13 Jul 0
As I’ve stated before in previous blogs, SEO can be very complicated if you want it to be. Or, SEO can be as simple as you need it to be. This adage proves to be truer with each passing moment now that Google and other large search engines bringing in new technology and artificial intelligence into the mix. Social media platforms don’t help by recoding their sites to hide ads from businesses and posts that encourage customer engagement. Every change that happens seems to be working against companies that simply want to make themselves known in their community and wherever else they operate.
With that being said, business owners and internet experts are always looking for another angle to work. They think:
- How can we take advantage of something no one else is?
- Can I just pay someone for links?
- How can I bend the rules to get to the top of the search results?
- Should I listen to all the “SEO Experts” that change their minds every day about how to be successful at SEO?
All those thoughts and questions are valid. Everyone wants to get to the top. Knowing what you’re getting into will help you ask better questions. Don’t despair about how long the path is, or how hard it is to navigate the path to success. Ask yourself what you need to do next to move forward.
Search Engine Optimization Breakdown
First, SEO is akin to networking in the real world. No business can close itself off to the rest of the world and operate. Having outbound links to other relevant content on the internet raises your page authority. Inbound links will greatly increase your authority because Google and other search engines realize that other sites want to funnel into yours, making it a legitimate website with good information.
Search engines rank sites based on their authority, content, and general relevant information that site has to offer. If you ask a librarian to point you to the fiction section, but she points you to the McDonald’s across the street instead, something is wrong. Search engines work the same way. So, what do you need to do to make sure your site is optimized for search engines?
First, you need content. A blank page doesn’t do anyone any good. People need a reason to visit your site. Whatever your business is, you need certain things on your website:
- Relevant blogs
- Clean web copy
- Services and product descriptions
- Online store
- Inbound and outbound links
- Social media links
- Contact information
Every single website needs to have at least the content mentioned above, and more is usually better. When you are going through your website, just take it page by page, or some sites even have just one long homepage that gives all the information easily. Regardless of how you format your site, it has to be clean and readable. Web copy, or words, sentences, and paragraphs, cannot be put over other things.
Search Engine Business Registry and Contact Information Optimization
A huge mistake I see many website owners make is that they don’t put their address, phone number, or any other contact information in a spot on their homepage that visitors can easily see. Google and other search engines crawl that information too. If you want better results, you can register your business directly with Google and Bing, so they can list your business easily without even crawling your website. Simply search the respective sites on how to register your business with them. They will then mail you a code to input to verify your business. Doing this gives your business a much higher ranking, especially in local rankings.
What I have found helpful is to go to a website owned by a large company, or even a company that makes websites, and see how they put everything together. It’s not plagiarism or even morally wrong to get inspiration from other websites. The cleaner your website is, the easier it’ll be for Google and other search engines to crawl it for relevant information for their user looking for that info.
Your website needs blogs. Blogs have many benefits, one of which is to readily give useful information to all kinds of search engine users. They must be formatted a certain way to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find them.
There are general rules to follow:
- Use headings. Search engines look for keywords that matter most to them. So, the way they find them easier is to crawl for keywords that have been formatted a certain way to emphasize that keyword or key phrase is the most important part of your page. On virtually any web builder platform, it will have options to highlight and choose which words get to be headings. Headings are ranked 1-6, with number six as being the least relevant, but still more important than the rest of the copy.
- Use bold or italics to further emphasize keywords and key phrases.
- Use the best focus keywords. The best keywords to find are the ones that don’t have much competition. If you really want to rank, you’ll need unique keywords, because competing with super corporations for keywords will get you nowhere.
- Use subheadings. Subheadings are used to break up the copy into nice, easy to read sections, but they also organize the copy with certain keywords and other relevant content that you want search engines to crawl.
- Keywords must be used in a certain percentage of the entire copy. For a 1,000-word blog, using your focus keyword or key phrase about 15-30 times will be good enough to be optimized properly. Any less than that, and you risk other words being the main focus of the piece. But, you also don’t want to needlessly stuff your content with keywords because you think it’ll rank higher. Google and other search engines have algorithms that look out for keyword stuffed articles and will actually punish that content by ranking it lower.
- The length of your content matters. Blogs and articles are supposed to be pieces that people can easily digest. There isn’t a magic number to hit but keeping your blogs around 1,000 – 3,000 words is a good rule to live by. Try and keep it shorter, but still ensure that you put every piece of relevant information in it for people to find.
- Be sure to post the most relevant information that your target demographic is searching for as often as possible. The more content Google, Yahoo!, and Bing can crawl, the better. You can use more keywords you want to rank for as well. Blogs that post at least twice a week gets far more web traffic than ones that post only once per month.
There are many other rules that content creation experts use to better enhance the chances at getting to the top of the search query. The tips listed above just scratch the surface. But, you can feel very confident that these tips will get your website optimized, but if you want to do more, then head over here to talk to a content creation specialist.
This term is just another way of saying the general information and words on your page. Just like blogs, web copy needs to be optimized. Titles need to be headers, subheadings need to organize the information, and keywords need to be present and used often enough to stand out. When writing web copy, it’s a good idea to keep it as simple as possible. Do your best to use 1-3 sentences per paragraph or ‘section’. Your web copy should be neatly arranged with shorter sentences to enhance readability.
Photos and Videos
Google searches for more than just words on your website. It also searches every other piece of content and media that you have. Search engines don’t ‘look’ at the picture, but they crawl the code the picture presents to the search engine, which is called ‘Alt Text’. On any web builder platform, you can use the image settings to select the Alt Text in the image using the keywords you want to rank for, as well as words that describe the image. A lot of website traffic comes from Google’s feature that displays images instead of just links and websites.
Videos work in the same fashion. They also have an Alt Text that you can control. However, videos are becoming more important for SEO and businesses in general because it is how people prefer to get their information. Much more so than any other media. Google and other search engines have a video search feature that you can take advantage of with proper keywords used in the Alt Text.
Products and Services Sections
I’m going to tie this in to proper SEO practice because every business needs an online store. Even your local ice cream shop needs an online store. It sounds a bit crazy, but they can build a brand around themselves, and sell shirts, hats, ice cream related kitchen wares, among other things. Having a store will help your SEO immensely because:
- It provides more content from product descriptions
- You can link your online store to other platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, and the dozens of other large online selling websites, and they will link back to your website. Having a link from Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other huge websites is SEO gold
- You can make use of more keywords and key phrases, which will expand a broader net to catch the people searching for terms related to your business
If you and your business isn’t into online stores, or you just have a smaller one, like service companies often have, then having a dedicated page to explain your services is a great way to use inbound and outbound links, use more keywords and key phrases, and to provide more content for the search engines.
Can SEO be even Easier?
Absolutely! Most web builder platforms like WIX have built-in applications that guide you through the SEO process. WordPress has many plug-ins, or apps you can download that work directly within your site, which will also guide you through optimizing your website and content. A popular plug-in for WordPress is Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO really hits SEO from all angles and makes sure that your content is fully optimized. Yoast SEO and WordPress are also free to use, so many businesses are turning to that combination to do SEO themselves.
If you do decide to use a web builder, then be sure to follow all the steps to ensure full optimization. You need to make sure your web page links aren’t too long, meta descriptions are written properly using your focus keywords, and using tags within each page. Titles of your web pages also matter. If you want to rank highest in your community, then title each page accordingly, but add your city and state, or region, province, or country within the title. This tells Google that you want to rank for those keywords.
All a person needs to do is create good content that actually helps people with what they need. The better your content is, the more people you can network with to trade links, the more users you bring to your site, the better your SEO will become. All you have to do is share your business, your expertise, your knowledge, and what you offer with existing and potential customers and you win at SEO. And that is why SEO can be as complicated as you want it to be, but it can also be as simple as you NEED it to be.