Spring is the time of rebirth, but hopefully you haven’t waited until now to evaluate your Web site’s need for a renaissance. Optimizing the way you attract customers is a constant challenge. The numbers don’t lie, and they can always get better. That’s why, if you’re a savvy marketer, you constantly analyze your site’s metrics. You meticulously track the number of inbound links and keyword rank, and similarly track competing sites as thoroughly as possible. More important, you routinely measure the bottom line: number of visitors, leads, and customers generated by your website.
You have the numbers. Now you need to make them better. But how do you attract the search engine attention that brings in new customers and keeps the existing ones coming back? How do you optimize your site to lead an exodus of customers away from the competition to your site? Here are three proven strategies you want to be sure your marketing team abides by to make you stand out as the promised land for your client businesses.
Strategy 1: Kvetch over keywords: When selecting keyword phrases, you always have a choice. To attract the greatest volume to your Web site, always select the phrase with the larger number of searches. But don’t stop there. You might get a lot of hits, but more traffic does not necessarily mean more customers. Converting a surfer to a customer is a formidable challenge. So how do you do it?
Tweak your keywords by increasing their relevance. Know your customer and market niche, and define the terminology around that. Choose keywords that your target market actively uses to describe your products and search for your services. Finding the right keywords can be a never-ending process, as terms and phrases evolve and change in cyberspace. Stay aware.
The last step in choosing the right keywords revolves around your competition’s impact on search results. Focusing on the volume and relevance of search results isn’t enough. You need to look at how your competitors make use of search engines. When optimizing your site’s phrases or keywords, consider your chances of a top 10 result on a Google search.
Achieving the first page of a search result can make all the difference. You can secure one of those coveted results through careful strategy and optimization. Evaluate the competitor sites ranked in those first 10 slots. Analyze their relevance to the search term and determine whether your site will be able to unseat their top 10 position. If so, go for it! If not, optimize your search results by pursuing other keywords.
Strategy 2: Optimize your page: Selecting the optimal keywords and phrases by analyzing volume, relevance, and competition is just the beginning. The next strategy—implementing keywords—gets a lot of attention. But it is a critically important tactical method that is too often done unprofessionally. Keywords must be strategically implemented directly on your Web page. Use these words in the page title, URL, headings, and page text. Too often, Web sites use the keyword as a graphic that won’t even come up in search results. Don’t make that mistake.
Carefully evaluate your page description. Do the keywords maximize your click-through rate when your site appears in Google searches? If so, go beyond the URL, page title, headings, and page text by adding the keywords to “invisible” places on your site. These include alt-text on images and objects on the page, and metadata keyword tags, e.g., for PDFs. If you are offering a brochure on your site, then be sure to include product names and keywords in the metadata.
Strategy 3: Optimize away from your page: Inbound links can lead your customers directly to your page. It requires more of an investment in time and money than on-page SEO, but it’s far more effective. Each link not only drives traffic to you, but serves as a recommendation or reference to constantly update search engines about the popularity of your site.
The key is to build more hypertext links using descriptive context, keywords, and related search terms. Place keywords in the link anchor text. Name a product or service to generate appropriate links. This type of anchor text link teaches search engines about your site and packs more power into each hypertexted keyword or phrase to drive results.
This strategy is all-inclusive. To succeed, you must submit your site to directories like Yahoo, dmoz, and Business.com. Use trade publication communities, user group sites, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as appropriate. Leverage these tools to communicate with others in your industry, including potential customers. The personal touch always works better than hoping search engines are leading the customer to you, even for B2B. Even better, create compelling tools useful to your target customer, such as a specific spreadsheet or interactive graphic. Use this tool like a seed, apply keyword metadata, and plant it in as many relevant Web sites as possible.
These seeds and the hard work of planting and optimizing them will lead to a bountiful harvest. Continue to track the links and keywords, and maintain their efficacy. Track your site’s results in traffic and customers. Don’t rest on your laurels. Always optimize. Always analyze. Plot the results. Convert your online visibility into measurable results.