Last week we explored the first four reasons why your website might not be featuring in search engine results (yet) and some hints and tips for fixing it. I’m happy to share Reasons 5 to 9 with you now.
Reason 5: Not having a call to action (CTA)
You’ve got your audience’s attention with a great article full of useful and relevant information. They’ve reached the end and they’re dying to know more. Close the article by giving them a call to action. Tell them where to go next for more information by:-
Providing a link to another relevant page on your site
Providing a link to someone else’s website for more information
Giving them a phone number or email address
Sending them to a “Contact Us” page
Telling them how or where they can buy this awesome new product you’ve just been raving about
Top SEO tip: Whatever you do, don’t leave your readers hanging. Give them somewhere to go or something to do. Otherwise, what’s the point of all that effort?
Reason 6: Not updating or refreshing your content regularly
A website with no recent updates of any kind may be viewed by search engines as a “dead” entity – with no life and nothing new to offer. And if they view your website that way, they will assume your business is likewise not viable, which in turn will deliver a poor customer experience, and they will not show your pages in search results.
Search engines want new content all the time. So if you update your website often with high quality content, search engines will show their appreciation for you in their page rankings.
New online content gives you an opportunity to cement your authority as an expert on your subject matter. It gives you the chance to use your keywords, and link to more relevant sources of information. It keeps your customers updated and informed and gives them a reason to keep coming back to your website.
Top SEO tip: “Fresh content” needn’t mean a new 1,000-word article every day. It can be:-
A new product
A customer testimonial
A new image
A new video
A blog post
A comment on an article you’ve seen elsewhere
A new social media post visible via a plug-in
In fact anything that is brand new, original and ticks all the “quality” boxes mentioned above.
Reason 7: Only using text
In your rush to impart your knowledge and expertise you may believe that it’s only your words that matter, and that images are a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. But images can do much more for you than just paint a pretty picture.
Thanks to social media and smartphones we now live in a highly visual world. Content with images gets higher click-through rates and better memory retention than text-only content. Images help to bring a product or service to life and can often tell your marketing story better than mere words.
And having images on your website helps your SEO. If you tag and describe images properly, you are creating more content for search engines to find.
Top SEO tip: An image doesn't have to mean just a photo. If you can also incorporate infographics, GIFs and videos in your content on a regular basis it will definitely win you more search engine brownie points. If you can use your own proprietary images then great, but if you’re not particularly handy with a camera then there are plenty of good quality, free, legitimate sources of photos on the web.
Reason 8: Not including links
Time for a bit of myth-busting here. When a user types something into a search engine, the search engine doesn’t go off and search the internet. What it does is search its own index of the internet. Every webpage with a unique URL is classified as an index page and when a search engine finds a new URL it adds it to its index.
And how does it find new web pages? By following links.
Links in websites tell search engines how web pages relate to each other. Search engines are looking for web pages that have meaningful content, are popular and have authority, and a link to a web page from another authoritative site is treated as a “vote” for that page, i.e. it is popular and relevant. The more links present on a website (relative to the overall content), the better for its page rankings.
So, one of the best ways to get your website on a search engine’s index is to have links in your content. There are three types of links to go for:-
1. Backlinks are links to your site from an external site
2. Internal links are links on or within your site that lead the visitor from one page of your site to another
3. Outbound links are links from your site to an external site.
Search engines will look positively on natural, organic backlinks from external, relevant and authoritative websites. They will also respond well to internal links within a website that flow naturally and lead the visitor on a relevant and useful path through the site. They also like to see outbound links to external, relevant and authoritative websites.
So make sure each page of your content has at least one link within it, the easiest being an internal link that sends your reader to another, relevant page on your site. If you have used an external website as inspiration or source of facts and figures then link to them too (they won’t mind, honestly!).
Top SEO tip: Any links must be spread evenly through the site and be relative to the amount of content (i.e. not be the majority of the content).
Reason 9: Not promoting your content
You’ve created all this great new website content, you’ve added images and links and used your (well researched) keywords intelligently. Your new content is now published, you’re feeling a little relieved that you remembered everything and also proud that you’ve created content that’s worthy of a Pulitzer prize or two.
So why aren’t you telling the world about it?
There is absolutely no point spending your precious time and energy creating new content for your site if no-one sees it. There are many ways you can let your customers, fans, followers and subscribers know, and the more you do so the more traffic you will drive to your site and the better for your page rankings. It really is a “virtuous circle”, so use it!
Email: If you have a list of people who have given you their email addresses because they want to hear more from you, then send them an email, tell them you’ve just published something they should read, give them a little preview and a link to the webpage that the article lives on (not just to your home page)
Social media: Love it or loath it social media is here to stay and it is a great way to spread the message about your new content. Just post an announcement on your business page, give a little preview of what it’s about, then provide the direct link. NB: This is one of the main reasons why you should include images in the content. Social media platforms will use your first image as a preview to your link, and links with images get a higher click-through rate
Top SEO tip: Unless you publish new, shareable content every day (a tall order for most business owners), spread your sharing messages through the week. E.g. Email on Day 1, Twitter on Day 2, LinkedIn on Day 3, etc. This will drive traffic to your site on a regular basis, rather than all on one day and nothing the next day. This will help your page rankings with search engines since daily site traffic helps your page authority.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the pitfalls (covered here and in Part 1) to avoid when creating new content for your website. There’s a lot to remember, but if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by it all then please give me a call. I’m sure I can help!