By: Richard Kristof, CEO, Investor Services Company of America; Marie Steel, Lead Web Guru, Investor Services Company of America
These days, a high-quality, responsive website is not just an additional way to drive web traffic but the bare minimum needed to stay competitive. Today’s websites need to offer unique and compelling content, delivered consistently in an easy-to-read format, and they need to stand out from the crowd of other sites doing the same thing. That is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO), combined with a user-friendly site experience, can help companies direct the right traffic to their sites, find the right audience for their content, and convert that audience into leads and investors.
What is SEO? The short answer: it is a way of building your site’s content to ensure that when your target audience searches for relevant topics on the leading search engines, your site shows up in the top results.
How do you optimize your site? That is a bit more complicated. Imagine SEO as a game of football, only the end zone keeps moving around on the field. Today, your site may show up as the number one result for “Regional Centers in Sacramento”; tomorrow, you may be on the second page. Google and other search engines keep changing the algorithms they use, and do not release the full details of these changes. Search engine optimizers spend countless hours studying analytics and comparing search results to learn what SEO techniques work, what has stopped working, and what actions could actually penalize your site.
Using keywords, adding alt-tags to images, and including proper headers and footers are all basic optimization techniques. They are all good things to do, but technical optimization alone will not necessarily be enough to stay at the top of the search results. Your competitors are also working on revising their sites, improving their keywords, and generating new content—all things that affect rankings. Staying on the front page requires staying informed about the newest changes and additions to the leading search engine algorithms.
One of the biggest challenges in EB-5 SEO is making sure the target audience is actually able to find your site. Many countries use Google for their primary search engine, but some current EB-5 markets, like China and Russia, rely on their own engines.
China, the largest EB-5 market, has built its Internet usage around Baidu. The good news is that from a base functionality perspective, Baidu has many of the same features as Google Analytics and the same basic procedures for integrating tags. Using Baidu Analytics, you will be able to keep an eye on your site’s performance, goal completion and traffic flow as well as measure your site’s performance against specific keywords. The hard part will be selecting appropriate keywords. If you are targeting China, it would be beneficial for you to become familiar with Baidu as a search engine. It offers an impressive set of tracking features, including current overall search trends and search trends by interest. Like Google, Baidu tracks trends, so you may not get exact results unless you are specifically measuring keywords for your site, but tracking is a good place to start your keyword refinement. When selecting keywords, it’s important to not only use the dominant language of the targeted country but also to double-check context. Certain terms like “EB-5” may only be found through alternate variations such as “EB5” or by using a different term altogether.