Optimizing your website for SEO is essential for getting your website to rank high on search engines like Google. It doesn’t matter how well designed your website is - if potential clients are unable to find it, then it won’t do your company much good.
That’s where optimizing your website for SEO comes in.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means to develop your website in accordance with search engine algorithms (mainly Google’s) to boost your website’s position in the search rankings. How important is it to rank on Google?
With 71% of clicks going to the first page, it’s clear that to get the most out of your website, it needs to be optimized for SEO.
So, how do you do that? In this post, we’ll be covering SEO tactics that will improve your website’s search ranking and help you get more value out of your website.
Analyze Your Website’s Current SEO Status
Before doing anything, it’s helpful to get an overview of where your website currently stands in regards to SEO. To do this, we recommend using the free tool Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a powerful tool that gives rich insights into your website’s SEO. It’s fairly easy to use, and you certainly don’t need an SEO background to get started. Within Google Search Console, we suggest reviewing what search terms people use to find your website through Google.
You can also view how each page of your website ranks, which can help you determine what areas of your business you want to build up authority for. Finally, Search Console also makes it easy to discover any issues with your website that may be hurting your site’s SEO.
Information regarding mobile compatibility issues and indexing errors are all available within search console.
Overall, Google Search Console should be the first stop on your journey to optimize your website for SEO. It’s a simple tool to use that makes it easy to discover key search insights quickly.
Perform Keyword Research
Keyword research allows digital marketers to discover the search volume of specific queries and how difficult it will be for your website to rank for those terms. To get started, we recommend using a tool such as UberSuggest or Moz Keyword Explorer to discover keywords that your website could potentially rank for.
To start, simply input keywords (search terms) and watch how these tools give you metrics such as keyword volume and how difficult it would be to rank for that keyword.
The goal here is to discover keywords with solid volume and manageable difficulty so you can create content aimed at ranking your website for those terms (more on that in just a bit).
When you search for keywords, you’re going to be better off trying to find long-tail keywords. These keywords are simply longer search queries (usually 5 words or longer) as they will be easier to rank for. Find keywords that your audience will likely be searching for that are related to your business.
This way, the content you create will be able to be found by them organically through search engines. Meaning, they won’t have to directly search your business name for them to find you.
Create Content Featuring Long-Tail Keywords
Once you’ve got a list of search terms with strong volume and low difficulty, it’s time to create content so your website shows up when people Google for those exact terms.
While video and podcasts are the hottest forms of content at the moment, nothing tops a blog post when it comes to optimizing your website for SEO. Use the long-tail keywords you found to develop articles focused on that particular topic.
The content you create should be something a potential customer of yours would find helpful or valuable in some way.
That way, as you optimize your website for SEO your website will get found by people in the market for your products or services. Helpful content will also help your business establish a positive relationship with visitors to your site. That way when they’re ready to make a purchase decision, they’ll be more likely to go with you than your competitors.
Follow On-Page SEO Best Practices
When creating written content like blog posts, it is very important to follow On-Page SEO best practices. On-Page SEO simply refers to the formatting of a webpage and how to create content for search engines.
This way, Google’s algorithm can easily determine what your post is about and display it to your target audience. It would be a shame to spend all of this time trying to optimize your website for SEO, only to have it fail because you didn’t format your content correctly.
When writing blogs, follow these best practices to enhance your website’s ability to rank on Google:
- Focus each post on one individual keyword and ensure it is used throughout the article. Also, try and use the keyword in the title of the article and the URL slug.
- Use H1, H2, and H3 HTML tags to make your post more readable and enhance Google’s ability to determine what the post is about. This also makes it easier for people to skim.
- Include a mix of inbound and outbound links. Doing so distributes your SEO authority throughout your site and gives Google a better picture of what the post is about.
- Use alt-text tags for images so Google knows what they are. Also, make sure to compress images so they load quickly.
- Write meta titles and descriptions - this is the title and description you see on each result for Google. Make sure to use the keyword of your post in the title and description and write something that makes someone want to click on your post.
- Articles of around 1500 words perform best. You don’t necessarily need to write that much, but it will certainly be helpful. Instead, check out your competitors content that ranks and see how long their posts are on average. That’s the bar you need to top.
For a full list of On-Page factors Google uses to rank blog posts, check out this great resource from Moz.
Focus on Your Website’s Speed
The speed of your website is one of the most influential factors Google uses to determine your website’s SEO ranking.
It makes sense: Google is in the business of providing its users with an enjoyable user experience.
That way, they keep using Google and Google can continue to attract advertisers to its platform, which is ultimately how they make money. A slow website is one of the best ways to leave users with a poor impression of your company and hinder your website’s effectiveness.
In fact, 75% of users won’t return to a webpage if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. Based on that info, your website’s speed should be one of your top digital marketing priories. To get an accurate picture of how fast your website’s speed is, use tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and GTXMetrix to get a detailed look at how fast your website is.
Both tools also provide optimizations you can make to your website to make it faster going forward.
Ensure Website is Mobile Responsive
The speed of your website isn’t the only technical aspect of your site you need to be concerned about for SEO.
With so much online browsing done on smartphones and tablets today, Google now weighs the mobile version of your site just as much (if not more) than the desktop version. This means if your website isn’t mobile responsive, you're going to take a big hit in the search rankings.
Ensuring your website is mobile responsive is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your website for SEO. If your website is older, that means it’s likely time for a redesign altogether. If it is newer yet not mobile responsive, we recommend hiring a local freelance web designer/developer to write the necessary code to get your site to be responsive.
Develop a Link Building Strategy
For long term SEO success, you need to continue to build out content featuring keywords you can rank for. However, you also need to be focused on building a network of links that point back to your website. Why? One of Google’s top metrics for ranking websites is the number of links that point to it. Similar to how citations work in academia, Google uses links as a measure of trust and authority. Not all links are created equal.
Websites that have high SEO authority and are relevant to your business will do the most to optimize your website for SEO.
Unfortunately, when it comes to link building for SEO, there are no true tactics you can rely on. Instead, you will have to reach out to people directly the old fashioned way to gain links for your website. Of the many areas of SEO, link building is likely the most complex.
An in-depth guide is outside the scope of this article, but we recommending reading this to get you started.
Optimizing your website for SEO is one of the most important digital marketing initiatives your company can undertake. It will give you a huge advantage over competitors as you will appear above them in the search results.
Consumers will discover your content organically and you will be able to establish trust and expertise with them. And most of all, it will help you drive sustained traffic to your site which can only help your lead generation efforts.