Your company is redoing its website and you are in charge of the content. Pretty exciting, right? Then your boss tells you that you are also responsible for search engine optimization (SEO). Suddenly, the project doesn’t seem so exciting anymore. You are not an SEO guru. You don’t have years of experience with SEO. Panic sets in.
Wait! Believe it or not, whether you’re picking up, improving, or just starting your SEO strategy, the basics of SEO aren’t that hard. In fact, it’s mostly common sense. I’m not trying to take anything away from the rock stars who have made careers around SEO expertise. We need these people. Their expertise is incredibly valuable because there’s a lot of science in SEO, and that’s constantly changing as search engines like Google continue to update their algorithms.
What I’m saying is that you don’t need to have a master’s degree in SEO to ensure that your website ranks well for organic search engine traffic. Check out these seven easy ways to build a solid SEO strategy:
1. Know your keywords
First of all. You can’t do much without knowing what keywords your target market is using to find solutions to their problems that your business is solving. This requires a bit of research. Step into the shoes of the potential customer for your product or service. How would you find solutions to your problem? What would you look for in your search engine? For example, if you sell organic dog food, your potential customer is likely concerned about their dog’s health. Maybe her dog has food allergies and she’s concerned about the chemicals and by-products in most dog foods. Start looking. What sites appear? Look at the words used in these excerpts.
In my “dog has food allergies” query above, words like “sensitivities”, “natural”, and “balanced” appear. Don’t forget to think about related words, like synonyms (thesaurus.com can be your best friend) and groups of words. Let’s go back to our search for dogs with food allergies. You can consider keyword phrases such as “food sensitivities”, “all-natural diet”, “complete and balanced diet”, and “only natural ingredients”.
2. Write high-quality content (naturally)
The key here is to use your marketing savvy and create engaging content which is valuable to your target market. Valuable content includes content that answers your buyers’ questions, provides them with information they can use, and educates them so they can be better at what they do. In the great content you create, remember to naturally use the right keywords. Don’t try to stuff your pages (i.e. keep adding keyword terms into your content, meta tags, Alt descriptions, etc.) in an effort to inflate rankings of your site. It won’t help your search ranking (in fact, it might hurt it). If the search engines catch you (and they will because their bots are super smart!), they can penalize your site by lowering your rankings or removing your site from their index altogether. Moreover, it will not impress your website visitors. Who wants to read and reread the same words: “Are you looking for organic dog food? If you are looking organic dog food, look no further. Our organic dog food website is the best place to order your organic dog food.” Keep it real, you’re writing for one person.
3. Use keywords in your website page URLs
Make sure you don’t overlook your page URLs, as they are important for your SEO. This is where your keyword research is very convenient. For example, if a page talks about your solar financing product, the URL for that page should be products/solar-financing. Focus on the most common and most searched appropriate keywords. If you’re trying to choose between “solar financing” and “solar leasing,” pick the one with the highest search ranking.
There are a few quick and easy (and free) ways to check search rankings. The first is to use Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Simply enter your keywords to get an idea of their historical popularity in terms of search volume. You can also use google trends, which is a really fun site to explore. Compare different keywords to see a quick graphical comparison of interests over time.
4. Don’t overlook page titles
It is essential to create attractive and interesting titles for your web pages. Make sure they capture your target market. If they don’t, people won’t read all of the content below. I find that answering “What does it get me?” for my visitors helps me focus on what to highlight. Ask yourself: how will they benefit from the content on this page and why should they care? Once you’ve got that nailed down, shorten your title, use strong words, and make it sexy (try a little alliteration for fun). When creating those attention grabbing titles, make sure your keyword is in the title (the H1) and/or the subtitle (the H2). Using the solar financing example above, your H1 could be “Solar Financing Simplified”.
5. Review each page for additional keyword placement
Now that you’ve created high-quality content that your target market needs (and wants) and you have eye-catching headlines to engage them and encourage them to read more, go back and review everything you wrote. In your review, look for additional places where you can naturally place keywords. Can you reverse a sentence to include a keyword? For example, on a marketing automation page, “Identify the best customers and convert more” might be replaced with “Marketing automation helps you identify the best customers and convert more”. Also ask yourself if you can create a keyword phrase by adding a word in front of a keyword? If I have a phrase talking about “marketing campaigns” and “marketing automation” is a keyword for my page, I would add “automated” to “marketing campaigns”. Make several revision passes. You might be surprised at the opportunities you miss the first and even the second time around.
6. Improve user experience
It goes beyond website content, but a good user experience is becoming increasingly important in strong SEO rankings. According to Robert Berris in his blog Three UX principles that help your website do its job well“Over the past couple of years, Google has evolved to put more emphasis on sites that deliver a quality user experience across all platforms and devices. While traditional ranking factors are still king, Search engine optimization is increasingly becoming user optimization, so work with your web developers to ensure your website is easy and intuitive to navigate and that every link works and brings your visitors to the next one. information they seek.
seven. Hire an expert
As I said earlier, basic SEO is mostly common sense. However, if you can afford it, it’s wise to hire an SEO expert to make sure your site is truly optimized. An SEO consultant or agency can audit your site and examine its performance against your most important keywords. They’ll provide you with a prioritized list of action items to help you take your site to the next level.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be an SEO expert to make sure your website ranks well for organic search engine traffic. Just use common sense and the seven simple tips outlined above.
Do you have any additional tips for integrating SEO into websites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!