12 Easy SEO Tips to Boost your Website's Ranking
Everyone loves the creative aspect of putting together a brand new website. From choosing grand imagery to finding the right colour palettes, it's all fun and games until SEO enters the stage. Once the topic of SEO reaches the table, some squirm uncomfortably at this intangible concept.
Fear not: SEO is not the swirling vortex of terror some make it out to be, and we're here to help you through it.
SEO, or "search engine optimization", is the process of affecting the visibility of a site in a search engine's organic results. The better your SEO, the higher you'll be listed on the SERP (search engine ranking page), positioning your site to gain more visitors that can be converted into customers. It's the art of getting new eyeballs onto your site so it can do what you've created it to do. SEO considers how search engines work, how users are searching, and the language of these users, among other variables.
So how do you unlock the power of good SEO for your website to compete for those coveted first page spots? We've compiled our list of 12 easy SEO tips to boost your ranking:
1. Understand your Online Audience
A website without a purpose or vision is really like having a billboard in the desert. It's a beautiful testament to your company but nobody is there to see it unless they happen to be walking by. Knowing who your customer is can help you streamline to capture them. Creating a tangible customer profile can help you leverage your content and website flow, guiding potential customers to what they're looking for. Think of it like story telling with the moral of your story being a conversion.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Who is your customer?
- What are they looking for?
- What language do they use?
- What hobbies or interests do they have?
The better you understand your audience, the better direction you'll have on how to focus your SEO. Knowing your audience's preferences can help you leverage your website structure, content, and marketing efforts to reach them. Check out our comprehensive how-to on defining your target audience.
2. Build a Mobile-Friendly Website
Considering Google drives 94% of mobile search traffic, and that users are 5x more likely to leave a site that's not legible on mobile, it's impossible to ignore the value of a mobile-friendly website.
A mobile-friendly website is one where users don't have to pinch to zoom into text for legibility. It's easy to read, navigate, offers minimal scrolling, and above all else does not include Flash.
It's also important to note that knowing your target audience is key to designing your mobile-friendly website. Phone searches peak in the early morning while desktop receives the highest searches during working hours. Mobile and tablet use spikes again in the evening hours of the day. If you're business works B2B these statistics tell you a strong desktop website is preferable as you're targeting those searching on their work desktops. If you're B2C, you'll definitely benefit from having a mobile-optimized site to help capture those on-the-go customers.
Most websites built today are responsive, but if you find yourself pinching your smartphone screen to read text on your site, it's time to get your website checked.
3. Ensure Optimal Site Flow & Linking
Making sure your website is effectively linked should be standard protocol. Each page you create has one job in mind - to provide users the quality content they're looking for.
But one element some seem to miss is creating an appropriate internal linking structure.
So what does an internal linking structure entail? It's ensuring all your topics and themes are linked together sensibly for both your users and search engines. Interlink blogs with similar topics or content that builds on another page. Make sure that once a user reaches the end of your content, you provide relevant links to either more content on the same topic, alternative related products, or contact information and forms to move them through your funnel seamlessly.
Visualizing how your users move through the site will help you create a flow that's hard to resist!
4. Create Genuine Content
The first thing SMBs do once they become aware of the immense task of content creation is to immediately outsource the "problem".
Unfortunately, not all content is created equally, and in the search for balancing budgets, you may mistakenly receive a lemon when you really wanted a shiny apple.
The number one rule for creating content is to keep it genuine. You wouldn't' continue reading an article that was either too short, contained no useful information, or that bored you with the first sentence. Neither would you be moved to follow a social media account that filled your feed with irrelevant content.
The best content is created with genuine knowledge in mind. If you sell responsibly-sourced soap, share natural hygiene tips, discuss how ingredients in your product help manage certain dermal concerns, and share stories of how responsible consumerism can help poorer countries.
Create a content calendar that coincides with major peaks in your industry or consumer trends to really maximize what your audience is looking for and to keep them engaged!
5. Don't Go Keyword Crazy
We can't discuss content creation without discussing the elephant in the room. Inevitably, someone will suggest using as many 'relevant' keywords as possible in your content to make sure search engines rank your site. This is commonly known as keyword stuffing, and is an old SEO tactic geared at manipulating search engines to place your site higher in the SERP by using as many on-topic keywords as possible.
While this strategy may have worked in the past and may still work on smaller foreign search engines, behemoths like Google have hundreds of algorithms they use to rank your site and one of the biggest no-nos is keyword stuffing. Because early digital marketers abused the keyword strategy, search engines today may ban or penalize a website temporarily or permanently if this method is applied, so it's important to have a 'no-stuffing' policy with your content creation team. How do you know it's keyword stuffing? If it sounds unnatural or forced with high repetition of certain key words, it's probably stuffing.
Google itself calls these Irrelevant Keywords, and suggests focusing on creating useful, information-rich content. You wouldn't want to read an irrelevant list of phone numbers or words unrelated to what you're reading, so make sure you provide your audience the respectful knowledge it seeks by serving up fresh, relevant content.
6. Make Sure Each Page has a Unique Meta Title and Description
Would you read a book without a title or a short plot synopsis? You might, but will most likely gravitate towards other titles that do provide you that important snippet of information about the contents.
Each page on your website has the ability to have its own title and description so take advantage of this built-in, easy-to-apply SEO tool and maximize your website's clout with search engines. By taking your ethically sourced soap website's title and converting it to something more descriptive you can get your brand message across quickly on the SERP like this:
Ethical Suds | Consciously clean soaps with natural ingredients
Don't know the rule of thumb? Here are your character length caps to maximize your content for Google:
Title Tags: 67 Characters
Description: 160 Characters
7. Structure your Content with Appropriate H-Tags
The same way you want to create concise scaffolding with your menu structure and provide intuitive interlinking between your pages with calls to action, you'll want to make sure you're structuring your content effectively.
H-tags, or heading tags, are meant to structure your page content. Think of them like your book's chapters and section headings. Your "About Us" page should have an H1 (heading 1 tag) that reads "About Ethical Suds Company". Your H2 tags support your H1, and H3 tags support your H2 tags. If that still sounds complex here's an example you can easily follow along:
H1: About Ethical Suds Company
H2: A Company History
H2: How We Source Ingredients
H3: Fair Wages
H3: Equal Opportunity
H2: Supported Charities
H3: The Nature Conservancy
Still not comfortable and feel it sounds like gibberish? Get in touch with us and let us help you map out your content flow.
8. Add Alt Text and Descriptions to your Images
Since search engines crawl predominantly text and haven't developed the art of perceiving images yet, alt text and image descriptions can help give you that extra SEO boost with little effort.
The alt text on your images is a description of a few words that help paint the picture for search engines in words. Further, alt text helps users with visual impairments who use screen readers to navigate your site.
Google even wrote an article on writing great alt text. Coincidence? We think not! So really consider describing the images on your website using descriptive alt text to help both the visually-impaired and the almighty search engine. No need to add alt text to website backgrounds or header images though, just focus on the ones that add extra dimension to your content.
Note that naming the image correctly is just as important because you want search engines to know what the image is about before even reading the alt text. How do you do that? Always rename your images from their original camera names. Rather than search engines finding "DSC2462.jpg" they'll get to find "Ethical-Suds-Fall-2017-Collection.jpg" instead.
9. Use a Little PPC
If you're marketing budget has the wiggle room, consider using a little PPC (pay-per-click) for a traffic boost to your website. Pay-per-click services allow you to rank or advertise on your audience's preferred channels to get better recognition, create brand buzz, and capture potential customers at a higher rate.
With search engines, the PPC auction occurs on each user search in a fraction of a second, and is based on the submitted query. The searching user is matched with the best options according to the search engine which are presented as (in Google's case) the first sites above the organic results. PPC can also help you remind previous website visitors of your brand, insert your posts into their timelines on social outlets like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or get you direct calls from potential customers.
The online advertising world has made great strides in providing useful information through the sponsored posts and ads. Stretching your marketing budget to capture those extra leads and visitors can help boost your website ranking and increase your bottom like right out the gate.
Not sure where to start? Let us help assess your needs and create a customized PPC strategy for you.
10. Set Up a Google My Business Account
What is Google My Business you ask? Only a free tool that adds a little extra to your online presence!
It's a free tool to create a company page similar to a Google+ profile that includes your address, your location on the map, an image, reviews, and other news you'd like to share via your Google+ account that's linked to the Business. The product is also mobile-friendly, and displays important business information like website URLs, phone numbers and your hours of operation.
Best of all? Because Google My Business is a Google product, it overrides the organic search results so users looking for you will find you and not your competition.
11. Compare Your Niche SERP Results
Businesses focus so much on their internal processes and functions, that they tend to overlook what the competition is doing.
By putting the blinders on and ignoring how other market players invest in their online presence, you lose out on valuable insights towards potential ranking opportunities.
If three dentists in an area have Google My Business and the 4th does not, people searching for a dentist in the area will only find the first three unless they like scrolling the SERP. Rarely would the 4th dentist get a chance at the potential business. So unless the user happens to be scroll-happy, a stickler for organic only, dislike all the Google My Business listings, and if our 4th dentist happens to have some solid content to rank high organically, the likelihood is still that the first three will end up getting the call.
Similarly, we encourage exploring your niche market both for what users are searching, and what your competitors are doing. By brainstorming exclusively within your team, you might be missing out on keywords and search terms your competitors are privy to.
Keep in mind that you'll need to keep your expectations in check. Just because you sell ethically-sourced soap doesn't mean you can compete with Johnson & Johnson in your first months online.
12. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Last but not least, a tale of caution. Many businesses put together a nice website then get Google tunnel vision. Now we love Google as much as anyone (if not more), but closing all your doors and betting on one channel is counter intuitive.
Instead, we recommend taking a look at your customers and target audience and really consider how they interact with the digital world. If your ethical soaps tend to do better with conscious mothers to young children who love shared videos on Facebook, you should dedicate some time in creating and maintaining a strong presence on their preferred medium.
Build email lists and maintain a healthy social media presence to diversity and offer a complete experience for your new and existing customers. By diversifying your outreach you can gain valuable insights into your customers.
Tried everything but still can't get your SEO correctly optimized?
Our team of Google Certified Experts can take an in-depth look at your website's performance and tailor a strategy to develop your site into a lead generation tool. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business bloom!
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