Your site may have content that is the greatest thing since the invention of fire, but if people can’t find it in a search engine, your site practically doesn’t exist. Unfortunately many businesses invest a lot of time and money in creating a great website but don’t take the time to optimize it for search engine visibility.

But starting SEO before you cover the basics can hurt your business.

An Ineffective Website Can Alienate Customers

SEO can hurt your business if you have a poor website. You only have one chance to make a first impression. And you want that impression to be a good one. If your site is outdated, not easy to navigate, doesn’t have a “Contact Us” form, or lacks information your customers are looking for, that is sure to turn them off.

Why would you want to spend time, effort, and money driving people to an ineffective website? So first, make sure you get your website updated. Determine the goal for your website – whether it’s educational, e-commerce, or lead generation – and reconstruct your website to meet that goal. Make sure you have actions people can take (such as downloading a white paper, signing up for an e-newsletter, registering for a webinar) that are indicators of buyer interest.

An Outdated Website Can Alienate Search Engines

Next, make sure your site does not do any of the following that would undermine your SEO efforts. You may need to update your website to remove these SEO barriers. Things that may affect rankings and undermine your SEO efforts include:

  • Heavy use of Adobe Flash. Flash use is dwindling anyway…even the iPad doesn’t support it.
  • Dynamically generated content and data hidden behind form submissions
  • Having hundreds of outbound links throughout your website. This may look like a link farm to Google.
  • Use of frames. Website frames were introduced in 1998 and were a way to display two or more webpages side-by-side in the same web browser.
  • Having pages with all images and little to no text. Search engines cannot “see” images; they can only read text.

Remember, don’t start SEO until your website is current, user-friendly, and in line with your business goals. Then implement SEO. You don’t want to lose potential customers because your website is ineffective.