Optimizing your website is an ongoing process, and includes lots of little ordinary things that, when combined, should work together to give you great results. We know that learning the do’s and don’ts of search engine optimization can be overwhelming. Our advice is to start small. In this article we share our top SEO tips, all simple enough for anyone to implement, but can have a tremendous impact and should render great results.
1. Start using Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to see which search terms and keywords bring traffic to your site, submit sitemaps for crawling, and analyze your site’s ranking position. It’s also able to send you an email alert if they identify a problem with your site and will provide you with a list of URLs affected so that you can easily find and fix the issue. This free tool is an invaluable resource to get a behind the scenes look at your site and how it’s performing in Google Search results.
2. Spend time on Keyword research
Keywords are basically search terms used to direct your target audience to your website. To drive traffic, you’ll need to have an idea of what words, queries or phrases your audience is searching for and what information they find relevant. Ultimately, the goal is for your site to rank first on their search results page. Keyword research and content strategy is something you can spend an infinite amount of time trying to master, therefore I suggest starting with what you know. You probably already have several keywords in mind when you think about what products or services you provide. This is a great start!
Each page of your website should be optimized for a unique keyword, correlating with and summarizing the information provided on that page. Be sure that your focus keyword appears in the title tag, URL, meta description, an H1 tag on the page, in alt attributes of images used (read more about this below), as well as sprinkled appropriately throughout your content.
Keyword research tools
Here are some of our favorite resources for keyword research. These tools can give you insight into how you can get an upper hand when producing content, what is trending and what is currently working for your competitors. All of which can really come in handy when you’re trying to rank for a specific word or phrase. And remember, if it gets too overwhelming, we are always here to help come up with ways to get your site to rank higher and drive traffic.
3. Write content for your reader, not for a search engine
While we are on the subject of keywords, and although they are super important, ultimately you are creating content for your reader or customer, not for a search engine. Use a natural writing/reading style and use complete, concise sentences. Your goal should be to provide people with relevant, useful information about your business that is easy to read and understand.
Also, keep in mind that many people are now not only viewing websites on their smartphones, but also utilizing voice search when researching a specific topic or looking for nearby businesses. For this reason, try to incorporate long-tail keywords in your content and focus on more conversational phrases. You’ll actually want to keep mobile phone users and the voice search feature in mind for all of our SEO tips.
4. Utilize alt attributes on your site’s images
Image optimization is a beast all its own. Using the right format, scale, file size, and captions are all extremely important. But for this SEO tip we are addressing the use of alt attributes or alt text. An alt attribute is a short description of an image you use on your website or in your blog post, and another great opportunity to incorporate keywords you want to rank for. Each image you use should have alt text, although it is not required. The primary purpose of alt text is to describe images to visitors who may be blind or sight-impared. If you think of it in this context, you should easily be able to write quality alt attributes.
Let’s say you’re in a band and have an image on your home page of yourself playing a guitar. When someone hovers over the image, instead of the description reading something like “guitar”, you could change it to read “Dallas based acoustic guitarist playing at Corner Bar”. This is not only relevant to the actual image but also adds value to your website and user’s experience.
5. Set up a Google My Business account
GMB is another free tool that allows you to create a profile for your business that will appear in search results or on Google maps. It’s easy to set up and a great way to boost your rank in organic search results, especially local to your business. It will also provide credibility to your company and allow customers to easily find your contact information, scroll through photos and read reviews. Think of your Google My Business profile as a mini, online billboard and be sure to add relevant keywords you wish to rank for in your business description to get the most impact.
6. Make sure to have a great internal linking structure
Connecting your content throughout your website is easy to do and helps readers and search engines get an idea of the structure of your site. By strategically linking to your most important content and pages, you’re assigning value and directing your users to relevant information. Links don’t need to be reserved for just your header and footer, they should be worked into all of your content on all of your pages, providing an intuitive flow. You can also add breadcrumbs to the top portion of each page, allowing users to navigate through your pages easily. This is especially helpful if you have a website with tons of pages and subpages.
Remember, just linking to your contact page or your homepage is simply not good enough. The best internal linking system will be natural to your reader (and Google), and will not only help users find your cornerstone content, but will dive deep into the maybe not-so-obvious meat of your site.
7. Don’t forget your meta descriptions
These are the short description blurbs, usually in black text, shown by a search engine in search results. You can customize the meta description for each of your website’s pages to summarize its content and let searchers know what they can expect to find there before they click. You have 160 characters here to provide pertinent, informative snippets and entice people to click onto your website first before visiting other sites. Also be aware that when someone searches for something in Google, for instance, it bolds their search term(s) that show up in their search results, so be sure to include your focus keyword for that particular page in its meta description.
8. Improve your site speed
If your customer is having to wait more than 2 seconds for a page to load, research shows they will most likely click off of it and go to the next website listed in their search results. Your bounce rate is most indicative of your site speed, which can be affected by many factors including your hosting provider, caching, plugins, redirects and even the size of images used on your site. A Google crawler will also have a hard time indexing your site or page if they cant get it to load in a reasonable time, which is bad news for your SEO. Make sure you optimize your website speed to enhance your conversion rate as well as your rankings.
9. Post regularly and update your content often
After your new or redesigned website goes live, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “set it and forget it”. But updating your content to keep it fresh is vital to you climbing those search engine ranks. Linking to new resources, beefing up your content, or just making little tweaks here and there are all going to be beneficial. If you don’t have changes you can make to your site’s copy regularly, think about starting a blog. Adding weekly, or at least monthly, articles and posts to your site will engage your users and also boost your chances of ranking higher in search results. Google loves new, trending and accurate information and rewards websites who provide that.
Remember, you don’t have to know everything there is to know about SEO in order to get started. Most experts have been studying and learning ways to optimize for search engines for years. However, you can focus on a few tips at a time and build from there. SEO is a forever-evolving, almost endless array of techniques, so your best bet is to do some research and keep yourself up-to-date on industry news and articles. As you learn more about SEO, you will discover just how crucial it is for driving more organic traffic to your website, resulting in more leads and an increase in revenue.