We all want our websites to be found, positioned and ranked high by search engines. Are you checking to see that your site is attracting traffic? Or, are your professionals sending you emails asking you why your firm’s site doesn’t appear on the first or even the second page of search results? SEO is not optional; it is critical to the success when designing or redesigning websites. We all have websites; we all have to take SEO into consideration when building our sites!
A sound SEO strategy falls into many buckets, but three of those buckets should be considered of greater importance when consider your sites structure. Here’s a brief look into these three areas and ideas that you should consider to be more strategic with your SEO efforts:
Thought leadership means business
Thought leadership is more than just great content – it brings in business. Thought leaders understand their target audiences, the industries they serve and what their current and future needs are. Your content needs to provide relevant, reliable and valuable information. It will help answer visitors’ challenges and offer solutions to a client’s current challenge.
The ability to be the go-to source for specific information is unequivocally a benefit that competitors cannot take away. This starts and ends with the content you offer and the depth of understanding you present to clients and prospects.
The essence of thought leadership is a firm that develops trust with visitors that continue to return to your site. The ripple effects of this interaction can be tremendously positive. Particularly if you link this vital information from multiple points on your site so that it is easy for a visitor to find.
Development means strategy
At Moiré, we are all strategists, from our support team and designers to our principals. "Design without strategy is just art." We live by these words and it is a core value in all of our work.
Essential to developing a sound SEO strategy is the architecture of the site. The steps you take from the development of a site map followed by an interactive wireframe, giving clients the rough sketch of site navigation and showing where valuable information will reside on a website is critical before design can even be considered. This strategic approach to developing a website allows us to map out a site that is SEO friendly. Together as a team, everyone needs to think about how information will be indexed by search engines.
Think about your page titles, headers and subheads on your site even your URLs. The keywords on these pages are indexed in search engines just like body content of an industry or services page. In addition, where is the ”meat” of your valued content residing? Is it buried deep within your website? This is telling the search engines that this information is not important, thus not ranking high.
Remember, you cannot beat the system. Be genuine in your SEO and consider SEO guidelines so that your site is not banned from key search engines. Search engines are kind of like Santa Claus; they know when you’ve been “naughty or nice”. Search engines today can quickly become aware of dishonest practices and ban your site for the practice. Good Content Management Systems, like Drupal, assist you in avoiding coding errors and staying within good and sound basic SEO guidelines.
Marketing means regular (but easy) management
There are only so many things a marketing team can control (well). That’s why you should always ask about how an outside firm’s SEO experience and strategy is going to help you manage your ongoing SEO when looking to hire a partner to work with on your site. Will you be able to control the SEO of what you are offering: valuable and relevant content that will be automatically coded in a proper manner so that it is easy for your target audience to find on your site and that is easily linked from multiple points so that visitors can find the information they want seamlessly? This happens to be highly effective in the eyes of search engine equations and algorithms depending on how the CMS system you choose codes what you enter. A well optimized site that is coded properly, has the right architecture and hierarchy, important content that it is easy to find and linked to multiple points throughout your site, will provide longevity to your firm’s SEO efforts. This will also build trust and a solid foundation in developing long-lasting relationships.
One of the easiest ways to remain relevant and current within your target audience and search engines is continuing to offer new and fresh content that provides value. Measuring and tracking your web traffic on a regular basis is important as well so that you know where you can add valuable links and/or fresh content.
As my father says, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. A sound SEO strategy can create higher search engines rankings and improve your business development efforts. But you must have a plan and play by the rules if you want to succeed.