If you have ever had to go through the process of getting your own website made from a designer, there is almost always the same answer to the same question:
Question: “Do you do Search Engine Optimisation?”
Answer: “Yes we do that, you will see it listed in the quote” (or words to that effect)
What the business owner hears is that the designer will apply secret tips to make the site appear on the top of search in Google.
What the designer means is we will make the site “as friendly as possible” to Google, while making it look good. These are two totally different things and part of the key is in the name web “designer”.
Let me take a little time to explain the difference between a marketing approach and the designer approach. Designers do a fantastic job of giving you credibility, making you look professional and getting your site up online. At the same time, wanting your site to do well in Google is like wanting your panel beater to make your car go faster – It’s not what they do.
A marketing approach will want to approach this from a numbers perspective which starts with a couple of key points:
1. Keyword research: How many people search for what you do? How can you target that best? So as a keyword example:
a. “property inspection” – Too broad, is subject based and most likely a first search
b. “property inspection services” – Better still not specific enough
c. “Property inspector franklin” equals a very high chance of creating business, or at the least a phone enquiry.
The idea is that the person who arrives on your website should think ‘that’s exactly what I am looking for!’
And from Google’s point of view, all they ever want to do is supply the search results with exactly what the person is looking for and fast!
So the first step in the process of keyword research should be the Google keyword Tool. Technically it is part of the Google Adwords advertising system, but you can access it externally here:
Google Keywords External
This is an international tool, but you can show numbers from New Zealand – it should be treated as a guide only.
2. What action do you want? Having a website ‘just because your competition has one,’ is no longer a good enough reason. You should have a “business based” action for your site. What you want the visitor to the site to do, maybe call you, or make an on-line enquiry, or request a quote. You need to keep this mind together with the design.
3. How are you going to market the site? – A site without any promotion work gets lost in the sea of millions of other websites. You need to have a marketing plan of how you can confirm and measure that your site is bringing you more business.
One of the most effective ways of increasing the trust and credibility (and therefore ranking in Google search results) is by building incoming links from other websites, which in Google’s eyes count as “votes” but not all votes are counted as equal….. (Just when you thought it was easy ;)).
Links for sites in a similar market as you or from big authority sites (like Yellow Pages) have more influence on your sites’ ranking.
By the way, in a research survey, over 80% of searchers equated the sites that come up in the top ten results as the ‘most trusted’ in the marketplace.
So as an approach you want to balance the two sides of design and marketing for your website, so that you have a great looking site, but one that also is responsive and brings more business.