You want your website to rank high on the 1st page of Google’s search results, but you’re not sure how to make that happen. What exactly is search optimization and what does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) mean? It’s important for business owners to increase their marketing efforts online, and seo optimization might seem complicated at first, but don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to help you get up and running.
What does search engine optimization mean?
Search engines rank websites to help users find information that is relevant to what they’re searching for. Lets begin with something called “robots” (this is an industry term that refers to the complex algorithms that deliver the results on the search page). The bots examine and index your website, the kicker is…this changes on a weekly basis. It takes some time for newly implemented SEO strategies to increase results. Driving new business to your company online starts with making sure you are being found when someone searches for the products and services you have to offer. Instituting proper SEO strategies help to connect your target visitor with the best match for what they are looking for based on the words or phrases that they search.
Proper SEO takes into account content, architecture, and HTML in order to be most effective. For example, consider these questions when thinking about how your SEO relates to your website content:
- Are the pages well written with quality content?
- Are the words and phrases used what the user would expect to see when reading about this topic?
- Does the site work well for mobile devices?
- Does the site load quickly?
- Do the URLs contain meaningful topics and no duplication?
- Do the title tags and meta-descriptions enhance the topic?
Of course, it’s a little more complicated than just this, so start by reading more about the evolution of SEO and then take a look below for a few strategies you can implement right away to make sure your site gets found when your potential customers are looking for you.
#1 Know Your Audience
This is perhaps the most simple first step, but often the one that doesn’t get close enough attention. The key is to begin with an outline, commonly referred to as a Buyer Persona, that details key insights into the types of customers you want to target. Start with basics and then expand on it over time. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer to clearly understand what terminology they will likely use when searching for your product or service. What are their needs and wants, and how you can attract them to your website?
Now that you clearly know your target audience and what words and phrases they are searching for, you can take the Buyer Personas that you created in Step #1 and research what additional words and phrases are likely to lead them to you. Think about the questions they typically ask before they are ready to buy. A clear content strategy that answers those questions will help to deliver the right results to the right audience. If your target customers are local, you can include local keywords in your strategy as well.
Your content (the visual images in combination with brilliant copy) is what will ultimately bring people to your site and help them to convert. Best practices for optimization include the basics, such as including your identified keywords in the title tags, URL, and body copy of the pages that you publish on your website. As you write about the products or services your business offers, do so in a way that makes it easy for potential customers to understand what you do and how it benefits them. Paying close attention to the value propositions are the key to effective landing page optimization. Your goal is to answer questions and be helpful when a prospect lands on your site from the “human” side; by also showing that you are an expert in your field with quality copy and optimized images on the “bot” side, Google will reward you with more traffic.
#4 Focus on User Experience
Most of the fancy, behind-the-scenes, work that the search engine algorithms use to determine the right match for the search comes from testing behaviors. Digital marketing makes it easy to measure behaviors by zeroing in on the amount of time someone spent on a page and where they clicked next. Intuitive UI/UX planning is an art form in and of itself. When planning a website design or redesign, it’s an important component of making sure your site is optimized for lead generation. When evaluating user experience, search bots look for things like:
- When someone clicks on a search result, do they stay on the page long enough to read the content
- Do they click around and view other pages on your site
- Do they share the content on their social channels
- Have they been to your site in the past
- Are they physically close to you
- Have they visited sites similar to yours in the past
Metrics like these help tell the search bots that the person was pleased with the result they found. If people find the information they wanted, they will continue to use the search tool.
By making your pages comprehensive with detailed, quality content that is easy for both people and bots to navigate and read, linking to other pages that are credible and relevant, and providing highly useful information, you will boost your results organically.
#5 Pay Attention to Changes in Algorithms
The Search Engines are constantly adapting to changes in human behavior. When they make a change to their code, they release a new version with updated algorithms. To give you a better idea of how this works, in versions released during the past couple of years, they have added things like:
- Rewarding sites that were mobile friendly on mobile searches by adding a mobile tag and decreasing search rank for sites that weren’t optimized for phones and tablets
- Rewarding sites that utilized SSL certificates and displaying notices telling you not to submit information to a site that wasn’t using one
- Serving local results that are location based and make logical sense, such as a voice search for restaurants “near me” while someone is driving
Proper implementation of SEO is a detailed technique. At LaunchDM, we have the ability to perform in-depth research on your industry by performing a comprehensive Keyword Analysis Report. Based on the information in this report, our in-house team of industry experts develop a comprehensive content strategy that has been the foundation for growing many large brands organically for the past 17 years. If you would like to learn more about how to grow your brand with SEO, take a look at our Guide to Local SEO to get started yourself, or contact us for a free consultation!