Once your website is established, it’s time to start Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website so it is found in search engines like Google and Bing. There are several different steps to this process, which we’ll go over in this post, but, first, you need to know why SEO is so important.
If you’ve ever gone fishing, you understand the importance of bait. It’s not enough to have a fancy new fishing rod to use for catching fish; you need a way to draw the fish in. That’s what SEO is to a website. It’s not enough to just put up a great website and hope people will find it. You need SEO to capture people’s attention and bring them to your site.
According to the Content Discovery and Engagement Report from Outbrain, search engines are the number one source of external traffic for content sites.
To capture that external traffic, here are a few steps to start with as you optimize your site:
Once your website has been built, it’s time to conduct an SEO audit. This is a technical analysis of your website that will show you:
- If links on your site are working properly
- If your titles and meta descriptions for each page have been filled out correctly
- Whether or not you have labeled headings on each of your pages appropriately
- How fast your site is running
- And more…
Google looks at over 200 different parameters when determining where to place your pages in their search engine (first page or last), and these parameters are frequently changing.
Making sure your site is adhering to these parameters through a technical analysis is important for getting your website ranked among the top few pages in the search results, which is where you want to be. How many of you actually search through all of the pages listed when searching for something in Google? My guess is not very many. Most people search through the first couple of pages and then move on.
How Do I Adhere to Google’s Guidelines?
Adhering to Google’s Guidelines is done through consistent learning. Study the best SEO strategies and practices online, get familiar with Google’s Guidelines and avoid any Black Hat SEO tactics like spamming or buying links.
The most important thing you can do is think about your users. Google prioritizes the user’s experience on the Web, and you should, too. What would be most helpful to the user? Would this page confuse or help your users? Are you writing content for the user or for Google?
How Do I Conduct an SEO Audit?
There are several helpful SEO tools on the Web that will allow you to do an SEO audit of your site. They will help you check for:
- A high page speed
- Duplicate content issues
- Broken links
- Proper titles and meta descriptions
- And more…
SEO audits can be time-consuming and highly technical, so, if all else fails, hire an SEO agency to do the audit for you. It will save you time and provide you with some great insights into your website.
After you have done a technical analysis of your site, it’s time to act on your findings. Did you have broken links, duplicate content, slow page speed? Work on solving those issues as soon as you can, and then focus on your keywords, which often show up in SEO audits.
It doesn’t matter how optimized your site is, websites can always use better keyword targeting. Keywords are what match your pages to the queries users put into the search engines.
For example, a search query for “discount dental plan” will bring up pages of results for you to choose from. Those results were picked by Google because they believe they are the best pages to answer your query.
Keywords are an important part of getting that match. The first several results shown above are paid advertisements, which we’ll talk about in a later post, and beneath those results are the organic listings. SEO can help you get into the organic listings if you target the right keywords in your: Title Tag, URL, Meta Description, Headings, Image Alt Tag and Content.
Keep in mind, however, that optimizing your page for keywords requires a balance of placing them in the right spots, but also making sure they make sense. You don’t want to overstuff your page with a particular keyword or place it somewhere that doesn’t make sense. First and foremost, consider the user’s experience, and then optimize for keywords where appropriate.
As you can see from the page above, it is not overly stuffed with the keyword “Discount Dental Plans.” The keyword is placed where it makes the most sense to the user so they clearly know what this page is about. It also has the added benefit of meeting Google’s expectations for guiding the user through the page with the appropriate keyword.
If you have a local business, another SEO strategy you may want to adopt is local SEO. This will help you reach the right customers–those located within your city or region.
For local SEO, you’ll want to:
- Set up a Google My Business page
- Optimize your Google Map results
- Distribute your business listing across the web
- Use local keywords in your keyword targeting
Companies both large and small, local or national, can rank higher in the search engines using these SEO tactics. Doing so will strengthen a business’s online presence and bring in more customers.
Search engine optimization isn’t a marketing strategy that generally produces immediate results. Efforts you put into SEO will take time to deliver, but when they do, you have free traffic coming to your site, which is the best kind.
What’s listed here are just a few SEO strategies to try for your site. These are some of the basics. Stay up-to-date on what’s going on in SEO and continuing learning. SEO is not something to neglect.
Do you use SEO for your business’s website? What obstacles have you encountered? Tell us in the comment section below.