In the past few months you may have noticed changes to your website ranking on Google searches. Google is currently gearing search engine results toward creating a better experience for mobile users, assuring fast loading sites and responsive websites get preferred placements.
How Google determines your website placement on searches is based on a plethora of factors – so many, in fact, it is the perpetual topic of search engine optimization experts. Ultimately, your desired placement can be assured provided your website was built with a solid structure that can be capitalized upon.
This can be compared to the same process of building a house. A house with a solid foundation will assure the structural stability for years to come, and if visually pleasing to view and navigate, will keep visitors returning.
Basic website architecture can be broken down into the main (and most important) components of the home page, also called the landing page, by which users navigate through your website. Properly optimizing the key components for consumer use and robot readability is paramount to the success of the entire website. The home page should be developed first, with the secondary pages following a format that is consistent in navigation. This tone will help emphasize your talents, products and keywords.
The following are key components of a successful home page.
The main navigation – The main navigation is the horizontal band across a website page that typically has drop down menus that lead you to the interior pages of the site. I highly recommend the website utilize a global navigation style, meaning the same bar is visible across all the pages of the site. This consistent style creates an experience that is easy to understand for site visitors, encouraging them to explore the site with ease. The main navigation is the hub of your website from which all spokes radiate via the drop down menus.
A headline – The first headline your visitor sees on your website is the most important copy you’ll write. The headline should summarize to the visitor what you are all about. It should be brief and enticing to compel the visitor to further explore your site. Keep it short and sweet – 15 words is sufficient. An example would be “Over 20 Years of Luxury Kitchens with an Eye Toward Contemporary Styling.”
Compelling images – The kitchen and bath industry is notably reliant on visuals to convey the beauty and function of products and designs. Photography of your best work should be prominently placed on the home page. By adding your headshot or team photograph on the homepage you can personalize the experience for the visitor and develop a stronger connection for your business.
Social icons – Your icons that include links to your social profiles reinforce your legitimacy to potential customers and reinforce to Google that you have a network of friends and clients. Businesses that have a strong social presence are favored in Google rankings.
Call to action – A call to action button is a piece of content intended to induce a viewer, reader or listener to perform a specific act. A traditional call to action button is “Call us now” with a clickable phone number for mobile visitors. An additional call to action might include “Visit our Showroom,” “Like us on Facebook” or “Call us for your free consultation.” Call to action buttons are best placed above the headline and are highlighted with color or a bold font to stand out on the page.
Contact information – Your contact information is the most important information to have on your website page. Place this in the footer of your website so that it is visible on every page of your website. Your business’s name, address and phone number should be included.
Drop-down menus – The main navigation drop-down menus take careful consideration. When devising them, think about what your target clientele would search for on Google to find you. Having a related naming protocol on your drop-down menus is ideal. For example, a kitchen designer could have kitchen design as a main menu item with tabs underneath for traditional kitchens, contemporary kitchens, modern kitchens, transitional kitchens and so on. Including specific tabs for each category not only demonstrates your prowess to the consumer, it also conveys the same message via keywords to Google search engines.
Below are some helpful tips for building or upgrading your website
Do: Start your website by first developing a keyword list. This is a comprehensive list of search terms that are relevant for your product or services that people would utilize to find you on the internet. Take time to see the results and garner your ideas for the keywords that suit your business best. Examples would be kitchen design, kitchen remodeling, custom walk-in closets, luxury faucets, etc.
Don’t: Start a website without a keyword list. The keywords will be of paramount importance in developing the structural navigation of the site.
Do: Be sure to mirror your business’s brand standards in your website. A cohesive color palette, standard font types and logo should be consistent with your business cards, letterhead, quote and email templates.
Don’t: Create a website home page that utilizes flash player or fancy animations that slow down the speed of your site.
Do: Work continuously to improve and add to your website content to improve the experience of your visitors and increase your keyword presence.
Don’t: Assume website maintenance is a once-and-done effort. It requires ongoing updating and adding content. Just like your showroom, a website needs constant updating and refreshing to stay relevant.
Do: Include your awards, client reviews and magazine features on your website.
Don’t: Forget to compress your images and photography so your site loads faster on desktop and mobile.
In today’s digital environment, the competition is fierce for website placement on Google search engines, and a methodical and focused approach to website design will set you up for success. ▪
#BeKnown #BeSocial #BeEverywhere
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing.
She specializes in digital and social platforms, and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and president of the marketing company Perfect Six.