Search Engine Optimization
30 years ago, who would’ve thought we’d now be talking about adhering to search engine algorithms to increase customer bases? Who would’ve thought even 10 years ago that we’d be relying so heavily on it? The industry-wide term is Search Engine Optimization; or SEO, in short. SEO is the shortcut your business can take to increase web traffic and generate more sales.
How does Search Engine Optimization work?
When someone searches something in Google or Yahoo, that person is looking to fulfill a certain need. Moreover, learn how to do something, find an answer to a question, or find a specific product. For the consumer, it’s all about finding a means to an end. For business websites, however, a search means far more.
Say for example you search “roofing contractors in Dallas, TX”. Well, every roofing contractor in Dallas hopes his/her name or business populates on the first page of search results. The earlier a business name shows up on results pages, the more likely a user is to click on the business link.
Hope is nice, but it probably won’t get your business a first page result. You know what will? SEO.
Sticking with the same example, your business would benefit if creating a web page with “roofing contractors in Dallas, TX” as the focus keyword. The focus keyword is what triggers and informs search engines of related content to a specific search. Keyword selection and usage is essentially the focal point of search engine optimization. Every page and post needs a keyword and every page and post needs to use a keyword strategically.
The goal behind all search engine optimization efforts is to rank web pages and blog posts on the first page of search engines. To go a step further, you should aim for the top result on the first page, or even the featured snippet. The focus keyword is a start, but there’s a lot more to a successful SEO campaign in Dallas, TX.
How do you determine the best keywords?
“Keyword” is actually somewhat misleading. Really, it’s long-tail keywords, or keyword phrases, that will bring you the best results.
The keyword we used in the previous example was a long-tail keyword. Essentially, keyword phrases narrow your competition for the keyword. “Roofing contractors” would apply to all contractors throughout the country, while “roofing contractors in Dallas, TX” defines what someone is looking for and where they are looking. Thus, your company has a much better chance at ranking higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) by eliminating a chunk of the competition.
There are online tools available that can tell you how often a specific word or phrase is searched. The more searches, the better, as you want to use a word or phrase that gets the most attention specific to your line of work.
Do not stuff keywords
If you’ve ever heard of keyword stuffing then you know it’s not good. Using a keyword 20 times in a post or more than once in a title will not sit well with search engine algorithms. You don’t need to overuse a keyword in order to get Google’s attention. Three or four uses for every 500 words is a good rule of thumb. You want to trigger search engines, but you don’t want to hurt the quality of your content by using a keyword repetitively.
That leads us to our next point…
Quality content is the basis of quality SEO
Another aspect that search engine algorithms actively evaluate is the overall content quality. Is a post well-written? Is a post relative to the keyword? Does it stay on topic? Is it informative?
Content has to be written from a customer perspective. Remember, you are writing to fulfill someone’s need. Therefore, you want the content to be direct, but also elaborate. It’s okay to answer a question within the first paragraph. In fact, experts recommend you do so. People don’t typically search in hopes that they can find a long article to read. Rather, they search so they can find a quick answer or solution.
Someone searching “how to change a flat tire” is probably wanting a quick list of steps on how to change a flat tire. You can detail what makes each step so important later on in the post, but start with the list. If the searcher wants to read more or has the time to read more, then he/she will.
Sure, you may have put long hours into writing the perfect article and it’d be great if someone reads every word of your great work. However, isn’t it the click that you are aiming for in the first place? What’s most important is the reader being exposed to your company.
Nothing should deter you from writing a great article. Little things like grammatical mistakes can turn readers away, as can boring content. Do your very best to engage readers along the way so they can think of your company in a positive light instead of a dull one.
Great writing matched with strategic keyword usage will work wonders for your web traffic.
Proper use of meta information
Meta information is what will be viewed on the search engine results page. This consists of a title, a URL, and a description or summary of the content behind the link. Your keyword should be used in each.
Searchers want assurance that what they searched will be the topic of a post. What better way to assure them than by including the focus keyword in the meta Title? It also helps to include your keyword in the meta description.
Including keywords in the meta information helps Google identify your post’s relevance to the searched topic. It also clarifies the topic for the searcher.
In addition, keep the title and description as brief as possible. The goal is for both to show up in full on the results page. A title or description that is cutoff will not give a searcher the full picture (literally). The cutoff is typically 60 characters for the title and 200 characters for the meta description. Conciseness is key on results pages. You want the meta information to be presented well, as it could be the one opportunity you have to convert a visitor.
Don’t underestimate backlinking
Backlinking also influences Search Engine Optimization. Anytime you can incorporate a related external link into your post, do it! Search engines will associate your post with the post that you link as well. Basically, external links can add power to your post. The external links with the highest Domain Authority will be most impactful from an SEO standpoint.
It’s wise to use internal links within your post as well. You can give visitors access to additional blog posts or pages that relate to and help further explain a part of the current post which they are reading. Your readers can become more educated about your products and services; plus, your content will get more exposure.
Google rewards content inclusive of various internal and external links with higher rankings on SERPs.
Great web design also helps with Search Engine Optimization
Search engines aren’t only monitoring the keywords and content, but they are also monitoring the design of a web page. Frankly, every facet of a web page dictates where it will rank within search engine results. Google doesn’t want to lead a customer to a website that is unappealing or confusing.
Design should be consistent throughout each web page of your site. There are certain pages that require a bit more creativity, such as the landing page, however, it shouldn’t take much more than a good theme and expert development to create a high-quality design for your content pages.
The text formatting should ease readability, a header and a footer should be designated and all images should be included to brighten the page, not to disrupt or distract readers.
Also, be sure your web pages, and your website as a whole, is responsive. A responsive website ensures consistent design throughout all technology platforms. This includes smart phones, laptops, tablets and desktops. Search engines will take responsiveness into account in regard to ranking your site’s pages.
You certainly don’t want to be penalized by search engines for low quality design; nor do you want visitors to be turned away because of low quality design.
SEO counts for image use too
For any images you include in your content, be sure to insert the focus keyword in the “alt text”. Also, eliminate hyphens and numbers from the title block. Numbers can prevent search engines from picking up certain content, perhaps mixing content with code.
Other than those few tips, there is not much else to concern yourself with search engine optimization in regard to imagery. Take your time to pick images that apply to what you are writing about and space them properly so a page does not come off as overly busy.
Track your SEO efforts through Google Analytics
We highly suggest you track your web traffic through Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks everything, from organic traffic to pages per session to bounce rate % for every post your site publishes. You’ll be able to trace and monitor the actions of everyone who visits your website.
It’s perfect for SEO and overall web content marketing. You can adjust your tactics based on statistics. Google Analytics will help your keyword strategy. You’ll see how much traffic a particular keyword benefits from and how much time is spent on each page.
Ultimately, the innovative tool assists you in trial and error. Once you start seeing the results that you desire, you will know how to implement SEO strategies throughout the site, and instead of making vast changes, you will only need to tweak, or refine the strategies that are in place.
Click4Corp is a big believer in Google Analytics. We use it for each of our client websites. Our experts are constantly monitoring the metrics to determine the best routes for improvement. We also stay up to date with search engine algorithms. They are very advanced and even the slightest adjustment can make the different between a first page and second page result.
Our goal is for every piece of content to rank on the first page of Google and as high on the first page as possible. Competition is steep for every industry, but rest assured Click4Corp has the tools and the expertise to get your company outstanding search engine optimization results!
Our services don’t stop at SEO. We also design websites, develop websites, write content, post on social media, increase brand awareness and execute pay-per-click strategies. Everything you need to start a website and maintain a website…Click4Corp does.
Please visit our website—www.click4corp.com—to learn more about our many services. Also, check out our blog for additional SEO tips.