Is Your Business Website Struggling Without Search Engine Optimization?

Let’s first of all clarify what SEO services are all about – here is a definition from Wikipedia

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.  SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence.”

SEO Search Engine OptimisationThis sounds like a foreign language if you have never ventured into the world of online marketing. If you are a business owner who is considering having a website built – read on…

You have thrown the idea around about getting a website for some time now and you’re a bit skeptical and possibly a little nervous about it.  However, you are reluctantly coming to the realisation that you need to have a website.  So you ask around and see what it will cost you.   Anything from $3,000 – $10,000 (and often more) is what you hear.  That’s a lot of money to invest!

Here’s what usually happens.

You contact a website development company and immediately enter a strange world where people speak a different language.  After much discussion with the website developer and a lot of “techie” talk that makes you feel uncomfortable and completely out of your depth, you take the plunge and commission your website and hope like hell that the developer knows what he or she is doing.  The $7,500 you have just spent seems ludicrous and irrational, but you tell yourself “I have to have it – all my competitors have – and it will really grow my sales!”.

You spend the next few weeks nervously trying to figure out what it is you are actually buying and how it’s going to benefit you.  You don’t understand this new technology around online marketing and with phrases used like search engine optimization, source code, meta data and web optimization you are bewildered – all you can think about is how much it is costing you!

Along comes the day when your site goes live and fear gives way to excitement – after all, you have joined the 21st century and you are now online!   You stare at your beautiful website and wonder – what’s next?

Several months go by…and your website is sitting there in all it’s glory – doing nothing – no new customers, no increased sales, no return on your investment!

Nothing has changed (except your credit card balance!).

So what’s happened here?  Have you been ripped off?

Are website development and design services a big con?

You feel angry and stupid as you slowly begin to realise you have just spent $7,500 on something that is bringing no perceivable benefits!

At this stage you want to go back to your website developer and strangle him.  But you take considered measures (after all this is a world you know very little about) and call up the website developers and ask them “why haven’t I got any traffic”  (at least, you now know that traffic is not the thing you get stuck in crossing the harbour bridge on a Monday morning).

Why haven’t my sales increased?  Where are all the new customers lining up to buy my products?  Why are people not calling on the phone saying they found me “online”?  Nothing has changed.

It feels like my shiny new website is invisible – well sorry to say pal, but that’s exactly what your website is – invisible!

And do you know why?

There is one fundamental missing magic ingredient… your site has not been optimized.

What?  What does that mean?  Optimized?

In plain simple language, your site will never be found in the search engines if it is not optimized correctly.  Web optimization is a whole new ballgame – it involves editing content, HTML  and a series of associated coding to give it relevance to specific keywords and to remove any crawl errors and  broken links which prevent search engines indexing your content.  And that’s only the beginning.

More foreign language!

SEO should be a fundamental part of a website’s design, not just an add on.

Search engine optimization is carried out by SEO consultants as a stand-alone service or as part of a fully-fledged online marketing and branding strategy.

And that my friends – is what nobody tells you.

The problem lies in communication or lack of!

When you go along to buy your website you don’t know what you want.  And the website developer is doing exactly what you ask him to do – develop a website.

Unfortunately, you don’t know there is more to it than that and they don’t tell you.  Now you might be thinking that the website developer is a con artist because he never told you this, you feel aggrieved as you only had one part of the overall picture and now you have to go and spend more money to get this other thing called “optimization’ before you can get your website fully functioning.

It can be a simple lack of communication on the part of the website developer, or in some cases it can be a lack of awareness on the science of SEO, and occasionally it can be down to a lack of integrity on the part of the developer!  Unfortunately!

A website developer is:  someone who creates a website.

An SEO specialist is:  someone who will optimize your website so you can get found in the search engines for keywords that your customers are typing in to search.

To summarise – if your website is not optimized correctly, it is static, invisible, inert, inactive, non-functioning – in other words, useless.

So to bring this to a close I have a word of advice for anyone who has a website that is not working or anyone who wants to get a website that is fully functional.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. 

Don’t sign up for anything until you are satisfied you know what you are getting for your buck.  Keep asking questions until you have at least a basic understanding of what you are getting.  Research SEO online and find out if your web developer has included this in the quote –he should have, if he’s any good!

So don’t end up frustrated and annoyed and beat yourself up – it’s not your fault.

Surprisingly few websites in New Zealand are correctly Search Engine Optimized.

Fortunately, all is not lost and you can still get the increased traffic and growth in sales you were promised by your website builder. A reputable SEO services provider should work with you in a collaborative way to identify exactly the niche your business operates in, who your customers are and what they are looking for, and how you wish to represent your brand online.  It is only this understanding which allows the consultant to find appropriate, high traffic keywords which are the essential ingredient to successful search optimization.

 

About Midge Hand
Midge is a co-founder of High Profile Enterprises and loves social media management and building powerful online brands for businesses of all sizes. Midge has a penchant for keyword research, especially uncovering those hard to find gold nuggets! When Midge is offline, you will find her experimenting with new recipes, in the garden, or watching a great film while relaxing with a good French red! Follow Midge On Twitter Here

Comments

  1. Its a great review Midge and really full of information. I’ve been into SEO and I really believe in everything you just written here. Great Job.

    • Hi Maxhine,

      Glad you enjoyed my post and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment – most appreciated.
      Having an understanding of SEO is incredibly valuable for anyone working online and having a website without SEO is like marriage without a partner!
      Kind regards Midge

  2. Hi Midge, this is a great article on SEO, the problem I find is that most web designers are from either Information Technology or Graphic Design backgrounds, and they have no idea about marketing online or offline.

    They have no understanding of on-page or off-page factors, and you are absolutely right, a client will nine times out of ten end up with a website that is akin to having a Picasso but keeping it in a closet.

    Just as a masterpiece is made for exhibiting, so is your business website.

    Interestingly enough, I am about to engage in a Podcast show with a business contact of mine in Wellington, aimed at lifting the lid on this type of issue, and raising awareness for Small to Medium Business owners on the “foreign language” you speak about in regard to marketing their businesses online.

    I look forward to reading more of your articles.

    Warm regards

    Steve

    • Hi Steve, Thanks for taking the time to post a comment – much appreciated.
      The more information we can give out to business owners contemplating a website the better for them so they can get all the information right up front.
      All the best with your Podcast show – keep up the good work.
      Regards
      Midge

  3. Midge,

    Good points. It’s interesting now, years later from the outset of the whole search phenomenon. Still, 5+ years into it, some companies are still unaware of the major benefits of SEO and even that it exists. Even though social media has some pretty interesting influences on SEO, the world of search is still very much alive. I’ve been able to move up significantly, to great spots for great keywords for my computer repair company. I heart SEO!

    Cool post.

    • Hey thanks for the taking the time to make a comment Ryan. Yep, we love SEO and seeing the results for our clients is really exciting.
      Combined with a targeted social media campaign it packs a powerful punch.
      Cheers
      Midge

  4. Hi Midge this interview is really full of information. I am new in this this SEO thing and you really helped me a lot by this post. Great work! Thanks.

    • Hi Ruby,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and got something out of it – it’s really necessary to get an understanding of SEO if you want to market online.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      All the best
      Midge

  5. From my experience, I think a lot of SEO consultants and web designers like to confuse their clients by making things sound more complicated than they actually are. I don’t know if this is to make themselves look clever, or just to cover up their own lack of understanding. Anyway, thanks for the article. It clarified a lot of things for me.

    • Hi Jason,
      Thank you for your input.
      I like to think that it is mainly about a lack of communication, both sides not asking enough questions, maybe not the right questions!
      There is definitely a bit of posturing around the use of technical jargon. There are two important parties involved here – developers/designers and SEO consultants – they both need to respect each others skills and work collaboratively for the benefit of the business owner.
      Cheers
      Midge

  6. I am still amazed just how many webmasters don’t know a lick of SEO, Midge, and moreover, don’t think they need to!

    SEO is one of the cornerstone principles of getting free targeted traffic.

    • Hi Ana,
      Thanks for visiting.
      Yes, I think we all need to continue to educate business owners about the importance of SEO and the best way to do this is with results.
      Regards
      Midge

  7. I think that at the moment any b2c organisation will suffer if it does not take advantage of SEO, in the longer term b2b will suffer (they do a little now) and ultimatly government departments and other “untouchables” will be shook too!

    • Hi Dax,
      I am finding more and more that businesses, both B2C and B2B are beginning to see the necessity of SEO but there is still a lot of misinformation out there which is not helped by some pretty unethical behaviour from some SEO consultants.
      Regards
      Midge

  8. Hi Midge,

    I can say from experience that most of people that build websites do not have the basic seo knowledge to apply for their clients websites.

    So it would be better not to include it in their services, if they don’t know how to really apply it. Which happens unfortunately for many people.

    • Hi Jack,
      Thanks for visiting. We need to keep on educating business owners about how search works. The more knowledge they are equipped with, the better questions they can ask. It is a long slow process but we are already seeing a lot more people who have an understanding of the basics of SEO.
      Regards
      Midge

  9. I’m admittedly not so savvy when it comes to SEO- I know the basics so I’m thrilled to have a new resource and a new go-to-guy!

    • Hi Mikayla,
      Thanks very much! I do appreciate the feedback. We will keep on posting stuff that we think will be helpful in clarifying what can sometimes be a hard to understand field.
      Regards
      Midge

  10. I agree, search is how people find the site but, while you need to build it into the foundations, it is just one of the blocks.

    I have been working on a site today that is doing its seo so well but the site internal search is so bad it is a real let down. For example you can find the site by searching for “term A” but when you hit the site you cannot find the product term A related to, even using their internal search – that is where conversion rate is the problem!

  11. I think a lot of web designers come from a graphics or arts background and have little idea about what SEO is or either don’t care. I have met many designers like this and also have seen many web sites that are not optimized for the search engines and get practically no traffic. Your article is a good introduction about the needs of SEO for anyone looking to have a website built.

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is unfortunate but true, that web designers and SEO practitioners come from vastly different thinking and this accounts for so many websites lacking in
      SEO. And in the end it all comes down to communication at the start of any project – very important to get this right!
      Regards
      Midge

  12. SEO is one thing I consider myself good, BUT I am a little antisocial, meaning that I should use more the social midias.
    I have a website that receives almost 17k montly visits from organic searches, BUT nothing from facebook, twitter and others. Something might be wrong.

    • Hi Luis,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your monthly visits are looking good! I work social media pretty consistently and find that it is enhances my online authority. Have always had good success with social media – definitely worth you thinking about this.

      Cheers
      Midge

  13. I am agreed with you 100% as there is no magic button for ranking 1 in Google.

    But it doesn’t mean that ranking 1 in Google is impossible as you said that if we have right keyword, right domain, highly informative and unique content and have tons of quality and relevant backlinks then no one can stop us to get at 1 position not even Google can stop us.

    • Hi Jeriea,
      Thanks for your comment – I agree with you that the best way to get the top positions are to follow Google’s Guidelines and adopt a steady as you go approach.
      Love your enthusiasm.
      Regards Midge

  14. Enjoyed your article on search engine optimization (SEO). I am not into internet marketing; but, merely looking for ways to popularize my new site on anxiety attacks. I am in the process of trying to improve my on page SEO. You have provided me some very helpful tips. Thank you 🙂

    Ellie

    • Hi Ellie,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Glad my post was of some assistance to you – SEO is the absolute foundation for anyone looking to get their site indexed in the search engines.
      All the best
      Midge

  15. Great article. As a new blogger seo is a must in order to become successful. It is insane how much work has to be done in order to be on the first page of google but the work will be well worth it.

    • Hello Lee,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Yes, it sure does take a lot of work and it’s always ongoing…
      When I’m putting in the long hours I see SEO as the foundation for my marketing strategy and then I can feel confident I am doing what the search engines want.
      Cheers
      Midge

  16. I tell my clients that if they want to get to number one, they need fresh content, and I suggest a wordpress website so they can do it themselves

    I also suggest that they write up new pages from time to time. Its the least they can do and its free.

    • Hi Doug,
      Good tips – WordPress is great and is pretty easy to use. The rule is still “Content is King” and if you keep this in mind when working in SEO you are on the right track.
      Thanks
      Midge

  17. Good point!
    “SEO should be a fundamental part of a website’s design, not just an add on”

    I noticed some of the website owners neglect the SEO part and hope for the best – which won’t give them a good result obviously. They should be reading this!

    • Thanks Addie, It seems to be a ongoing problem but I think they are quite separate roles. Web designers design websites, SEO practitioners make the site visible in the search engines.
      It’s just the lack of communication about the two that seems to cause problems.
      Cheers
      Midge

  18. Midge,

    Fantastic Post! And as I was scrolling and reading through the comments, it seems as though you have opened up a very interesting discussion on SEO, Website Optimization, and such. I work in the the search engine marketing field, in fact I own an SEO company, and I am always fascinated to hear the points of view of others outside the search marketing community.

    I would say that the information I’ve obtained here from the comments ONLY as made this a worthwhile article to read. I will definitely be checking back here and taking a little time to go through the other blog articles you have written.

    In the meantime, Great Job! Keep It Up! I shall be eager to see what you post next.

    Warmest Personal Regards,

    Joel Glenn Wright

    • Hey thanks for your nice comment Joel!
      Always plenty to comment on SEO and the ongoing changes and tactics.
      Thanks for visiting – all the best to you for 2013.

      Regards
      Midge

    • Hi Joel,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      SEO is always a good topic for discussion…
      Lots of varying opinions in this every changing landscape.
      All the best to you
      Midge

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