If you are a business owner, CEO, VP of Marketing or Sales or Marketing Manager you want your company’s website to show up on the first page of Google results when somebody searches for products or services in your industry. What you really need is an ongoing SEO program.
So you go out and hire a great company or individual to design your website, you tell them that search engine rankings are very important and they build you a great-looking website filled with the content that proves your expertise.
You’re thinking, “Wow, I’ve really outdone myself this time! We have a beautiful website, it does a great job explaining why we are the best in our industry, now we just sit back and wait for the traffic to start coming.”
So you wait. And wait. Every morning with your cup of coffee at your side, you open Google and type in your keywords. Your company is not there.
“Where are we? We did what we were supposed to do!”
And then the worst thought enters your mind. “Oh no. I convinced our company to spend this money on a great new website, and we didn’t accomplish our most important goal. We are not showing up on Google anywhere! Guess I had better get my resume ready.”
It turns out that what you’ve done is the perfect first step. But building a new website with great content alone will not generate search engine results and bring you new traffic. You need an ongoing and focused effort that helps improve your search engine rankings. And your new website will be the hub.
SO WHAT DRIVES SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)?
Ok, this list is basic. We are not going into the finer details and best practices for somebody who has a career in SEO. We simply want to help people who are not familiar understand the components that drive a successful SEO program.
#1 – CODE
The person who programmed your site has to follow best practices and integrate specific components within the code of your website. Don’t assume that all web developers know how to do this. Be specific about asking this question during the interviewing process to ensure you are hiring somebody who writes compliant code. Ask them to list out the specific things they do to ensure the site is properly coded. Make sure they say they specifically implement:
- Robots.txt file – This tells search engines which pages of your site should be crawled and indexed
- Page titles and meta descriptions written following current best practices and that they adhere to the appropriate character length – these items tell search engines what each page is about
- Open Graph – this means your site will be easy to share on social media sites
- Friendly URLs – this means that the specific website addresses for each page of your site are easy to read and don’t contain a bunch of characters and letters mixed together
#2 – CONTENT
Not only does the content you write for your site need to accurately reflect the products and services you offer, it has to be well-organized and updated on a frequent basis. One way to do this after the site launches is via a blog or news page. Make sure that you have a keyword strategy in place, and create an editorial calendar that dictates what and when you will post to your blog.
There is a lot going on in your company between trade shows, community/volunteer activities by your employees, completed projects, awards, product launches, new service offerings and thoughts on industry trends that you can write about on a weekly basis. This fresh content will be crawled and indexed by Google, Bing and Yahoo and over time will help you rank for your target keywords.
#3 – LINKS
The final component is the one most frequently overlooked. You have to build your company a high quality link profile. This means you want to identify high quality websites in your industry who would be willing to list your company and a link to your website. These sites could be business partners, industry associations, industry blogs/forums/news sites, industry directories, and also your company profile pages on major social media sites.
ASSIGN DEDICATED SEO RESOURCES
As you can tell from reading through the list of components, having success in search engine optimization requires a diverse set of skills. Some managerial, some technical, some creative, some writing and also analytical. To be effective requires knowledge of your industry and also knowledge and experience of SEO best practices. Think about the talent you have within your company, and think about things that you would have to source outside of your company.
Assign somebody in your company as the “owner” of the search engine optimization effort. Make them the point person who pulls together both the internal and external resources and is accountable for their activities and results.