When you think of website mistakes, you think of poor color schemes or difficult navigation. The last thing you think about, but one of the biggest mistakes is ignoring your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). 60 percent of The Branding Muse’s traffic comes from search engines and about 70 percent of traffic is comprised of new visitors. What that means is, more than half of my audience has never come across me or my site before. They don’t follow me on social media or knew I existed before stumbling across my site after a Google search. If that isn’t an easy way to grow your audience organically with minimal work, I don’t know what is.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone and it might not be the case for you. You or your website designer made a huge mistake when you developed your site: You didn’t build it with search engines in mind. You designed the site for visuals and not value. Before you come up with a rebuttal, can you name 3-5 keywords/phrases you are actively trying to rank for on Google? Do you know the search terms that your customers use to find you online? Do you know how much of your referral traffic comes from search engines vs. social vs. direct traffic? Not optimizing your site for search engines is a huge mistake, because you limit the amount of people you can reach. You are confined to traffic from your brand channels, but you aren’t expanding your reach beyond that.
How to pick keywords for your site or blog:
In order to take advantage of search engines for your site, you need to have some keywords in mind. For example, if you’re a branding coach, you don’t want to optimize your site specifically just for “branding coach.” That is too general and will prove difficult to rank for. What you need to optimize for is the niche, city or industry that you operate in. Are you a branding coach for women entrepreneurs, for African Americans, for natural hair bloggers, for Latina bloggers etc.?
Whoever you serve, you need to be very specific around their needs in order to be successful with your search engine optimization. The same rules apply for brick and mortar businesses. Pizza shop is not going to be a great search term for you. What you want to try to identify are key phrases relevant to your location or unique value proposition. Here are some examples of good search terms:
- Pizza shop in West Harlem, New York
- Pizza shop in Camp Creek, Georgia
- Vegan Pizza in Atlanta
- Natural Hair Salon in the Bronx
You need to think about what your audience is looking for and what are they going to be typing into Google to find information about your product or service. Whatever you determine those words are, you need to sprinkle them into your blog posts, pages and other key areas of your website. The most beautiful website is not as valuable as a website that is easily found and navigated. Be very specific and strategic in your search engine optimization, in order to be competitive in the online space.
You should consider doing some work on search engine optimization. As the space gets more competitive and social media gets more crowded, you’re going to need to be found in a more organic way. I’ve noticed that search engine optimization for new bloggers and business owners isn’t prioritized, because it just seems really overwhelming, when it actually isn’t. It’s all about putting the right keywords and phrases in the right places so that Google can understand what your website is about. Picking the right keyword doesn’t need to be rocket science either. It’s just knowing who your audience is, and what they will be most likely to plug into a search engine.