The majority of small business owners and website managers are already familiar with the idea of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is the ability of your site to catch the attention of search engines, such as Google or Bing. The more evolved your use of SEO, the higher your site will rank in their compiled search result lists. Ranking well in search engine compilations is of utmost importance as this will direct customers who may never have heard of your company to your site. Having a great website design and informative content will convince any visitors to consider your product or service, but attracting these visitors in the first place can be a tricky ordeal. A major flaw in the marketing strategies of many small businesses is the lack of an organized SEO strategy. Developing an SEO strategy as part of your over-all marketing plan will ensure the visibility of your website and increase the traffic to your page. There are multiple techniques your company can use to increase its use of SEO, so to help, we’ve compiled a list of the top five tips to building an SEO friendly website.
1. Make a list of keywords
Including appropriate keywords throughout your site is the number one most effective strategy for improving your SEO use. Keywords are any words a potential client might type into a search engine when searching for a certain product or service. You want your website to repeat this language to grab the attention of not only a potential client, but of the search engine itself. Brainstorm with your team a list of 10 to 15 keywords that describe your company and services. Each keyword should be considered for variations as well, such as plural forms or synonyms. These keywords should be used continuously and strategically throughout your online presence, including in your URL name, website copy content, image captions, file names, tags, and within the design of the webpage. Search engines often prioritize pages with keywords in their bolded headlines, subtitles, and placed near the top of the page. If you’re having trouble developing your keyword list, try using the Google Keyword Tool. This list of keywords should be ever-evolving, as is your market.
2. Stay up to date on SEO trends and policies.
Developing your SEO strategy is not a one-time project. As both the internet and digital marketing are always evolving, SEO trends and policies likewise evolve. Every year or so, you should make sure you are up-to-date on SEO practices. There are multiple online resources that can help you with this, such as “SEOmoz” and “Search Engine Round Table” as well as many blogs. Make sure your keyword list is also evolving on a yearly basis, as the way we search online and discuss products quickly changes within a specific market. Your keywords list developments should be based on the evolving SEO trends. Keeping your keywords up to date and editing the content of your site will also help search engines recognize your web page as an active, growing site, which leads to higher rankings and increased traffic.
3. Include social media and blogs in your website design.
Search engines take much more into account than just keywords found throughout the website’s copy content. Social media, being an exponentially growing internet trend, is taken seriously by search engines looking to identify the most useful pages. Make sure to develop your social media presence and include links to any social media accounts on your homepage. Social media icons on your homepage will improve your SEO ratings and appease your customers. Setting up a blog is another important step. Each new blog post updates your site, provides an opportunity to incorporate updated keywords, and engages your customer base. Links to blogs on a website’s homepage is greatly valued by search engines and will result in higher rankings.
4. Provide sufficient and appropriate content and images.
The majority of search engines will require at least 200 words per page to be considered for high rankings. While this is an easy goal to reach, make sure your content is embedded on each page, not just in an image. Once you’ve hit your word requirement, turn your attention toward your use of images. Many companies forget that images can be optimized to increase SEO rankings as well. Make sure your images are small to not affect page loading times. The use of Flash elements can also create somewhat of a challenge, as they are usually ignored by search engines, not contributing to your SEO rankings. Worst case scenario, the use of too many Flash elements could slow your page, decreasing your SEO rankings. Images also serve as an opportunity to use keywords in the file names.
5. Measure your SEO data.
The next rule rings true in any situation: Nothing is worth implementing if it can’t be evaluated. If you are to put effort into creating an SEO strategy and improving your SEO rankings, you must have an evaluation method in mind. Before starting, create a database or spreadsheet to track web analytics concerning incoming traffic from search engines. You can also track inbound links, trending keywords, and your actual search engine rankings as measures of success. Through maintaining this database, you will be able to easily distinguish which strategies are helping your rankings and which are not worth continuing. You will also be aware of any large successes and be able to celebrate the accomplishments with your team.
This list of 5 SEO improvement tips will get your company’s website off to a good start, but don’t stop here! There are countless ways to improve your SEO rankings. With an ever-evolving market, your marketing and SEO strategy must also be open to change. These techniques all get easier with time, and the benefits to your bottom line are worth the hassle.