Big and Small Businesses Need to Pay Attention to the Basics

search engine basicsPeople often get very excited about implementing new (and sometimes outdated/risky) marketing strategies for their website. Over the past few years, I’ve worked with businesses that rather focus on link building or AdWords before taking care of the issues on their website. Some of the issues I’ve pointed out include the horrendous page load time, URLs that are over 150 characters long, lack of competitive / realistic keyword targeting, and keyword stuffing.

With all of the strange requests I’ve had over the years, it almost always comes back to me begging my clients to just spend some time and offer patience to the essential onsite optimization techniques. As Jon Henshaw so eloquently said in my last post, “The starting point for all small businesses is to get their virtual house in order before trying to bring attention to it.” If you’re a small (or local) business owner, it’s essential to your online marketing future that you invest in your onsite optimization. Let’s start out with the basics:

Onsite Internet Marketing Basics that You Shouldn’t Ignore

We often pay attention to the aesthetics of our websites and forget to pay attention to the details. Well, the little things that make your website function are often big fixes when they’re ignored. Here are a few things that I believe are essential to businesses and their marketing goals.

  • Make it mobile: I’m a big believer in mobile responsive design. It’s not the only mobile website solution, but I think it’s one of the best for most businesses. Mobile is growing at an incredible rate, and if you’re just thinking about joining, you’re not ahead of the curve… you’re trying to catch up!
  • 301 Redirect: When you build a new website, it’s fairly common that your URLs might change (hopefully for the better). The one thing that you don’t want to do is let those old URLs fall to the wayside. It’s important to take those old URLs and redirect them to the new pages. This should help reduce your 404 errors (page not found) and increase your marketing opportunities. Even if you are not migrating an old page to the new site, I would suggest that you send old pages to a comparable page on your new site. Unless you have an insanely creative 404 page, then you should pay attention to what people see when they land on your site.
  • Be Malware Free: Seriously… No one wants to catch a virus from interacting with you on the web. Make sure that your site is clean and clear of malware.
  • Meta Issues… Blah: Where do I begin? Please, don’t be lazy about titles and meta descriptions. These are fantastic opportunities for generating clicks to your website that you a can’t afford to skip.
  • Website Content Issues: Unless you’re Apple, I strongly suggest that the pages within your website have a definite purpose in mind. Purposeful pages typically include content. Most marketing experts will suggest that your pages should have a minimum of 250 words per page on your website. Obviously, there are always exceptions to rules, including your blog posts. However, for your evergreen pages, I suggest that you play it safe and keep the pages on your site filled with edifying content for your customers.
  • Link Issues: Seriously… Stop linking to bad sites, and stop falling for link building schemes. That’s all I have to say.
  • Optimizing Images: This has got to be one of the biggest issues that people skip over. Optimizing images for search is a huge opportunity for businesses, large and small. Hospitality businesses cannot pass up the opportunity to optimize their images. Many other businesses can generate natural links and buzz around images that are properly marked up so that they have a strong presence in image searches.

Ignoring key onsite optimization is a major mistake for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you are Google (the bot) or a real person searching the web, there are basic fundamentals that attract quality users more than others. Taking care of the basics will dramatically help your web presence now and into the future.

Photo cred: UK Ministry of Defense 

Comments

  1. Dawn Marie Piner says

    Kevin,

    What a fabulous article! I hadn’t heard of Jon Henshaw before today, but I sure hope to shake his hand one day in the near future. It seems we employ a vastly similar principle about one’s place on the Web. I’m sure my family, as well as others have wondered if I’m actually doing anything when I’m burning the midnight oil. I started out just wanting to get rid of some unwanted items and make a few extra bucks, but my goal quickly and dramatically changed. During my pursuit for direction and answers, as well as being a technology “geek” at heart, I’ve become determined to pursue my dream as a Photographer, an Author, and as an Entrepreneur. Over the past few months, I’ve become so determined that when any website of mine meets Google’s Bots, that my presence on the Web shall fall nothing short of spectacular! When I read Jon’s statement that “the starting point for all small businesses is to get their virtual houses in order before trying to bring attention to it,” my inner voice said (I think I even blurted it out-loud to my son) “you’re darn right…and wow, I’ve got to be getting so close because Jon is so right on point with that statement!” There’s nowhere in the middle because it means the difference between success and failure, which the latter is not an option. After all, this is the legacy I will someday leave behind for my children.

    Sincerely,

    Dawn Marie Piner

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