The SEO Journey
Obtaining a great search engine ranking can be a little like climbing...
Your web design company has just finished your awesome new website and you cannot contain your excitement. You quickly type some search phrases into Google and to your dismay, your website is nowhere to be found. Your mind starts racing and you recall the sales pitch your web design company gave you about search engine optimisation...
I wrote this article specifically for my clients with the purpose of illustrating the similarities between climbing and search engine optimisation. SEO has been used in many sales pitches and it has fast become a "must-have" requirement for website design. Many clients believe that a web design company can simply turn on the SEO switch and their website will instantly rank. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, due to the increase in websites that are themselves highly competitive, obtaining a good ranking is more akin to climbing a mountain! Without the correct gear, training and perseverance, you are not going to make it.
Your website is not everything... but it's a very good start.
This might sound like a very strange statement, but your website rank is not only affected by the design of your website. There are many external factors that contribute to the success or failure of your website's ranking potential. From social indicators to website back links, there are many external factors that will determine the success of your website and how it ranks on the top search engines.
On-site SEO vs Off-site SEO
I'm not going to dive into the technical details here. All you need to know is that On-site SEO involves search engine optimisation techniques that require changes to the website itself (mostly your web designers job), while off-site SEO refers to actions that can be taken externally to your website that impact your rankings (mostly your job). When we build your website, we perform all of the on-site SEO techniques. After your website goes live, off-site SEO techniques are required to further improve your website ranking.
So where to from here?
Instead of boring you with all the technical details, we have simply given you a step-by-step list to ensure that you can achieve the SEO health your website needs for it to succeed. I would like to stress this point: Obtaining a good ranking on any of the top search engines will require some hard work from both YOU and US. We can guide and assist you along the way but if you are not in the driving seat, your website will not achieve its target. As I mentioned before, there are many external factors other than the website design that will influence how well your website will rank.
Your SEO Climbing checklist. Without these, you wont reach the peak.
Research the search keywords in your business market
This is the research that we do before starting with your website design. It drives everything from this point forward. Not having this keyword list could be compared to climbing without safety gear! It influences website structure, heading design and various other SEO settings. You will also need this list so that you can write new content for your website. At this point we are at 5% of the total climb that needs to be achieved in order to reach the peak.
Build the website based on the keyword research findings
We use our keyword research and begin designing your home page with your top businesses keywords in mind. The home page of your website is your most powerful page for search engine ranking. Keywords need to be carefully injected in this page and optimised for search engines. Missing this step is like climbing without understanding how your safety gear works! - This step is extremely critical for your website to receive a good ranking from the search engines. Don't stress! We do all this for you.
Publish website on the Internet
We send you samples of your website for review and after you are happy, we publish your website on the internet. At this stage, your website is the new kid on the block and no one knows who you are. We submit your website to the search engines for indexing, and they run their algorithms on your website and look for indicators (from other websites) to determine your website's popularity. I'm hoping at this stage it's no surprise to you, that the search engines will indeed determine that you website is unpopular. As expected, the search engine assigns your website a poor ranking, and you website is pushed to page 65+ on Google. At this stage it's highly likely that you cannot locate your own website by using various search phrases on Google. I appreciate that this is not good news and not at all what you expected from your web design company! - I apologise for is. My intention is to give you the facts and be transparent. There is simply no cheating when it comes to building a good website rank.
Create awareness about your website by creating back links from other websites
As explained above, your website ranking is most likely not good at this stage. If this is not true, consider yourself extremely lucky! This lucky streak normally occurs when the competition is not that high and the only real factor influencing your website ranking is the design, structure and SEO of the website itself. So how do we create back links from other websites? - Read our back link help guide for advice on how to do this. If you are serious about your business website succeeding in a competitive online market place, you will not skip this critical step.
Indicate to Google you are a healthy local business
Registering your business with Google My Business is a must do if you want to achieve a higher ranking on Google within your area (E.g. Johannesburg). When registering on Google My Business, you specify the address of your business, and Google uses this information to serve your business page to customers that on located near you. If you are a business that thrives on local customers, you are at a disadvantage if you do not register your business with Google. Even if you don't serve customers at your physical address, you can still register with Google My Business. Read more about how to register with Google My Business
Register with social websites and the search engines will take notice
Social indicators are a crucial part of a successful climb to SEO success. These indicators tell the search engines that your company is a real functioning business that engages with its customers - This is an extremely powerful indicator to search engines. If you don't like using Facebook for your personal life, I'm afraid you are going to have to change your habit when it comes to your business. The most important social website's to register with are: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Once you have registered, ensure you add your website link within their settings pages so that you can create powerful social back links to your website. We can also add your social website links to your website footer. Please let us know once you have registered your business with these social websites and send us your page links so we can add them to your website. Note: When you registered with Google My Business, you would have automatically registered for Google+. Google+ is another powerful social tool from Google that allows you to post articles and blogs.
Written content is King
At this stage you have a professional looking website and you have registered with a number of free business directories and social websites. You are also listed on Google My Business. So now what? As boring as this sounds, it all starts with written content. You need to write your first website article and publish this on your website. You then need to post a small intro snippet (teaser) on each of your social websites (Google My Business, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), and ensure the snippet has a clickable link back to your website. This is an extremely powerful indicator to Google. Not only will the intro snippet create social engagement, it will also pass ranking points to your website. Important: The article that you write, needs to include keywords from the research we provided before we started creating your website. If this all sounds too complicated, we cover this in the free training session and show you how to inject keywords into your written content.
Repeat step 7 until you reach the peak
We recommend writing a website article or blog post at least once a month and follow the recommendation in step 7 by posting small snippets on each of your social pages. Within a year, you would have posted 12 articles on your website and social media pages. 12 * (Google My Business, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) = 60 powerful back links to your website. Each time you add a new article to your website, you will notice an increase in website traffic (typically a week or two after article has been published). Potential clients searching on social media platforms will also begin to find your business on those platforms. As Google and other search engines detect more social activity and back links, your website ranking will begin improving over time. As your rank increases, you will begin receiving more website visitors which will in turn, convert to your clients.
If steps 4 - 8 (Off-site SEO) sound daunting, we offer our assistance in setting up all your social accounts. Please note: We do not take ownership for posting content on all your social platforms each month. The service we offer is for setup only. You will still be required to post at least one article each month. If you would like to use our services for setup, please click the instant quote button below