WTF!?! I am investing all of this money in my business and marketing efforts to get the word out there and I am just not seeing the results yet. We hear this all the time. We get it…it’s frustrating. The truth is those emails that your company is getting on a daily basis promising to instantly skyrocket you to the top of every related Google search for only $99 are total bullsh*t. Your search ranking efforts and strategy to rise up in Google searches relevant to your business take time and effort. No one can bring you to the top of Google with a few simple clicks. Those emails are false promises that make things harder for honest marketers that care about your business’ success in the long term.
Google takes time to crawl your site and its content. If your site is brand new, it will take a while to be indexed. Your site will start appearing in search engine results only after search engines have had time to crawl your site (generally about a 6 month process). Your web team, or web platform (like Squarespace) has absolutely no control over how quickly this will happen. What they can control is the content and keyword strategy implementation on your website so that when Google does crawl your site, it is finding the things that it is looking for. Most importantly, finding what your company wants to be found, such as your service or products.
If you type your full domain name or the url slug to one of your pages into a search field and it does not come up, this probably means your site (or that page) hasn’t been indexed yet. Once it does come up by searching specific url’s, but doesn’t start coming up when searching for keywords related to your company and its offerings, that may mean it is time to step up your keyword strategy and content game. Assuming your site has been up for awhile and has been crawled, but still isn’t showing higher in searches related to your business means there is some work that needs to be done.
Help boost your site’s chances for SEO (search engine optimization) success by:
· Take the time to do competitor research and build a keyword strategy. Pay attention to the keyword difficulty score to make sure that you will be able to compete and will not be wasting efforts going against major players with larger budgets to throw at paid advertising and content generation. You can pepper in some higher difficulty score keywords but make sure you are also going at some of the lower hanging fruit.
· Use that keyword strategy to customize page titles, site titles, blog post titles and headings. Search engines prioritize these. Don’t go crazy and stack keyword upon keyword. Your titles and site content still needs to be created for your customers and their experience, but keeping a keyword strategy in mind and inserting them in when possible will help with the search bots.
· Make sure the team that is working on your website and prepping the photography for it is using alt text and proper image naming strategy. Search engines cannot crawl the images themselves to gain an understanding of what the content is about so they use the naming convention of the images to do so. Using the image names to help bots understand will help those images and pages with that content start to come up in related searches. Having images with file names like “image001.jpg” or “DSC1034.jpg” is doing nothing to help your content be found. This is something that so many website designers or developers or people trying to build their sites on their own overlook.
· Start blogging and adding additional pages as you can. Make sure the platform you have your site on allows you to easily update your site with new blog content. Or, if you don’t have time, work with an agency, like us awesome people at 10twelve! Having pros can help you to boost your rankings and reach more customers with a monthly content management strategy. Search engines see blogging as updating your site, so blogging frequently will show them that you are an active site. This is one of the greatest things you can do to boost your SEO, but also establish yourself as an expert in your industry and connect with your target audience.
· Not only should you create these blogs, but you should also make sure you are using keywords when possible. Also use tags, categories and Header 1 and Header 2 (H1/H2) tags to help bots quickly distinguish what your content is about.
· Other things that can affect page rankings are broken links, lack of backlinks or switching from one platform to another (there are some best practices to follow to help avoid some of this).
· Password protecting your home page or having flash animation on your home page is a major problem when it comes to ranking. Search engines will not index it.
· Pay attention to character limit rules for descriptions, page names, titles, etc. General searches on this should give you an idea, or your web team should be abreast of the latest and greatest SEO best practices.
We love Squarespace because they help us do the right thing for our client’s when it comes to SEO and building websites that help get their businesses found. On our end we do the keyword strategy research and plan site structure and design that will help set your business up for success. On Squarespace's end, the platform uses a wide-variety of things like clean HTML markup, built in mobile optimization and the ability for client’s to easily update the blogs on their own (only to name a few) that also make following SEO best practices easier.