Ask the Experts, 5/13: SEO For A Brand New Website, Taming Your Unsubscribe Rate
Q: I have a brand new website. I know about meta titles and descriptions, but what else do I need to do to make sure my site’s optimized for search engines?
A: SEO is all about what’s going on behind the scenes. For example, before you ever put a single meta title on your website, extensive keyword analysis and market research need to happen.
Here are three quick things you can do to ensure your website’s ready for SEO success:
- Verify your website in Google Webmaster Tools. There are other tools out there that can help you assess the health of your website, but with a brand new site you’ll want to take advantage of Google’s own tools. (Plus, it’s free.) Depending on your CMS, there are a variety of ways to do this, but it usually involves placing a code string on your homepage.
- Double-check your website’s robots.txt file. This file is incredibly important, since it essentially tells Google what to look at on your website. There are some pages that you need, but don’t necessarily want search engines to index (such as content that’s under construction or in test mode) and the robots.txt file is the place where you’ll tell crawlers not to go to those URLs. On the other hand, you’ll want to make sure you’re “allowing” search engines to crawl and index your homepage and all of your other shiny new content.
- Run a website crawl errors report. This tells you what kinds of problems search engines may encounter on your website due to its structure and content, and will give you an idea of how to fix them.
Q: My email list keeps unsubscribing from my emails. What do I change in my email marketing to get it back under control?
A: You probably want to keep your unsubscribe rate below 0.5%, but this number will vary a little based on your industry. It’s hard to prescribe a solution when there are so many possible sources of this problem, but here are a few basic steps you can take that should send you in the right direction:
- Double-check your list and reevaluate your segmentation. MailChimp has some interesting stats on how key metrics look when you segment by different variables.
- Consider your copy. 33% of recipients open emails based solely on the subject line. But even if your subject lines are doing their part, if your copy isn’t compelling and relevant, you’re practically pushing the ‘unsubscribe’ button for your potential customers. Keep the message short, deliver something of value, and use persuasive language to get the point across.
- Look at frequency—are you simply sending too many emails? 35.4% of respondents in this survey said frequency of emails was their motivation for unsubscribing.