Shopping online is the new normal for many Americans, and your business needs to be able to provide its services to where people are. If you’ve neglected your online presence, are looking to expand your business via your website, but don’t have a lot of money to invest in advertising, you need a strategy that will help you garner organic pageviews through higher search engine rankings with search engine optimization.
The Search Engine
Search engines are designed to give people the information they want without them having to scroll down or click through a lot of useless pages. They want people to be able to click on the first link and to be more than satisfied with the result. Everything you do on your web page should take this into account. User Experience should be your number one concern because a great user experience allows your website to continue ranking even when the search engines change their algorithms.
There are technical aspects to your website that contribute to a great user experience. It should be mobile friendly and load quickly. In fact, most people will click away from a website if it doesn’t load within two seconds. If people are clicking off your website before they ever see anything, not only will it affect your search engine ranking, but it also reduces the use you get out of your investment.
Your site’s content is also part of the user experience. If your site is fast-loading but it doesn’t provide what people are looking for or it is so riddled with errors that people can’t read it, people will click away and never come back. You need to have articles, videos, or other content that invites users to stay on your website and explore everything it has to offer. What that content consists of is entirely up to you, but there are things you can do to enhance your content and improve your search engine rankings using search engine optimization.
The content you create should be based on keywords that people are using to search for what you want them to see. Google has a keyword planner that can tell what people are searching for, how many times they are searching for it, and how many sites target those keywords. You want to find keywords that are highly searched for but not well-served. Keywords that have a million searches a month and only three websites dedicated to them would be a gold mine until other websites caught on. Your keywords should actually be phrases about four words long. These are known as long-tail keywords.
Chances are, most smaller keywords are going to have a lot of websites that target them. Long-tailed keywords give you the opportunity to target a niche that has less competition. As you build your content, these keywords can also help you rank for the smaller keywords. You get your pages to start out a little better, and you get a future investment for better ranking.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines use algorithms that take a great deal of data from your website and categorize it according to subject matter. When you optimize your great content to help search engines do their job better, you make your content more visible to those search engines and to the people searching for what you have to offer. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving and highly secret, so they are difficult to “game.” However, for true search engine optimization (SEO), you shouldn’t game the system, you should harness what is known about them and using only those things that make your content better.
What’s Wrong with Gaming?
When you try to trick search engines into ranking you, you may get a short-term boost. For example, some people would pack their website full of keywords in a font that no one could read. When search engines first started, they would see the number of keywords and assume that the site had something to do with them. Engineers soon figured out keyword packing was a problem, so they modified the algorithms and penalized the sites that had gained higher search engine rankings using these techniques. You should focus your optimization efforts, instead, on helping the search engine read your content and understand how that content fits in with your website and with other sites on the web.
The World Wide Web
Part of the name is a clue to how your website needs to work. It’s called a web for a reason. Your website should connect through links with other websites, and ideally, these websites will link back to you with a “backlink.” It’s easy to control your links to other websites, but when you do so, you want to make sure that your link is to a reputable website. You will also want to check for broken links every so often as websites may change.
Backlinks are more difficult to get. Having great content helps because people will want to link to your content. Sometimes, you’ll find someone mentions your content but doesn’t include a link – you can send them a message to ask that they do so. Your YouTube channel may be a place to start with backlinking if you’re making videos. You might also link from your social media accounts. However, generally speaking, the more authoritative the websites linking to yours are, the higher your ranking will become.
Even if other websites don’t link to you, your own blog and web pages should be interconnected with internal links. A good strategy to have is to know what keywords you’re targeting and use your internal links to hook all those words together. These links create a site structure that algorithms can use to figure out how your content relates to what’s on your site.
Improving Your Content
If you aren’t a writer or a videographer, how do you get great content? Hire someone. Even if your writing is good, you still want to find someone who can adjust it for keyword density and make it SEO-friendly. Even better, if that person can edit your work, too.
SEO: The Long Game
Search engine optimization is a long game. You’ll need more than one or two articles to come out ahead in the search engine rankings. In fact, it can take a year for SEO techniques to yield the results you want. If you’re ready to invest that time yourself, you could find your planning pays off in the long run. However, if you need some help, contact us and ask for a free consultation. Consultations last 35 minutes and will include information on keywords, backlinks, and other search engine optimization principles. If time permits, we should be able to layout a preliminary strategy for you to follow regardless of whether or not you hire us for future services. The object is to give you an actionable plan to make your website ranking better. Check out our writing and editing services.