Getting found on the web can be daunting, so we’ve compiled 10 tips and tricks you can start implementing immediately to optimize your website for search engines.
1) Get Mobile Friendly
50% of all mobile searches are conducted in the hope of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase, according to SearchEngineWatch.com. Mobile friendly, responsive sites tend to achieve a higher rank in Google search results, especially while searching on a mobile device. For many businesses, a mobile-friendly web presence is quicker, easier, and more affordable than you might think. To start, remember to optimize layouts, logos, and other graphics on your site for mobile devices and remove unnecessary clutter on your site. In addition to your mobile-friendly website, mobile apps are also a great way to be found.
2) Create Keyword-Rich Content
When customers search for what you offer, they use keywords and phrases. For example, if they need an accountant, they might type “tax preparation Smithtown” into a search engine. Businesses want to rank as high as possible for the most common keywords and phrases their customers use in a search. Natural-sounding, keyword-rich content is very important. This means no keyword stuffing, as search engines do not respond favorably.
Domains are the number one factor Google uses to determine relevance in search, according to the University of Massachusetts Boston. Many businesses have multiple domains that reflect the various brands or types of products their customers seek.
Keywords also belong in HTML tags such as webpage titles, meta descriptions, headings, and subheadings. Even if you don’t know HTML, content management platforms such as WordPress often have a visual interface you can use to edit this information more easily.
3) Establish and Update Local SEO
Local SEO helps you get found in your hometown or region. For businesses with multiple locations, it’s important to consider local SEO for each.
Businesses can increase their local SEO by listing themselves on Google My Business, Google Plus, Google Maps, yellow pages and review sites such as Yelp, and professional associations/directories. If you use Google Virtual Tour, you’ll be more likely to rank higher on Google, according to this article on Forbes. Also, be sure to include city, county, and town names in titles and descriptions, and create unique content for each location. Try to avoid cutting and pasting the same content for each location’s webpage.
4) Know Your Audience
Get on top of your competitors by finding one or more niches in your industry. Demographics, interest preferences, and direct customer feedback help businesses to find topics and niches. Niches are especially helpful in competitive industries. If your industry is very competitive, you’ll tend to rank higher for a niche topic or product than a common keyword or phrase. For example, an accountant who finds a good angle on a new tax law can write about it so that people can discover the accountant as they search for the new law.
5) Consistently Create Shareable Content
Search engines may rank fresh content higher than old, static content. Write web copy that people want to share with others. Shareable web content helps to foster links from social media and other sites. Links to your site from a site that has a high rank on Google are said to have high link authority. Link authority is an important factor in search engine rankings for your website.
Just as journalists write evergreen stories, you can create evergreen content. Evergreen content includes articles, blog posts, and web pages that are relevant all year long.
6) Get Featured in Local and National Publications
Major publications rank highly in Google search results. Every industry also has thought leaders and influencers that may also rank highly. Reach out regularly to local and industry reporters and bloggers, especially if you can provide a quote for a trending or upcoming news story. Include your website in any media releases to encourage links from the publication.
Often, businesses Sponsor content on the websites of publications and other reputable organizations. Sponsored content and links back to your site are easier for many businesses to obtain than news coverage.
7) Build Local Credibility
One way to get known in your community is to speak or present at well-known companies, organizations, or colleges. If they link to your website, this will help boost your SEO. You can also encourage key bloggers and influencers in your industry to review your products.
8) Use Your Search Data
Many businesses have an untapped treasure trove of data they’re not even using. The Google Analytics platform offers lots of useful info—especially your most popular web pages, products, and customer search terms. As you find the most common keywords and phrases your customers used to find you, you can create content around these keywords. For topic ideas, as well as more data, try Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner.
If you utilize pay-per-click ad campaigns, you can use the results to inform your SEO and vise versa. Popular content makes for well-performing ads, and well performing ads can also generate great content ideas.
9) Use photo and video
You may have noticed that Google automatically includes Youtube videos in main search results. Photos and videos enrich your content and make it more relevant to your audience. Be sure to include photos and other images with an HTML tag called alt text. Alt text HTML tags are useful descriptions for the search engines and anyone else who has trouble viewing images. Be sure to use descriptive keywords in your alt text as well.
10) Use Structured Internal Linking
Finally, to end with an easy, no-cost SEO tip, link from your newer content to existing content, and use a menu structure that leads people thru your site. While you don’t want to load your pages with links, we’ve found that two or three is a good guideline.