While stacking up your sales department is a good way to drive inbound leads and sales, I find that many businesses are overlooking the potential for a rockstar salesperson: their website.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your website just as you would a training and education budget for a salesperson. You may be tempted to throw a lot of money into paid search, but investing in organic search will last much longer, making it the most effective way to drive leads for your business. That means once the ad budget runs out, the leads and the traffic stops, but the work you put into organic rankings will last for months, if not years to come.
But what happens when you can’t find your website in the organic listings?
Chances are, you need help optimizing your website to tell the search engines what your site is about. I run a company called Pear Analytics where my team developed a tool that gives you a free SEO analysis in about 30 seconds with actionable details and instructions on how to fix the issues in “Fisher-Price” language. You’ll get a score from 0 to 100, as well as a detailed report, which will look something like this:
Each category is labeled with an indicator to help identify your problem areas, where you can expand each section to learn what it is, how you scored, and how to fix that particular item.
Increasing your score helps ensure that your site has been properly set up to be search engine friendly; however, you will still need to work on three main things in an ongoing manner.
1. Understand the keywords you should target and your competition
I find quite often that websites are not systematically targeting any keywords, or they are targeting words or phrases that do not get searched often. Use our Website Analyzer tool and look at the Keyword Targets section of the report. It tells you the keywords you are trying to target, but also what Google thinks your site is about. Evaluate the words to target based on how many searches per month the word gets. In other words, you don’t want to target a keyword that gets searched 20 times per month. You want to target words that get over 1,000 searches per month, or 500 per month on a local search (if you add a location to your search term).
2. Generate interesting content that people want to read (and link to)
This is the one thing that worries small business owners because they do not have a lot of time to dedicate to keeping up a website or a blog. In reality, this is an exercise that will take a couple of hours a week – more is better if you have the time. Over 40% of the traffic that comes to my Pear Analytics company site is from blog posts that are found through Google searches. I have roughly 50 blogs and have been blogging about analytics, SEO, SEM and other topics for about a year now. Try to do a blog post per week, or generate a new page of content, or add new products to your site on a weekly basis. Google likes new and fresh information and will give preference to sites that update often.
3. Build your inbound links as organically as possible
Building links is the most time consuming and difficult task. Most people won’t link to you without good reason, and you want to avoid buying links whenever you can. Most sites that offer to sell you links for a few hundred dollars are not very good links. You would rather have a few great links than lots of poor links. This goes back to creating awesome content – like whitepapers, video, or other information that would be valuable to people, or something they would expect to pay for. You can also use public relations as a way to build inbound links. By writing press releases and posting them electronically with strategic links back to your website could be extremely valuable.
Try the free SEO tool and start thinking strategically about your website and getting found in the search engines. Let me know what you think about the tool and if you’re finding it helpful. Would love to hear your feedback!
Ryan has been doing web marketing since 2003, when Google was only 5 years old and not a publicly trade company yet. He founded Pear Analytics in 2008 to help businesses measure their marketing results using advanced analytics techniques, and help drive more traffic to their websites.