SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial for getting your website viewed by potential customers. What can you do to improve your current SEO strategy?
It is essential that your business has high visibility in search engines, and preferably appears on the first page, since ‘75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results’.
It can be done with little monetary input, but what is required is a thorough knowledge of your business, and an understanding of what is at the core of your products or services. Five tips to help you with your SEO are:
- See where you stand
- Know where to put keywords
- Link internally
- Get external links
- Make sure to avoid penalties
By following these guidelines, you should be able to make your website more accessible, and ultimately, more attractive to potential customers.
See where you stand
Before you can start optimizing your website, you have to have a thorough understanding of what your search standings are. The simplest way of doing this is to search your website, as well as key searches relating to your product or service, through all major search engines, and get a rough idea of where you stand.
Beyond this, it is a good idea to use a more sophisticated SEO audit tool, such as Alexa, which allows you to create a more focused keyword and linking plan. It’s also important, for the next step (putting in keywords) to use a referrer log to work out where website visitors come from, and what key search terms they are using to get to your website.
Know where to put keywords
In a world where ‘there are over 100 billion global searches being conducted each month’, it is in your business’ interest to make sure that each page of your website is optimized with the correct keywords, so that people looking for your service, or for information similar to what you are providing, will come to your website.
Including keywords so that your business will rank high on a search engine is called ‘On Page SEO’. There are many ways you can organize which keywords need to be put into specific pages; it might be worth making an excel spread sheet, with each page listed, and next to it the keywords relating to that content – keep it simple, 2 or 3 words per page. Here's a quick example of how this can be done, using our marketing category as an example:
You will also need to consider what parts of the page you will be putting the keywords in; text body, titles, any images, and, since this might take a long time if you have a lot of content on your website, make sure to prioritize the most popular pages. In terms of your website’s layout; ‘the percentage of organic traffic coming from mobile devices increased from 40% in Q3 to 42% in Q4 and traffic from Android devices had the biggest increase from quarter to quarter’, so it is crucial that you make your website compatible with phone technology.
Kissmetrics has found that, ‘Internal linking strengthens the overall search-optimized value of a website. Inner linking does so by providing clear paths for spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a tight-knit network of pages and posts.’
Basically, once you have people on your website, you want to make sure you have a network of links that encourage people to stay clicking on and reading your content. The first rule of internal linking is to make sure the links make sense; it’s always a good idea to link similar content to whatever is being read, as your customer is likely to have an interest. Don’t put in too many links, as this will be off-putting, and make sure that the links are varied, and don’t all lead the customer back to your homepage.
Get external links
In a study conducted by marketing and SEO specialists, they found that by creating 10 new websites, each gunning for the same keyword, half of which were given hyperlinks to ‘very high authority’ sources; it was these websites that ended up being ranked higher, thus proving that outside links to good sources play a part in the algorithm search engines use with websites.
However, this is a tricky one. The power of external links is that they are rated higher by search engines, who consider an external link akin to a vote for your website. If your website has many other websites linking to it, it will be optimized more by the search engine, but this is difficult to control. The best way for you to optimize with external links is to copy the Moz study and link to good sources yourself. Google, and other major search engines, appreciate the legitimacy of strong external links.
Make sure to avoid penalties
According to the Digital Marketing 2014 website, since ‘Google owns 71% of the global search engine market’, it is mainly their rules that you will want to adhere to. The basic premise of Google’s penalties is that they want your SEO and linking to look as organic as possible. Ways that you could be caught out include: linking between websites that seem completely unrelated, sites with seemingly random links were 50% more likely to be penalized than those with relevant backlinks.
By not branding your website well (Google loves well-branded sites) and not keeping a trustworthy relationship between your SEO and content, Google will penalize your website. In the end, Google want there to be a smooth transition between all the elements of your website, and if you don’t deliver what you promise with a link or keyword, you will lose their trust.
These tips should help you to navigate the sometimes tricky world of SEO, to create a website that is optimized both internally and externally, meaning search engines will rank it higher, and your customers will demonstrate their appreciation through growing website traffic.
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