SEO – Where to begin?September 18th, 2019
In previous articles, we outlined the basic process of optimization for search engines. Now, let’s focus on where exactly you should begin and how to create an SEO plan you can easily follow.
Let’s dive right in. The first question that needs to be answered is who are you creating the website for? Keep in mind that your website is not primarily intended for search engines, but rather for human visitors. That means you have to figure out who is going to visit your website, maybe take some inspiration from your competitors, then you can tackle the content creation and wrap it all up by getting your own domain.
Is your website intended for younger generations, elderly readers or professionals? Or is it designed for a wider spectrum of visitors?
What kind of vocabulary will fit your audience? Do they expect to see formal English or would they prefer more colloquial phrases and slang?
Would your visitors rather see large expressive pictures or just a factual text without images disrupting the flow of paragraphs?
Will there be predominantly visits from mobile phones or are you expecting more visitors coming in from computers?
Before you even attempt to create any content, make sure you have an answer to at least these basic questions. As you get to know your audience, you will surely come up with many more.
Do not settle for a website that seems clear and understandable to you. Look at it through the eyes of your visitors. It is them you’re creating the website for and if it won’t meet their approval or they won’t feel comfortable with the style of your writing, you will lose them.
You can create a draft of your texts and have them checked by a few people that represent your target audience. This can be done fairly easily. Ask your friends and family, they will surely want to help and offer a few suggestions for improvement.
Just remember, their ideas are not meant as a harsh critique of your work but rather as a constructive and unbiased feedback. If you manage to incorporate their suggestions into your website, it will become more attractive for those within your target audience and possibly for other user groups as well.
Keep your mind open and hear them out.
Please raise your hand if you don’t want to be among the first in the search results!
Most people want to be first. In fact, most website owners set up their online presence with the primary purpose of gaining something. Whether that something is attention, visitors or money, if they invest their time, finances and other resources in the creation of their website, it’s only understandable that they expect to see results. Luckily, SEO is considered to be a relatively fair marketing field. Since you can’t buy a good position in the organic search results, you have to work for it. If your website can’t be found among the top websites, it’s high time you thought about what other website owners do that got them there and keeps them there. Is there anything better, different or more interesting about their websites?
Many people regard their competitors with displeasure or deliberately ignore them. Be different and use them to your advantage. Try to look at the websites of your competitors without any bias. What are they doing better? What is it about their websites that speaks to your target audience? You don’t want to copy and steal their ideas. Just gather the information and think about how to incorporate them into your website in your own way.
The previous two parts of this article should give you a good idea about how to communicate with your visitors. Now it’s time to work on the content for your website.
Let’s make something clear – the content of your website is probably the single most important aspect of the whole SEO process. Setting up keywords, titles, descriptions or using correct headings will never have the same effect as having good content.
There are numerous online tools available for checking the SEO of any website. You might have already tried them. They will score a website according to such criteria as the size of pictures, use of proper headings, CSS and HTML. Still, they will not tell you if the content is attractive to visitors.
Search engines, on the other hand, analyze the behavior of website visitors and use these collected data to judge the quality of the content. Unless your website comes out of this as interesting or valuable, they’ll cease promoting it any further.
Websites are made for humans, not for robots indexing them into databases. If readers won’t find your content interesting, your audience is not going to grow and you’ll hardly have a chance to reach those first positions in the search results.
We could write several long articles on how to write good content but, in the end, everything depends on your target audience. Content needs to be individualized.
Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- Quality – in both texts and pictures. Try to sound natural and write texts with value. The times when adding a few keywords into every second sentence helped you reach a good position in search results are long gone and they’re not coming back. You will have to work for it. If you want to use pictures, pick only those with good resolution that fit the topic of your content.
- Originality – always come up with your own texts. Avoid copying them from other websites. Not only can search engines easily identify similar texts, but your visitors might spot them as well. That’s not going to improve your reputation. On the other hand, having unique texts will make your website more appealing and memorable.
- Divide your text into sections – use titles, headings and paragraphs to improve the readability of your website. Most visitors don‘t want to lose time scouring for information through seemingly never-ending paragraphs.
- Appropriate text length – this depends largely on the type and topic of the content but even if you divide text into paragraphs, when it’s too long, readers tend to quickly lose attention. If possible, keep texts short and to the point.
- Unified style – use the same style for all titles, headings and texts. Combining too many fonts, sizes, or colors creates a distraction.
- Simple navigation – visitors also don’t want to spend all their time searching for the right page. Use links, buttons and keep your Menu simple.
- Call to action – if you want your visitors to order something, sign up for a newsletter or go to a specific page, make it easier for them and add a button with a clear message.
- Check the mobile version – if you find out that navigating through your website on a mobile phone is an experience you never want to repeat, you can’t expect your visitors to like it either. Make sure all versions of your website are user-friendly.
These are just the basic recommendations, but you can find a whole ocean of suggestions and more specific information online. Just a quick tip: search for the most up-to-date articles and don’t take everything too literally. Experiment, what might work for one website might not be the right solution for yours.
When it comes to Webnode and website content, your newly created project will be automatically filled with content and design based on the type of selected template. It shows you what visitors might expect to see on such a type of website. You can always update it to accommodate your specific needs. The basic structure of the predefined design stays intact to make sure the resulting pages fit all the criteria of an attractive and modern website. The editing features will, however, offer you a wide range of personalization options.
Using a fitting domain name falls under the forms of promotion. Still, it’s better to start thinking about it while creating your website since the name under which it will be found online should be memorable and easy to type into the address bar.
It also shouldn’t be just a random generic word without an obvious connection to the topic of your website. If you already have a brand name and want to build on it, you can certainly use it for the domain as well.
If you plan to operate locally, you might want to add a location to your domain name such as “doctor-london.com”, but keep in mind that it might be difficult to build a brand around such a generic name. People are going to remember your website better if you base it on a distinctive brand like “doctor-jekyll.com”. Luckily, you can use more than one domain at the same time, so why not buy a few of them and test which one works best for your website?
If you are still unsure what kind of domain name you should choose, read our article on how to pick the right domain name.
Let’s wrap it up
In this article, we wanted to show you what to focus on when you start building your website. Once again, we just want to emphasize, that it is necessary to have a website content of good quality and presented in such a way that it fits your target audience. That’s the most reliable course of action you can take to reach a good position in the search results. After all, you are creating a website for people.
You can still look forward to these SEO articles:
- Basic principles and recommendations
- Where to begin? (content, target group, competitors, own domain)
- SEO settings in the Webnode website builder
- Links on your website
- Submitting your site to search engines
- SEO and social media
- Data Analysis (study your visitors)
- Mobile first indexing
Are you planning on developing SEO on your website? Try the step-by-step guide.
Do you know your target audience? Let us know in comments below how you prepared for building your website.