search engines to shuttle users over to your website.
  • Don’t : Keyword stuffing or using low-quality purchased links won’t get you the quantity of page hits or quality customers that you’re after, and it might even hurt your online reputation.

Positive User Experience

To begin building a website with the end goal of positive user experience, research begins with the intended audience. Who are they, what are their problems and what can you do to help?

By better understanding these questions & answers, your website can be built from the ground up to best serve your visitors – both pre- and post-sales. The design, menu, pages, all the site content becomes obvious when there is a common goal.

Next, you want to create a website that adjusts to how your audience is using it. When you go through the design process, ensure you are considering how the site (and experience) will be affected on different devices. Design for a smartphone, tablet and laptops; consider the goals of the visitors who use these devices, and set the site up accordingly.

Establishing Goals Early and Often

Running a website without first determining the action you want your website visitors to take is a bit like running into the woods without your compass. You might get what you’re after, but there’s a huge chance you’ll get lost as well.

What’s Your Conversion?

When we talk about leads and conversions, it’s easy to get swept up by the moment and forget what these terms actually mean in the real world. In short, a lot of people create websites without thinking through the action that they want potential customers to take.

For you, a conversion might mean an online purchase or a download.  For another business, a conversion is a website goer making the trek into a brick-and-mortar shop.  Other types of conversions include a website visitor submitting an online form, downloading a piece of content, or making a phone call.  It’s important to identify up front which actions make the most sense for your particular business and its audience.

While your goals can vary, it’s important to have a benchmark for success and a method to measure it or you’ll never really know when, or if, you’ve succeeded.

Troubleshooting Obstacles

Defining your goals can also help when it comes to troubleshooting your way around an under-performing website. If, for instance, you’re not reaching as large an audience as you would like, then it might be time to branch out to multiple channels and incorporate a more proactive social media marketing strategy.

Takeaway Points for Success

1.  Create relevant Content.  Although it may be tempting to try to outsmart the SEO system by keyword stuffing or cramming your site with links, this strategy seldom pays off. Even if it does work temporarily, your customers aren’t going to be happy for very long.

2. Start Off Thinking About Your Users’ Experience.  Create a user-centric website that works across all devices. A user-centric site should be organized, easily navigable, quick-loading and authoritative in its content.

3. Determine & Track Conversions.  Tracking conversions is critical for success because it helps determine whether your website is on-track or needs an overhaul. Your key performance indicators should be attuned to your definition of a conversion.

Getting these best practices linked up and pleasing your customers is definitely a win-win. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact WebTech Marketing today and learn how online marketing and responsive website design can take your business to the next level.