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search engine basicsPeople often get very excited about implementing new (and sometimes outdated/risky) marketing strategies for their website.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