Your website is central to your online presence; it is the most important element in converting visitors to customers. You can have a great link strategy to improve rankings and increase the numbers of visitors to the site; but this can seem like hard work for nothing if they don’t engage with your website.
A website that is engaging can certainly help gain links naturally online. This coupled with a good social media strategy can be a winning formula for success. In this article I will discuss some tips on how to make your website more engaging and how this is likely to help you with your link building and SEO strategy.
The design is important because it is the first thing your visitors will see. I personally am more likely to stay on a website to see what else it has to offer if it has a nice clean layout and seems fairly up to date and modern. The recent introduction of Google instant previews (where a searcher can preview a landing page for a search query without clicking) makes the design more important because with bad design you could lose out on visitors without realising.
Google Instant Previews Example
The layout and navigation of the website are also important elements for a good design. Visitors want to find the information they are looking for easily, if they can’t find what they are looking for they may abandon the website. A clear navigation structure can also influence a visitor to browse the website in search of other information that might interest them. This method of grabbing the attention of your audience could create returning visitors, subscribers and links to your website.
You could try:
Having an easily identifiable website brand identity
Clear headings which ideally are relevant to a searchers query (a separate page optimised to target each subject/service)
Including links to related content (e.g. you might also be interested in…)
Calls to action on each page (non obtrusive as this could put people off)
Social buttons to share the content (e.g. Facebook like button)
Content is the most important element on your website. Good design will engage visitors initially; good content can keep them coming back again and again.
Many people in the online community refer to content being ‘king’. Unique content is a must for websites nowadays; the recent Google Panda update has caused many sites to lose their rankings because they didn’t have enough unique content on site. This could be difficult for an Ecommerce site for example, but good content can be developed by ‘creating your own angle’ on a subject or by offering customers something that your competitors don’t.
Images are more attractive to visitors than a huge bulk of text. If a page on your website is too text heavy, people may not feel compelled to read the content and they won’t come back to your website. If you don’t have an image related to your content, you could always use a slightly obscure image that may have some sort of metaphorical relation to the on page content, this can definitely catch eyes. Look online for stock images, there are many out there which are free and other which will cost you a little bit.
Create a Tool/Resource
Create a tool or resource that is useful for your target market. Don’t be afraid to give this information away for free, this is a great way to build loyal followers and links at the same time.
Great content is pointless if no one can find it. By doing a bit of keyword research before publishing new content or promoting new products you can hugely increase the chances of your content getting found.
Create a new page for each target keyword. By having a separate page, you can focus on optimising for a target keyword and will stand a greater chance of ranking for those terms.
Try to make your site social. Adding social sharing buttons (such as addthis.com) is a good way of making it easy for visitors to share the content with their followers (friends). Links can spread quickly through the social space and could bring lots of traffic (and potential subscribers/followers) to your website.
Make it easy for people to follow you if they want to, it shouldn’t be hard for them to find you again.
Adding social sharing buttons
Creating an RSS feed people can subscribe to
Engage within the social space if you have the time to do it properly
Give to the Community
Don’t be afraid to give something away. This could be valuable insights via a blog; or also in the form of a free tool or resource. People like getting something for nothing and are much more likely to re-visit, link and share the website if they feel as though they are receiving quality information for free.
These are just some of the things your website should be doing to encourage more visitors and links to your website. There are many websites nowadays that provide the same information. A good design, a simple navigation, great content and a good social involvement can help set you apart from others and bring in those links.
Let us know if there is anything else we may have missed that you feel is essential for a website to succeed in the current environment.
If you’re looking for information on Link Building then read Tom Howlett’s posts. Tom has a specialist insight into link building strategies designed to improve website’s visibility and ranking. He will help you become a master in finding new link sources.