In getting your new website found, three things must exist first. You need compelling content on a regular basis. Your on-page optimization for every page needs to be solid. You need to be popular. Popularity can come through off-page optimization, or it can be purchased outright through Pay Per Click advertising.
Content needs to be written for your prospects and customers. It should written in the everyday language and tone that your customers use. If your content is purely marketing related and doesn’t provide usable information — it’s not good content. In my article “How many pages does my website need?”, you can see that every web page needs to stand on it’s own two feet.
Break your long pages into multiple short pages. If you are offering a number of services to your clients, don’t rely on just a single page that simply lists all the services. Ideally each service should have it’s own page. Answer the questions on that individual page that you’d tell your client in a face to face meeting. If you stick with a single, long page listing all your services… the Search engines won’t be able to determine what that page is really about and neither will your customers.
Writing regular entries in your blog is another way to produce fresh content on a regular basis. Many of my blog entries are on topics that are beneficial to my clients. I post links to these entries on my Social Media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.
This aspect of Search Engine Optimization covers the elements of the page that can be seen by either the site visitor or the programmer who built the page. What counts? In a nutshell, page titles, heading tags, meta descriptions, in page links, customer readability, keyword density, keyword appearance in the body of the text, CSS and HTML markup validity, speed of page load, image names, etc.
What’s the process? Every site is constructed just a little bit differently, but the process is about the same. It may involve coming up with additional content for some pages. Breaking some long pages into multiple stand alone pages. Then we go through and adjust page titles, headings, in-page links to other pages in your site, and make sure each page has a good meta description. More advanced strategies would also involve changing page names and image names to get more usable keywords into your site.
Since we’re talking about on-page elements, we’ll want to ensure that Google Analytics is installed on every single page. Analytics enables us to measure the traffic coming to your site. We can see how many visitors, from where, how long they’re staying, which pages are viewed the most, and a lot more information than you or I will ever make use of! But, it’s there for the taking. Either you or I should be monitoring this data on a regular on-going basis.
Popularity can arrive in the form of Off-Page Optimization. Each website that links to yours, other than your own, that are trusted and relevant indicate a vote of trust in the eyes of the Search Engines. The more votes of trust you have, the more popular you become . These links can appear on other sites, blogs, social media links, press releases, article marketing, and directories (either free or paid).
You can simply start using Twitter and Face book and try to build yourself as an authority in your field, gaining user trust and links in the process. You could schedule press releases every six weeks for the next year. We could get some industry specific articles written and do some article marketing. We could hire someone to visit blogs and leave comments. We could submit the site to any number of free and paid directories like business.com, yelp, superpages, yahoo, hot frog, and hundreds of others.
You could be as hands-on or as hands-off as you desire. We could hire someone to research and ghost all of this, or none of this, or somewhere in between.
Popularity can be arrived at overnight through Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). OK. The truth is, you won’t become popular overnight, but at least your site will have page one visibility because of the PPC. You could control your click budget and start in the city or the state of your choice to get some traction and exposure. Or, you could start off with a National campaign.
Many clients will start with Pay Per Click while addressing the on and off page optimization activities for their sites. As the site gets found more on an organic basis, the Pay Per Click can be paused or dialed back to more of a maintenance level.
What’s it all cost?
Every site and every business is unique to some degree. We need to discuss your specific goals. Then we can pin down a closer set of numbers, but for budgetary purposes:
Keyword Search – Plan on two – eight hours minimum.
Apply optimization elements to one page, approximately one hour per page.
Analytics – One hour to setup and install. Monthly monitoring and reporting of Analytics data, starts at $99.00 per month.
Press Releases start at $350.00 each.
Article Marketing starts at $200.00 each.
Link Building campaigns start at $500.00 per month.
Social Media ghosting starts at $200.00 per month.
Pay Per Click setup starts at $695.00. Monthly monitoring starts at $99.00 per month.
Keyword click cost: industry and location specific.
** Prices shown above are rough estimates and current as of April 2011