Findable Web Site Development
How easy it is to find your web site is obviously a factor in determining how much value your business's web site adds to your company's bottom line. Being easier to find online than your competitors is an obvious competitive advantage and one which should be highly prioritized within your business plan.
Making your site findable
There is no shortage of options both online and offline to increase the ability of potential clients and customers to find your web site, included here are some of my preferred methods which will improve the find-ability of your web site.
Search Engines are still the most popular method used by individuals to find what they are looking for online. There are a number of things you can do which increases the likely hood of being found in Search by implementing and completing some Search Optimization basics.
- Keyword Research: People search by using words they determine as relevant and likely to find what they are looking for. Keyword Research must be completed to determine what terms are most popular with your identified target market. Keyword Research is critical to success, to by pass this step is to leave your entire online marketing program to chance. You may think you know what people are using however, in most cases business owners are somewhat surprised by some of the terms used to find their business and services online.
- Content Development: How the keywords are integrated into the web page and it's content is important to enabling Search Engines to determine what each page is about, and where to place the page in the Search Engine Results Pages. Keywords should be integrated in: the title, description tag, headings and toward the beginning of the first sentences of the paragraph to indicate these terms are highly relevant to a specific topic.
- Back-links: The number and quality of links pointing to your web site is one of the most important aspects of the Search Engine criteria. Developing a Link Building Program is an absolute necessity if you are to obtain visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Those are the basics of SEO that must be considered regardless of whether your web site is targeting global or local search. Now for some of the finer points which have the potential to make your site stand out from the crowd:
- Site Maps: Developing a XML site map and submitting it to the primary Search Engines ensures the Search Engines are aware of the pages on your web site, and also enables you to notify the Search Engines of the importance of the various pages on your web site. For example a page outlining your primary services is more important than an About page. XML Site map Generator
- Video: Creating and promoting video is definitely one of the stand out items to add the edge to your findable web site efforts. Some things to consider with video
- Promote the Video to video sharing sites such as YouTube (an absolute must do)
- Be consistent with all video keywords and descriptions throughout the web
- When hosting the video on your own site, embed it in a page which includes a transcript of the video presentation.
- Blog: I consider Blogging a can't do without for web site find-ability. Search Engines love new relevant content, add to this a Blog's exceptional ability to target numerous keywords and Blogging is a win win situation.
Although Search Engines are the primary source used by Internet users to find what they are looking for, increasingly Social Media is utilized as a Search Tool and has the ability to create additional awareness of your web site.
- Social Networking: Belonging to the Social Networks visited by your target audience is increasingly becoming important to assisting consumers and clients to become aware of your business's web site. However, belonging is not enough, the key to leveraging the power of Social Networking is participation. Become a part of the community by adding value in ways which are appropriate to your business services, this may be advice or product review. In general be helpful and most importantly be yourself. It is not about selling your business, it is all about developing relationships.
- Social Book-marking: If you can leverage Social Book-marking by getting your content Dugg, Stumbled etc, the potential to increase the find-ability of your web is enormous. However, getting Dugg and Stumbled is far from easy, to accomplish this on a regular basis the development of not good, but outstanding content or video is required .
- Podcasts / Vlogs: These often overlooked Social Media tools offer an enriched visitor experience and can often provide the competitive edge required to take that step needed to create additional web site awareness. Enabling Podcasts and Vlogs for mobile devices ensure potential customers can interact and receive your message any place and any time.
Creating awareness and find-ability cannot go without at least considering Pay per Click or similar programs. However, without some key considerations the return and awareness created may be less than desired.
- Audience Targeting: Understanding the who and where of your audience is critical to the success of any paid promotional program. Without proper identification it is highly likely the program costs will provide a low ROI .
- Social Advertising: With proper Audience Targeting the use of Social Advertising on Social Networks such as Facebook and Linkedin can assist to create the necessary awareness by targeting specific keywords, group members or demographic groupings.
- Vertical and 2nd Tier Search Engines: Using vertical search engines and 2nd tier Search Engines such as Miva, 7Search and Ask offer additional and affordable sources of visibility for your web site. Obviously the big three of PPC; Google, Yahoo and Bing will provide more traffic but also at higher costs.
The above are effective methods to increase the ability of Internet users to find your web site. The above is by no means definitive, there are plenty of additional options available.
- Email Marketing: An effective Email Marketing campaign is an important element in the overall program creating the ability to keep in touch with current clients. Increased visibility can be enhanced by providing premium content of high value which your email recipients want to share by forwarding your email to their friends and business associates. A new service offered by Vertical Response enables you to share your emails with your Twitter and Facebook followers which as yet unproven seems like an ideal tool to increase the find-ability of your web site.
- Off line: Promoting your web site off line is as simple as adding your web site's URL to all promotional activities such as TV, Radio and print advertising and of course, your personal business card.
The Last Word
The basics are always the important starting point in the development of a web site which is easy for potential clients and customers to find. As I said previously the above is not definitive the options available are only limited by your creativity and of course financial and human resources. However, once the basics have been completed each additional step is one step ahead of the competition.
By developing a company culture which embraces change and modification, new ideas will be developed and implemented, a key to keeping one step ahead of the competition in the find-ability sweepstakes.