The Picture Behind the Algorithms! Should You Care?
The image above is from Wikipedia and the article is not for the faint of heart. It’s all about PageRank. And no…I don’t recommend you read it. Especially now that Google has removed PageRank from its toolbar. They don’t want you to pay attention and yet many still think they must! And what about Search Engine Optimization or SEO?
Do you wonder about SEO? Is your website Search Engine Optimized? Should it be? And just how can you tell if it is or isn’t? What the heck is this SEO stuff really?
Can someone improve your SEO? Should you hire that nerdy guy that sent you an email out of the blue promising to raise your sites rankings and optimize you in search engines?
Maybe you should take that online course and learn how to do SEO yourself? What does a higher SERP (search engine results page) ranking do to improve SEO? And what’s all this stuff about meta-tags, keywords, and canonical URLS? What do YOU need to know? What will matter to you and your business and to your sales? Breathe.
Cart Before The Horse?
I recently was approached to be part of a team with a rather large project for a not yet published site. The idea was that I would do the blogging and some other basic marketing work and the conversation quickly turned to SEO. It’s a subject that I won’t pretend for a moment that I have any deep knowledge about, but I often know more than the majority of my clients.
The new site owner is transforming an older and outdated site and adding e-commerce. “I will be bringing all the old blog posts over and I want you to revamp them and get more keywords in them so we get higher SEO.”
The owner knew the buzz words, that’s for sure! That’s when my mind went to canonical URLs. I started to discuss this “tool” – canonical URLs – and stopped in mid-sentence. The owner started up again about SEO then, at that point, I just backed off the conversation. I said I had some information that might help and then sent a few Google specific articles written by “The Google Team” itself. Here’s a link to what I sent. It is about SEO specifically. BUT – just relax and read the rest of this blog for now.
Instead, let’s look at a checklist of things you need in place before you bother yourself with PageRanks and SEO stuff. For my avid fans who read my blogs, this will be a familar list. But it’s worth revisiting.
Your Own Website:
- Your own website with your own domain so you can be more easily found in a search
- A solid modern website that works on all devices
- A site that is easy to understand (test your site with PEEK for free) and to navigate (which helps with SEO BTW!)
- A strong underlying message and tone on your website that creates trust, minimizes unanswered questions, and funnels interested people into a buying mood
- A shopping cart – I still love my free online shopping cart that comes as part of my SquareUP.com account
- Excellent photos and straight talking descriptions that entice purchases
- Full contact information for added trustworthiness
- An email sign-up form on every single page (use the footer or header areas)
- A dedicated email signup form page where you can make them an offer they can’t refuse
- Maybe even a (subtle) pop-up to gather emails (see this article)
- And put that sign-up link onto your shopping cart page also. They might land directly on your shopping cart from a search
- Offer an incentive to signup: “xx% off your first order when you join my list.”
Blog – yes… it’s important:
- Once a month can make a big difference
- It gives you a built-in excuse to connect with your email subscribers
- It’s an opportunity to be more conversational and personal with your audience
- It REALLY helps your SEO. It naturally “refreshes” your site’s content and gives you more visibility with “The Google”.
And… okay… you want to use Social Media, of course. But please…wait before you spend money on ads and hear this Loud and Clear: It’s all about pay to play to get results. Don’t pay if it won’t pay off! And, if your ideal buyer is not likely to be on Snapchat or Twitter, why would you go out of your way to post on those channels? Follow the direct path to where they likely hang-out.
First Things First
Email is actually first, of course. Staying in touch using a professional program like Constant Contact (my fav) while you are building the other components or fixing your website is very important. When I am helping someone re-group and get a new website created, we use this adventure as part of the “content” we create in the emails. “There will be some great news in about 2 weeks. Please stay tuned for my totally new website.”
It can be fun to use the changes as part of your outreach – even give a sneak peek to pique their interest. (Say that three times fast!) And don’t worry if you are just starting out. Just start, right? Send emails to friends and family and do whatever you can to start building your list.
SEO doesn’t help if you aren’t ready to seal the deal
So while it’s great to do all the things that will help you with your site’s visibility, it’s really important that once they land on your website, you are prepared to take advantage of increasing traffic to your site. You must be ready get their email and hopefully get them to purchase, too.
Your website can be retro-fitted to increase SEO anytime. Meanwhile, emails will have that more personal connection. Emails are all about getting people to continue to think about you and your services or products. If you are sending an email at least once a month, you will be likely to have someone looking at your offer or heading to your website to get more information because you are in the right place (their inbox!) and it’s the right time for them to be considering your service or product.
Every exposure they have to you and your business is a moment of deepening their connection to you. Out-of-sight is out-of-mind. And that’s never been truer than today with our frenetic online distractions.
Close That Loop!
Get your email system up and running so you don’t have to depend on someone randomly finding you through a Google Search to begin with. Then, when you are randomly discovered by a search, and your email system is in place, you can capture that person’s email and you have closed the loop. When you have ALL three elements in place, you can make sales online. YOU. CAN. MAKE. SALES. ONLINE.
Eventually, you can turn your attention to increasing your SEO, purchasing Social Media Ads, and even hire people like me to optimize your website’s words and replace them with “MY Golden Words” and increase your sales even further.
I can be worth my weight in gold, but not if you don’t have the full Golden Triangle of Success in place. If you want a quick review of where you stand today and want to do a little brainstorming, put your comments below and be sure to include your website I will contact you later with a 5-minute video review of your current site for free.
This OFFER IS ONLY GOOD for first five commenters. If you don’t have a website (or don’t want to share it publicly ‘cus you are feeling shy) and still want my help, let’s chat soon. firstname.lastname@example.org