It has often been said that “ignorance is bliss”. Based on experience I can confidently say it is true, especially when it comes to small business owners trying to save money and time, while simultaneously attempting to make their business known via the search engines. In the ever-changing world of web design and SEO, it is important to understand that there isn’t some magic pill, silver bullet, or one-step solution that will create an advantage for the small business owner, as much as we would like to believe. More importantly, it is necessary to keep an open mind and be “teachable” at all times. For it is almost always the person who says “I KNOW” habitually, that seems to have the hardest time. There is no doubt that many are misguided by bad advice from inexperienced web / SEO companies, even so called “experts”.
If I were to put my finger on one thing that comes up more than any other, it is the delusion or assumption that if a business ranks well via search engines, they are in good shape. I can’t tell you how many times I have had the conversation that starts something like: “Well I am number two in my town for widgets, so what’s the problem?” I shake my head every time I hear that. Business owners that have at least a semi-solid understanding of how SEO and web marketing works, know that while rankings are important, position on the first page of Google is not the end all. It isn’t about rankings, even half as much as it is about the number of visitors that arrive on your website (by whatever means created). I have seen with my own eyes, that a business can be ranked in position one on Google (with a bullet) for months on end, and NEVER get one phone call, or any inquiry via a contact form. I am sure there are some of you that have wondered why that is the case, or why you’re not getting those important inquiries / calls, being in positions 1-5 on page one.
One way that Google directs, is based on key words related to search, but ONLY if Google thinks that the company selling widgets, according to the information they provided about widgets, is actually relevant. And how exactly does Google know if your company is relevant? Google knows, based on information gathered by their search bots. Things such as: How often folks arrive at your website and how long they stay there. Their bots do home in on key words on your website or blog but there are other factors, such as how long your website takes to load, or how long your business has existed online. Google also gives preference to properly formatted, mobile responsive websites. You’ve heard this before, yet sadly we still see that many small business owners still don’t believe it’s true. They’ll argue, saying their websites are fine, and it’s usually because a relative / friend built the site, they did it themselves, or they simply don’t have the time to be educated on the process. It’s their funeral, right?
Now I don’t want to bore you here! I do know that this information may not be as interesting as something Covid 19 related, or the latest celebrity outburst, love affair, etc, but then reading those stories won’t help you put food on the table or keep your lights on. What will accomplish that, are things I will list below.
7 tips to make your site search engine sexy:
1) Make sure your website loads quickly on mobile, is properly formatted, and easy to navigate on ANY device. If folks have a hard time finding the information they are searching for, they’re not going to hang around long! Most of your visitors want what they’re looking for quickly – make it super easy for them to find what they came looking for.
2) Before you drive traffic to your website via back links, or whatever means you choose, make sure your website is engaging / compelling.
3) Stay AWAY from text heavy content to get your message across. Images are much more powerful than words! Remember?
4) Be relevant in search! Talking about a baby shower in your blog, or featuring a pet that looks friendly on your shoe repair store website may be nice filler to endear users to your company, but it is IRRELEVANT to the search engines! Stick the fluff articles in between relevant and useful articles that prove you’re an authority.
5) Be sure to list your business on the Big 4 free business listing directories. Google My Business, Bing For Business, Yelp, and of course Manta. MAKE SURE all information, including e-mails, phone numbers, and hours of operation are IDENTICAL across the board.
6) Don’t listen to amateurs! Your cousin who “knows how to fiddle with WordPress” isn’t a professional. He, or she will likely give you advice that might lead you astray or set you back.
7) Stay away from DIY website builders such as Squarespace, Weebly, WIX, etc. These are really the Wal-Mart / IKEA of the web industry – in many cases working with them or letting them build your website can harm your business more than it will help.
Remember that you usually only get one chance to make a first impression. Nothing says, “I don’t really care about my image!” like a do-it-yourself website!
It is essential to note, that even while following me through this article you understand that I don’t profess to know everything. I won’t even suggest that we at AEON are the best in world at what we do. We know there are web companies that have been at this longer and have achieved greater success with a greater number of clients. We also know that the information we provide is true and correct (unlike many web companies across the globe). We are certain that if you follow our leads and advice, that you will see positive results. And while we can’t predict what the gods of Google will do tomorrow, we have a pretty good idea of what their search spiders are looking for. So, stay relevant and follow the points above. Don’t fall for the mirage when you see your company is in position 1-5 in search. Prepare your website, care about your image, and drive traffic. Don’t focus on rankings – instead, focus on being relevant and engaging to your visitors.
I hope this article finds you well, and that you prosper beyond your dreams. Take good care, we’re here if you need us.