The most competitive space in marketing is arguably, the internet. Millions of consumers use e-commerce websites every day, and while they have endless options from where to buy, very few brands climb to the top of online sales. The rest struggle in this arena, unable to catch enough customers’ attention to compete with the companies who are online experts.
The only way for your brand to be seen by online consumers is to have a killer website, one that is at the top of the search engines. But in order to get to the top, you have to attract enough people to your site and engage them long enough to make the sale (or at least inquire about your products or services). It’s not as easy as it sounds. You have to rank well to get traffic, yet have to have enough traffic to rank well. So how do you get there when you’re just starting out?
Marketers use different techniques and services to optimize their websites for search engines. While part of this “race to the top” has to do with your brand’s popularity and how much traffic you receive on a daily basis, there are easy ways to make your website search engine friendly. These methods can boost organic traffic from consumers who are unfamiliar with your brand, and increase the likelihood of visitors making a purchase or first contact when they arrive at your site.
First, you should clean up your pages’ applications and features, to make everything faster. First, this makes your website easier for search engine crawlers to scan more of your site at their set crawl budget. It also makes the user experience better, which in turn reduces bounce rate (the number of visitors who leave your site after only visiting one page). You can increase your site speed in a number of ways, from reducing image size to reducing the number of plugins you use.
For web crawlers to easily and efficiently analyze your site, you should also create a Sitemap. Sitemaps allow all the pages of your site to be indexed by the search engine because they are easy to find and navigate. You can find online resources for how to create a sitemap, or ask an SEO professional or web developer for assistance.
Now that search engines can easily find all the pages of your site, you need to update your pages consistently with new content. Including a variety of content, from blogs to images and video, can help your site gain visibility and keep visitors navigating to new pages. (For new content ideas, click here.) Your content should be keyword rich but not “spammy,” as search engines will penalize websites that overload their pages with keywords and phrases.
If you’ve created good content, hopefully people will start to notice and engage with you online or on social media. One of the best ways to improve your website rankings is to accumulate links, including internal, outbound and inbound sources. When people like the content you provide, they may link to it from their site (an inbound link). You can do the same to other sites (outbound links) or link from one of your pages to another (internal). Links help you build an online community and drive traffic from other sites to you.
Search engines prefer to direct their users to local brands as much as possible, which is why you should optimize for local searches. First, list your site on relevant directories and review sites. You should also encourage customers to leave reviews on these sites because it shows the search engine that you are credible and receiving online traffic. Plus, prospective customers will be more likely to visit your online or physical store if they see plenty of reviews and pictures!
Of course, there’s much more you can do to optimize your site for search engines, but these true and tried methods will help you create a site that attracts and engages quality visitors. If you want a more in-depth look at SEO techniques and practices, check out Rank K.O’s SEO Services.