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 to illustrate the similarities between climbing and search engine optimisation. SEO has been used in many sales pitches and it has 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 highly competitive websites, 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. Read further to find out how you move beyond web design.
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. An example of on-site SEO is writing a blog post that targets a topic related to your business, while creating a backlink to your website is an example of off-site SEO.
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.
1. Research keywords applicable to your business market
The Google keyword planning tool is useful for identifying keywords that search engine users enter to find businesses just like yours. Other useful tools include semrush and moz. Our web design team do this important keyword research before starting our web design process. 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. Keep this keyword list handy and use it to guide your overall website strategy. At this point, we are at 5% of the total climb that needs to be achieved in order to reach the peak.
2. Build the website based on the keyword research
The keyword research in step 1 should be used to design and create the content on your website pages. The home page of your website is your most powerful page for search engine ranking. Keywords need to be carefully inserted into your pages and each keyword should not be used more than twice on a single page. Try to keep your written paragraphs natural and ensure you focus on the reader and not the search engine. Missing this step is like climbing without understanding how your safety gear works!
3. Publish website on the Internet
At this stage, no one can find your website as the search engines are not aware that it exists. To get your website noticed by Google, it needs to be registered with Google webmasters and the sitemap submitted for indexing. Google then scans your website and assigns a ranking within its index. As expected, Google assigns a poor ranking, and your website might only be found on page five or higher. This can be quite frustrating as effort, time and money have been spent to get your website to this point. Unfortunately, there is simply no cheating when it comes to building a good website rank. Continue reading for the next part of this journey.
4. Create awareness about your website by creating backlinks 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 optimisation of the website itself. To achieve a better ranking, you need to look beyond your website by creating links from other websites to yours. So how do we create backlinks from other websites? - Read our backlink help guide for advice on how to do this. If you are serious about your business website succeeding in a competitive online marketplace, you will not skip this critical step. Many SEO experts agree that without high-quality backlinks (links from other websites to yours) you will struggle to achieve a first-page ranking on Google.
5. 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 local area, city or region. 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
6. 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 backlinks to your website.
7. High Quality Content will get you there
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 or blog 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, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and ensure the snippet has a clickable link back to your website article. This is an extremely powerful indicator to Google. Not only will the intro snippet create social engagement, but it will also pass ranking points to your website. Important: The article or blog that you write, needs to include keywords related to your business and should not be less than 1000 words. You must also take care to create a clear URL for your website article (web link at top of web browser) and ensure that it contains keywords related to the article. If you aim for high-quality articles, the search engines will take notice and your rankings will improve. Don't waste your time by creating low-quality articles or blogs, rather write fewer articles and blogs that aim to be the best on a given topic. This step is one of the hardest to achieve and takes relentless dedication and time. Without high-quality content, don't expect your website to rank well.
8. Repeat step 4 and 7 until you reach the peak
We recommend writing a website article or blog post at least every two months and following the recommendation in step 7 by posting small snippets on each of your social pages. You can also revisit Step 4 and create additional backlinks to your new blogs/articles from the external business directory websites (These are the websites where you registered). Within a year, you would have posted 6 high-quality articles on your website and social media pages. If you followed Step 4, you would also have external business directories linking back 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 the 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 backlinks, 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. Important: If you don't repeat steps 4 and 7 on a regular basis, your website will struggle to gain and maintain a significant ranking with search engines.
Download our SEO Checklist
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