Published: 05/11/2019 by Ross Chesterfield
Assuming your web developer knows what they’re doing and your code is up to scratch all the redirects are in place and the site is responsive, the hosting is robust, you have an SSL certificate, sitemap and robots.txt file what more do you need to do?
Unless you have a large advertising budget, the simple answer is SEO.
SEO is still seen as a black art in some areas, but there are still some simple best practice activities that all website owners should be paying attention to:
Google is not the only game in town when it comes to search engines, but it is by far the biggest and the best for searching the visible web. Google is also very proactive when it comes to SEO advice. Since Matt Cutts resigned early in 2017 there have been noticeably fewer new SEO related videos but there are still plenty of valuable resources that Google shares:
Developing a content strategy. This is something that can’t easily be covered in a few short paragraphs, but suffice to say that without a content strategy and someone to manage it the website will quickly become cold. To learn more about content strategies that can be tailored to suit your needs sign up to our newsletter or call for a consultation.
Lots of web warriors who know an IT guy or who heard about a person whose website was penalised by Google’s Penguin update, love to tell anyone who will listen that link building is dead. This is simply not true, but before you rush out and buy a thousand dodgy links from a link farm in Nigeria please read on. Link building is essential in order to improve SEO but like most things in life, quality beats quantity hands down. There is a certain amount of skill required to acquire high-quality backlinks and even though you might really want to please resist the temptation to look for shortcuts. For some really valuable information on links, you won’t find a much better resource than this one developed by the guys at Hobo.
Even though your web developer has done a sensational job with the site and their code is a thing of simplistic beauty to behold, there is still a large piece of work that needs to be done by you. Meta tags, image tags, descriptions, videos, H1 tags and more will need to be optimised in order to appeal to SERPS. There are plenty of tools and plugins available for most of the off the shelf CMS’s and while they will make it easier, you will still need to plan and approach this task methodically.
This comes under the banner of outreach or off page but social media is a vital tool in terms of improving website visibility. Social networking needs careful consideration and thought both in terms of audience, platform and content. The days of inauthentic shameless self-promotion are over, so, which sites you choose to establish your profile on and how you create content for these sites needs to be well planned. This should form a big part of your overall content strategy.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking in the real world, talk to other business owners get involved with local chambers of commerce, volunteer at events and hand out business cards. Some of these people might need your product or service, many will visit your website and a few may offer to host a link.
It’s easy to overlook but by using tools like Analytics, Crazy Egg or Hotjar you should be able to monitor and review each landing page, keyword and user journey. Set some benchmarks and evaluate these against key content releases, test the various platforms and adjust your strategy accordingly.
After the initial excitement has worn off many websites tend to drift away from the initial intent and adherence to brand guidelines becomes less rigid. This could mean that a re-evaluation is in order or it could signal a slow decline into chaos. Your website and by extension your brand needs to stay focused and present a clear and stable picture to your customers. Make sure there are processes in place to protect the integrity of your website and that these are followed by all admin users.
When most companies commission a website, they treat it like a one-off piece of work, but nothing could be further from the truth. An effective website will need constant development and maintenance in order to stay on top of search results and maintain relevance in the eyes of its users. We would strongly recommend engaging with your web developer for a small technical retainer or hiring a trusted web consultant who can handle these tasks on a regular basis. You will thank us in the long run because not having these capabilities on hand will in most cases cost a lot more.