I Have SEO on My Website so Where Are All My Leads?

Frustrated Business OwnerAs I’ve said in the past, I think that every website can benefit from search engine optimization.  Employing keywords in the important on-page SEO elements, making sure that the site’s code is clean and lean so search engines can better crawl it, rewriting URLs so they are static and include keywords – the list goes on.  It’s all about giving your website the best possible chance to be seen in a search related to your business, as well as making it as hospitable as possible to those cute ‘lil search engine bots.

Once you’ve optimized your site, you’re done, right?  Shouldn’t you start getting a deluge of emails and calls?  In a perfect world, SEO would be all that you need to have customers banging down your door.  The reality is that a website needs to be approached holistically.  In addition to SEO, your site needs to function properly (solid website development), be appealing to visitors (pleasing website design), be updated frequently with information (content building), and make it clear to visitors what you want them to do (user conversion).  Don’t forget about social media networking and maybe even PPC.

I know this is a lot to digest, so let’s explore a few of these elements a little further.

Solid Website Development

This may sound obvious, but your website needs to work.  First and foremost, it should load quickly.  People are impatient and if your web pages are slow, visitors are very likely to leave – quickly. Google also just started using this as a minor ranking signal which means that slower pages may not rank as high as they could in search engine results.  Speed is key.

Don’t forget that search engines check out sites “under the hood” so to speak.  They crawl through the code of websites to read the text and link to other pages.  Things like nested tables (instead of using CSS), javascript navigation, flash splash pages, or only using images on the pages makes it very difficult for the search engine bots to get through your site and figure out what it’s all about.  Make sure you site’s code is as lean as it possibly can be without a lot of superfluous “stuff”.

Build That Content

People are searching the web for information.  How much does your website have?  Are you offering case studies, whitepapers, demos, videos, a blog, testimonials, etc?  Why not?  Your website is a living and breathing entity and it needs to be constantly nurtured.  The best way to show your website visitors that you are invested in your web presence is by keeping it updated and building content.   I don’t know about you, but I don’t stick around on sites too long that look like they haven’t been updated in awhile.  I imagine that you get a variety of questions from your customers about your products and services; this is a great starting point to building content.  If someone is asking a question, there are bound to be others who have the same questions.  Start adding the answers to your website.

A blog is a great (and easy!) way to add content to your site on a consistent basis.  It also gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your industry.   Blogs can be very powerful.

User Conversion

The bottom line of every website is to get your visitors to engage.  This could be through submitting a contact form, downloading a PDF, signing up for an email newsletter, reserving a spot in a training workshop, or simply buying a product.  What do you want people to do once they are on your website?  If you’re not sure, it’s imperative for you to come up with a strategy for any of the aforementioned engagement techniques (and there are many others that I didn’t mention).  Then you have to make it easy for your visitors and spell it out for them.  One way of doing this is to have “call to action” elements marked very clearly throughout your site.  Graphics that say “Contact Us” or “Download our Free eBook” made to stand out and be seen above the fold are strategies to let people know that these are the desired actions.

SEO is not a Magic Bullet

SEO is an imperative part of Internet Marketing, but it cannot exist alone in a vacuum.  There are many different pieces of the puzzle that need to be considered when using your website to drive your business’ bottom line.  The effort of optimization is largely in vain if people get to your site and then leave because they didn’t get what they wanted from it and you were not able to engage them.  It’s time to look at your website as a whole and pinpoint opportunities for improvement to finally get those leads you’ve been looking for.