Getting your website ready for the search engines is a bit like constructing a house. You've got this idea for a fantastic website, right? But just like building a house, you can't just start slapping things together and hope for the best. You need a plan!
What all goes into that plan? Let’s work through the different aspects of SEO and how they relate to constructing a house…
1. Keyword Research and Analysis = Blueprint and Design
Just as a well-thought-out plan lays the foundation for a sturdy home, a successful website thrives on a well-crafted strategy right from the beginning. You need to map out the structure and direction of your online space, ensuring that every piece of content aligns cohesively with your audience's needs and search intent.
Keyword research is an important step because finding and using the right keywords (the words that people are actively typing into Google) will help your website get found online!
2. Competitor Analysis = Surveying Nearby Houses
Consider competitor analysis as checking out neighbouring houses. Similar to fostering a sense of community in a neighborhood, observing what works for competitors helps tailor your website to attract customers. Learn from their strengths and weaknesses to craft a website that stands out.
Look at your competitors' websites and ask yourself questions like:
How well does the website cater to its target audience?
Are there any notable features or functionalities that enhance the user experience?
Are there any special offers, promotions, or incentives for conversion?
Note: typically, Competitor Analysis is part of a business' overall Business Plan or Business Marketing Strategy.
3. Website Audit = Home Inspection
Think of a website audit as the digital version of a home inspection. Just as a home inspection uncovers existing issues or potential improvements in a house, a website audit delves into your site's core, identifying technical glitches and areas needing improvement. If you're buying a house, a thorough home inspection reveals what you're getting into. Similarly, a website audit digs deep into your site's structure, uncovering potential problem areas and paving the way for enhancements.
A comprehensive Website Audit typically covers the following areas:
visual brand consistency
are header tags, alt-text used appropriately
Small Town Girl Promotions - STGP offers Website Audits (we don't like the word "Audit", so we call it a Website Check Up). Inquire here.
4. Technical SEO = Foundation and Structural Integrity
Technical SEO is like establishing the foundation and structural integrity of a house. Just as a strong foundation and structure ensure a house's stability and durability, technical SEO secures your website's base - its indexing, speed, and mobile responsiveness. A robust structure is what keeps a house standing for years, and your website is no different. Professional website designers will know how to build a website with strong technical SEO from the ground up. If you're unsure about your website's technical SEO, consider asking an expert.
5. Content Optimization = Interior Design & Furnishings
Just as furnishing and decorations add value and purpose to each room in a house, quality content enhances the value and relevance of a website. Cozy furniture, captivating artwork, and great lighting: these elements significantly influence how you feel in your home. Likewise, ensure your website exudes a similarly welcoming atmosphere to engage visitors and create a memorable online experience.
"Content" refers to all of the images, graphics and words that appear on your website. Be sure that the sentences and paragraphs make sense and that the tone of voice of the sentences on your website match the personality of your business. Use high quality images the send the right messages to your audience.
6. User Experience (UX) Optimization = Layout and Floor Plan
Think of UX optimization as the equivalent of a house's layout and floor plan. Just as the layout and floor plan of a house dictate its usability and flow, UX optimization ensures your website is easy to navigate and provides a seamless user experience. Imagine having unnecessary walls blocking pathways or no stairs to access the second floor in your house - getting around would be challenging. Similarly, a well-designed website navigation is crucial. Ensure everything fits seamlessly and aligns cohesively, resulting in a positive and intuitive user experience for your visitors.
In simpler terms, make sure that the visitors to your website can easily and intuitively find the information that they are looking for. The items in the menu bar should be clear, all links should work, and items should appear where you'd expect them to appear.
7. Local SEO = Neighborhood Signage
Think of local SEO as the digital equivalent of neighbourhood signage. Much like how neighbourhood signs help people find their way and discover local parks and businesses, local SEO efforts aim to make your website easily discoverable and relevant within specific locations or target audiences.
Examples of Local SEO / Neighbourhood Signage include:
setting up and optimizing online listing profiles such as Google, Bing, Yellowpages, etc.
adding location(s) to the website SEO settings
getting your business added to local online directories and publications (ex: Chamber of Commerce listings, Town/City business directory listings)
including location-specific information in the Meta tags and descriptions
8. Social Media Integration = Social Gathering Spaces
Consider social media integration as the equivalent of communal gathering spaces. How do we connect with new people? We socialize! Similarly, just as meeting your new neighbours when moving into a new house creates a sense of community, social media integration helps you connect and engage with your audience. This helps to form meaningful relationships and interactions within the digital community.
You can set it up so that your social media feed automatically populates to your website, thus adding keywords and up-to-date information to your website. Adding your website domain (link) to your social media profiles also helps direct more traffic to your website.
9. URL Structure Optimization = Address and Street Name
Just as a clear address is crucial for finding a house, an optimized URL structure simplifies search engines and users' understanding of webpage content. Imagine giving someone the wrong street name. Chances are, they won't find their way to you! It's similar online. A proper URL structure and descriptive slug names are like digital signposts, guiding website traffic straight to what they need to go.
In simpler terms, the pages on your website should be named on the backend properly. For example, your "About" page should be: www.businessname.com/about , not www.businessname.com/copy-of-services or something else unrelated.
10. Website Security and SSL = Locks on Doors and Windows
Similar to how locks secure physical spaces and provide safety, website security safeguards your site from online threats, ensuring safe access for visitors. Just as you wouldn't leave your home for a weekend without locking doors or setting up your alarm system, it's crucial not to leave your website vulnerable to online threats. Ensure your website is secured with proper security measures and SSL protection to safeguard it from potential digital intruders.
Website hosts such as Wix and Shopify provide this feature automatically, but if you're building your website on Wordpress or have purchased your domain from GoDaddy (as examples), you'll likely need to do this manually.
11. Regular Content Updates = Seasonal Decor Changes
Just as you refresh home décor with the changing seasons, updating content keeps your website dynamic and relevant. Much like adding plants in the spring or festive decorations during the holidays spruces up the home, regular content updates breathe fresh life into your website, giving it a timely and seasonal feel.
Blog posts are a very common and excellent way to provide regular content updates. Posting regular blogs signals to Google (and other search engines) that your website is up-to-date and relevant, scoring it some serious SEO points!
12. Monitor and Adapt = Home Maintenance and Upkeep
Think of monitoring and adapting your SEO strategy as the equivalent of home maintenance and upkeep. Similar to how regular maintenance ensures a house stays in good shape, continuously monitoring and adapting your SEO strategy is vital for sustained success and growth.
Keep an eye on the analytics of your website. Ask yourself questions such as:
where are people clicking through to my website from (where is the traffic coming from)?
how many people visited my website this month as compared to last month?
from what geographic location are people visiting my website?
how much time are they spending on my website?
which pages are they visiting the most often?
Answering some of these questions may give you ideas for ongoing improvements that could be made to your website. Remember, your website is your 24 hour salesperson, so it deserves some ongoing attention and love to make sure it's functioning as best it can!
Crafting a successful website optimized for search engines is akin to constructing a solid house. At STGP, we're all about using tried-and-true practices to build online spaces that shine in the digital realm. With us, your online presence isn’t just a site, it's a digitally optimized masterpiece ready to stand out and thrive!