In a world where Google is both a verb and a noun, a basic knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is imperative to any business’s success. At its most basic, SEO is the process of increasing a website’s presence in organic search results with the end goal of driving more traffic to that website. SEO should create a smooth user experience by communicating to search engines your online objectives so they can recommend your website for related searches.
Web pages, videos, images, etc. are displayed based on what the search engine considers to be most relevant to the user. In an attempt to create a stronger, safer, more legitimate user experience, all search engines are open about what will help or hurt search display rankings. Below you will find six simple tips to help your business optimize its search engine ranking and, therefore, increase website traffic and business.
1. Monitor Where You Stand
If you are just getting started, you need to run some basic analytics on your website to determine not only where you stand, but also the adjustments you need to make to be in better standings. Alexa and Google Toolbar are two tools that help you keep an eye on your page’s rank. You should also check your referrer log to determine where your visitors are coming from and the search terms they are using to find your site. While these steps are imperative for getting started, they are also invaluable to businesses that already have an SEO strategy in place. With the regular monitoring and tweaking of your strategy, your website can be optimized to be easily found by anyone seeking a business of your kind, which will ultimately increase awareness, drive website traffic, and fuel new business and sales.
2. Link Back To Yourself
One of the most basic strategies for SEO is integrating links into your site and others; it’s one of the easiest ways to boost traffic to a page. It should be standard practice to link back to your page frequently when creating new content or posting on other sites. MarketingVox, a resource offering the latest news and developments in the field of online marketing, advises that you also make the anchor text (clickable text in a hyperlink) search engine friendly: “The more relevant words point to a page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users run a query with those terms.” It is important to make sure that your links are appropriate and pose some value to the viewer. Also, be careful to not utilize links excessively as you don’t want your visitors to get irritated.
3. Keep Content Fresh
Your website’s content must be fresh and inviting. Updating content regularly is essential for driving traffic to your site. MarketingVox explains, “The best sites for users, and consequently for search engines, are full of often-updated, useful information about a given service, product, topic or discipline.” A great way to ensure that your site gets new content on a frequent basis is to integrate a blog. Blogs are an excellent way to reach your clients, create more opportunities to link back to yourself, and give your site a more personal voice.
4. Keywords Are King
SEO keywords are the words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. Using the appropriate keywords, that is, keywords that are best suited to your website and the product/service that you offer, is vital to a successful SEO strategy. A good strategy is one where keywords are utilized throughout a site’s content, titles, and URLs. When developing your site’s keyword list, think about them as search terms. Ask yourself, “How would someone looking for information on this topic search for it?” Doing so will optimize your site for discovery. It should be noted that while keywords are an integral part of a successful SEO strategy, search engine algorithms are programmed to ignore sites that utilize too many keywords, so be meticulous with your keyword selection and how you integrate them into your content.
5. Optimize Across Platforms
While it is important to implement your keyword strategy on site, it is equally important to extend this strategy to other, off-site platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, and other media such as radio and TV. Being consistent with keyword phrases across platforms will help your branding efforts and train users to use specific phrases that you are optimized for. For this reason, you should always be thinking about multi-channel optimization.
6. Cater To Your Audience
While it’s called search engine optimization, SEO should cater first and foremost to the visitors of your site and what’s best for them. They are the main consumers of your content and the ones using search engines to find you. Focusing too much on specific tweaks to gain ranking in organic search results may not deliver the desired outcome. Search engine optimization is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but at the end of the day, your ultimate consumers are your users, not the search engines.
By implementing these six simple steps, your business will begin to see higher traffic to your website, increasing your clout, and ideally leading to increased business. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the 5-Minute SEO Audit below to see how your domain’s SEO efforts measure up.
5-Minute SEO Audit
This week’s value piece comes from Thomas Schmitz, a longtime Internet marketing analyst and consultant specializing in inbound marketing, social media, and SEO. In seven steps he walks us through a basic audit of an organization’s SEO efforts, providing insight into what areas need improvement, and what areas the domain is performing well in. The 5-Minute SEO Audit can be found here.