The goal with having a website is to get customers to visit it and take action. Otherwise, what is the point? Don’t build a website just to have a website. Having a website isn’t like having a storefront on a major road. If you build it, they probably won’t find you on the Internet. That is where SEO and internet marketing come in.

Would you build a store with no design and very little product, and spend loads of money trying to get people to enter? No. So the first part of any good SEO strategy is to build an awesome website that HUMANS will enjoy visiting and find useful.

1. Build a Website For Humans

A lot of companies focus on building websites and creating content that are “SEO-friendly,” but search engines aren’t customers, so why build something for them? Build something your customers will find useful and pleasing. Focus on providing excellent information in an easy-to-navigate space, just like a storefront.

I recommend that you build your website using Wordpress so that you can continue to improve and add content that new customers and current customers will enjoy. Whenever you add content to your website, just keep your ideal customer in mind. In fact, think of an actual customer and act as though you’re writing for them. (I’m thinking of YOU right now).

 2. You Don’t Need to Be No. 1 on Google

Whenever I ask a client what their goals are for building a website, they usually respond, “to be No. 1 on Google.” But why? For what keywords? In what area(s)?

If you’re a local pool store, you don’t need to rank #1 for “inground pools” because chances are you can’t service or build inground pools for everyone in the world. You can, however, build and service pools in your local area. So you need to start thinking small and working your way up the search results naturally by creating content to serve your local customers.

3. Do Your Research

The first step in finding new customers, is asking your current customers how they found you. This will take some training and excessive tracking, but it’s important to find out this valuable data so you can maximize the marketing efforts on those channels.

If they found you via a Google search, spend some money improving your local SEO. If they found you by word of mouth, create an incentive for customers to tell their friends. Pick the most popular channels and improve them.

 4. On-Page SEO

If you use a website platform like Wordpress, you won’t have to worry about on-page SEO because it’s pretty much built-in. However, if you have an existing website and want to make some quick improvements, here’s what you can do:

Make changes to your page titles. Page titles are the first thing Google sees and what they display to searchers (who are humans). So if you have an “About Us” page, and the title simply says, “About Us” then outside searchers will have no idea who the page is about. The better title would be “Learn About ABC Pool Company” or “About ABC Pool Company.” A change in the page titles of your site could be the most effective way to boost your ranking on search engines.

Create better descriptions. Don’t write descriptions packed full of keywords that search engines will like. Write keywords that HUMANS will like. When a searcher reads through the list on Google, they read the descriptions to find out if that page is what they’re looking for.

Write better content. Don’t just write content because someone says you have to. Write it because you are trying to better service your customers and future customers. The guys at River Pools and Spas are a good example of this. They started a blog where they answered real customer questions. If they keep hearing the same question, they would turn the answer into a well-written piece of content. If you’re not a good writer, hire one, or keep practicing. If your current customers are having these questions, then chances are new customers have the same, and this is your way to provide value to bring them into your store or offer them live service.

If you can create accurate page titles, descriptive descriptions and awesome content, then that’s all you need to improve your on-page SEO. The rest of the little things don’t really matter as much.

5. Social Media

“I don’t use Twitter or Facebook because it’s just a bunch of idiots talking about what they had for breakfast or sharing baby pictures.” Does this sound like you? On occasion, I have to admit this sounds like me, but social media can be a super powerful tool if you know how to use it correctly.

Social media is nothing like broadcast media. A television ad interrupts what you’re really trying to watch to give you message that you may or may not care about. A billboard is there and it’s your choice to look at it and react to it. These types of broadcast media are dying and they stink. Social media is the opposite.

I like to use this analogy:

If you were at a house party and everyone you met what just there trying to sell you something, you would leave. It would be a boring party because everyone has a personal agenda. However, if everyone listened to you and your needs, that would be entirely different. Perhaps you’re at the party talking to a person about how your toilet won’t stop leaking. The person says, “that sucks, but I know an awesome plumber I can recommend.” What are the chances that you’re gonna call that plumber? MUCH greater than if a few plumbers at a house party kept trying to sell you their service.

The point is, social media is all about listening and providing value when people need it.

Here’s something you can do right now...

Go to http://search.twitter.com and serach for “clean my pool” “[insert state here]” and see who’s asking people to clean their pool. See who in your area has questions about taking care of their pool. Be the company that listens and helps instead of just talks and blabs about how great they are.

Social media is word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. Plus, being active on social media can help boost your rankings on search engines because Google and Bing have reported that they take social media data into consideration in their search algorithms.

Take Action

The first step is to expose the weakest elements of your website and start planning a strategy to correct them. I would be more than happy to evaluate your current website and offer my consulting services to help you development an SEO strategy for your website, and even help you build a website using Wordpress (which is my specialty and what my website, SwimUniveristy.com, is built on).

Feel free to contact if you’re interested. Just send me an email with your current website address and I’ll respond after evaluating your site: matt@swimuniversity.com.

Happy Swimming!