Search Engine Optimization 101- How to Educate Your Costumer
We all know how hard it is to get through some clients’ heads the importance of a well done SEO, specially when they have a web designer on the other side trying to sell the coolest website on earth. Of course I have nothing against cool, when it’s done SEO friendly, the problem is finding web designers that know what that means! Dealing straight with the costumers, I have felt that using some very straightforward analogies and patiently teaching the client in the simplest way possible, not only brings them closer to you, but makes them realize the real importance of SEO. In many instances, it the information we give them won’t be the most technically accurate, but it will be the easiest way for them to understand.
This is what I call the SEO 101 approach:
Having a website which is not seen is as good as having a beautiful brochure locked in a drawer. It may sound kind of obvious, but the main reason to have a web presence is so it is seen! A website can serve as a virtual brochure, where you tell your client, “Oh, by the way, visit our site…”, or it can be a virtual salesman, bringing in new business, increasing revenue, becoming a real division of the company.
As important as the beauty and “coolness” of the site can seem, the number one consideration to have is “How are people going to find my site?”. The answer is simple: 80% of all web traffic comes from search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Lycos, etc.). However, this is where it gets complicated: the web has an estimated 4.28 billion websites (according to Google director for search quality, Peter Norvig), and all of them want to be seen, hence the search engine’s so called spiders, mechanisms that “crawl” through the websites reading and “ranking” them. The spiders’ task is to evaluate the site through a series of standards, and the sites that meet the highest number of these criterions will be placed higher on the search engine results.
Would you start building a house by the roof? Or even worst, would you consider just building a house with no project whatsoever, just a picture of what it would look like? Of course not! But that is exactly what most designers are doing. They build beautiful sites, which at the end are totally dysfunctional, navigation is terrible and, worst of all, NOT spider-friendly at all. It’s like having a house which is gorgeous on the outside, but when you go inside, there are no halls connecting the rooms, some halls take to nowhere, the toilet is in the kitchen, the shower in the living room, bedrooms have no doors, and the furniture is made out of papier-mâché. Yes, this is exactly how some websites look to us.
The big secret in SEO is having a good architectural project, which will give you a plan of how the structure of the website will be like, and then a nicely done layout can be fitted beautifully on it. That will help, not only the spiders to crawl the site, but certainly will make it more pleasurable for your prospect clients to navigate through the site maximizing the experience. Giving the client a more enjoyable experience means he/she will navigate for a longer time in your website, getting to know more about your product, building more confidence with your company, thus increasing the potential of sale.
About the Author
Julio Ferreira is the CEO of Metanoia Marketing Group, with offices in Dallas, Sao Paulo (Brazil), and now oppening in San Diego. 817.944.1020