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.