At Next Flight Creative, we like to talk about ‘SEO’ a lot. That’s probably because for us SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are the core of digital marketing, in which all of our online media and marketing projects revolve around. (If you already a bit lost on these terms, please read Dan Isbister’s article on SEO/SEM and how they are so important for getting found on Google). Getting found on Google, the world’s internet search engine giant, is the most important form of marketing today if you are just about any size business in Maryland. Most businesses know this and pay a lot of money to get up on search engine rankings. But what if I told you that simply pouring money into your Google ad campaign may not be enough, and all starts with the simple on-page content of your website? Seems pretty logical right?
Your website is more than aN Extension of your business card, it’s your online marketing rep HERE IN MARYLAND.
You see, the issue is that many Maryland businesses think it’s enough to simply have an existing “.com” up that represent who they are and what they do and how to reach them by phone or email. Recently, I overheard an attorney tell a colleague of mine that “having a website today is just like having an electronic business card”. I had to stop myself from arguing that this couldn’t be further from the case! While all the basic essentials of “who, what and how” is definitely necessary for your business to inform and connect to new customers, it’s not enough to just have a website up.
Your website is your online marketing representative. Whether or not you are putting time and money into social media, search engine marketing, or simply have relied on word-of-mouth for all of your sales, your “.com” is where people are going to find you online and you have to consider the impression your site is making on Google. If your site is outdated or insufficient to internet standards, it’s probably working against your online marketing efforts and not reaching anyone at all.
Yes, Google has a set of standards that it holds every website accountable for. When “crawling” and researching your site, which it does on a regular and consistent basis, it scans your entire website property to make sure your site is complying with these standards. That is why we web developers have to stay on top of these rules and make sure your site is staying in Google’s favor.
Keeping On-Page SEO in mind in every WEBSITE design.
In order to gain the favor of the tech giant and make sure your website is getting recognized (and not penalized), your marketing team must ensure that your website is both 1.) compliant to Google site standards and 2.) maintaining on-page optimization. The standards and practices we incorporate into your website design to gain search engine favor and achieve high search rankings are called On-Page SEO. So what type of standards do we try to meet in the development and design of your website?
Responsive Web Design.
Having a fully responsive site design is a great example of one of the most important things that Google looks for in your website design. In 2017, it’s crucial for your website to be easy to read, navigate and look nice on every screen size. Does your website currently format to mobile, tablet, and desktop screens? Mobile internet use is becoming (or some might argue has become) the go-to for most consumers, whether shopping on the go or relaxing by the pool. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you might be suffering Google ranking and losing your audience.
Words, words, words.
As Dan always reminds the artists on our team, search engines can’t learn from images… yet. Although Google is researching hard on advancing its ability to analyze imagery, currently they are still reading the content on your pages, reviewing, and learning what your site is all about from the text, not pictures. That’s why it’s not only important to make sure the design layout of your website is wordy, but that the messages contain relevant keywords, proper headings, links, and read naturally. Believe it or not, Google bots can read your site more like a human visitor now than ever before!
Keeping it Fresh.
Probably the most important aspect of On-Page SEO, after relevant and informational content, is keeping your content fresh. Search engines favor websites that offer relevant and up-to-date information to the internet. That’s why we love to use a CMS (content-management system) like WordPress to design websites for clients. Designing your site on a platform like WordPress makes it so easy to update your page content and blog posts, to ensure that your website is putting out fresh, new content on a regular basis. If you want to maintain relevance and get seen on Google search, I can’t tell you enough how important it is to post new content on a regular basis. If blogging and writing articles just isn’t an option for you, then make sure the information you offer on your website stays up to date (and accurate). This includes top 10 lists, FAQ’s, and any informational static page.
In summary, as you think about your marketing plan for the future, keep in mind that social media, ad campaigns, email marketing, and digital newsletters are all like water streams that lead to a river which is your website, that carries your leads into the lake, your business. Don’t let your new customers get caught in the river before they ever reach the lake! If your website looks bad, I guarantee you that you will lose customers before they ever pick up the phone. For more information about how Next Flight Media Solutions can help your Maryland business convert more leads by improving the design and messages conveyed on your site, please contact us today.
Visit completedigitalmarketingcourse.com for a complete 26-point SEO checklist for new websites and seo audits.