For many business owners, having an SEO-friendly website is a goal that they never quite get around to. That’s a missed opportunity.
Remember middle-school dances? The little clutch of girls sitting at one side, laughing too loud and glancing out the corner of their eye at the little clutch of boys in the other corner, laughing too loud and looking at the girls who are already dancing?
The web is like that. Millions of websites waiting for visitors and a relative few getting all the attention.
Let Google Bring Visitors to Your Website
How do people get to your website? Maybe they got your business card at a meeting or from a friend. They look up your information and check out your site. That’s a direct visitor.
Maybe they got a referral on social media or liked a piece of content you posted or that someone shared online. Let’s call those social media referrals.
Pretty much everybody else comes through a search engine. Whether local or global, they’re using the indexes of the search engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. (And since Google represents about 70 percent of the worldwide search, let’s just call them all “Google”).
Your website can be your 24/7 marketing assistant, but that assumes that people can find it. A highway billboard doesn’t do much good if it’s on a private country rode that gets zero cars going by. Your website has to be seen to work.
Direct traffic is good. But how many business cards do you hand out in a week? Enough that a 1 to 2 percent conversion rate will pay off? How much time do you want to spend on face-to-face networking? Direct traffic can take heavy lifting to maintain.
Social media shares? Also valuable, but the same activities that get you social media notice need only a little tweaking to bring in search traffic, too.
Why Search Traffic Rocks
Search traffic is a golden source:
- It’s targeted: The people who come to your site are looking for what you’ve written. If you fashion it right, it’s the people you most want to serve.
- All-day, all-night: The web never sleeps, and your website content keeps working all the time, across all time zones.
- Evergreen: That great article you posted five years ago? It’s still speaking today. You may need to update when information changes, but your work never goes away.
- It’s effectively limitless. You can shake only so many hands in a day. But your website can get millions of visitors in the same amount of time.
I don’t want to tell you this is “money for nothing” — there’s no such thing. But your return on investment can be very favorable, which is the number that matters. If you’re making more on your marketing than you’re spending, you’re ahead.
There are things you need to do to make your website SEO friendly, and a few of them happen automatically when you blog.
Build Value into Your Website
Just like you need Google to bring visitors to your site, Google needs your content to bring visitors to their search engine results pages, where they sell ads.
From 1990, when search engines were invented, they’ve been trying to increase the sophistication of their software:
- To index all the web
- To locate the best information
- To complete searches rapidly
- To weed out bad and duplicated content
In other words, to improve the search experience (in order to make the ad-buying experience more profitable).
To do that and maintain the speed, they have developed software programs (called robots or bots) that use a set of rules (algorithms) to determine what’s on the page and what will be its value to any given search. The programs are amazingly sophisticated and do their jobs amazingly well. But they are machines, and if you speak their language, they will understand you better.
Here are some of the quality signals search engines take into account when looking at your website as a whole, that you can improve by starting a business blog.
All things being equal, more pages are better. Partly because more pages gives you more opportunity to answer the questions people are asking Google. Partly because a bigger site, logically, has more information than a smaller site.
When you start a blog in a site based in WordPress (or other content managemetn system), the robots count each URL in your site as a page.
That may not be obvious if you’re looking at the front end of a site. You see a page in the list called “blog” or something, and you open it. There you find a series of posts all laid out one after another, all on one page. But that’s just a way of displaying them.
If you click one of those headlines, it takes you to a page with its own URL. Whether there are 200 words or 500 words on the page, it’s one URL and one page.
Within WordPress, there are “pages” and “posts,” and they mean slightly different things. But as far as Google is concerned, they’re all the same thing.
We’ve all been to websites that seem to have cobwebs in the corners. Believe me, I get it. Updating content takes time and effort, and sometimes there are more urgent things to keep up with. Nevertheless, as a web user, when I see that the most recent content is from a year ago, it causes me to wonder if the website is still in business.
In the same way, search engines consider how frequently the content is updated when they decide what to throw up in answer to a sesarcher’s question.
When you publish regularly to your blog, you let visitors, including bots, know that you’re still around.
Build a Content Library
Most of us go to the web every day to solve a problem: What’s for dinner? Do I have the flu? How can I kill 10 minutes in the Costco line?
Your business may address those problems or something more profound and serious. But if you want to catch the questions thrown your way, you need to get your content out there.
It is possible to do that by throwing out random blog posts on what you think of this week. That’s better than nothing.
Or you can build a content library that magnifies your authority and helps you rank for higher-competition keywords over time.
What do I mean by “higher-competition”? Let’s say you’re just starting your blog in the dog training field, so you want to appear in the search results for “dog training.”
Here are some numbers to look at:
There are roughly 60,500 searches each month in the United States for “dog training.”
The first page of Google serves about 10 of 47 billion results (plus ads and local results).
Most searchers (95 percent) won’t turn past the first page.
On that first page are major pet stores, the Pets section of WebMD, and other big players (your results will be different, because Google tailors results to the searcher).
As the owner of a brand-new blog, you’ll have a hard time ranking for “dog training.”
That’s no reason for despair. It will be easier to rank for “[your town] dog training” or “[type of dog] dog training,” down to “how to train a golden retriever for duck hunting.” All those would be easier than the big, generic “dog training.”
Using smart content strategies, you can create a stream of SEO-friendly dog training information attracting more people to your website. As you build your library of content, you’ll attract the right people, first slowly and then faster, by offering quality, selecting the best keywords, and skillful on-page SEO.
Build Your SEO-Friendly Blog Now
Building web traffic is a little like starting a diet or exercise program. Your goal may seem very far away at first, and the results you’re aiming for don’t happen overnight.
But if you begin and stick with it, results do happen. A new contact here, a new client there. A steadily rising number of visitors, a growing email list. These smaller wins make the end goal seem closer and add momentum to your process. A good strategy will multiply your results and help you keep going when the goal seems farther away as it gets closer.
Having trouble getting started? I can help you create a doable plan for building your SEO friendly blog. Contact me for a free strategy session to see if you’d like my help.
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