One of the least-understood aspects of marketing is SEO or search engine optimization. It tends to get thrown around as something of a ‘buzzword.’ However, SEO is simply “the process of improving traffic to a given website by increasing the site’s visibility in search engine results.” There are a number of ways—both ethical and unethical—to improve a site’s position in search engine rankings. Here are five simple things you can do to improve your site’s SEO.
The best—and most overlooked—way to improve SEO results is to have unique, high-quality content on your website. By creating quality content with your intended audience in mind, you increase site traffic. This improves your site’s authority and relevance.
In addition, identify one or two searchable keywords and phrases that might be used to find each page of your website. Be sure to use these keywords and phrases in your content. However, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing—using a keyword too many times on one page, or using irrelevant keywords with the intent of improving search engine rankings.
Remember, never sacrifice quality content for SEO. If your content is written for users and contains all the relevant information they are seeking, SEO will happen naturally.
As the name suggests, header tags are the tags used for the creation of headings within a page. The two most used headers are H1 and H2. H1 is generally the title of the page within your website, while H2 tags are section headings. The reason these tags are so important is they tell search engines what users can expect to find on your webpage.
For that reason, it’s important to use keyword phrases in your header tags, as well as your content. These keywords should be words and phrases your audience is looking to find. Relevant content on your website drives customers to spend more time on your site, which then signals to Google’s algorithm that they are finding useful information and that, ultimately, improves your search engine rankings. By using proper keywords and header tags, search engines know what your page is about, and users can find your site more easily.
Internal links are links that take the user from one page on a domain to different page within the same domain. These internal links can appear as anchor text—text within your web page’s content that contains a hyperlink. SEO-friendly anchor text is text that is succinct, relevant to the page to which you’re linking, and specific.
Including internal links is useful, as it establishes your site’s architecture. Search engines need to be able to have access to crawlable link structure in order to find all the pages on your website. A Google crawler who accesses Page A can easily see internal links to Pages B and E. The more time visitors spend on your website, the more relevant Google deems your page to the topic being searched.
4. Proper Filenames and Alt Text
Almost every good website should feature images in some way, whether to convey your organization’s brand or to illustrate the products your organization sells. However, merely having images on your website does little to improve the site’s SEO. What does improve SEO are the filenames and alt tags one assigns to these images.
The filename is simply the name of the file on your computer. The alt tag is a text alternative to an image when a browser can’t properly view the image. Both the filename and the alt tag should be as specific as possible. For instance, if the image is a necklace, rather than naming the file ‘Jewelry,’ you should name it ‘Sterling Silver Necklace.’ In short, the file name and the alt tags should be specific, concise, keyword-filled descriptions of what the image depicts.
5. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
In a previous blog post, we discussed five reasons to make your website mobile friendly. Here’s another: making your website mobile-friendly improves your site’s rankings in Google search. Since the beginning of 2017, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a factor for ranking your site within search engine results. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, mobile users are less likely to return to your site (and that’s a lot of people these days). Less traffic means a potentially lower ranking in search engine results. To avoid this, make sure your site is responsive to mobile and tablet users.
Improving your site’s SEO may sound like a daunting task; however, it doesn’t have to be complicated. It all comes down to creating a website that is easy for your customer to use. A site that contains accurate, relevant and helpful information about your business will help your business to perform well in organic search results. So stick to the basics. Develop good content and make sure your site is easy to navigate and read on a mobile device.
6. Encourage Customers to Give You Online Reviews
As more and more consumers rely on apps like TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook to learn more about products and local businesses, they are increasingly engaged with online reviews. Good reviews help Google to determine your business’s ranking online. Don’t worry if there are a few average or not-so-great reviews. What we at Inkwell remind our clients is this. Bad reviews help legitimize the validity of positive reviews. While consumers are ultimately seeking a business that has strong positive reviews, they are not likely to discount you entirely over one or two negative posts.