15 January 2015

How to create a good professional website? 10 tips to improve your SEO

SEO, for those who don't know, are Search Engine Optimization. When Google looks up something, it ranks the entire search results by a certain algorithm. Here is a very simple list which describes how can a simple and humble non-IT professional improve their chances of being found on Google when somebody tries to look them up.
In my previous post I've said that not everybody need a website. If you're a lawyer (let's say) and your name is listed in all the leading listings possible, then you don't need a website. How do you check it?
Simple: Google your name + profession. If it is a very common name then add the location as well. If you can easily find yourself and you phone number in the list that's great. No need for a website, your job here is done.
If you don't find yourself easily, then you have a problem, even if you claim that no publicity is needed, that the word of mouth works very well; if  your friend wants to recommend you and since they last used your services they lost your card/mobile number/email address then you lost a potential connection, and that's a pity.
Maybe all you need is a good Social Media Professional Page: It could be either on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or other. Depends on your preferences. If you need to choose only one (since you don't have the energy for more), then I think that for artistic people Facebook is preferred, while for the rest of us professionals LinkedIn is preferred. A Google Plus page is very useful as well.

But, assuming you have a website, and you do wish for people to find you quickly.

  1. The company has a name? Excellent. Make sure that it includes the main line of business in the title. Don't call yourself "surfboard" if your a lawyer. You're a lawyer that likes surfing? find something that composite of both words. "No-Shark Solicitor", for example.
  2. Nevertheless, don't make the name too generic. "Sydney Lawyers" won't help anyone. It really won't. Find a name that sticks and that you like. A bit of creativity is a good thing. 
  3. If you have more than one branch: Put the address of the main branch first. When your company is searched online via Google , Google puts the address of the first address that it finds first. It's not always the desired result.
  4. Yes, you do need a "main branch". Or at least "main location" or where this company had originated from.
  5. Good practice: add "opening hours" next to each branch name. 
  6. Good practice: have short profile listing of the people that work in your company. When you list the main professionals, it also makes your company easier to find. Let's say that I'm not sure that I spelled your company name correctly. I might Google one of the professionals in your company. If one of the first 5 listings is of your company, then your company would get more "hits" via Google and I can find the contact that I'm looking for.
  7. Good practice for listing your name or your contacts: list your name as well as the nickname. Robert (Bob) Smith, for example.
  8. Every now and then look at the website and make sure it is readable and that you can navigate in it easily. Read it through and make sure there are no typos, or any weird "computer marks" there. And make sure that the "Opening hours" (clause 5 above) and the "Our Team" (clause 6 above) are still correct and up-to-date.
  9. Make sure that the look is modern and up to date: look at your website on different devices, and make sure that even if you change the size of the browser (or even just tilt the smartphone) it is still readable.
  10. Have you changed your company name recently? Make sure that in your website it is stated clearly: "New Name", formerly known as "old name", and add the "old name" to the meta data of the website (your web developer knows what I'm talking about). "Recently", by the way, could mean even 10 years. I had to look up a company by the name it was listed in my company's database and the name had changed 7 years ago. 
  11. If you just purchased the domain, put a business card as your website while it is "under contraction". This way people can contact you even if your website isn't bright and flashy!
  12. The last tip here is the most important one:
    Since Google claims that more searches are done on the Mobile device than on the PC, you must make sure that your  website is mobile friendly!
And one last tip which is very important:

The point of this tips column is to make sure people can find you when they look you up online. 
I hope that this information had helped you. Any other very basic tips? Let me know about them in your comments!

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