Whether you’re optimizing your website for local search or trying to increase your national ranking, improving your SEO can seem like a huge endeavor.
But optimizing your website is about way more than just ranking— it’s also about growing your business.
Here are some ideas for optimizing your website to not only perform better on search engines, but to also help your company and sales grow as well:
1. Start Where the Money Is
Before going on a website-wide optimization hiatus, grant yourself the sanity of outlining a doable place to start.
Look at some of your highest return services or products first. Create a spreadsheet with these pages and any complementary pages or online assets you have to support them. We’re going to use this content as a jumping point for your website optimization.
2. Develop Pillar Pages & Topic Clusters
Have you ever heard of pillar pages and topic clusters? A surprising number of people still aren’t utilizing these strategic tools for optimizing their website, and an equally rattling number of people don’t even know what they are.
An extensive study on “topic clusters” discovered that interlinking between related topical pages was a better determinant of improved search rankings than simply adding keywords.
That’s because search engines like Google have evolved algorithms beyond canned keyword queries and are now beginning to understand the semantic relationship between ideas, or topics. Keyword-stuffing one phrase over and over on your page can send red flags of scamming, but weaving in a variety of similarly related terms looks more natural.
Now SEOs are understanding the value of creating content to support one large resource page, all linking back to the original source. Improve your content strategy by writing relevant pillar pages and supportive topic clusters, with the help of our linked article.
3. Set SMART Goals for Your Optimization Quest
If you’ve realized that your website is in desperate need of optimization, make sure the update actually gets momentum by setting a series of realistic SMART goals.
You’ve probably heard the SMART goals term thrown around, but what does this buzzword really mean? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Set broad goals for every stage of optimization, including but not limited to meta descriptions, keywords, image optimization, sitemap refinement, internal linking, external linking, etc. and then break each of those macro goals down into a list of micro goals for achieving each.
Here’s a few questions to ask in association with each micro goal you outline:
- Specific. How will the goal be reached? Who will be involved? What do you need to get started and follow-through? What is the end-goal of all of this?
- Measurable. What metrics are relevant here? Does it make sense for you to waste your time measuring eight metrics when only two of them are really valuable? Can you set a standard to compare and track results?
- Attainable. Do you have enough time to do it? Is it within your budget? Do you have the knowledge or skill(s) needed to deliver?
- Relevant. Does achieving this goal align with our overarching purpose? Will reaching this one goal first help me to better achieve another?
- Timely. Can you set a time span to avoid this goal dragging out for months? Can you set mini deadlines along the way to stick to your timeline?
See real examples of SMART goals by check out How to Write SMART goals that succeed.
4. Write for Humans Not Search Engines— But Really.
You’ve probably heard this sentiment repeated over and over. But really! We mean it. It’s imperative to have an SEO strategy in mind, but don’t become so consumed with ranking that you sacrificing the ease and readability of your content to stuff in keywords.
The world’s largest search engine is getting really good at discerning semantic relationship and as long as you’re using relevant topics and terms and linking to related articles within your posts, you’re golden.
When building out a new website, it’s critical that you know your audience. Again, this is another cliche: “define your audience.” But it’s only a cliche when the term is used broadly. Get specific by building out real buyer personas and tailoring your content to the people you want on your site. The key to humanizing your brand is knowing the motivations of the humans who are interested in your product or service.
5. If Content is Already Ranking, Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Before you go around deleting or drastically changing any content, check your rankings using an SEO tool like SEMRush. You might be surprised to find that you’re organically ranking for some terms already.
If a page is getting consistent traffic (we’d say more than 50 organic views or more a day), don’t trash or even drastically modify that content. Instead, pour your efforts into optimizing your highest performing pages first by building on what you already have.
Use your insights on the terms it’s already ranking for the springboard ideas for semantic keywords and ideas to address on the page. Don’t forget about helpful internal and external links.
In some instances, it’s wise to republish a page for freshness. Read more about “unpublishing” and “archiving,” and when to utilize these techniques here.
6. Always Add a Call to Action
How are you going to grow your business without making any sells? Now, we understand that not every visitor is ready to make a purchase the first time they land on your site. But, they can be gradually coached down the buyer’s journey with a few strategically placed breadcrumbs.
Each page of your website should contain a next step, or a “call to action,” that’s not too dramatic for the viewer’s stage of interest. Your next steps should be strategic for your team and natural for the user.
If a user finds one of your blog posts organically on Google, what happens when they get to the end of the article. How are you nursing them along the buyer’s journey or positioning them in a way to easily learn more? Are you asking them to download a content offer so they can convert and becoming a lead? After acquiring their contact information, send them timely and personalized email drips or more content to get them to “level up” to the next stage of interest.
If the user finds a service page where they can’t buy a tangible product online, what do you want them to do? Schedule a time on your sales person’s Google calendar to hold a meeting? Send an email inquiry for a quote?
Really start thinking about how you can leave your viewer in a position to make a next step, no matter who is on your site. Here are three steps for creating powerful call to actions.
7. Focus on the User Experience
If users are having a hard time navigating or accomplishing what they came to your site to do, good luck landing or keeping a customer. You can grow your business by simply being hyper aware of your online user experience (UX).
A good place to start is moving to a responsive website platform, if you don’t already have one. Responsive sites adjust to the screen size of the device it’s viewed on and are a huge reason website owners across the U.S. are instantly lowering their bounce rates.
Improving your UX often increases your conversion rates as well, and can help you to acquire more leads— which if nursed properly can eventually turn into sales.
8. Learn From Your Wealth of Data
The fastest way to grow your business is by making educated changes, based on what’s working for your company and what’s not. But surprisingly, many businesses aren’t on top of their results, or really peeling through their metrics and learning from the overload of data they have at their fingertips.
Are you actively checking your Google Analytics? Do you have heat map tracking software on your site to see where users are clicking, or a screen recording tool to see where they’re falling off? Do you track your organic keywords on the SERPs? Think of all the creative ways you could dive deeper into your analytics to modify your website.
Checking metrics and making data-driven iterations is how you’re going to make the consistent improvements you need to grow.
Improve Your Website Rankings
Website optimization and search engine optimization don’t necessarily have to go hand-in-hand, but they should!
Google likes to serve websites that users like to interact with, so by optimizing your site, you’re also helping to improve your chances of ranking.
Whip up one irresistible website by downloading our Ranking Casserole ebook.