Your website is everything to growing and maintaining a business in todays market…we have all heard this for years and it still rings true today, but in a different way. When websites first came on the scene for the majority of the businesses in the mid- to late 1990s there was a rush to create websites and get them up and running in what can only be described as a modern-day land grab. People would fight to get domain names and hire the right people to build the site (or worse, try to build it themselves). After it was online, the typical company would update the content from time to time and not much thought was given to the conversation rate of clients finding you on the internet; the goal was simply to get the business online. This lead to a collection of bad websites with busted links that hardly worked. Google was born out of this confusion and they perfected sorting the good sites form the bad, thus making it the trusted search engine for the majority of Americans.
Some of that 90s logic still rings true today with many small businesses and even large blue-chip companies. There is a belief that our content or our product is best and people will naturally find their way to the website. This is an old way of thinking. There is simply too much information out there for people to decipher. Saying you are the best or giving online customer testimonials does not drive traffic to your site (or more importantly conversions to paying clients). Search engines try to make sense of all the sites and data out there, but there is simply too much. The question sites like Google ask is, why are you deserving to be on the first page of a search? The good news is if you aren’t on top yet, there are inexpensive ways to get you on the way.
First understand, your website is your top sales person. You miss more calls than you get because of your website and it is competitive. In order to ensure the sales and leads keep coming in, you need to massage the website, its contents, and the feeder network on a regular basis, in order for you to be found by major search engines. Websites are not set-it-and-forget-it; in fact the more stale the content, the lower you get ranked in Google.
Search engines will not automatically put you at the top of the search results. In order to be at the top of this list, you have to create a network of content and feeders so you become more visible to Google and others. This type of work is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Imagine the last search you did for a product. Most likely you clicked links and answers on pages one or two of Google. If you are beyond page three you may as well not be found, because the odds are quite low that paying clients will ever go that deep.
Here are four quick things you need to develop so that your website turns into a lead-generating machine.
- External Links - External links are sites that link to a page or piece of work on your website. Getting good quality genuine links (meaning not SPAM links) to your site is considered SEO gold. The more links, the higher your ranking will be.
- BLOGs - Your website needs a BLOG section. BLOG posts and regular BLOG creation is absolutely necessary to increasing your visibility. The truth is, search engines love experts and you are an expert in your field. So take some time and generate a great article that people will want to read on something in your particular field. Once this article starts to spread so will your audience, and your external links! And Google Loves BLOGS!
- Get Local - When we started Birkdale Offices Suites, we didn’t set out to be a national player from the start. We wanted to be the best in the Lake Norman area with hopes of growing to more locations in the future. So, to do that we focused our content on the local market. Here is an example: search Google for Virtual Office, then search Google for Huntersville Virtual Office and you will get a very different result. If you are looking for an office in Huntersville the virtual office search will not do you very much good as it returns people in locations around the world. Get your content to be relevant to local searches. Be an expert in your area first, show Google that, then it will spread. This means the content on your site needs to be relevant to the geographical area you are targeting. As you grow and the markets you serve the content should flow to all of those.
- Stop Editing Your Own Site - If you are involved in the day-to-day of your business and/or an industry expert, it can often be difficult to get the content on your site correct. The reason is what makes sense to an expert may not make sense to an outsider trying to learn more and, more importantly, if the content isn’t massaged it may make no sense to someone looking for help.
- Get a Report - (I said four but we always try to overachieve) Get an outside opinion on your site and how you rank. The only way you can plan to move forward is to know where you are! You may be more invisible than you realize.