Search engine optimization or SEO strategy is the process of implementing certain components and processes to improve your website’s Google rankings. If you want more organic traffic flowing to your site, SEO is imperative. If you’re not sure where to start in terms of SEO strategy, we’ve put together a few starter ideas to help you build more traffic to your website. Keep reading below to learn how to help your site soar in rankings.
#1: Find relevant keywords
Search engine optimization revolves around many variables but one of the most heavily weighted factors is your use of keywords. Keyword research should be your first step before anything else. To find keywords for your target demographic searches, try using Google Suggest.
You may want to go after long-tail keywords first, which typically have a lower search volume. With that said, you can typically rank for these longer keywords faster. If you want to do even more in-depth keyword research, you can use tools like UberSuggest and SEMrush.
Here you can see that GoodLife Home Loans uses the keyword “reverse mortgage” in various versions throughout their page to hopefully rank for that keyword in Google’s SERP.
#2: Make sure your website is fast
SEO has two main audiences: Google’s web crawlers and your customers. Both humans and bots prioritize webpage loading speed. In fact, if your website is loading very slowly, many visitors to your website will end up leaving. Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetric to figure out if your webpages are loading quickly and if not, what you can do to speed them up.
#3: Optimize for on-page SEO
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing individual parts of your website so that they rank higher in Google and obtain more relevant traffic. On-page SEO ranking factors involve a mix of quality and structural elements. You can determine your on-page SEO potential by asking yourself the questions below.
- Is the content good? Comprehensive content is more likely to rank.
- Is your content linkable?
- Does your content live up to Google’s E-A-T categorization? E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and acts as the framework for what Google considers quality content.
- Do you use title tags? Missing, repeated, or poorly written title tags can do a number on your SEO results, so make sure you’re not ignoring them.
- Do you have meta descriptions? Meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor but they do contribute to the user experience. A meta description is a short 1-2 sentence blurb that describes what the web page is about – and better descriptions can help increase traffic to your site.
- Does your website have compelling headlines? Getting people to your site is the first step but getting them to stay and poke around is the hard part. A great headline can be the difference between someone clicking to head to another page or navigating somewhere else on the web. So, make sure that you take time to develop great headlines for blog posts, product pages, etc.
- Do you utilize SEO writing? When you’ve finished putting together your initial findings from your keyword research, you might think you’re done – but that’s actually just the beginning. Naturally weaving in important keywords into your content is an art as well as a science, you don’t want to get dinged by Google for what’s called “keyword stuffing” and overusing certain terms.
- Are your images optimized? Images on your website can have a very positive impact on your web traffic as a whole. Unfortunately, if those images aren’t optimized, they can also tank your SEO. It’s important to take the time to optimize your images so your site has a faster loading time and a better overall user experience.
#4: Don’t forget about mobile user-friendliness
If your website looks great on desktop, that’s only half the battle. It’s also crucial that you make your website mobile-friendly so visitors who are going to your website on their phones have a good user experience. You can leverage Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see whether or not your website works well on phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Additionally, turning your website into an easily downloadable app to make it easy for users to consume your content in whatever form they please.
#5: Build backlinks from other websites
Link-building is very important to the success of your website and overall SEO strategy. If you’re already spending money and time building out amazing content, it makes sense to spend at least as much promoting and generating links to your content.
Why is this so important? Because there’s proven evidence Google uses backlinks as a factor in your rankings. When other sites with high domain authorities link back to your website, your website gets a virtual vote of confidence. There are tons of ways to get backlinks from other sites. But before you start researching ways to get those votes of confidence from other sites, consider taking a look at where your competitors are getting backlinks to help inform your decision.
#6: Pay attention to site navigation
How easy your website is to navigate can affect your site’s search engine rankings, both positively and negatively. Your website navigation is also known as your internal link architecture and refers to how the links within your website connect to your various web pages.
Search engines utilize your website nav to figure out and index any new pages you may have created since it was last crawled. Links help Google understand what content is on the page and the context of the destination page, in addition to how the page is connected to other pages.
If you’re wondering what well set up navigation looks like when looking at a site on the web, a good example is Time Trade’s homepage. You can see that they built it with intent of sending the user right where they need to go. On the top right, they make it easy for users to schedule an appointment, have plenty of CTA’s to help navigation, as well as a top navigation bar that helps users and Google bots easily navigate the site.
With all of that said, it’s important to understand that your users should come first when you set up your website navigation. Make sure that navigation on your site actually makes sense and is easy to use. Below is an example of smart, user-friendly site navigation.
Takeaways: Building an audience and traffic with SEO
SEO is based on evidence that’s been gathered year after year from SEO specialists. Google regularly changes its search algorithm which means SEO is an ever-evolving process. However, there are some basic changes that you can make to your website to ensure that both Google’s bots and users have an easy time navigating and understanding your site. Remember, above all, make sure that your web pages are dynamic and engaging so that your human visitors actually stay on the page and potentially explore other pages. With these SEO tips, you’ll be on your way to rising through Google’s rankings before you know it.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.