Optimize your website

April 1, 2015 -  By

Shaun_KanaryOften I’m asked for my opinion on creating a properly optimized website and what areas to focus on during the process. If there’s one thing I strive to teach my students in every marketing class I teach, it’s that what you or your coworkers want is irrelevant. It’s all about what your consumer wants. Get the opinions of your typical clients or prospects and focus on the content and keywords they’re looking for, as well as a structure they find easy to navigate to find what they need.

Persona research is a very useful tool in this process. Separate your potential consumers into similar groups, then interview a sampling of those consumers. What were they looking for online when researching the services you offer? What words (keywords) did they type into the Google search bar? Focusing on these questions can help you develop the content and keywords your website should focus on.

Finally, if you’re redesigning an existing website, don’t forget about the data that you’ve collected using your old site. Examine your analytics data to look at which pages performed well. Look at how users moved around your website and which pages caused them to leave.

Ignoring consumers’ actions on your existing site can cause you to create a new one they don’t like any better.

Proper SEO building blocks

After taking your consumer research into account, you know which keywords to focus on and what content they want to see.
The next part revolves around developing a properly built website using this on-site search engine optimization (SEO) best practices checklist.

-Focus on one or two keywords per page. Never try to optimize an individual Web page for more than one word. Doing so may not only hurt your efforts, but it can confuse the Web reader with copy that’s all over the place. Blogs are helpful because you can focus your efforts on individual keywords, creating numerous pages of content.

-Include the keyword in the URL and title tag. Always include the keyword you’re optimizing your page for in the URL (website address) of the page. The title tag is what appears on top of your browser and is the “title” of the page. By using the keyword in these places, you quickly tell Google and website visitors that the page contains the information they’re looking for. Here’s an example:

Example1

Weed Pro

-Include the keyword in your meta description. A page’s meta description is the brief description that you see on a search engine results page, right below the page’s title. This description should contain the keyword you’re optimizing for and it should remain below 150 characters. If you exceed 150 characters, you risk Google shortening it by cutting off words. See the copy that starts “Tips and tricks…” here:

Example-2

Weed Pro

-Include the keyword in 3 percent to 5 percent of the page content and in the headers. When writing a Web page, always write with the consumer in mind. Using their language and simplifying complex words and concepts will help readability and improve the page conversions. However, for SEO purposes, you’ll want to include the keyword the page is centered on in the page headline as well as throughout the page copy.

-Include alt tags behind your images. While you’re creating content for your website, remember to use images on every page. If you were describing a beautiful patio to a customer, wouldn’t you show them pictures, too? With that said, images speak a thousand words to the consumer; however, unless you include alt tags behind your photos online, Google won’t see a thing. Alt tags provide a description of the image to the search engines.

Creating a properly optimized website is similar to creating a well-designed landscape plan.

No matter which one you’re working on, keeping in mind your clients’ needs and wants while balancing proper foundational elements will ensure a well-received landscape—or optimized website.

About the Author:

Kanary is Director of Demand Generation for Kuno Creative, a digital marketing agency. A member of the green industry for the past 20 years, he has consulted with green industry companies throughout the U.S. and gives marketing lectures at several industry conferences every year. Kanary is also an adjunct professor of marketing at Baldwin Wallace University and a Certified Google Adwords and Analytics Individual.

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