It doesn’t take detailed search engine statistics to know that any business that isn’t on the first page of Google is losing out on a lot of potential customers. In fact, getting up in the first few search listings is important to doing well in SEO. Since most online purchases start with an internet search, doing a good job at search engine optimization is hardly a trivial matter for any serious business. If you’re a new company looking to climb above your competitors online or an established brand that would like to get a boost in your SEO results, the tips below are for you. They cover the basics needed to have any chance of dominating your competition on Google.
On-Site SEO Strategies
1. High-Quality Content
When it comes to search engine optimization, it has often been said that content is king. Search engines have worked hard over the years to match search ranking outcomes to end-user satisfaction with websites. It makes sense for them to find ways to give higher ranks to websites that have demonstrated that they provide value to their visitors.
Google has made many changes to its search engine algorithm over the past decade. The changes have addressed a number of factors, but one definite trend has been to emphasize the importance of high-quality content. These updates are why keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore as a strategy to get high up under certain keywords on search engine results pages (SERPs). Among other ways to emphasize quality content, Google realizes that people will stick around longer on websites that actually offer information that is of value to them. So, if people go to a website and just see a spammy list of keywords, they’ll leave right away, and this negatively impacts a site’s ranking.
Search engines also want to reward websites that are regularly updated with fresh content. This makes starting a blog an excellent strategy that’s recommended by many digital marketing agencies to their SEO clients. A blog also regularly provides fresh content that can be repurposed for social media posts.
2. Targeting the Right Keywords
While spamming keywords on a page to try to force a high page rank in SERPs no longer works, they are still highly relevant. The search engines still need to be told what a given page on your website is about, and keywords are the way to do this. They simply need to be incorporated within the context of providing information of value to people in answering their questions or solving their problems.
You should incorporate these keywords into the main content of the pages of your site. You should also put them in page titles and meta tags, and even incorporate some into the URL of each webpage. Before incorporating keywords into your content, however, the most important step is first determining what keywords to use.
Keyword research is critical. After all, clicks to your website don’t make you money, sales do. You don’t just need traffic. You need targeted traffic. You’ve got to determine what search phrases are used by people who are looking for the goods or services that you sell. There are SEO articles online devoted to helping you find your ideal keywords. Some companies also just hire a professional digital marketing agency to handle it for them. Choosing the right keywords to focus on is so incredibly important to ensure you get relevant traffic that actually boosts your sales and grows your business.
3. Optimizing Titles, Tags and Meta Descriptions
We talked above about incorporating some keywords in titles and meta tags, but there’s more to pay attention to here. Beyond text searches on Google, there are also plenty of image searches. To capitalize on these be sure to have alt tags for every single image on your website.
These alt tags are simply a text alternative to the image if it fails to load on a user’s screen. Beyond helping search engines better crawl and rank your website, these alt tags are also used by screen-reading tools to describe the image to visually impaired users.
For best results, you want image alt tags that use less than 125 characters, and make sure they specifically describe the image. You can use some of the keywords that are being targeted on the webpage an image appears on especially if they relate to that image in particular.
4. Having a Technically Optimized Website
-No Dead or Broken Links
One critical task in search engine optimization is to check for broken links. They are bad for SEO in two ways. First, search engines do not like running into broken links where there’s supposed to be a webpage. Secondly, visitors to your site will likely abandon it if they run into a bad page link. Google rewards websites with higher rankings the longer visitors hang around on that site. So, any technical errors, like broken links, that cause people to quickly leave will further lower its ranking.
If the thought of manually clicking through every link on your website is filling you with dread, have no fear! As with many aspects of search engine optimization, there are tools that can help you with that. Broken link checkers vary in price and feature sets, but they’ll get the job done for you quickly and easily.
Slow-loading webpages are hated by visitors and search engines alike. Not cramming your webpages with too many images or other slow-loading content can help them perform better. As it happens, cluttered webpages not only load slower but they also don’t do as well at holding a visitor’s attention. We have all seen a post on a forum or social media site that is a “wall of text.” Such uninterrupted information overload typically makes you want to scroll past and read something else. Having adequate amounts of white space on a webpage helps to focus the user’s attention on your content.
The website coding needs to be efficient as well to help with page load speeds. If you’ve done all you can with page design and coding but pages are still slow, you may have to look to your website hosting company as the culprit.
-XML Sitemap and Simple Navigation Structure
In order to index and figure out where to rank your site’s webpages, a search engine first has to crawl your site. A simple and clear navigation structure with optimized URLs for each webpage helps search engines to accomplish this.
An XML sitemap is also a fundamental element of technical SEO that search engines use to crawl a site. Basically, it’s an XML file that contains a list of all the pages and posts on your website. It also tells the search engine the publication date of each page and when it was last updated. It can use this information to determine how regularly updated your website is, which is an important part of SEO.
Fortunately, web designers don’t have to worry about trying to manually create an XML sitemap. There are SEO apps, such as YoastSEO, that can generate one automatically for you.
Ever since the 2015 Google algorithm update that was dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” mobile-friendly web design has not been optional if you want any chance of reaching the top of search results pages. Also, with the majority of internet users on a phone, you’re just losing sales anyway if your site doesn’t render and perform well on mobile devices.
Google has published a mobile-friendly test tool that anyone can run on their website. If your site doesn’t pass this test, you need to have it redesigned. Fortunately, if you’re creating a new website today, the importance of making them mobile-friendly is well known. For this reason, most online website builders or web design companies know to make them responsive from the outset.
Off-Site SEO Strategies
1. Building Your Trust and Authority
Having a website that incorporates all of the technical and content-related aspects above is extremely important. That being said, if you really want to get to the top of search engine results pages, your work is not done yet. You also have to focus on search engine optimization strategies that affect how your website is perceived by the rest of the internet. This is known as off-page optimization.
Backlinks are the most prominent example of such an SEO strategy. Just as the term sounds, this is a link back to your website from another site. If you have a business, you’ll likely be listed on Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and local directories in your geographic area just to name a few. These websites will have listings or ads for your business and contain links back to your website that people can click on to be taken to your site.
When you think about it, search engines assigning some importance to this makes sense. Anyone could just create a website and say they are in business but what credibility does it have if there’s no other mention of its existence anywhere else on the internet? As someone searching for a business, you probably wouldn’t trust any company that has zero internet presence outside of their own website, and unsurprisingly, search engines don’t either.
2. Quality Matters With Backlinks
You should get listings on prominent and trusted websites and directories if you want to elevate your authority online and your search ranking. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account with your company’s information listed on it, start one now. Also, a Better Business Bureau membership can be helpful. Get signed up on any directory listings and reputable review websites. These include Google My Business, Yelp, Yellowpages, Manta and Foursquare. Many positive reviews on Google reviews and Yelp will make you look good to prospective customers, and the links back from these sites to your website will make you look good to search engines.
There will also be directory and review sites that are unique to particular industries. These are especially important to get listed on since they will bring in targeted traffic. For example, if your business has anything to do with the travel industry, be sure you’re listed on Trip Advisor and other travel-related websites. Similarly, any service business should be listed with their local Angie’s List. The great thing about these types of listings is that they serve the dual purpose of directly bringing you new customers themselves and of building your authority to elevate your website’s search ranking.
3. Social Media Backlinks
Get a business account for every social media platform that you think you can successfully use to grow your business. Whether it’s your bio on Twitter or your about page on YouTube, there will be a place where you can describe your company, products and services and place a link back to your website.
Social media serves as a powerful promotional tool itself while also helping your search engine optimization. Your social media channels and other venues can also be a path through which you can promote your business via content marketing. Doing guest posts on high authority websites with a link back to your site can also help you grow trust and authority with the people on these websites and with Google.
Building Your Brand Rather Than Simply Getting Clicks
To grow your business online, it is important to have a strong brand identity. You put a lot of time and effort into getting your business out in front of people searching for what you have to offer. You need to project a unique identity that they associate with you every time they see your social media posts, content marketing material or other online outreach. This helps you to build trust and authority as potential customers encounter you online.
Start with branding basics such as picking your brand name, a tagline and having a logo designed for your company. Your website should have a common color scheme and typography and other common elements, so visitors will immediately recognize they are on your site.
As more people start to recognize and seek out your brand, this creates additional SEO marketing opportunities. You can start to use brand-specific keywords. These are extremely powerful because they are unique to you. Your brand name, tagline and logo will also find its way around the internet on social media platforms, forums and other websites. This only further builds your trust and authority with search engines and creates more backlinking possibilities.
Becoming a master at search engine optimization is a never-ending project. That being said, all of the information here will help you dominate your competition on Google in 2020 and grow your brand, sales and success.
SEO in Tulsa, Oklahoma with D2 Branding
D2 Branding provides exceptional SEO services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. For a complimentary 15-minute marketing consultation with D2 Branding, call us today at (918) 520-8012 or visit our website at www.D2Branding.com.
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