“If you build it, they will come” – surely one of the greatest known quotes in the business world right? It must have been said by a successful CEO or Founder who was starting up their fourth or fifth business. A business which was no doubt going to be as successful as their previous efforts. After all, this saying is commonly used as a way to reassure the doubters; it’s the business world’s version of “she’ll be right, mate”. You know what you’re doing.
Not only is this quote not originally from the lips of a highly successful entrepreneur, it’s not even the real quote. Don’t get me wrong, there is much to be inspired by in the 1989 Academy award winning film “Field of Dreams” and one can easily draw several analogies between Kevin Costner’s character’s desire to stick with his baseball field in the face of bankruptcy and the aspiring business owner. However this is where the parallels stop. Kevin Costner hears a voice inside his head telling him “If you build it, he will come” which we later learn was referring to bringing his father’s ghost to the baseball pitch so that they could reconcile differences from before his passing. (If you haven’t seen the film it’s well worth the watch, ridiculous as that last sentence may sound).
It’s not 1989 anymore and with the ease of setting up a website online, the number of websites on the Internet roughly doubles every two to three years. So in this enormous online space how do you make sure your potential customers can find you?
In the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) there is one big name that you need to impress – Google. Whilst Google is constantly changing the way they analyse website content the basics, the ABCs, remain the same.
- Don’t try and fool Google by stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords. Every day Google’s algorithms get smarter and eventually they’ll figure out your content isn’t related and will penalise you. Make sure that doesn’t happen by writing relevant content and eventually Google will reward you for it.
- Write natural, engaging content that others will want to share. Buyers are more inclined to purchase from a business that they have heard of from a friend or a trusted source. Those Facebook, Twitter and Instagram shares of your content are almost a license to print money! So make sure that your content is worth sharing.
- Make sure Google can “read” all of your content. Content such as product images and videos need an “alt” tag that Google will read to figure out what it’s about. If you’re selling football equipment and a page is about a particular boot then make sure you tag that image correctly. “Adidas Football Boot” is too generic. “Adidas F50 Adizero FG HyperYellow Football Boot” tells Google exactly what the image is. This gives you the best chance of coming up in search results when that budding football player is looking for a specific pair of boots.
- Get your page layout right. Did I mention that Google needs to be able to read all of your content? Ensure Google also knows the important bits by using appropriate “heading” tags (H1, H2, H3, etc). Your most important heading should be a H1 (make sure there’s only one of these) and at the top of your page, followed by the most important 300 words on your page. Following this, use a H2 tag with your next most important content. Continue until you’ve organised all of your content in order of importance.
- Use free SEO audit tools. After you’ve finished drafting your webpage, preview it and use SEOQuake (a free Google Chrome and Mozilla FireFox browser plugin) to check your content. it will quickly tell you if you’ve forgotten to use a H1, or if your images are not tagged correctly, allowing you to quickly fix anything you’ve missed.
- Make sharing as easy as possible. Point 2 touched on making your content worth sharing so it’s important that you then also make it easy to share. Check out and compare some services that allow you to quickly add sharing buttons to your website.
Get these six things right to make sure that Google is putting your website at the top of potential customers searches and the visitors will follow.
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