SEO. It’s one of those marketing buzzwords that never seems to go away. You constantly hear it mentioned and are frequently told to make sure your website is “optimized.”
But what does that mean exactly? What goes into an SEO strategy? How does one go about optimizing their website for search engines? And how important is it?
In our Search Engine Optimization Beginner’s Guide, we’re going to cover the basics of SEO and provide you with an arsenal of tips to build your own online strategy!
What is SEO & Why Does it Matter?
In a nutshell, search engine optimization is the act of making small modifications to parts of your website to make it easier for search engines to crawl for information, and thus drive more qualified traffic to your website.
SEO is important because it allows search engines to rank your website higher in the organic, or unpaid, search results and, in turn, helps your target consumer find you easier online. With that being said, search engine algorithms are constantly changing and it’s imperative your website stays on top of these changes to continue to see positive results in your analytics.
There are a variety of different tactics you can put into place to better your business’ SEO and the best place to begin is to create a SEO strategy to follow.
How to Build an SEO Strategy for Your Business
There is no one item that can help your SEO. Rather, there are many small details that combined together, can produce big results. The following items are some of the building blocks to creating a thriving SEO strategy:
1. Write Unique Meta Data for Each Web Page
The meta data on a website includes page titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords. These tags tell not only users what the content on the page is about, but also search engines. When a user types keywords into a search query, search engines aggregate organic results based on page titles and meta descriptions that contained the queried keywords.
There are a variety of best practices for ensuring you get the most out of your meta data.
Page titles should each be unique and descriptive, and should describe to readers what they will find on that web page. To avoid page titles from cutting off in search results, they should be between 50-60 characters long.
Meta descriptions should be comprised of a short summary of the page’s contents. Because meta descriptions appear under page titles in search results, they should supplement the information contained in the title and should further solidify the contents of the page for the reader.
Your meta descriptions should be unique for each page, should contain relevant keywords and should be under 155 characters to avoid cutting off in search results.
2. Generate Simple URLs to Convey Content
URLs are one of the many items “crawled” by search engines and then displayed in search results. It’s imperative your web pages have simple, easy to understand URLs, and second level pages fall under top level categories that make sense.
Here are a few best practices for generating optimized URLs:
- Separate words by hyphens in URLs, use only lowercase letters and avoid characters and numbers
- Generate one URL to reach a web page or document, and create 301 redirects for other variations
- Create a easy to navigate site map to stack your pages in order to avoid page misplacement
- Avoid using an excessive amount of keywords in your URLs
3. Create Quality Content & Offers
Did you know search engines are influenced by websites hosting compelling and useful content more than any of the reasons stated prior?
Therefore, having a content creation strategy is crucial to the SEO of your website. Blogging, social media and email marketing are just a few of the actions that should be included in your content strategy. By creating quality content regularly via these platforms, you are able to build links to your website and generate word-of-mouth buzz which impacts your organic traffic.
You should plan to publish at least two unique and informative blog articles a month. Your blogs should not only include offers giving the reader the opportunity to move through the buyer’s journey, but should also include trending, interesting pieces related to your industry, allowing the reader to views you as a viable news source in your field. It’s imperative to note your content should be created for your reader, so keep your writing conversational and easy-to-read; do not try to stuff a bunch of your target keywords within the copy for the sheer purpose of reaching search engines, as this will hurt your SEO. Your content must flow naturally and be well-written.
When it comes to your brand’s social media activation, aim to follow the 80/20 rule to produce links to your website and engagement. This means posting 20 percent of your own content such as links to your website, newsletters and blogs, and then 80 percent of related stories and articles. Social media provides your brand with a platform to act as a corporate citizen and engage with your prospects and buyers, rather than constantly pushing a sale.
Email marketing is another great way to consistently provide your subscribers with new information and offers. Implement your blogging efforts into your email campaigns to constantly give your subscribers new information and drive them back to your website. You can also send subscribers to landing pages on your site from your emails, where they can then convert on an offer via an online form.
4. Make Your Website Responsive Across Devices
It’s not new information that we are in the age of “mobilegeddon.” It’s imperative to your SEO strategy that your website is mobile responsive. More than that, it also needs to be tablet responsive.
Have you looked at what your website looks like on a smart phone lately? Do the images and content on your site realign and remain readable on the mobile device? If not, it’s time to look into redesigning your website so it is optimized as mobilegeddon is just becoming more prevalent.
Download the Full Beginner's Guide to SEO!
You now have a great foundation to start optimizing your website for search engines, but there's so much more you can do to enhance your SEO and really increase your organic search ranking!
Download the full Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization today to build the arsenal of knowledge you need to make a huge impact on your organic strategy this year!