It’s no secret: search engines are growing smarter by the minute. Ten years ago, you could reach the top of the search engine results just by inserting a few well-placed keywords. Today, search engine optimization is much, much more than that.
In order to effectively reach your target audience through content marketing, you need to understand the changes in SEO. Using SEO best practices will help your business website reach the top of the ranks – without penalty.
Tips you can use to boost your website’s search engine optimization:
1. Set Google up properly.
Google is, hands down, the most popular search engine. Top rankings on Google are highly coveted, so it’s for that reason we’ll speak mostly of Google in this article.
First and foremost, you’ll need a Google account. These are free to create and doing so will allow you to take advantage of a gold mine of free tools the company offers to businesses like yours. Once you create your account, you’ll need to ensure you’re ready to use some of the most popular and useful tools on the platform. A few things you should do include:
- Claim your physical location on Google. This will allow users who perform local searches to find you more readily.
- Set up Google My Business. Create a complete profile that will show users, at a glance, who you are, what you do and how to contact you.
- Play with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These are invaluable tools that will boost your SEO exponentially when used right. Analytics and Search Console are very self-explanatory and user-friendly, and setting up an account is easy.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the tools Google has to offer! It’s through that experimentation that you’ll actually learn more about search engine optimization, and how you can improve your website’s SEO.
2. Focus on the user experience.
In short, your website must be fast, mobile-friendly, and appealing to users. Visitors to your website have come to you because they’re looking for information. If they land on your site but can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’re not going to spend time looking. Instead, they’ll visit your competitor.
People don’t visit websites from their desktop computers anymore. Instead, they’re accessing your page from their phone, netbook, tablet or handheld device. Test your site. Visit your own site from a mobile phone to see that it behaves properly. Need a second opinion? HubSpot developed a tool called Website Grader which helps you measure the effectiveness of your website.
Of course, your website should be attractive to visitors, too. A clean, uncluttered interface is the best way to ensure a positive user experience. Automatically loading videos and streaming music are becoming less and less popular with internet users.
3. Your URL is important!
Which URL will you remember more clearly, www.attorneysnc.com or www.attysindrhmnc.com? The first, of course. Attorneys NC. It’s simple. And while the second URL does indicate that the site belongs to attorneys in Durham, North Carolina, it takes a fair bit of translation to figure out. You’re not likely to remember the URL later, either.
Keep your user in mind as you choose your URL. Keep it simple and to the point; your URL should tell your visitor what they can find on your site and should be easy to remember. Search engine optimization should be considered, too. Make your URL structure search-engine friendly so the engines can easily crawl your site.
4. Know your audience.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: understanding your personas will catapult you ahead of your competition. Making your site relevant to the users who frequent it will make a world of difference to them in terms of understanding and trusting your business.
This goes beyond the site itself, though, and factors greatly into your SEO strategy. Different users search for their resources in different ways. Some people ask a full question, like “great website design agency in Columbia, South Carolina” while others may simply say “web design sc”. Either way, you want to optimize your site so that all of your audiences can find you quickly and easily.
5. Get topic and keyword savvy!
Part of understanding your audience is knowing which keywords they’re searching for on Google. You can also look to your competitors and leaders in your industry for some insight about what users are searching for.
Google has a free tool to help you research keywords - it’s called Keyword Planner and it helps you fill in any gaps in the market. You may even happen across something that converts at a better rate!
As with anything, there is such a thing as too much. The same goes for Google and keyword repetition. Your SEO score will get a big (negative) hit if you overuse keywords throughout your website, so be sure to vary your verbiage. In other words, keyword stuffing is a big no-no.
6. Develop content. And do it consistently.
Content development isn’t just about boosting your SEO, but it does play a part. It goes without saying that your blog presents an opportunity to lend a voice to your business. To share ideas and industry news. To reach out to your audience and become a valuable resource for them as you gain their trust.
As it would turn out, an active, informative blog is also great for your search engine optimization. You’ll stay relevant in the search engines, which only serves to improve your ranking further. Plus, regular blog posts will give you the opportunity to use those keywords you so carefully researched, again and again.
7. Encourage reviews!
Your customers can actually help you boost your search engine optimization. Simply ask them to leave a review!
Reviews can be left on a number of platforms, from Yelp or Facebook to Google itself. Take advantage of the SEO of these bigger sites by encouraging your customers to leave you a positive review.
Better ratings, and more of them, give your business a boost. Not only with respect to search engine optimization, but you’ll also gain the trust of users searching for a business like yours. A 5-star business with hundreds of ratings? Who wouldn’t give your website a peek?
8. Optimize images.
Google isn’t just looking at the content you post to your home page and your blog posts. The search engine is also taking a look at what’s behind the scenes. That includes your pictures.
As you post images to your blog and your website, pay attention to the text description of those images. Depending on which platform you use to post, you may see this called an “alt tag.” It takes just a few seconds to label your images, and can significantly boost your SEO score. Be sure to make your media content shareable, too!
9. Use a little PPC.
There is nothing wrong with paying for a little visibility. With PPC, you get the advantage of appearing first on search engines when people search for those carefully researched keywords. PPC and SEO go hand in hand, when balanced appropriately.
Are you ready to get started optimizing your visibility on Google? After reading this post, you should at least have an idea of where to start with SEO and how to boost your content marketing strategy. It’s a process, but when executed effectively, you will soon be reaping the benefits of your hard work and research.