Once upon a time an article such as this would have been highly technical, looking in depth at all the jiggery pokery that could be done on a website to make it optimally visible and searchable with the right keywords.
It would have looked in great detail at inbound links, keyword usage, crawl efficiency, content depth and keyword density, for example. That’s all great – and indeed important – but it is pointless if we forget the bigger picture.
The big picture. What’s your site for?
This is a key question and one that leads the way to the answer of our bigger question of what your site should be optimised for. If your site is not built for your ideal customers to find you, to have their needs satisfied and their queries addressed and to make it as easy as possible for them to buy from you again and again, what is the point of having one?
With this in mind, one of your biggest priorities is to ensure that you have a site that is highly relevant to those that you want to do business with. It has to host content that will grab your customer’s attention. Perhaps it informs them of things they will find particularly useful, whether or not that leads to them paying for your services in the short term. It will answer questions that will lead them to trust and want to engage with you. Your site will work hard and efficiently to capitalise on the attention of visitors on every page, using tactics designed to encourage them to take another step in the selling process, to lead them a little further down the sales funnel.
Ultimately, your goal is to convert them. No sales. No business.
So what should you optimise for?
Let’s work backwards…you want sales, don’t you?
The point being driven forward here is that the approach to optimisation should be holistic. Look at this quote from forensic SEO audit consultant, Alan Bleiwiss, who has resurrected thousands of sites from being dead in the water to top dogs in terms of their overall optimisation. He puts it perfectly when he spells out what he sees as the biggest mistake
“The number-one mistake I see people make in their efforts to optimize? They become fixated on individual signals — inbound links, keyword usage, crawl efficiency, content depth… or any of several other signals. They become myopic in what they work on rather than understanding the need to spread their energy/effort/resources around. The end result is an imbalance that creates an unhealthy pattern –too easily identified as ‘artificially forced’ – that leaves them vulnerable to competitive efforts.”
Use common sense
When it comes to the crunch, a lot of this is common sense, and so are the actions required to optimise for all the factors outlined in this article.
For example, how do you optimise for stimulation? Easy. For a start, you want a good mix of text, white space, images, video, links and sub-headings.
You’re not an authority just because you say you are
Building a reputation as the go-to authority on your subject is not going to happen with the wave of a magic wand – you actually have to be the authority you want to be seen as. Demonstrate your research when you write content. Source other authorities in the field. Go into details. Illustrate your expertise. Push forward logical and well thought out arguments that will empower your readers, and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas while being fluentin the current trends.
Know your audience
Attracting customers with SEO and optimising your site boils down to understanding your audience. It is more than knowing the keywords they will use in a search engine. It is about reading their intentions, even controlling the avenues that they use to get to your site and being ready to receive them when they get there.
If you really get what your customers are about and what they are looking for, you will deliverthe best possible user journey to take them to the promised land: sales and conversions.