In a recent radio interview (here), I discussed the key strategies you should consider for your website optimization now.
While the conversation gets into some level of detail (some listeners considered this more advanced), optimizing for search, social and your web pages starts and ends with these 3 principles:
- Acquire relevant, quality traffic (not just ‘any’ traffic, that’s too easy)
- Present a solid offer & message (for each page)
- Build and track your conversions (do you have one?)
- BONUS: As you capture information, nurture and give valuable content to your prospect over time
While you website may look pretty, have flashy graphics, cool animation, sound/music, and be a “designers dream”, you (the website owner) should consider “performance” instead. Ask: Does my website perform? And — what value do I equate that to? (ultimately, in the bank…)
Don’t go too fast. Consider the below, and build it into your online strategies.
Here are the 7 rules of the Search Engine Optimization and Cool Money Making Strategies:
1. Solid Web Architecture
Much like a house, you must have the foundations set up right first.
- Technical – hosting, uptime, speed of servers, bandwidth, etc (hostgator, bluehost)
- Technical – HTML code (no code bloat) – fast loading (pagespeed for chrome, for example)
- Technical – no weird redirects, 302 temporaries, broken links, etc.
- Semi-Technical: Make sure pages are optimized for keywords (and, do you keyword research first)
- Semi-Technical: Ensure proper use of Title Tags, meta description, links and keywords on the pages matching those keywords/phrases
- Semi-Technical: logical navigation, top navigation, left navigation, footer navigation, in-line/body navigation, etc.
2. Solid User Experience
Nobody wants to see or touch an ugly website. Worse yet, if they cannot find and engage the way you intended, they will leave (and not come back).
- Engagement – easy to use navigation and access to information. Content, but also objects, widgets, tools
- Layout/structure – as you would expect – don’t try and be cute. Mix colors gently and go to webpagesthatsuck.com to see what not to do
- Use and leverage pictures (big on Facebook!), videos, and content that is easily consumed and shareable. Different options: PDFs for example, distribute to doc-sharing sites (slideshare, docstoc, etc – integrate with other social platforms)
- Create your YouTube channel, and convert content / slides into videos, optimizing them as well.
3. Leverage Google Fully
Many will look to simply optimize for organic results. However, consider all options, and see when/if they make sense to you. Google images is a great way to build relevant traffic if you’re using a lot of pictures for example.
- Google+ Local (get set up in Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local)
- Google verticals and things like images, maps, shopping, books, blogs, discussion forums, etc
- Use SEO to optimize pages and websites and get quality links only (forget mass directories, mass article sites, low quality blog/forum posting, etc). Don’t copy the competition’s links without a solid vetting process
- Build out a content calendar and post regularly optimizing for your audience and keywords where possible
- Post-Panda – stay away from low quality links, locate quality sites that are in your market (relevancy), and write more, share more, engage more
4. PPC / Money Testing Strategies
Pay Per Click (PPC) should be listed under #3, but added here – since it requires a bit more attention. PPC & SEO together can build both good traffic and builds your brand signals. You get better recognition, trust and clicks.
- Test any new programs, products, offers with PPC (both in Google/Bing and Facebook). Start with search.
- Use your web analytics to seed keywords to test what traffic works against your offers (use unbounce.com to get pages up quickly, using an easy-to-use designer/interface)
- If you’re brand new, get a coupon for a $100.00 coupon from a friend, or Google will probably have sent you one already (hint: check ebay too)
- Don’t trust traffic research tools fully until you’ve tested (Google Keyword Tool is great, but not accurate)
- Based on results, tweak and get some numbers and validation of traffic and conversion before launching bigger programs, inviting affiliates, etc.
- If no product, create an ebook on elance (ghostwriter) and sell it – try publishing on Kindle and drive traffic there
- Email newsletter
5. Social Media & Engagement Traffic
Social media is now part of any SEO engagement, and you must make sure to leverage your social profiles.
- Use twitter, facebook, linkedin to start. Use Hootsuite.com to integrate and “semiautomate”
- Powertools to ‘auto-tweet’ can be mixed in, and hootsuite can pre-load the week, month, etc
- Find RSS feeds and blogs in your community/markets, and engage with them, re-tweet them, get to know the authors
- When using Facebook PPC, test ads against custom pages and only to your ‘connected’ audience first. (they already like you)
Do You Think Facebook Will a) Build or b) Buy a Search Engine?
6. Know Your Who, What & Why
This is really #1. Too often we find ourselves talking tools and shiny objects. The strategy and monetization plans must be built first. If you want 100 new visitors a day to your website for example, the question should not be how often to tweet, or how to get them to like your pages, and how many articles or directories to submit to, etc – but rather, what strategies can you employ that supports the who, what, why to begin.
This is a simplification, but start by asking these questions:
- Who will engage with you, your website, content, etc? (research your market)
- What do they want from that experience? (do you provide useful, interesting information that is helpful)
- Why would they visit and come back, etc, etc (are you different, is your USP compelling, what message are you sending?)
7. Network Offline!
Surprising? Shouldn’t be. You need to show your friendly face.
- Go to events, seminars. Meet/greet, show yourself. Be helpful, ask more than you talk.
- Look for speaking opportunities
- Look for guest posting opportunities (think ‘how can I add value’, not ‘how can I get a link’)
- BNI Networking Events
- Host your own event (search in meetup.com), brown-bag luncheons and/or dinners
- Search for events and networking locally in Google and on Social Platforms.
SEO at its core hasn’t changed since the term first surfaced. Good quality content, coupled with technology and relationships that build your Public Relations efforts are cornerstones to your online success.
Thanks Mark, host of the Mark Kohler Business Radio Show. He said:
“Jon had our highest rated radio show in the last 2 years. He’s amazing!” – Mark Kohler