SEO is one of the buzz words of the day, but really, how important is SEO to my website?
Many would say it is crucial, but the real answer is it depends. There are many factors to consider, here are just a few of them.
In the very beginning
Play it safe to start with, and be careful in picking your domain name or names. You may want to refer to our article on Small Business Start-up Website Guidelines – Domain Name for more details on the does and don’t.
Then in comes down to the purpose of your website, and how people will find it.
The brochure site
If you are purely using your site as a brochure site, and the details are given to customer after initial contact is made then SEO is going to be a low consideration for you. BUT remember in the fast-moving environment we trade in things change, and it may not always be that way - although if your website purpose changes, it may well be that a redesign will be required anyway.
Enquiry-generating business site
If you have created an online presence, with a view to getting new customers through the internet, then SEO is likely to be much higher on the agenda. But wait there are still questions:
- How competitive is the area of business I am in on the web
- Am I targeting the competitive high volume traffic, or the easier low volume traffic?
- I am expecting to convert visits into sales?
- Should I be thinking about Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and other forms of advertising to back up my SEO?
This type of site, depending how high you want to be ranked is likely to require either frequently updated content with good inbound links, or a reasonable amount of investment in advertising, unless you are lucky enough to be in a low competition market placement.
If there are opportunities to involve social networking, and you are prepared to maintain it you should utilise this as much as possible. The current best ones to include are:
- LinkedIn (more business to business)
You should also set your site up for social bookmarking.
It goes without saying an ecommerce business requires the best possible SEO. There are so few that will get by with offline leads alone.
The question here is more along the lines of cheap/low volume traffic or expensive/high volume traffic, and what can you do to improve on it.
At this level unless you are one of those rare individuals with a good knowledge of SEO, then employ someone (we will come to this shortly).
There are many things you can do to supplement, but no matter what else you do, you need good inbound links, that you can convert into profitable sales, and as many of them as possible.
You should be planning for your SEO at the business plan stage.
But there are more types of business/website
We understand there are more business website types than we've listed above, but most loosely fit into one category or another.
Who to employ
Obvious right, to get your site noticed on the web you need an SEO expert right?
No, we don’t think so.
We think you need a web design company who understands your SEO needs, and builds your website with SEO in mind AND an on-line marketing company that employs SEO experts. You will need more than just great SEO to be at the top, you will need a well planned and carefully executed and monitored marketing campaign. Set realistic targets, make sure they are being hit, and please understand they rarely happen overnight.
Watch out for those giving you silly guarantees, unless they are accompanied by 100% money back offers (that you know they will deliver on). Make sure you understand how competitive your market place is before you start, don’t let any of this come as a surprise to you (most of them are not nice surprises).
Watch the Stats!
Make sure you are watching the stats, and that you understand them. Initially it is likely to be a whole new language to you; it will not take that long to understand. You need to know how it is working for you, and not just take someone’s word for it. It doesn’t take long to burn through £100’s may be even £1,000’s on Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, only to discover you are making a loss.
Finally look for someone else who is doing well in a similar market, and see who they are using, recommendation is frequently the best.
Last bit of advice
Lastly once you have your customer, do your best to keep them, deliver on promises, engage and communicate with them. Existing customer retention costs are generally a lot less than developing new ones.