The first steps toward building your SEO for your company is surrounded by expectant dreams of endless conversions. You watch hopefully as your fresh design is filled with your company’s branding, the pages are populated, and widgets are added. Then, you take a step back and stare at your brilliant masterpiece in hopeful anticipation – and so you should.
However, even after a website has been inhabited by your uniquely-branded presence, accented by complementary design elements, and then auspiciously set up with conversion-expectant buttons and forms, the work is far from complete. Adequate website analysis and subsequent adaptation are the next steps in your business’ internet marketing success story.
Website Analysis – Analyze and Assign Value
While there are numerous types of traffic, two important types of traffic are particularly pertinent to this discussion.
Organic Search - Unfortunately, recent Google Analytics updates constrict the website manager’s ability to monitor the specific keywords users searched with to locate your website. However, the mere volume of your organic search traffic holds some indication as to how your website is ranking. If a high number of visitors arrive at your site via organic search methods, your targeted keywords are most likely doing quite well.
Referrals - When a web surfer is directed to your website from another site through a direct link, this is known as a “referral.” Generally speaking, your online promotional efforts will directly affect the type of referral traffic you receive.
a. Analyze YourTraffic Sources and Web Pages
Using an analytics application such as Google Analytics or HubSpot, take a look at your website’s recent statistics. New visits, return visits, time spent on site, and bounce rate are important stats to observe. If you notice that a particular piece of content has a high bounce rate (bounce rate is the measurement of whether or not the viewer clicked through to another page on the site or whether they “bounced” off the page in less than 30 seconds) you can conclude that the piece wasn’t engaging enough to hold your viewer’s interest. If your site is receiving a high number of first visits but very few return visits, your website may not be memorable enough to keep viewers coming back. If you notice a high amount of referral traffic from a specific source, but an associated high bounce rate, you could conclude that the traffic may not be very valuable as a target audience. This may not always be the case, though, and can depend on a number of circumstances – such as industry.
b. Assign Value Accordingly
At this point, you need to assign value to your web pages and your various types of traffic. Assess your analytics results and use that data to determine the most and least valuable pages on your site. If there are pages that have problems, fix them by adding more engaging content, better formatting, or photos. If you have a traffic source that isn’t proving valuable, change your promotional efforts to target a more effective viewer.
Just a note: Some traffic sources are inherently valuable based on their reputation. However, understanding which of these reputable traffic sources best fits your particular business’ niche will also help you focus your promotional efforts.
c. Monitor Rankings
Don’t simply leave your website to run on its own accord. Make sure to monitor your search rankings. How far down the results page is your site when you enter your targeted search terms in a browser you haven’t used before? If you are not at a satisfactory location on the page, you need to bolster your Search Engine Optimization for that specific keyword. Like I mentioned, the work is far from over.
d. Adjust Strategy
All promotion is not created equal. Simply expending money or time in promotional efforts for your business isn’t going to make your business successful in the long run. Rather, rely on effectively analyzed results upon which educated promotional decisions can be made. Your gain is twofold. You have a better idea of the nature of your website interactions, and the probability of your promotional success has risen immensely.
Flex With the Online Environment
Just like most fads back in our school days, the online environment tends to ebb and flow. When the cool kid on the block started riding a skateboard, the scooter you had just bought with your hard-earned savings was suddenly considered…well, lame. Don’t be surprised to wake up one morning and find the online environment has changed overnight. What are the trends right now?
Current Trends in the Online Environment
1. Companies Enter Late in the Buying Process.
By the time your potential buyer actually contacts you, 80% of their “buying process” is already complete. The buyer has already decided a) what they want to buy, b) how much they’re willing to pay, and c) whether they like you, before you ever hear from them.
Your job is to make the best, brightest, and most personal first impression on your viewer. Most likely, you won’t have a second change. This underscores the importance of website analysis and maintenance. You must be monitoring how well your first impressions are impacting your viewers.
2. Your Content Must Win the Contest.
The trend towards content marketing has made a three-point-landing in the marketing world. Content is key to search rankings, buyer interaction, and business reputation. However, now that everyone is producing content, it’s now a competition to see whose content gets more eyeballs. Your content must stand out, containing an eclectic assortment of topics and an extravagant amount of creative energy poured into its development. Is this a tall order? Yes.
3. Mobile Optimization – Yes or no? Live or Die.
Since the Smartphone’s triumphant rise to power, the internet and all its perks are literally at the public’s fingertips around the clock. Optimizing your site for mobile use is vital to remain a prominent player in today’s marketplace.
Let’s not sugar coat it. The online marketplace is a tough environment. It requires the average business to pay close attention, ride current trends, and spend resources on smart marketing techniques. At the end of the day, it is imperative that you examine the results of your efforts and respond accordingly. Heads up. Play it smart. And may the best man win!