As a business your set up your website to educate your customers and future customers about what you do.
Your Customers Know Who You Are
You post your business name, your telephone, your address and your email address so it’s easy for people to get in touch with you. You may create a monthly newsletter to announce sales or other special promotions and to keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis.
All these activities are visible to you and to your site visitors. Each one helps your customers understand who you are and what you do. You’ve made it easy for customers to find you both online and off line.
But what about the search engines? How easy is it for them to find you and know what you do?
Optimize Your Site for Search
You have probably heard about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but may not understand what it means, how it works, or how to implement it on your site.
First, Search Engine Optimization, simply put, means that you make your site easily understood (optimized) for search engines. That’s it. No big secret known only to SEO experts. The more your website organizes information to tell search engines about your business, the better search understands what you say (your content).
You may have heard that SEO doesn’t work. That keywords don’t give your site the power you thought it had. In some ways this is true. Keywords used to be the main way that search engines found what your site had to say. Now, search has evolved and is able to read the words in context so that related words tell search this is a page that has something to say.
Now, there are many ways to add clues to your website that help search understand the context.
For example, relatively simple changes (mark up) on a each page on your site helps search engines know quickly what each page is about and more importantly how the pages on your site tell a story about your business.
- Image optimization - both resizing to help page speed load, and titles, alt text, and description to describe the image
- Meta data - organizes the information by describing the type of page, the type of content, and for merchandise the type of product, the price, and even pricing and sizing choices.
In addition, the faster your website loads, the happier search engines are. Search engines reward sites that provide a good experience for the site visitor. Page speed is one of the strongest signals that you are making your site easy to access.
There are many, many technical ways your site can be optimized for search. Your time and budget will determine the scope of how much you want your page technically set up for optimization.
Optimization is Invisible to Your Customers
The reason optimization helps your website is that the more search engines understand your entire website and how all the components are related, the easier it is for search to see your site as providing a solution for someone entering a web search. Basically, optimizaton tells search: when someone is looking for an answer about what your business does, search engines already know that your business has answers.
Search optimization works behind the scenes to provide answers to questions people search for. You don’t see it when you look at your site. Your customers don’t see it when they visit your site. But the search engines have recognized all the clues and served up your page as an answer.
If you have given clear signals to search engines about your business and provided basic answers to customer questions making it easy for search engines to “see” the information, it is much more likely that search engines will provide your business as the solution to the searcher’s question.
What you can do right now without being technical
You don’t need to be a geek to start optimizing your site. Here are some simple things to have on your site that help search and customers.
- Provide contact information. Your business name so they know who you are, your address so they can find you on maps, your telephone number so they can call to ask questions or place an order, your email to further conversation. It seems self-evident but you would be amazed at how many businesses leave out one or more of these essential details.
- Include an “About Me” or “About Us” page. Show pictures of yourself and your staff. Give a brief description of your services and how you can help customers solve problems. This is a place to answer questions about what your business really does and why customers want to purchase from you. The history of your business is not as important as the story of how you satisfy customers--by serving great food or guaranteed dry cleaning or healthy pet food. Give clear examples of how you will satisfy their need.
- Provide images and clear information about your product or services. Make your site inviting, a place where visitors want to hang out and find more answers.
- Keep your menu simple. Make it easy for first time visitors to visit (navigate) your website. Yes, this user experience counts as optimizing your site.
- Connect your site to Google Analytics. It’s free.
- Connect your site to Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools). It’s free, also. A quick review on the console will help you know what aspects of your site need to change in order to optimize for search.
- Shop for optimization help from experienced search optimization providers. Ask questions. If they start to speak mumbo-jumbo, tell you they are an expert, or tell you they know all the answers without explaining to you, thank them and look for a provider who will speak to you as a person. Tell them what Google Search Console found and ask if they can help. Listen to the answers.
After you take these first steps, you will be on your way to the secret and invisible sauce that gives your website credibility with search engines.
If you have more questions, or need a fuller technical explanation get in touch.