5 Steps Towards Higher Quality Web Traffic

This is a guide for individuals who have recently launched their new business website, or have an older website they wish to improve on. What I have found working with many small business owners who are looking to improve their search engine rankings is they are rarely prepared to begin working with a Search Engine Optimization consultant. This guide provides five steps which can help any business owner develop a strong foundation and immediately improve both the quantity and quality of traffic arriving at their website.

 

Step One: What are your customers searching for?

Having worked in the field for a number of years, I’ve routinely seen other articles on this topic lead off with a discussion about “developing your keyword list”. I dislike this approach as it’s often far too open ended, and results in a keyword list with a number of broad terms which will be extremely difficult for a small business just getting started to rank for. For instance if you are run a small t-shirt company, “t-shirt” may be a keyword you would like to rank for, but without the resources of a larger company it will be difficult to ever rank for the term on a national stage.

The approach I normally take is to ask the company what it is they are selling, and what makes them distinct from their competitors. This approach normally isolates the target keywords and phrases the company not only wants to rank for, but also should rank for. If it is a local pizza place the answer might be “product: pizza, differentiators: free delivery, local business in Town XYZ”.  For a web service the answer might be “product: website for relators, differentiators: 123 compliant, website integrates with back end ABC database”

Once you’ve isolated what you sell, and what makes you different from your competition, place yourself in the mind of your future customer and consider what searches they would perform using the keywords you have identified. For our pizza place this might be: “free pizza delivery in Town XYZ”, “Town XYZ, pizza”. For the web service company we might expect the customer to search for: “123 compliant relator website”, “relator website which integrates with ABC”. Your business exists to serve a need, do your best to develop a list of probable searches focused around those needs. In the future there will be plenty of time to get broader, but in your initial push the narrower your focus, the more you can fine tune your website and see results.

 

Step Two: Analyzing the content on your website

Once we have a list of probable search phrases and keywords, the next step is evaluating the website and determining whether your content matches these keywords and phrases.

We often work with website owners, who only briefly, if at all, mention the differentiators of their product. In the case of the web service company, we’ve seen countless examples of businesses with more than 20 pages of content on their website covering a broad range of topics, yet the platform being “123 compliant” was barely mentioned, and their integration with the “ABC database backend” was mentioned in a single line on a page hidden on the website. Yet in talking to the owners, these types of differentiators are the main selling points with potential customers.

If you are starting from scratch, begin only with your home page. Leverage your keyword list (specifically your business’ differentiators) and allow these topics/phrases to define what additional pages you need to create on your website. If you are updating an existing website and there are pages on your website, which do not speak to any of the search phrases/keywords defined earlier in the process these pages are unnecessary and should be removed or replaced with update content which does match to one of the search phrases established in step one. Disclaimer: The previous line refers to content pages, as such any pages which assist customer retention, increase sales, or provide company information should not be removed due to limited search benefits.

 

Step Three: Updating the website content to match the search phrases

When developing your website content, it is extremely important it matches to the keywords and phrases your ideal customer will be using. Your home page should not only be a branding opportunity but also include the content which matches to the broadest searches on the keywords and phrases you have determined earlier.

Once the content on your home page has been finalized, the next step is to look at your list of differentiators and develop individual pages around those topics. The key here is not to overthink these pages, you will want to introduce the differentiator and then provide additional information on why the differentiator is important to both your customer and your business.

For some of the search phrases/keywords you outlined earlier, some page content will overlap. However whenever possible, assuming you can develop enough content around it, individual differentiators should each have their own specific page on your website. In doing so you are making it clear to the search engines which the page itself deserves to rank for searches about what makes your business unique.

 

Step Four: Updating Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Once you’ve aligned the content on your website with what sets your business apart, the next step is to update the page titles and meta descriptions. In addition to the content on the page itself, these are two of the strongest signals you can provide the search engines on what the page is about, and what searches it should rank for.

Luckily at this point in the process, developing the page titles and meta descriptions should be fairly easy. The primary question is what search phrase do you feel the content on the page is focused on. The page title should be written as close to the search phrase itself as possible. For our pizza place trying to rank for a search on “free pizza delivery in Town XYZ”, an example of an optimized page title might be “Best Free Pizza Delivery in Town XYZ”. Typically the major search engines only display the first 50-60 characters of a page title, so you will want to make sure you stay below 60 characters.

The meta description provides you with the chance to entice the searcher, with why they want to click on your link. Look at these as a chance for an elevator pitch on the subject “Free Pizza Delivery available from ABC Pizzeria, click here for more details on the best pizza in town”. Similar to the page titles there is a character restriction on meta descriptions so you should focus on keeping your text here to under 155 characters.

 

Including Adjectives

The page title and meta descriptions work not only to drive increased rankings and traffic around “free pizza delivery”, but also will assist the page in ranking for search terms such a “best pizza delivery”. I recommend including some adjectives in your page titles and meta descriptions to expand the number of searches your webpages will rank for. In addition how your page performs relative to the pages around it in the rankings can also impact how highly your page ranks. Leveraging adjectives to draw in visitors is a great way of ensuring you perform well against your peers.

 

Step Five: Updating your URLs

In addition to the page and meta descriptions, you will also want to ensure all of the URLs on your website have been updated. Once again this should be an easy process, focused on matching the URL to the search phrases you are focused on.

For our local pizza place, the page created around free delivery would ideally be set up as http://www.localpizzaplace.com/free-delivery.html versus http://www.localpizzaplace.com/2761537.html. If the search phrases the page is aiming at are longer, try and focus the url on the key parts of the phrase; however do not sacrifice potential clarity for brevity.

 

Conclusion

Overall your goal in updating the page content, title, meta description, and url are to make it as clear as possible to the search engines what search phrases you want the page to rank for.

Once you’ve accomplished all five steps, you should begin to see improved rankings for all of the search terms you’ve selected at the end of step one. Optimizing your website, and working to continue to improve the rankings and number of searches your website shows up for is a continually evolving process. However these steps can provide you with a firm foundation to build off of moving forward.

About author

Joseph Brady
Joseph Brady 21 posts

Joseph Brady has been involved in growing businesses since 2004. Focused on improving their marketing efforts both on and offline, he has spent considerable time working as a search engine marketing consultant assisting business increase both the quantity and quality of web traffic.

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