There is one marketing acronym many business owners continue to cringe over today – SEO or ‘search engine optimization.’ SEO to a business owner kind of sounds like tax season to a young 20 year-old. It’s scary because it seems confusing, it seems like it’s always working against you and it’s scary because there are a lot of parts to it and it’s always changing. Although there are many technical lists to help website managers optimize for search, these lists can be hard to read and even more difficult to implement. This post breaks down the basics of search today – what it means and some easy to understand tips you can start implementing today.
Search Engines like Google automatically scan your entire website, each page, word and image for a number of things using a search bot – search bots are completely digital and are never seen. SEO or the practice of optimizing for search, is really just the art of making sure these Google bots are happy with what they find in your website. These are the questions bots are looking to answer on your site:
- What is your website about
- Is your website easy to use on a phone or tablet
- How old is the content
- Do you use social media
- Is the content original
- Are people clicking to your website and spending time on it
- What is your website about
Google bots will scan your website for keywords and themes. Years ago, web managers would ‘keyword stuff’ or include the same keyword as many times as they could throughout their site. Search bots are smart now, when they see one keyword mentioned 15+ times on one page they won’t rank the website well. Instead, include content with keywords that are most relevant and content that can’t be found anywhere else.
Add photos, images and/or videos throughout your website. Each time you add a photo, image or video, be sure to give it an ‘alt tag.’ An alt tag is really just a descriptor to give bots more information. The more information about content on your website the better. Learn more about alt tags here.
Add an XML sitemap to your website. An XML sitemap gives bots a map of your website. It’s not supposed to be shown to your website visitors. This sounds technical and scary, but there are tools that help with this process. Once you create a sitemap, make sure you submit it to your Google Search Console account (previously Webmaster Tools).
2. Is your website easy to use on a phone or tablet
More users than not are using their mobile phones and tablets to search for things on Google. Because of this, Google wants to show searchers websites that are easy to navigate on their phone or tablet.
Check whether your website is mobile friendly or not by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. If your website is not mobile friendly, consider moving to a template on Word Press, GoDaddy, etc. that is.
3. How old is the content
Google ranks websites with new content higher than websites with old content.
Consider creating a blog on your website. A blog is a great way to produce new, relevant and unique content on a consistent basis. It’s not only important to have new content, but to be consistently publishing new content.
4. Do you use social media
Social media has a growing impact on how well your website ranks. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are considered high web authorities. Whenever your website is linked to an account with one of these social platforms, it will help optimize your website. This is because Google can gain more information about you from your social media as well as find out if people like you. It’s not just enough to have a social media, you need to be posting regularly and those posts need to perform well – meaning, visitors are liking, commenting or sharing your posts.
Use your fresh blog content to post on your social media. The blog content you post will link back to your website. When you paste the link into the posting box, choose an image you previously added alt text to. This will give the social media platform & Google more information about your post.
On your cover photos, add in all other social media links and your website links in the description box. This lets viewers know what other social media platforms you’re on as well as gives more information about your links.
5. Is the content original
Google bots are smart, they know if your content is not your own and they know as soon as you post it. If you post content on your website that you’ve taken from another web page, this will hurt your SEO.
Content throughout your website should be original unless your citing information on a blog post. If this is the case, link to the web page using an in-paragraph link. Meaning, your adding a link to part of a sentence or word as opposed to pasting a whole link at the bottom of the page.
6. Are people clicking to your website and spending time on it
Easily view how many people are viewing your website by using an analytics tool. Google Analytics is one tool that is free and easy to use. Increasing activity on social media and your blog is a great way to get more clicks to your website.
Share your blog posts on social media by pasting the exact link from your website into the posting box on your social media pages. If your content is unique and engaging, it can make more users want to click and explore your site. Even consider putting some money behind your posts on Facebook or Twitter, which can guarantee your posts to be seen by new users. A little money goes a long way on these platforms.
Don’t let SEO intimidate you enough to not do anything. Create and publish new, unique and relevant content on a consistent basis, post it to social media and continue to engage through your brand online in meaningful ways. This is the type of activity Google wants to see.
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