Websites are the lighthouse of your business, guiding clients and customers to what you have to offer, and if you’re not showing up in the best way possible on your website, then how do you expect people to find, know, and trust you? In this episode I’m chatting with my good friend and SEO expert, Paula Castillo about the top 10 mistakes we see business owners making when it comes to their websites. We’re hashing out all things SEO, analytics, conversions, and traffic, and giving you 10 EASY tips you can implement right away! Sound too good to be true? Trust me, it’s not. Listen in, and follow along in the show notes for all the resources we mention!
I hear from photographers who want to appear for more searches, but they don’t have enough content. Some have 10 posts or 15.
What to do – create more blog posts
To appear in more searches, create more content. Don’t aim simply for more content, aim to create great content that relates to your ideal client.
An example of a consistent blog with excellent SEO is Shaw Photography Co’s Blog. Photographers Brian and Christina Shaw wrote more than 2,000 blog posts over time!
Search engines like Google understand your site by “reading” your text. If you don’t have a lot of words in your website, you’re missing an opportunity to start appearing on different search results.
For instance, do you have a gallery on your website that showcases images without any text? If so, you’re missing an opportunity to “tell Google” what your page is about.
What to do – include more text in your pages
Include at least 200 words of text in each of your pages, even gallery pages. This is also helpful to people going into your site as it gives the images some context.
For blog posts you might want to do a little research before deciding what to write. You can Google the search term related to your post idea. Then look at the top results. This will give you an idea of the length and quality standards required to compete against them.
Another way to add test to your site is by describing your images as you will see below.
I often observe that clients forget to name their image file or describe their image on their websites.
Without an image description, Google “guesses” what it’s about by the context it’s in (the post title, or the surrounding text).
Forgetting to name your image file or to add a description may mean missing an opportunity to appear for more accurate image search results.
What to do – name your files and describe your images
Name your image file something descriptive; use dashes instead of spaces: this-is-an-example.jpg
Also, you can add a description using “Alternative Text” or Alt Text.
Alt Text describes images to the blind and visually impaired, and it’s also read by search engines to understand what the image is about.
Writing alt text best practices
Google Image Best Practices include using plain language that is as specific as possible, and avoiding nonsensical descriptions where you “stuff” keywords.
Which Alt Text would you use to describe a photo of a Dalmatian puppy running around and playing fetch?
A. Dalmatian puppy playing fetch
C. puppy dog baby dog pup pups puppies doggies pups litter puppies dog retriever
If you picked “A” you’re in good shape!
It’s easier than ever to add the Alt Text to your images with sophisticated website platforms like Squarespace, or plug-ins for flexible hosts like WordPress.
For instructions on how to add text to your images take a look at the following pages:
Are you looking for more ideas on optimize your images? Here’s great blogpost – Image SEO: 12 actionable tips (for more organic traffic).
Do you send people to your homepage with your pins? If so, you might be missing an opportunity to lead visitors down a more intentional “sales funnel”.
Let’s pretend someone clicks on one of your pins about a family photography session. When they click, they arrive to your home page where you offer various products beyond family photography sessions.
People who click on your pin expect to see something that expands upon the image they see. When they see it’s not related, they will leave your site without further interaction. This is also the case for mobile users who come to your pin from their mobile app.
What to do – think of your pins as part of your sales funnel
You want to nudge potential clients towards your products or services. The pin should lead visitors to content that’s related to your pin, and that leads them to the next logical step in your funnel.
You can use Google Analytics to check the “bounce rate” of incoming Pinterest traffic (I’ll explain how to track your Pinterest traffic in #9).
Did you know that 47% of people expect the page to load in 2 seconds or less, and that 40% abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds or more to load (according to Kissmetrics)?
Heavy images are one of the primary culprits of slow pages in photography and other creative websites.
What to do – compress your images
[description: TinyPNG is an online tool that helps you compress both PNG and JPEG images in a pinch; simply drop up to 20 images onto the website, as pictured above.]
Compress your images using a “lossless” photo compression tool such as Photoshop.
If you don’t have photoshop try TinyPNG, which is a free online tool.
You may also want to try saving your images in “Next gen” file formats like JPEG2000, JPEG XR and WebP. Just make sure you test them out in various web browsers before you publish.
Another issue I’ve noticed in some websites is that there is no clear call to action to contact you. Sometimes they call it something else, like “let’s get in touch”, or the link is simply not visible. D’Arcy mentioned that this may be the case for minimal sites that have very light colors.
What to do – make sure your contact button is visible and easy to understand
Have a direct call to action: just say “contact us”, or “contact” instead of something softer.
Make sure that the button or link is clearly visible, and that the call to action isn’t lost within a long text.
Test it out on your mobile phone as the mobile version can collapse your menu items making it hard to find the contact button.
Some websites I’ve examined have a lot of content, but it’s not related to what the company sells. Sure, more content means more traffic as I mentioned in tip #1, but if it’s the wrong content, you’ll get a lot of traffic but not a lot of conversions.
What to do – create content related to your main product
It could be that you have a couple of posts about your interest to bring your tribe closer, but make sure that the bulk of your content is on point with your products and services.
Examples of related content include – addressing frequently asked questions you receive from clients, talking about your unique style and approach, etc.
Google Analytics will only start collecting data once you’ve connected it to your site. If you haven’t done so do it now, you’re loosing another day of insight.
If you don’t track your traffic you won’t know what’s converting. Google Analytics is free and it’s the most sophisticated tool out there to analyze website traffic. If you aren’t using Google Analytics, it’s a huge opportunity.
What to do – connect your site to Google Analytics today
Connecting your site to Google Analytics is easier than ever. You just need to create a Google Account, and sign into Google Analytics. From there connect your site:
Pinterest recently rolled out Pinterest Analytics for business accounts. This tracks how pins perform on the Pinterest site, but for it doesn’t tell you whether that pin helped conversions on your website.
If you aren’t already tracking your incoming Pinterest traffic with Google Analytics, you’re missing the chance to learn about what pins perform best to convert.
What to do – start tracking your Pinterest traffic with UTM codes
[description: Example of how to create a Pinterest UTM Tracking Code]
You can use the power of Google Analytics to understand your Pinterest traffic by creating a tracking code (also known as a UTM Tracking Code) for each pin.
Here are easy steps to creating a customized Pinterest UTM Tracking Code:
(Note that these are case sensitive so always write it the same way)
You can see your data by heading over to Google Analytics, click on Acquisition > Campaigns. Find out how to compare which of your pins drove more traffic.
Successful creative entrepreneurs like Sharon Kopko of Pressed Paper look back at what worked for them (and what didn’t) to grow their business.
Creating a data-driven culture in your small business is one of the best things you can do to help you grow.
Looking at your data on a regular basis will save you time and strengthen your strategy. Data enables you to know what worked for you so you can decide what to do in the future.
We have an unprecedented amount of data we have at our finger tips. It can help us make better marketing decisions (if we know where to look). I find that people rarely look at their data to help them inform their marketing strategies. And this is a missed opportunity.
What to do – check your data on a regular basis
Look back at your data to identify your biggest wins. The answers might surprise you!
Review your data at least once a year, especially around the time you plan your marketing efforts.
You can focus on what’s working for you, discard what doesn’t, and evaluate how new strategies perform.
Go beyond Google Analytics –each social media platform has their own analytical capacities.
With D’Arcy we’ve come up with an SEO Analytics package that can help you with that periodical analytical review of your data.
This package gives you specific recommendations based on your Google Analytics data, and includes an SEO audit to ensure your site is in tip-top-shape.
Did you know you can create ads based on how people interact with your content?
If you aren’t using these tools you are missing an opportunity to create ads that have a bigger impact on your bottom line.
What to do – setting up Facebook Pixel on your site, and enable remarketing on Google Analytics
Facebook’s Lookalike Audience can help you target ads to individuals who are like your best existing customers.
Setting up Facebook Pixel
The first step to using the Facebook Pixel is to connect it to your website. Getting Facebook Pixel on your site is very easy. Follow the links below for more information:
Enable remarketing and advertising on Google Analytics
Google also lets you target ads based on how visitors interact with your site, for example, if they visited a specific page, or played a video on your site.
But to use Google Dynamic Remarketing you need to already have a lot of traffic—at least 1,000 visitors on your site that fit your ad target. Even if you’re not there yet, you can still connect your site to Google Analytics to set yourself up for this kind of targeting in the future.
If you already have a lot of traffic coming to your site, go to this page to learn more about creating Dynamic Remarketing Campaigns.
About the author: Hi, I’m Paula Castillo, the DB Super Team’s resident SEO Expert! My 10 years of corporate experience in data analytics and qualitative analysis has given me an arsenal of strategies to help you create more effective marketing. I’ve helped companies like Lego, Samsung, and Pernod-Ricard (Absolut) create memorable brand experiences. With bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Economics and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University, I’m fully armed with the weapons I need to help you build your online presence.