Once we have identified and itemized the technical issues with a solid Technical Audit, the process of prioritizing actionable items begins. This is where the process gets tricky and often falls apart. More than a few clients have taken the ball and run off into the wild, failing to implement any of the SEO suggestions so painstakingly identified by my people. A year later, the same clients are back on the phone, wondering why their sites continue to under-perform.
That said, SEO takes time. Do not expect the revelations of your technical audit to immediately increase your site traffic by a million users a day, nor should you assume that you will go from being ranked on the 15th page of Google to the 1st spot in 30 seconds or less.
The technical audit is merely the first step of a long process that will eventually bring you and your site users closer together in what should be considered and treated as a long term relationship, with all the ups and downs that go with it.
SEO is a hot marketing buzz word these days, but its actually an acronym for a long, drawn out process that should last months. Years, even. Anyone making claims to “SEO your site” in a day, week or month is lying. Proper SEO starts with a solid technical framework that plays well with search engine algorithms and is easily accessible to both search engine spiders and mobile phone browsers. This foundation should be paired with diverse, useful content arranged to well targeted audiences. Think of your website as your home on the web: as with any building, you want to have a nice solid foundation to build on, you want the framework to be built with quality materials and you want everything to be put together to withstand the rigors of life within.
To continue the analogy, once your house is built, you’re ready to move in. Now, we decorate. As with home interiors, SEO has a decoration phase. Once your site has been up and running for a while, you have a chance to see how its thriving “in the wild”. Web traffic is made up of individual users. Where do they go? What are they doing? What are they looking for? If they leave (we call that a ‘bounce’) where do they go? Why did they go? The answers to these questions drive change on your website. If nobody is asking them, you are neglecting your website, and by extension, your visitors, whom you should think of as potential customers.
Until you have a workable content management strategy for your site, it does no good to pursue fancy link building campaigns, or social networking webs.
Why drive people to a website that doesnt have much to offer them? Consider these things to be your curtains and pictures. They are nice to have around, but until you have furnished the place it doesn’t really matter because there is nothing to do when your there.
Big Secret: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
The proper approach is to ask and answer these content questions honestly and regularly, and the answers to these questions can be found within the analytics reporting system you should have included in that sold framework discussion we made in the paragraph above. Asking questions creates opportunities for traffic driven change. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does a certain page on your website get little to no traffic?
- What’s on that page?
- Why do you want users to go there?
By defining specific goals for your website you can direct traffic through your space. Do people seem to go to a page but not fill out a form? Why? Is it hiding at the bottom of the page? Are the instructions confusing or ambiguous?
The downside to this train of thought is that too many changes at any given time produce unmeasurable results. If you make 3 changes to a page, how do you know which one is the most effective? Just like a science experiment, it is more effective to make a single change and then monitor it before making another to make sure you can measure the effect. These changes can then be considered lessons that may be applied to other places on your website.
While each website on the web is its own unique creature, they should all be tended with care and dedication. Nothing happens immediately and if you’re not checking in on it on a regular basis, you’re bound to be missing things.
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