Search engine optimization (SEO) is making your website easy to read for Google, Bing, and all other search engines. If you’re site is about Velcro, you’re going to want Google to know that.
Seems simple, right? False!
There’s a lot more that goes into, especially nowadays. In fact, the definition of what an SEO expert does today encompasses so much more than it did just a few years ago. While content is a massive part of SEO (and that’s what we like to focus on), good content won’t matter if the other factors of your website or online entities are poorly executed.
These are some of the major SEO factors I’ll be covering in this blog post:
- Titles, Tags, and Headers
- Website structure
- Website speed
- Mobile friendliness
- Social media
- Duplicate content
But before we dive into all of this…
The Importance of SEO
I’m betting you still rely on new customers to keep growing your business. When someone wants to find something, chances are they start your search online– more specifically, on a search engine. If your business can’t be found easily on the search engines, you’re already at a disadvantage.
Think of this way…
A website with poor SEO is like having a store that’s located in the farthest corner of the mall….by the Sears.
People might find you. They’ll just have to walk a lot further to get to you. And let’s face it, that’s unlikely to happen when there are other similar stores by the Macys and the free Chinese food samples.
You might be the best business in town for what you do, but if no one can find you online, it might not make a difference. Don’t let a lesser business with better SEO steal your business.
One thing that hasn’t changed as much with SEO over the years is the importance of title, meta, header, and alt tags (especially the title tags). The title is one of the first things the search engine spider is crawling. Think of it as the first impression.
If you’re unsure of what titles I’m referring to, see the image below.
After doing keyword research to make sure you know what your ideal customer is searching, we’d develop titles that make it absolutely clear what the content of the page holds. The customer should have a good idea about what they’re going to see on your page from just the title alone.
Obliviously, the customer won’t be able to get a total picture of what to expect on the page they might click on; that’s where meta descriptions come in.
Even though meta descriptions aren’t read by the search engine robots, it’s still a key factor in driving organic traffic to your website. It gives the user even more information than the title tag about what your page is about, making it more likely that the ideal customer will click on your link.
Yeah, don’t worry about these anymore.
You see these tags all the time. I know you’ve seen at least 4 today. Don’t know what I’m talking about, see the screenshot below to know what a header looks like.
Think of the header as mini titles. After Google reads the title, it scours the rest of the page’s content for clues as to what the site is about. The headers are the bigger clues. From a user-friendly standpoint, the header also makes it easier for the customer to absorb your content.
Imagine if this post was all un-bolded, small text. Chances are, you wouldn’t be reading this sentence right now.
Image Alt Tags
The alt tags of an image describe the image to both users who can’t load the image (for whatever reason) and the search engines. While their influence is debatedbly negligible, it still plays a factor when describing the overall content on your page.
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself to make sure your website structure is user and robot-friendly.
- Is the layout of your website logical?
- Can you access every page on your site by clicking only?
- Are you utilizing anchor links (internal links within the content)?
- Do you have a sitemap?
- Where would you look to find _______ on your site?
In the end, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customer to navigate your website.
Every second longer that it takes your website to load, you run the chance of a customer leaving your site. Not only that, the longer it takes for your site to load, the more Google will frown on your website.
All kinds of factors could be affecting your speed. Here are a few big ones:
- A slow server
- the size of the images
- too much media
- inadvertent redirects
- lack of Gzip compression
In an increasingly competitive internet, website speed will continue to be a big factor for search engine positioning.
Even though they’re drastically less important than they used to be, getting other relevant sites to link to your website does give Google a clue that your site is important. Sometimes this requires outreach. Sometimes your content will be linked naturally because it’s just that good.
Think of a link from another good site as a vote. Getting a link from Mashable is a BIG vote. Getting one from Miami Paper Company is a smaller vote.
Your site looks great on a desktop computer. Congrats!
Unfortunately, that won’t be enough to rank well on Google because your site looks terrible on mobile phones and tablets. In a world where more and more people access the internet on their phone, making a mobile-friendly website is a no-brainer.
A lot of designers follow this mantra…
Design for mobile first, desktop second
Depending on which SEO expert you talk to, you’ll hear different things about the impact of social media on SEO. One thing is not debatable though, it has an impact and all signs point to it having a bigger impact over time. In short…
- Make sure you have website links in your social media channels
- Make sure you share your content on social media
- Make sure your content is optimized for the audience on social media
- Make sure your social media channels are active and accumulating relevant fans
Don’t copy-and-paste content from another website. Don’t copy-and-paste content from another page on your own website. If you do these things for whatever reason, make sure you give credit to the original source through the proper tags.
Google despises duplicate content. Google despises duplicate content.
BUILD YOUR WEBSITE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS FIRST, NOT THE ROBOTS
It’s easy to get caught up in designing and writing content for to rank higher in the search engines. Don’t lose your focus. Everything you do online is to aid your customer in their purchasing journey. Ironically, if you build a good website with lots of useful content for your customers, there’s a good chance it’ll perform well on the search engines.
SEO results take time
Unlike a lot of the other internet marketing channels, it’ll take at least a month to see any real results from your SEO. Trust us though, it’s worth the wait. Good SEO will generate traffic to your website for a long time– especially if you continue to add great content to your site.
SEO conceptually is simple. The tasks to make it happen are far from simple though. As briefly covered in this post, a lot of work goes into making sure the search engines know that your site is the most relevant among your competitors.
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