Despite online visibility being the goal of any website, the usual result is invisibility. In today’s market, being visible online isn’t so much about whether you do certain things, but how well you do them. Simple mistakes that prevent people from finding you are all too common. To ensure a hit that sticks, start by assessing five key areas of your site.
1. On-Page Content
Optimize is one of those words that everyone tosses around, but what does it mean for a page or site? For a start, optimized web pages should:
- Load quickly. If loading is slow, visitors will hit the x or back button instead.
- Use visual graphics and video to deliver information.
- Offer substantive depth in common language of the trade. Think keywords and common synonyms.
- Incorporate searchable titles, headers, captions and image alt text that use your keywords.
- Go in-depth. Offer real insight, and avoid keyword stuffing that search engines will discount.
- Provide internal links to keep visitors exploring and increase dwell time.
- Display social media links allowing site visitors to repost, share or email pages—anything that increases your visibility.
2. Meta Tags
We live in a world of barcodes, QR codes and computer codes. If it doesn’t have a recognizable tag, it doesn’t exist. Search engines are looking for tags—specifically, descriptions, titles, keywords, authorship and instructions—metadata identifiers that tell them what your page is about and what to do with it. When those meta tags contain the words that search engines are searching for, your chance of a hit increases. Some areas that are common stumbling blocks include:
- Untagged or Flash Picture Pages. Search engines won’t see that gorgeous picture of the veranda backdropped in swaying Spanish moss, but they will recognize a Louisiana bed and breakfast tag, for example.
- Robot Crawler Instructions. Search engines need to know whether to show your website as a search result and whether to trust your link and follow through. Use the wrong codes, and you can quickly rate yourself unlisted and untrustworthy.
- Mobile-Friendly and Social Media Tags. Tags determine how and whether your pages turn up in social media venues and on mobile devices. Coding and graphic requirements differ and ultimately impact your site’s visibility and your visitors’ quality of experience.
3. Site Credibility
Evaluate your website credibility by checking whether:
- Your website has external links to other credible websites related or reinforcing ideas and content you share.
- Credible websites have links to your website.
Search engines are using these qualifiers to verify that your website is a credible source worth reporting. They’re looking for connectivity to other sites that will essentially vouch for yours. Equally important, if those other sites hold a link—known as a backlink—to you, it’s another credible way of being found. Are you establishing links to or from:
- Sites ending with .edu or .gov?
- Professional networking sites like LinkedIn?
- Established businesses that complement your objectives?
4. Internal Link Structure
Search engines evaluate whether your website is a one-page tease, an in-depth authority or something in between. To do that, they look for your site’s internal link structure—the connectivity, or links, between the various pages that make up your site. You can build a rich internal linking structure by:
- Fully fleshing out your products, services and capabilities.
- Using multiple pages, with each tailored to support specific, searchable content.
- Offering additional expertise and relevant meaningful content through blogs or white papers.
- Continually adding content to keep your site up to date.
Internal link structure builds trust not only with search engines but also with clients. If your site delivers what it promises and offers solid, up-to-date insight, analysis or expertise, it will become a go-to site for users.
5. Email Marketing Strategy
Email has been around for decades, but it’s still the most cost-effective and easy way to engage customers and retain them—when done well. Some key must do’s include:
- Making your message compelling—that is, clear, short and sweet.
- Offering meaningful, keyword-centered content—substantive information that the recipient wants or can use.
- However, don’t pull the curtain back too much! Leave the recipient wanting more and link back to your site.
- Incorporating a call to action with links to optimized website landing pages.
- Adhering to anti-SPAM and CAN-SPAM rules and conventions. You don’t want to land in the junk mail box.
- Gathering and analyzing analytics continually to improve or maintain engagement rates.
Achieving online visibility isn’t an impossible task, but your website has to convince the search engines first. Be seen, and you’ll claim an ever-expanding customer base. If you want to learn how to increase or restore your visibility online, let BBR get your search engine optimization and marketing in sync.