SEO, or search engine optimization, means making your website friendly for both users and bots to find it easily when a relevant search is conducted. With all of the recent algorithm changes, ranking is more complex than in the past. However, search results are much better as well, offering the best results to human users, which is the goal of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Basically, to do SEO properly, you need to create your site for human users, but with SEO constantly top of mind.
Who are your users?
Knowing who your users are so that you can target your website content to them and better engage them. Examine your current or past customers for clues as to what they’d want to see on your website, and supplement with market research if needed.
Knowing what your users are looking for is equally important to knowing who they are. Doing keyword research helps you examine things like traffic and competition for each word or phrase they might use to find you online. Once you decide on your top keywords, go a step further and review the top websites ranked for that keyword to gain insight about the competition, but also what types of content rank well for your topic.
Fresh, relevant content
It is not enough to build a static website and forget about it. In order to get the most traffic, continually updating it is a necessity. This is easily done with an on-site blog, but be sure each post has at least most of these criteria:
– 500 words at minimum
– Keyword is included in the headline
– Keyword is included in at least one subheader
– Keyword should be sprinkled throughout the content, where it fits naturally. Don’t overdo it! Aim for less than 10 instances per post of 500 words.
– Images or graphics should be related to the keyword, have captions with the keyword included.
– No spelling or grammar issues – search engines will ding your site for those.
– Content should be shareable; make it great so visitors share via social media or their websites.
– Include links to social media sites, other blog posts that are relevant, review pages on your site.
– Local businesses should include the city, state, area in their copy and keywords often.
– Coding and SEO
– Some parts of SEO have nothing to do with content, and everything to do with the site itself. HTML is important because it tells the search engines more than the content alone does.
– Domain URL: Include your main keyword in your domain URL whenever possible.
– Title tag: Each page needs an HTML title, 70 characters or less, including the keyword.
– Meta description: Though no longer used by search engines, this is the copy seen when a user does a search. Make it compelling so that they click on YOUR link.
– Links to other copy: Link to some other resources on your site, relevant to the page topic. Tie together similar topics, but don’t go crazy linking internally.
– Mobile: Keep mobile devices in mind as you work on your website and your SEO.
Now that your on-site SEO is up to par, you need to look at your off-site SEO and what you can do to improve it. Links are the key to off-site SEO. In fact, inbound links are one of the most important elements to proving to search engines your site’s relevance and quality, so the more good links you have to your site, the better.
How to get links
You can use a web tool like Google or Bing Webmaster Tools, or Open Site Explorer, to take a look at your website’s current link profile. These tools will show you where your current links are coming from, which pages of your site are most linked to, and give you the anchor text (the clickable words) used in the link. Here are a few link-building ideas:
– Now that you have lots of data, take a look at your best links and the website they came from. Look for opportunities to gain similar links.
– Check out your competitor’s websites, and take a look at their high-quality links. Do they give you ideas for getting those links, or similar ones?
– Know that the very best links a website can acquire are those from non-profit (.org) or educational (.edu) sites. Any connections to these that you might be able to ask for a link?
– Build links gradually. If you get a massive amount at once, the search engines might penalize you.
– Always “think links” when writing content.
– Directories are one way to get some high ranking links to your site. Here is one site that offers hundreds of directories to submit to. Again, build links gradually and naturally.
No longer are social media sites like Facebook and Twitter just time-wasters. They offer significant power to get you and your website exposure and click-throughs. Additionally, social media sites are now indexed and drive traffic as well.
Social media has been shown very effective for marketing campaigns, so you should definitely build pages on the social media platforms that best align with your business. The pages should have a similar look and feel to your website, and definitely lots of information and your website address, along with other direct contact information.
While tackling some of these elements is fairly simple, getting professional help with keyword and competitive research, page design and setup, content creation and coding can all speed up the process for your business. For a free, no obligation consultation, contact us today.