Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a term that many small business owners and bloggers know but often don’t understand.
And you know what? That’s fine. Because SEO is confusing.
With the search engine goalposts constantly moving, it’s perfectly understandable that you don’t really know what it’s all about.
So if you are one of the people that find yourself saying ‘what the hell is SEO and how can improve mine?” then keep reading, this post is for you.
First, let’s talk about what SEO is and why it is a vital ingredient in your websites success.
Search Engine Optimization in basic terms is making your website easy and accessible for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. By ensuring your website is easily readable by search engines you increase your chances of being listed in the top results. And that’s where every website owner wants to be, right there on the first page of Google.
There are many ways to get visitors to your website – paid ads, social media posts and adding your link to stationery.
But the long-term benefits of organic search traffic is something website owners can’t ignore. Particularly since there are around ‘100 billion searches per month’ on Google. Which is why investing in SEO has the most impact and best results over other traffic methods.
I wish I could tell you that getting to that much desired first page is guaranteed but I can’t. Optimizing your website takes an investment of time, work, and money if you outsource it to an expert. However, it doesn’t have to be hard and by implementing the tips below you can easily improve your search engine appeal.
Here are my 5 ways you can improve your website SEO
1 // PROVIDE VALUABLE, RELEVANT CONTENT
One of the best ways to improve your website is by producing high-quality, value-rich content. Creating high-quality content appeals to your visitors and search engines as they are then more likely to visit again and link to your content.
So how much value does Google place on content? The short answer is A LOT. They even have a course on it.
Quality content depends on a number of factors. And Google has some clear guidelines on how they determine the quality of the content on your website.
What to do:-
- Write for people not for search engines. Basically, don’t stuff your content full of keywords. Instead, create content that makes sense for humans reading it and provides them with useful information.
- Create content that makes your website ‘unique, valuable, or engaging.’. This will ensure your website stands out amongst others within your niche.
And what you shouldn’t do:-
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content
- Sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or links
- Doorway pages
- Scraped content
- Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
- Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
- Abusing rich snippets markup
- Sending automated queries to Google
Read more of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
2 // IMPROVE YOUR SITE LOAD SPEED
The speed of your website has been considered in Google’s ranking algorithm since 2010.
Google realised the importance of having a fast loading website. They discovered that the speed of a website can greatly influence how long visitors spend there. So to encourage website owners to speed up their sites, it was included as a factor when ranking on the search results.
You can check your website speed with this handy tool.
3 // OPTIMISE YOUR WEBSITE FOR MOBILE
Not having a mobile-friendly or responsive website is going to have a negative impact on your online presence. Especially with mobile searches on the increase each year, it’s crucial that you cater for users visiting your website on smartphones.
It’s not just usability that is affected with a non-responsive website. The impact on your search engine ranking can also take a hit. Back in April 2015, Google announced it was putting more value in mobile-friendly websites and in turn adjusted their algorithm to reward such sites.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” – Google
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Test it with this tool.
4 // MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SHAREABLE
In recent years there has been increasing debate about the social media relevance of websites and the impact this has on search ranking.
While Google hasn’t confirmed that social media shares directly influence SEO. There are strong indications that the social value of a website can affect SEO rankings. Particularly in terms of brand awareness, building trust and credibility and getting traffic to your website. All of which can help with your websites SEO appeal.
An easy way to increase your website shares is to install social media share buttons. There are thousands of plugins and options available to add buttons to your posts allowing people to quickly share content that they enjoy or find interesting.
If you want to add social media buttons to your website, check out these plugins to get you started.
5 // WATCH YOUR FORMATTING
There are various ways you can boost SEO within the pages and posts of your website.
One way is to utilise header tags – h1, h2 etc. By using header tags you will break up your text to make it easier to read. And the tags are also used by Google to determine the topic of your content. Including a focus keyword within your headers will help improve your on-page SEO.
Another way you can format is by correctly naming and tagging your images. I spoke about ‘How To Boost SEO With Your Website Images‘ recently.
In order to track how your website is performing, there are a couple of tools and plugins that I recommend you use.
First up is Google Analytics, it’s the daddy of website statistics. You can keep track of how many people are visiting, the location of users, where they found your website, what pages they visited and so much more. With this data, you can find out if the work you are doing with your SEO is working and it helps you develop strategies for going forward.
Another helpful tool if you have a WordPress website is the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast assists you when you are adding pages and posts by allowing you to easily change the page titles, keyword, and description tags. It also advises you on the word count, alt attributes of the images on the page and the use of your chosen keyword. All extremely useful when you are trying to improve your search engine ranking.
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