You don’t need to be a techie to improve your website’s ranking and increase its traffic.
Your website is your business’s front door. But before you can harness your site to promote your business or connect with potential customers, people need to be able to find you online. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. While this can sound like a subject meant exclusively for a serious techie or marketing professional, the opposite is true. Everyone can implement basic SEO steps and start bringing more people to their website.
What is SEO?
SEO is designed to increase the quantity and quality of organic website traffic. Consisting of tactics employed both on and off your site’s pages, SEO allows you to achieve a better ranking for certain keywords that users type into search engines like Google and Bing. For example, if you are a company that sells birdhouses, SEO techniques can help your ranking for keywords related to birdhouses and similar products. If optimized correctly, your site will rank higher on search engine results pages. The higher rankings you have, the more traffic you’ll enjoy and the more sales you may potentially close.
On-page SEO starts with keyword research. Think about the terms for which your site needs to rank. Use a paid or free keyword research tool. Pay attention to each keyword’s competition ranking as well as its total monthly search volume. The goal is to find keywords that have a modest amount of competition and a high amount of search volume. That’s the sweet spot.
Now pepper your keywords throughout your site. Include a primary keyword in the title and headline of each page, and ideally in the “alt” descriptions for any imagery. Next, include secondary keywords in the body of each page’s content that complement the page’s primary keyword. Don’t stuff keywords into your site, however! Weave each word naturally into your site’s content. Keyword stuffing can lead to consequences being imposed by the search engines.
SEO also involves improving the site’s technical performance. Start by investigating the load time of each page. A slow site will drag down your rankings. Additionally, a site that is not mobile responsive or one with broken links will harm how a search engine perceives your content. Search engines want to provide the most helpful content to their users. They do not look kindly on websites that cannot deliver content quickly and efficiently.
Lastly, don’t forget about the importance of your actual content itself. Develop clear, concise and most of all helpful content assets that are easy to read and provide robust information. Google can read all your content. Make sure it likes what it sees!
Off-page SEO largely involves link-building. Links are important to search engines like Google and Bing, which perceive them as seals of approval from other websites. Of course, not all links are created equal. Some convey a greater sense of authority than others. Prioritize quality over quantity. Gaining a few links from popular and credible sites will help your rankings far more than having scores of links from lesser-known domains.
How can you best collect links? You could become a guest blogger for another site and include a link to yours in your blogger bio. You can get active on social media. While social media links do not impact SEO directly, by being active on social, there is a higher chance that more people will be exposed to your content and share it on their respective sites. You could even seek out notable websites that have broken links that overlap with content you own and offer a replacement link to the website administrator.
Take it one step at a time
You may feel overwhelmed at this point – and that’s ok. While the principles of SEO are straightforward, they require time to master. Take it one step at a time. Implement these basic steps to make tweaks to your website and collect some high-quality links. Additionally, never stop learning. There are abundant resources online that explain nearly every aspect of SEO. Keep moving forward, and before you know it, you’ll be looking at your very own optimized site.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving beast that can be difficult to navigate.
The rules are always changing and
understanding where to begin can present a challenging maze for those unfamiliar
with the most current trends.
Google, of course, is the giant of the
search engine ladder, and if your business URL ranks at the top of a Google
search, it has a 33 percent chance of getting clicked, while the second position gets close to 15 percent
of the share, and the third position, 9 percent.
Moreover, a whopping 75 percent of people who use search
engines to browse topics never leave the first page of search results. In other
words, a high rank leads to more clicks, and more clicks equate to more leads.
The time it takes for your home page to load is front and
center in the minds of the public—and Google. If your load page is too slow, Google
recognizes the lull and will promptly demote your ranking.
As well, a slow website affects the ways in which visitors to your site engage
with your pages. Research shows that 40 percent of visitors will leave a
website if the page takes more than three seconds to load. Even worse, 80 percent
of those visitors won’t bother to come back.
To test the speed of your website, consult a free online service like Pingdom.
Regularly update your website with new content.
If you allow the content on your website
to become outdated, or worse, let it fade into oblivion, your SEO ranking
plummets. To generate traffic and increase your website’s visibility, posting
fresh content is imperative.
If your site is littered with irrelevant or outdated content, get rid of it. Update
your site on a regular basis with newsworthy, consumable, relevant and value-driven
content (including graphics, videos, how-to guides, webinars and live chats)
and visitors will likely return.
Something else to keep in mind: Google increases your website’s search engine
rank when visitors spend more than a nanosecond on your site. If you keep your target
searchers engaged with great content that makes them care, they’ll stick around—a
factor that Google takes into account when it ranks websites.
Use the correct key words and phrases.
Keywords play a huge role in Google’s
ranking algorithm. When creating content for your website, include keywords and
long-tail keywords (three-or-four-word phrases) that speak to—and define—your
Keywords can be used in the body of a blog post, header tag or as part of photo
Google isn’t particularly keen on saturating sites with keywords, however, so use
them strategically and sparingly, otherwise you risk diminishing your search
ranking. Tip: Take advantage of software sites like Moz and Ahrefs, both of
which offer keyword suggestions and monthly search volume.
Retail kingpin Amazon and the nation’s largest residential brokerage firm, Realogy, whose brands include Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sotheby’s, have joined forces to attract home buyers in fourteen different cities.
To entice buyers to take advantage of the newly launched partnership—called Turnkey—Amazon is offering up to $5,000 in home services and products upon the closing of a home.
Every second it takes for your pages to load, you risk losing both new and existing users.
Several factors come into play when businesses build
their websites and blogs, but most important among them is ensuring that your
website provides the best experience possible for the user, especially on mobile
Visuals – color schemes, font size, text
placement and overall layout – are important, but they’re also subjective. Page load speed, on the
contrary, is highly objective, not to mention measurable.
Numerous case studies, including one conducted by
Pinterest, which increased its search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15 percent
when the social
media web and mobile application company reduced wait times by 40 percent, have
concluded that speed performance plays a huge roll in the success of retaining
At best, slow
performance causes annoying delays, but if your mobile website or blog is
unresponsive or takes too long to load, users may give up and point their
As a business, you want
users to read your website content and blog posts, but for every second it
takes for your pages to load, you risk losing both new and existing users.
DoubleClick by Google
found 53 percent of mobile site visits were cast aside if a page took longer
than three seconds to load. In
that same study, sites that loaded within 5 seconds had 70 percent longer sessions,
35 percent lower bounce rates and 25 percent higher ad viewability than sites
taking nearly four times longer to load.
Just how important is it
to ensure your users experience a fast and easy mobile experience?
According to a study
released by The State of Online Retail Performance, “a one-second delay in mobile load times
can impact conversion rate by up to 20 percent.”
It was that statistic that
propelled Think with Google, a one-stop online shop for consumer, industry and
marketing trends and insight, to create Test My Site, a tool
that enables businesses to optimize their blogs and websites on mobile devices.
Specifically, the tool allows businesses to see:
The speed of both their entire site
and of individual pages
Whether their site/page speed is
faster or slower compared to the prior month
Whether their site speed/page speed
ranks fast, average or slow
How their site speed compares to
others in the industry
The potential impact of site speed on
A detailed list of recommended fixes
to increase speed on up to five pages on their site
A complete report to share with
Google’s updated Test My Site, businesses now have a single destination to
measure, benchmark and take action on mobile site speed—the first step toward a
better mobile experience for your clients.
According to realtor.com, the real estate slump that
took hold last summer may be showing
signs of reversal, especially as we look toward fall. If that prediction comes
to fruition, sellers will profit the most.
Whether you’re a new business or one that’s been a part of the landscape for years, you want to take advantage of every tool that has the potential to increase your online visibility.
To that end, Google offers a multitude of free (and paid) services that businesses can use to their benefit. From designing a more intuitive website that also tracks site traffic to improving your website’s SEO rank, these Google services should be part of your company’s marketing arsenal.
Google Trends Google Trends isn’t your everyday SEO tool. The search feature is all about products and topics that are currently trending, and a large part of your marketing strategy should be focused on understanding how your target audience can find you.
With Google Trends, businesses can monitor industry trends and test specific words, terms and phrases in their marketing vernacular to see how well they hold up.
Updated in real time, this tool enables businesses to evaluate the popularity of their marketing language and compare them against other keyword variations, a feature that can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.
Think with Google Full of industry insights, helpful articles, case studies, research documents, data reports, innovative ad campaigns, videos, digital trends, infographics and interviews with top industry leaders, Think with Google is a one-stop shop digital newsletter that takes a deep dive into consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.
The site is frequently updated with useful and inspirational content to help drive business growth and reach.
Google My Business More than 100 billion searches are performed on Google every month, which means that if your business isn’t discoverable in a search, you’re losing out.
Google My Business generates free business profiles that pop up when consumers search for related terms through Google Search and Maps.
By default, Google includes what it knows about a local business, including customer reviews from across the Web. But you can tweak your listing – and attract more customers – by submitting your own information, including photos, offers, promotions, news and text edits to Google Places.
As well, businesses can respond to reviews, message with their customers and see who follows you.
Google Alerts To stay updated about industry news – and news about your own company – take advantage of this useful free service from Google that sends you email alerts whenever there’s news about a topic that you’re following.
Signing up is free, and after adding a topic or search phrase, you’ll be notified whenever there’s a mention of your company, products, people or your competition.
Google Keyword Planner If you want to tun paid ads on Google, Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for your search network campaigns.
Aside from giving businesses estimates on search traffic, the free tool also shares the most relevant and successful keywords, URLs and phrases that people are searching for most often.
The tool even allows you to input your own list of keywords to see how they might perform.