Episode 1 | Built to Market Podcast
I remember the first real website investment I made for my company. I could have purchased a car for the cost of that website. And in fact, over the course of the ten years I’ve been in business, I could have bought myself more than one car for what I’ve invested in new websites that, sadly, ultimately didn’t perform.
I thought naively, even as a digital marketing professional who understands websites and SEO, that our website performance would improve when I outsourced website creation to vendors that only did website creation. And it didn’t. Does this sound familiar to you?
That’s why, in today’s episode of the Built to Market podcast, I’m sharing some of the lessons learned about increasing your digital presence that I’ve done in my own business and for our built environment clients that work. Specifically, we will talk about new websites and SEO – what worked, what SEO myths you should watch out for, and talk about four key things you can do to improve your website ranking without an SEO shark instantly.
My first car was a Chevy Cavalier. It was the Grinch going on summer vacation to an algae pond, sort of green—no power windows. No sunroof. No seat warmers. Obviously, you can tell from my description that my budget was limited. However, that car got me to high school, to music practice, and everywhere in between. If my car were a website, it would have been a Wix site - no bells or whistles, but everything worked.
The issue with the car was a terrible blind spot made worse by my 5 foot 2 stature. To see, I had to lean over the steering wheel while keeping my foot on the brake. Too tired to lean forward one night after music practice, I misjudged the oncoming traffic and ended up in an accident. The car was totaled.
Chances are your website has a terrible blindspot, too - it's called SEO. The bad news is, no matter what type of website you “drive” - Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, HubSpot, etc. - the website itself doesn’t come with “SEO”. That’s a marketing myth. SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines.
So, let's first talk about your website, why you need one, and what one you should park in your domain driveway.
Your Best Marketing Investment
One of the first milestones in your business is creating a respectable website. No matter if you are a solopreneur, maybe you are a one-truck company - or you're a multi-million dollar-a-year enterprise - your best marketing investment is your website.
Your website is the digital doorstep. It's where you direct customers to contact you. It's how customers find you when they have a problem you can solve for them. It communicates your branding to the community. It's the digital face of your company to potential employees. Your website is everything. It's the mojo dojo casa house. I'll translate for those who didn’t see the Barbie movie - it's your digital home. It's essential to your business's existence.
So, you build the house. You vet the website vendors, get over the sticker shock, and start the process. And if you're like me, you suffer through the process.
The website design process isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, I want to highlight some statistics from our friends at HubSpot about website redesigns:
A website redesign can cost between $3,000 to $65,000. (WebFX, 2022)
A full website redesign takes three to six months on average. (IMPACT, 2020)
71% of marketing leaders report redesigning their websites every one to three years. (Gartner, 2020)
According to a study of Alexa’s top 200 marketing websites, the average lifespan of a website is 2 years and 7 months. (Orbit Media, 2022)
Over 40% of marketers say it takes weeks to start seeing results from a website redesign. (Databox, 2022)
- Once their websites go live, 77% of small business owners hope to spend less than $500 monthly on website services and upkeep. (UpCity, 2022)
Know Your Digital Marketing Terms
Depending on the complexity of your business, your website redesign could also mean redesigning your techstack. Now, Techstack is a marketing-tech jargon term. We define it as the technology tied to your company's communications. That would include your website, CRM - customer relationship software, phone systems, marketing and sales email systems, customer service ticketing software, technology running your website's chatbot, and so on.
So, for all this investment, which statistically looks like we are willing as small business owners and operators to spend, you’d think your website performance - specifically SEO - would be top of mind. But if we are only willing to spend $500 a month on website maintenance - which truly is performance-based tune-ups. We measure performance by how well our website ranks, how many leads it produces for our company, and other user indicators such as bounce rate.
Website ranking is defined as how your website ranks on organic search engine results. This doesn't include paid advertising.
Leads would be anyone inquiring about your company’s products or services through the website.
User indicators - bounce rate measures how long someone stays on your website. Do they look at your website and immediately leave - i.e., bounce - or do they click around to other pages on your site and interact with your content?
So if your website doesn’t come with SEO - how do you improve your website performance and overall digital presence?
First, let's bust some common misconceptions about what SEO is and isn’t.
it's time for marketing myths - the most common marketing myth that I hear about SEO is
- Myth: Some SEO vendors claim they’re affiliated with Google in some way and can get your website ranking 1st on Google for a low price per month.
- Bust: First, Google doesn’t disclose who their SEO partners and affiliates are. If an SEO consultant or company promises you rankings for the “low” price of $499 per month, that’s a SCAM. No one can guarantee top Google search engine rankings.
The next most common SEO myth I hear is...
- Myth: Keyword targeting isn’t relevant anymore after Google changed its algorithm
- Bust: Keyword targeting is still relevant, but Google changed the algorithm to reward intent vs. specific keyword ratio. So now it's easier to rank for keyword terms in your content without stuffing the same keyword in your content over and over again. So, for example, someone is searching for an outdoor living contractor to redo their backyard patio. Relevant searches that demonstrate intent related to searching for an outdoor living contractor could include outdoor living trends, choosing an outdoor living contractor, and creating a budget for a new stone paver patio.
But the biggest myth of all is
- Myth: that a website redesign includes SEO
- Bust: Website redesigns can include technical improvements to improve your SEO, but the effects are not a one-and-done project. SEO is an ongoing practice that you need to invest in. It's like scheduling your car for oil changes and tire rotations. Keep up the maintenance, and your website will continue to improve.
Steps to Improve Your SEO
Now that we’ve myth-busted what SEO is. Let's dive into four things you can do today to improve your website’s SEO.
- Use relevant keywords throughout your website content: Incorporate keywords that your target audience will likely use when searching for construction services. This will help search engines understand the relevance of your website to specific queries.
- Create backlinks from high-quality websites: Building a network of backlinks from reputable websites can significantly improve your website's credibility and search engine ranking. Seek opportunities to collaborate with other industry professionals, guest post on relevant blogs, or participate in online directories.
- Optimize your website's title tags and meta descriptions: Title tags and meta descriptions provide concise summaries of your web pages. Optimizing these elements with relevant keywords and compelling descriptions can increase the chances of attracting clicks from search engine users.
- Keep your website up-to-date with fresh content: Regularly updating your website with new content engages visitors and signals to search engines that your website is active and relevant. Consider adding a blog section to your website where you can share industry insights, project updates, and helpful tips for homeowners and project managers.
By implementing these SEO strategies, you can improve your website's visibility, attract organic traffic, and ultimately increase your leads and conversions.
Remember that SEO is an ongoing process. It's important always to monitor and adapt your strategies to stay competitive in the online landscape. At Illumine8, we recommend auditing your website's SEO regularly, no less than once a month. Ideally, you should monitor your SEO weekly. Just like your car - keep your eye on the gas gauges - don’t let the empty light come on before you refill the tank!