Search engine optimization used to be easy. You had a website about your business, you submitted it to the popular engines and directories, and you waited for it to be included.
Now, it’s not that easy. There are millions of websites, with more coming online all the time. This huge collection of information – including a number of people trying to “game the system” by getting spam sites indexed – means that search engines have had to get more complex in how they track and incorporate new sites and pages.
It’s hard for a small business owner to make the company website appeal to search engines, and even most web designers don’t have a solid understanding of search engine optimization. For example, WordPress templates may require you to install and configure several specialized plug-ins to have a chance at getting the best search engine results. We wrote yesterday about how templates are designed for looks and not for effectiveness; this is one more reason why a template is unlikely to be the best solution for your business.
Search engine rankings are an art and a science. There are ways to get a lot of traffic, but will it be effective? If you are a restaurant in Oregon, do you want a lot of online traffic from Tennessee? (Only if they’re coming for a visit.) If you are a plumber in Utah, do you want people from Florida contacting you to fix their toilets? (Only if they are willing to fly you out.) A big piece of the puzzle is attracting the right kind of visitors – the people who are your target customer group.
At Visual People, we study this stuff. We spend hours each week keeping up to date with new web trends and search engine news. And we have an assortment of tools that can be integrated into the content management system we use for easy updating. These tools let us – and you – make each page of your site valuable for search engines to index and give Google, Bing and the smaller search engines the information needed to rank your site high.
So when you’re weighing whether to use a template or spend the money for a custom design, consider how each will be effective for you in your marketing. Will people be able to find you more easily? Do you – or does your designer – know what’s needed to make your site rank high? It’s not a good value if your site gets little or no traffic, or doesn’t get the right kind of traffic.