Once upon a time, anyone could put up a website, add a few keywords, and wait for customers. Although this worked for many businesses, customers often got sent to sites that weren’t exactly what they wanted. Search engines responded to make the user experience better. Today, search engine optimization includes hundreds of elements that relate to the quality of the website to deliver the best results to the user. Understanding the basics of SEO can help you partner with a great agency to get marketing success in search.
Learn What Your Customers Are Searching For
Optimizing your website for search means figuring out how your customers find you. There are dozens of sites that can help you find the right keywords for your industry and business, but you can also use common sense. A little thought can turn up hundreds of keywords to create content that is relevant and informative for your customers.
Assign keywords to specific pages. While you can certainly use two to three keywords on each page, you want to make sure that the search engines know the focus of every page on your site.
Design Pages With Search in Mind
Keywords may be the basis for SEO, but without a good website structure, even the best keywords won’t accomplish much. Technical SEO is the behind-the-scenes optimization that provides good user experience and assists search engines in ranking your pages. Search engines aren’t interested in promoting your business as much as satisfying users. After all, Google’s stated mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
To satisfy this objective, here are some elements of on-page optimization:
- Short URLs that are descriptive for the page
- Metadata, such as title tags and descriptors that show up in search
- Logical structure to each page, using descriptive headers and formatting
- Optimization of pictures to help search engines understand what the image is
On-page optimization is complex. Fine-tuning your efforts can help you be more successful. Bottom line, you want to make sure that your site is easy for humans and search engines alike to navigate.
Optimize for Both the Humans and Search Engines Using Your Pages
When developing web pages, remember that humans may be who you want to read your site, but search engine bots are what is ranking your pages. Artificial intelligence has come a long way and now can better mirror human behaviour, but there are still differences you need to account for. The algorithms used by search engines for page rankings are extremely complex. That doesn’t mean you can’t understand the basics:
- Make sure your website loads fast: You have about three to four seconds to grab the attention of human visitors on your site. Pages need to load quickly.
- Prioritize mobile-friendly pages: More people are using their mobile devices for search. Search engines look for mobile-friendly pages.
- Ensure security: Install an SSL certificate, which establishes security. If you’re accepting form submissions or selling items, this protects customer data.
- Maintain a sitemap: Consumers may not use sitemaps, but search engines do. A sitemap shows the way your site is linked together. It helps search engines index your site faster.
- Create internal links: Point visitors and search engines to important pages through links to other pages on your site.
- Create backlinks: Build the authority of your site by getting other pages to link to yours.
Successful SEO Takes Time
SEO is like cooking in a crock-pot. You can’t just put the ingredients together and expect dinner in 30 minutes. With SEO, it’s a long-term plan. There are tools that can help you analyze your SEO strategy to know whether it’s working. Ranking for keywords can be competitive, but it’s one of the most effective methods for bringing relevant customers to your site.