I don’t mean to be a jerk, but sometimes your website just sucks.
Some of you paid a lot of money to have your site designed by someone who pretended to be amazingly talented. But, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is whether or not your website brings results.
I often have to explain to clients, “Your web site doesn’t have any Title Tags.” To which I often get the response of, “But I paid a lot of money for that website,” as if somehow paying a lot of money means that effective Search Engine Optimization will magically happen on its own.
Not every graphic artist should be programming. Not every programmer knows how to do SEO. And not every website, whether you paid $300 for it or $30,000, is created for success.
That’s why I’m a jerk. You leave me no choice!
I’m the poor sap who gets brought in to fix your website. Maybe you hired a “Black Hat” SEO — a company that uses sneaky tricks to manipulate search engines — and you figured you wouldn’t get caught or you just didn’t know any better. Now your website’s been banned from Google and you need help repairing your company’s online reputation.
Maybe your website looks good and serves as a great brochure for your company, but it doesn’t motivate the reader to interact with the site or to engage with your company in any way.
Maybe an SEO company lied to you and made outrageous promises that they knew they couldn’t keep. And for that I’m sorry.
I’m not going to lie to you. But please remember that the truth can hurt.
Here are three of the biggest things I look for when I’m doing a website review and establishing what a company needs to do to improve their internet marketing:
#1 – Are you using the right keywords?
You should use keywords with intent. Is your website designed to bring spectators or customers into your business? A spectator just stops by your website and reads, but a customer will actually pay you. It seems pretty simple, but you’d be amazed how many websites exist purely to “get hits” but aren’t good at making money.
You need to use the keywords that paying customers would use. Don’t be generic. Be specific. Help the searcher find you and they will.
#2 – Are you following On-Site SEO Best Practices?
A missing Title Tag always kills me. I’m not so worried about Meta Descriptions and you’ll only ever see me fill out a keywords tag when I’m asked to (kicking and screaming). The Title Tag of a website is just so valuable that you can’t ignore it. But, very often, companies only include the name of their business in their Title but neglect to include keywords or any geographic information. Even worse, some companies simply use “Home” as their website’s Title, which is a rookie mistake and an SEO killer.
You need a Title Tag, Meta Description, Header 1’s, keyword relevant page content and links that tell search engines what your pages are about.
This is why you should hire an SEO before your website is designed. The impact of having an SEO help you develop your site architecture from the ground up is huge. You can have your website generating traffic and revenue right away instead of spending time later fixing a bad site that doesn’t attract customers.
#3 – Did you claim your Google Places page?
Taking advantage of Google Places is free, so you would think that everyone would do this. It only takes a few minutes and you should take the opportunity to do it at all the similar sites (Yelp, CitySearch, etc.).
Remember, Google and other search engines crawl the entire internet, not just your website, so references to your business should be all over the place. Google is a “handshake” game. The more sites there are out there “vouching” for you or even just verifying your address or phone number, the better.
Don’t shoot the Messenger!
I hate having to be the bad guy. I’m often the guy who comes along and tells you that you invested money in a web programmer who didn’t know what SEO stood for, let alone how to bring fresh customers to your site. This is me apologizing in advance for their incompetence.
Can I go back to being a jerk now? It sucks, but my being a jerk and getting all this stuff fixed for you is what’s going to finally let you make money with your website.
I can promise that I’ll tell you the truth. I can’t promise you’ll always like it.
Matthew Egan is the President of San Antonio SEO consulting firm Image Freedom. When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.