In recent months, when I talk to clients or prospects, everyone seems to know about SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO means optimising your website with the right keywords, description and page titles so that when people search, they can find your website listed on the first page of search results prominently.
(But then again, that’s also not the whole picture. SEO is also about your links, your structure, your web pages, your navigation, your intuitive pathways, your ALT tags, your content and much much more.)
While in a way it is good that people now know what search engines are, and why optimisation is good for the overall health of their websites, there’s one thing that most people are confused about.
Getting website traffic organically (organic means natural and non-paid traffic; however if you advertised online and your traffic came from the online ads, it’s non-organic traffic) via search engines are great for your website. It’s just like human traffic walking into your shop if they heard about your shop from friends. They know about you and they actively look for your shop.
I don’t know which ‘seminar guru’ has been telling people about SEO.
Unfortunately website traffic means nothing if you don’t know what to do with the traffic you’re getting via SEO!
That’s why it pisses me off when I hear how certain people can help drive traffic to your website for XX amount of dollars or ringgit using special SEO packages or Google Adwords. These providers will talk about the number of metatags they offer you, the number of search engines they will submit to (excuse me but there are only 3 major ones you should know – the rest feed off these big three), the kind of links you get, the monthly search engine reports (what good is a report without indepth analysis?) and more.
Now if your website is not designed for answering the needs of the people who click and visit your website, what good is 10,000 visitors coming in daily?
Let’s go back to the shop analogy. If your shop is not manned with the right sales staff who can help customers who walk in, what good is sending 10,000 people into your shop daily? These 10,000 people will walk right out!
And so it is with websites. If your website is not built nor designed correctly to fully market whatever product or service you have, what good is getting 10,000 visitors to visit? The traffic/visitors will be wasted.
Which brings me to another point: SEO is not an add-on after that website is built.
It is NOT an afterthought.
SEO is built right into the website when the website is structured, designed, planned out. Like building a house, you don’t decide suddenly to add doors once the house is built. You add doors when you are drawing up the blueprint for the house.
Many web designers do not want to bother with SEO because SEO is arduous and time-consuming. It is not a one-time effort. SEO involves tracking and tweaking websites, discussing and brainstorming with clients as to what type of audience they want to attract and building the content to be naturally attractive. It is also about human psychology – knowing what motivates a customer to click and buy or email you for a quote or contact you for more info.
Above all, SEO is a dynamic process, where it is constantly improved by listening to feedback, by measuring, by tracking and most of all by understanding the target audience’s search behaviour online (what terms are they using instead of what you think they are using; how do they call this product; what is the industry jargon for this product, etc.)
When we build websites for clients, we don’t sell SEO as a package to them. In fact, we don’t sell SEO packages at all because it is our principle to build an SEO-ready website for clients. After all, this is why they come to us – because we can help them do the right stuff online (not only get the right traffic but get the right traffic to convert into sales!).
An SEO-ready website is not easy to build, just as a fine piece of art is never easy to produce. Like craftsmen, we take time to think for you and your business. We ask you all sorts of questions, to help dig out the best of your business. Our work process differs greatly from regular designers. That’s why we’re not your regular website designer. We’re more business and marketing consultants. But when discerning clients approach us, they’ve already heard about us from other clients and know what we can do for them.
So it’s never about the freaking SEO. SEO is not a bandage for your website problems. SEO should be built right into your website when it is planned out for you.
And it’s not about getting traffic to your website either.
It’s about how much of that traffic really converts into sales/enquiries that matter.
More useful posts:
1.Can I be number one?
2. How to manually submit your website to search engines