Although much has changed over the past decade when it comes to using “the right” Search Engine Optimization strategies, SEO itself is still extremely important when building a website. A website should ideally be built including effective SEO from the start. It is much easier to implement a solid SEO plan when you create a website that is already very well optimized. With that being said, if your website was built without an SEO plan and you don’t want to start over, it is possible to put the right SEO strategies into place. It will require time, dedication and money, but without the right optimization, your website is doomed.
One common misconception about SEO is that as long as you target the right keywords and throw those keywords everywhere and anywhere across your site’s pages, your SEO plan will be successful. While this may have worked in the past, it simply isn’t enough anymore to simply throw keywords into random site content. In order to create and implement a successful and lasting SEO plan for your website, you must look beyond the immediate desire to improve your site’s rankings. You can (and will) move up in search engine results if you implement a good SEO plan, but it requires a little bit of time and patience.
There are a virtual plethora of SEO techniques to choose from in today’s technology-centered world. The problem with the over-abundance of information about how to use SEO, is that many business owners don’t have a good understanding of which SEO tactics actually work well and which simply aren’t worth the time and effort it took to write about them.
Naturally, you’re here because you want to know all there is to know about how to make your website’s SEO work so well that you’re increasing your customer base and your bottom line. While there are many more than five ways to successfully implement Search Engine Optimization strategies into the pages on your website, today we are going to focus on five factors we find to be the most important in order for your website’s SEO to get you the results you’re looking for.
Fast Page Load Time
It’s no secret that internet users have become more and more impatient as technology continues to advance year after year during this tech-era. Immediate gratification is so desired by internet users that a large number of people will leave almost any site if it fails to load on command. In fact, websites that take longer than three seconds to load are considered a “lost cause” to many visitors, and they will simply click out of the site and onto one of your competitor’s websites that loads faster.
In addition to losing customers due to a slow loading page, you will also be losing points in the ranking wars. Search engines love pages that load quickly and Google has even listed site speed as one of the absolute most critical factors in page ranking. No matter how gorgeous your website looks, or how well you implemented all of its content, if your home page loads slowly, no one will hang around long enough to convert, and you might as well flush all of the money you spent on stellar web design right down the toilet. Here is a good “non-developers” guide to fast load time.
To those who are just getting familiar with SEO, it can seem counter-intuitive to include links to other websites in your content. After all, isn’t that simply giving the reader a good reason to leave your site and visit the site you linked them to? Technically it is, but by linking to relevant websites that contain great content, you will actually begin to build your website’s reputation.
When you include out-bound links on your website, you create what is known as “trackable traffic.” In the long run, substantial trackable traffic looks great to search engines, and your website will continue to rise in value.
Also, by linking to reputable sites first, you will start to build a relationship with some very authoritative bloggers and website owners. It’s a great strategy to reach out to the blogger to whom you have linked, so they can have a look at your site. Many times, they’ll return the favor by linking back to your website in their content as well.
Inbound links (links that send readers to your site from a different site) are naturally even more important (and desirable) than outbound links. However, you won’t find many authoritative bloggers who are willing to link to your website without a link to their site first. Give, and ye shall receive.
Write Incredible Content
The truth is, no one is going to be interested in linking to your website or blog if you don’t have anything of value posted there. This portion of your SEO strategy is going to require an investment of time and potentially money but it will be worth every second and every cent in the long run.
If you have it in your budget, hire a professional writer as soon as possible. Train your writer on the basics of SEO, but keep the writing focused on being engaging, interesting and relevant to your readers. If you don’t have engaging content on your website, you’ll get nowhere. Online visitors and search engines hate poorly-written content, and you simply won’t rank with it, regardless of how many keywords you stuff into it.
The written content on your site should include several pages about your business, like: Services, About Us, Contact Info, and Blog at minimum. Keep your company blog consistently filled with new, relevant, exciting, interesting, and (most importantly) fresh content. In other words: don’t steal content from other websites. That is called plagiarism and not only will it harm your site rankings, but it is illegal.
Make sure you’re writing with a human audience in mind. By focusing on using more detailed, long-tail keywords rather than trying to “trick” search engines with single keyword stuffing, you’ll be attracting the right kind of human visitors to your site – those who are actually interested in what you have to say and sell. The more visitors you engage with, the better your site is going to look to Google, and naturally, the more paying visitors, the better for your Return on Investment!
Analyze Your Success from Day One
For many entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to throw together a website without giving much thought to analyzing who visits, stays, and who quickly leaves your site. The key to your success, however, is having a solid analytics plan in place on the day you start designing your website (ideally, even sooner).
What’s the point of building a company website if you have no way of knowing how well it’s being received? Investing in website analytic software is simply a must-do in order to grasp where you’re succeeding as well as what you need to change. Choose a software that allows you to see what parts of your website people are visiting most, and how those visitors are choosing to leave your site (exit point).
Meta, Meta, Meta!
If you don’t know what a meta description is, it’s a good thing you’re reading this post. Although it is often neglected, your webpage or blog post meta description is the first thing shown in internet searches. In search results, right under your website page’s title is where you’ll find the meta description. It’s the (uber critical, often overlooked) 1-2 sentences that describe your page.
In order to provide users with the best experience possible, be sure to create unique meta descriptions and tags that include relevant and meaningful long-tail keywords. Avoid using the same meta description over and over for every page of your website and/or blog. This doesn’t help users, and eventually you will be penalized by Google for duplicate meta descriptions.
Changing a generic or lacking meta description is easy, especially if you are using WordPress. By using the Yoast plugin, you will be given a dedicated space to insert a meta description for each page of content that you publish, along with unique title tags.
Improve your social signals
Social media is everything right now. This is not news to anyone. Therefore, if you’re not using social signals to boost your site’s visibility, you are seriously missing out. Your page’s collective shares and likes across all of social media are its social signals. It is more important today than it has ever been to incorporate a social media strategy into your SEO campaign.
Social signals are so important because they can improve or decrease your page’s organic ranking in search engines. This happens because search engines determine a page’s value based on how many times it is viewed – and this includes on social media sites.
Social signals include: Facebook shares and likes, Twitter tweets and retweets, Google+ shares and +1s, mentions on Tumblr and Reddit, etc. Because of the ever-increasing focus on social media, as a website owner, you must create a solid social media plan that works in tandem with the rest of your SEO strategies.
The first and easiest way to boost your social media engagement is something we’ve already mentioned in this article: great content! As you can see, relevant and interesting content that is well-written and engaging is supremely important in many areas of any effective SEO/internet marketing plan. Stay away from content that feels like spam or advertising. Also:
- Stick to topics that are exciting and that encourage reader interaction.
- Produce content daily or as often as possible in order to keep your blog constantly in social media feeds.
- Capture your readers’ attention with vivid, professional photographs (just make sure that you have the rights to use them).
- Run contests and giveaways that require social media action in order to participate.
- Partner-up with another blogger, company or brand to do a “share for share” – you’ll post their content on your social media page(s) and they’ll do the same for you.
- Use as many social media platforms as possible and be sure to keep track of the social signals your brand receives in order to tweak and improve upon your plan for sharing content on social media.
Additionally, be sure to use relevant long-tail keywords in your website’s URLs so that readers can easily understand what your site is all about. This encourages more clicks and more visitors! Using the right keywords to name the images you use is another great way to include keywords into your content. Remember, though – don’t cram keywords into the photo description or caption just to put them there. Be sure to choose relevant keywords that feel natural and non-advertorial.
The most important thing to keep in mind throughout all of your SEO efforts is that you are building a brand. Your ultimate goal is to increase public awareness, trust and enthusiasm for your brand. This will them lead to becoming devoted customers who continue to return to your website again and again. By combining as many of the above strategies with well-written, interesting content, you will be well on your way to moving up in search engine rankings.