As the modern storefront of your organisation, designing a website is an exciting prospect. But before you run away with thoughts of slick graphic design and flashy toys, a solid foundation must first be built – one that ensures Google will enjoy your new site as much as your visitors do.
After all, if Google doesn’t like it, potential customers probably won’t even see it.
Content marketing is one of the core pillars of a high-ranking website. The what, where and how of content delivery plays a bigger role in your SEO success than arguably any other factor.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key considerations you’ll need to make when building (or rebuilding) your website, from the higher-level strategic decisions to the lower-level tactical moves.
1. Competitor research
Before building your own site, it’s wise to see what you’re up against. Identify your major competitors by typing in the most relevant keywords – if you’re a plumber in Christchurch, begin with ‘plumber Christchurch’ – and see who ranks on page one. Look at each of these major competitors and note down what you do and don’t like about each site, so that you can begin to build a model for your own.
If you haven’t already secured a domain, check which are already taken. Rules for choosing a domain include:
- It should be able to be easily spelled by a ten-year-old.
- It should be different enough from competitors to avoid confusion.
- It will ideally feature relevant keywords.
- If there are already 20 different companies with a certain word (like ‘plumbing’) in their domain name, consider using a different term.
Choosing a domain is a balance. You want to be unique and memorable, but not at the expense of googleability.
2. Information architecture
Your website needs to be structured in an organised and easy to understand way. You want it to capture as many potential customers as possible, be as easy to navigate as possible, and generate as many sales as possible. This is the role of information architecture.
A basic example of good information architecture might be:
- Individual service
- Customers in this industry
- Contact Us
Again, competitor research can be a great way of understanding the sort of architecture that will work best.
3. URL structure
Your URL structure is vital for your SEO efforts. Your URLs should reflect the keywords you are targeting, and they should make sense in the context of your information architecture.
Design your internal link structure in a way that provides Google with hints on which are your most relevant pages. Put the most relevant keywords in the URL, and ensure that your key pages – your homepage, Services/Products, Contact Us and About – enjoy links from every other page.
Keywords aren’t just vital in URLs – they are the hooks that allow Google to fish you out of an ocean of websites, so they should make an appearance in a number of areas, such as:
- In headings and subheadings, particularly H1.
- In meta-data and alt-tags.
- In the body text of pages and blogs.
Bolding, italicising, underlining and otherwise formatting keywords can help Google understand which are the most important on your site, enhancing your ranking for the most relevant terms.
5. Demonstrate your expertise
Blogs allow you to offer up even more keywords for Google to latch onto. And if you post truly valuable and insightful content, you may begin to enjoy backlinks from other websites, further increasing your authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.
But content marketing isn’t just for Google – it’s an opportunity to showcase your authority and expertise to your customers.
An on-site blog is a simple thing to set up, and it allows you to share solutions to common problems that your customers face, or perhaps even highlight issues that your customers don’t yet know exist. It’s a great way to capture the attention of people who have a specific problem that you are well placed to solve.
Buyer personas can be super useful in understanding what your audience will and won’t find valuable. These same personas can help you to zero in on the most relevant and effective keywords to target in the content marketing plan.
Finally, keep each page focused on a single topic – putting too much information onto a single page can make it difficult for both Google and your visitor to find the most valuable bits.
6. Calls to action
At its most basic, a call to action provides a simple way for a site visitor to express an interest in your product or service. A good one will demand the minimum amount of necessary information, to remove every possible hurdle that might stand in the way of a person getting in touch.
Ideally, a call to action will be placed on every page. A good example is an automated calendar that allows a customer to instantly book an introductory meeting. Newsletter subscriptions, expression of interest buttons and comment functions are other worthwhile examples of CTAs.
If your website is your digital storefront, your content can be seen as the bricks that are stacked on top of the foundation and around the frame. Content marketing fills your website out, and when done well, makes it all the more visible to search engines and potential customers.
If you’re ready to make your customers a little more content, get in touch with the team at Traction today.