Your website. Look at it – it’s a thing of beauty. You’ve debated font size, color, images… You and your designer reviewed several shades of green before you found just the right earth tone. Your marketing message flows in on a beautiful and moving flash movie. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of. You can practically hear voices raised in song whenever you look at it, the site is that beautiful. The months of work, the thousands of dollars, they were all worth it.
Any day now, your prospects are going to rise by double – no triple digits! Any day now. Any day. A-n-y day… okay, just one day…
Don’t feel alone. Hundreds of thousands of website owners are waiting right along with you. You’ve developed your brand name, tag line, price point, loss leaders, website design, staffing, business plan, line of credit… and an Internet Marketing plan focused primarily on hosting, design and development. Overlooking one major consideration: How will people find your site once it’s launched?
A few weeks ago, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine from long ago who was vacationing in the area. As we chatted, she proudly announced she had just launched a new online business, and how it had taken her much longer than she had expected to get the right design for the site. In fact, she had hired and fired three design companies, trying to get just the right ‘look’. When I mentioned I worked in the Search Engine Marketing industry, we immediately had a conversation that went something like this:
“How much do you charge for submissions?”
“I thought you worked with the search engines!?”
“I do – I’m asking where you want to be submitted to? Google is free. MSN is free. Yahoo is – well – free if…”
“Oh –but how often do you submit?”
“Once, but if you get some good incoming links, even that’s not really necessary. I could..”
“Well, my company submits to thousands of search engines every month!”
Alarm bells are ringing in my head as I’m smiling politely and nodding along to how important it is to put the keywords in your tags and how great the program she has is, because it automatically enters them on every page for her.
“How are sales?” I jump in on an intake of breath.
”Well, a little slow– but we are looking to upgrade our package to their premium service which guarantees we will be #1 in Google – so..”
“Do you know how they plan on…”
There’s that alarm again! Oh! A quick hug and an air kiss and off she went, pecking away at her Blackberry with perfectly manicured nails, the light from her ear piece fading away into the night. Hopefully, her site will not follow the same path.
To ensure yours gets the traffic it deserves, here are some SEO items to think about when planning your website launch:
Is your site search engine friendly? Flash and splash are essential to many industries. Numerous Mannix Marketing designed sites incorporate flash – but challenge yourself and your designer to figure out a way to have both flash and simple text-based content. And, make sure that database generated pages are built with SEO in mind. (Or, just hire us!) Search engine robots are built to spider a site quickly and move on to the next. They like text and easy to follow hyperlinks. They like short urls instead of long complicated dynamic ones. Bottom line, you’ll need to follow some of these rules to place well in the search engines on competitive phrases.
Submission services that submit to 15,000 search engines for $139.99 are typically a waste of time and money. Do you even know where they are submitting you to? Does it matter if you are in the search engine Aboombabawbaw.com? Probably not. You can submit to Google, Bing and Yahoo for free. Just follow the hyperlinks. Enter your URL. It’s that easy, and you are now one of just 83 million sites selling the exact same product!
Keyword tags are not really that important. Developing the correct keywords for your site is important, and then using those keywords throughout the content of your site, in your title tags, in your anchor text, etc. Stuffing keywords in the meta keyword tag hasn’t worked since 2001. Don’t let anyone tell you it has.
Spend as much time as you can afford reading up on the basics of an SEO campaign. A good place to start is: https://www.searchenginewatch.com/ Or hire a consultant for an hour to talk to you about Internet Marketing and give you the basics. Preferably before you build your site. Then build the site with Optimization in mind.
If your site is already built, come to terms with the fact that you may have to modify your site in order to gain placements. If you approach a company that says they will build a site for you that simply ‘refers’ people to your site – carefully read their terms. Typically, they keep the site should you stop paying them, not you. And, they can and will sell it to your competitor – after you’ve spent thousands of dollars to have it built and placed, putting you back at square one – a site that can’t be found in the search engines. It’s easier just to get through a little pain now and realize that some things may have to change on your newly built site.
You can have increased placements, increased traffic and increased leads. But it will take work, money, time and commitment to get there. And, in the end, it will provide you with the perfect shade of green… The color of money, of course!