If you were building a new house, would you install the plumbing:
A. During the construction of the house?
B. After you’d tiled, painted, and hung pictures?
It’s a no-brainer. You, or your contractor, would choose A. In fact, your need for plumbing would affect how you build the house. It may even change how you situate the house on the lot. You’d plan for plumbing before digging the first footer.
In-The-Bones SEO Marketing Strategies
Yet companies, as they build new websites, often use this strategy: They develop the site — from buying the URL to building out the pages to editing the content — and then ask an SEO marketing agency how to make the site more search engine friendly.
That’s very much like moving into your home and then calling the plumber to put in your toilets and sinks.
Now, we know this analogy goes only so far. A house is made of brick, lumber, and concrete. Tearing into the Drywall and pulling up the floors to lay pipes? That creates a lot more mayhem than editing the code and renaming the files that make up your website.
Or is it? There’s tremendous value in building search engine optimization, or SEO, directly into the bones of your new website. First, you will save money. Even in the abstract world of the internet, doing the same job twice costs more than doing it right the first time.
Time Is On Your Side, Unless It’s Not
More importantly, you’ll save time. Time is your friend in SEO marketing, and there’s no substitute for time well spent. Time costs the same, and accrues at the same pace, for everybody, so there’s no catching up once you’ve lost time.
Time matters so much because SEO marketing is a long-term project. You won’t usually see your project’s results immediately. Instead, solid SEO — whether it’s national or local SEO — may need months, or even years, to pay off in full.
Having to double back, a year later, to rework a site with SEO marketing in mind can reset your SEO clock to Day 1. Or it could be worse: Since the site would have already existed for a while in another form, you may need a few weeks to get back to Day 1.
While you wait, patiently, to see evidence that your SEO changes are paying off, your competitors will be contacting the leads you could have been hearing from and converting into repeat customers.
A Site Built for SEO Marketing: How Can You Make it Happen?
So, how do you build SEO marketing into the bones of your new website?
Step 1: By Setting (the Right) Goals
- To get on page 1 of Google
- To appear as a featured snippet at least three times
- To average at least one lead a day from a new online customer
Those may seem like good goals for your SEO marketing strategy. But there’s room for improvement. By improvement, we mean specificity.
Instead of setting general goals that everybody wants, think about what specific search terms, or keywords, you want to win.
The specific keywords you target should align with your business’s strengths. For example, if you’re a dog groomer who specializes in working with anxious rescues, try to find out what people who need your specialty are searching for online. Align your SEO work accordingly.
Knowing your goals before building your site allows your goals to shape your content, your page structures, and even your choice of URL. If you need help with keyword research, a digital marketing agency like 3Fold can guide you in the right direction.
Step 2: By Building an SEO-Friendly Structure
SEO depends, in part, on aspects of your site you may never see. For example, the file names for your pages, and even the file names for your images. Image descriptions, up-to-date site security certificates, and optimized images for faster load times matter, too.
These, and other technical choices, won’t change how your site looks to your customers. But they will change how your site looks to Google’s algorithm, and making your site’s structure look good to Google should get your site in front of more customers.
Step 3: By Creating Authoritative, Engaging Content
At this point, your site has an SEO-guided strategy and structure. It’s time to fill the site with content that can hold a customer’s attention. You do this by giving your customers what they want: Specific information.
Think of your targeted search terms, from step 1, as the customer’s question. Your site’s content provides the answer. If your site doesn’t answer a customer’s question right away, chances are the customer will leave your site, giving your competition a chance to answer.
For instance, you may think your origin story will hold a customer’s attention, but it probably won’t. Customers care about what they want: answers and information. By providing it, you can keep visitors on your site longer, and the longer people stay, the better your site should rank.
By Working Beyond Your Site
Developing an online presence beyond your website can help your site’s SEO. For example, building a strong social media presence and verifying your Google Business profile can help push your site up the search engine rankings.
Asking happy customers to leave Google reviews, and responding patiently to reviews that may not be so positive, can also help.
But avoid the temptation to develop this kind of presence instead of maintaining your own site. Social media, Google Business, and other similar platforms should direct traffic to your website, whose content you control.
You shouldn’t depend on third party platforms, whose content you can’t always control, to serve as your primary web presence. That’s kind of like spending hours a day on your landscaping while your house falls apart.
Experienced Contractors Make All the Difference
We started this post with an analogy about house building, and there’s another way integrating SEO into your new website from Day 1 works like a physical construction project: In both cases, your business will get the best results when you work with experienced contractors.
At 3Fold, digital media is in our bones. We think digitally, and we use digital tools every day.
But we also know digital tools aren’t the point. They’re simply a new way to build, support, and enhance what really matters: relationships. That’s true for your website and overall digital marketing strategy, too. Why not build a digital platform that develops as many relationships as possible?
Contact us today to start thinking, or re-thinking your SEO marketing strategy.