A lot is made of how important it is for your website to be ranked at number one for your chosen search terms or keywords but let’s be honest, getting your website to the Google top spot is a competitive area with everyone trying to rank well.
In reality, the top rankings (the ones in the pale box at the top of the page) are paid listings. Everyone else is chasing the number one organic position, but in doing so, there’s a risk of losing sight of what your website should really be doing, and that’s communicating with your customers.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to rank as highly as possible in the search engines. Appearing high up on page one of Google is great for business as people are unlikely to click beyond page one and two. It can also pay to have multiple listings as your company appears larger and more established.
In my opinion though, instead of solely focusing on where your website is ranking, it’s important to concentrate on creating a website that is relevant and adds value to the lives of your customers. If you do this, if you build a well-designed, engaging, easy to use website, then you will be creating something that’s worth being talked about and shared, which is great for your site’s visibility.
What do your customers want?
As someone who spends a lot of time online, I think your customers want to know at a glance what you have to offer them. What is it you sell? How will their life look with your products or services in it? How can they buy from you?
Your website should make it quick and easy to identify these things. People don’t have time to trawl through reams of information to find out what they need to know. Ask them to do that and they’ll navigate away from your site.
You need to show that the customer experience is central to your website’s design and content.
List building tools such as free ebooks, newsletter and downloads are great tools for adding value. Make sure you ask the customer for their email address in exchange for these things, then you can begin to grow your database of warm leads who have all consented to be contacted by you. Always give people the opportunity to unsubscribe.
Blog posts, FAQs, case studies and news articles are powerful ways of enriching your customers’ experience of your website. Think about who your customers are. What do they want to know? What challenges are they facing? Do they often ask the same questions about your products? Use these things as the basis for your content. Although people want short and simple home pages, they’re willing to spend more time reading a blog post. This is your chance to add depth and substance to the information you already include on your website.
Clear calls to action
Throughout your website, on every page, I would recommend having a clear call to action. Tell your customers exactly what you need them to do next or what they need to do to access a specific piece of information.
Try to avoid boring ‘Click here for more information’ links as they don’t tell your customers anything about the benefits of clicking through. Instead, try to be as descriptive as possible with anchor text (the visible, clickable text) to internal hyperlinks saying things like ‘Get my complete list of business blogging packages ideal for small businesses’ or ‘Become part of this year’s exercise sensation today’.
Use large call to action buttons that are visually attractive and draw the eye, then use short, snappy instructions such as ‘See the action’, ‘Take the tour’, ‘Buy now for just £9.99’ or ‘Sign me up now (spam free)’.
SEO still matters
Now, although I don’t think achieving the number one top spot on Google should be your only driving force, simply because it is a constantly changing arena and can swallow up your time and focus, I do think it’s essential to incorporate search engine optimisation into your website.
Over the past couple of years, SEO copywriting has become something of a tainted concept, mainly because people think of keyword stuffing, black hat tactics and repetitive, unreadable content. However, copywriting with search engine optimisation in mind is still incredibly important.
Make sure you fill out the meta data in the backend of your website and that it accurately reflects the content on each page. You can also incorporate keywords in your headings, navigation, sub titles, picture captions, and by highlighting the major points of your copy in bold or by breaking them down into bullet points. Remember, you can always tweak the content moving forward until you find out what works.
Don’t just rely on the search engines to drive traffic to your website
Personally, I would always recommend looking beyond the search engines for web traffic. How else can you make people aware of your website? When sharing your own images on Pinterest or Facebook, make sure your web address is featured somewhere on the image; link to it in forums and social media platforms; include it on your email signature or the footer of your newsletter; or include it in your short blurb when you write a guest blog post for someone who shares the same ideal customers as you.
Of course, there’s nothing like being number one but, in my humble opinion, it’s better to have a smaller number of high quality visitors to your website (i.e. people who get your value and are likely to buy from you) than masses of visitors who have no interest in what you sell.
Do you agree or disagree? What SEO tactics have worked for you? Do you monitor where your website’s traffic comes from? Have you thought out the meta data for your website? I’d love to hear from you!