When is the last time you spent time optimizing your website for the search engines?
If you are like most entrepreneurs, it’s probably been a hot minute.
So let this post be your reminder to log into your website and make some incredible changes so that you can start ranking in the search engines for the terms your audience is searching for.
Here are 4 obvious ways to optimize your website (but that you’re probably forgetting).
- Put usability first
- Use the right keywords
- Use a blog
- Acquire more incoming links
1. Put usability first
You’re always going to win by making users (and therefore search engines) happy. The best way to do it? Great usability.
Usability means that your website is user-centric and focused. Some of the best ways to put this into practice are:
Simple navigation: the page structure of your site should be simplistic in nature and not overcomplicated with cutesy names or titles. In other words: use “Services,” “About,” “Contact,” etc. in your navigation.
Responsive website: your website should be easy to use on a desktop computer screen, a mobile device, and a large screen. The best way to accomplish this is to have your site built with a responsive nature in mind, using a powerful content management system like WordPress or Squarespace.
Customer-focused copy: if your content isn’t focused on your customer, you’re going nowhere fast. So scrap the “me” talk about your business and start talking about the problems your customers are facing, how they are feeling, and then the solution that you offer.
Improve load time: it’s no secret that a quicker site is a more successful site…and that’s proving true for the search engines too. In fact, your rankings will start suffering with a slow website. So start compressing your images, running lazy loading pages, hosting video elsewhere (like YouTube and Vimeo), and lose any elements bogging down your site.
2. Use the right keywords
To put it simply, if the keywords you’re using on your website don’t match the keywords your audience is searching for on Google and the other search engines, you’re not going to get the organic traffic you want (or deserve).
Give these tips a try:
Find the right keywords with a few quick Google searches to see what types of websites and content comes up. You’ll soon get a sense of what’s out there and what type of intent Google understands with your search.
Ask friends, family, and customers what they’d search for online if they were looking for your business (or one like yours).
Infuse keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, headers, links, and content to make it clear for search engines (and visitors) what each page is about on your website.
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3. Use a blog
Blogging may be a scary word for many, but the power of a blog is still unmatched when it comes to SEO.
Blogposts are powerful for SEO because they target long tail keywords that you simply wouldn’t incorporate anywhere else on your website.
For instance, if you own a cupcake shop, you probably wouldn’t have a page dedicated to “The 5 Worst Ingredients You Can Use for Cupcake Toppings.” That’s perfect for a blogpost, though.
Your blog will keep your website fresh and lived-in, which search engine bots love. The more they come around to find new, fresh content, the more often they’ll crawl your website…and that’s a win-win.
Lastly, your blog brings in relevant, incoming links. If another website has a well-written blogpost on a given topic, any blogger worth her copywriting chops would link to it, rather than reinventing the wheel. Create some really awesome content and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to some awesome authority.
4. Acquire more incoming links
Speaking of more relevant incoming links, link building is still a valuable part of SEO…it’s just become more challenging.
Way back when you could buy links or get listed in a directory or two for free. Now, those links don’t hold much value – and they might actually decrease your rankings!
Instead, try things like guest blogging. Do a quick Google search for “[your industry] guest blogpost” and you’ll find tons of opportunities to submit content to like blogs. (Be sure to stick to something related, not a competition of course!)
Create valuable, unique content for that blog and you’ll get exposure, plus a link or two back to your website. And that blogger will be able to rest today because content is covered!
Similarly, check out HARO for a daily email digest of reporters and bloggers who need expert sources to create their content. I review my email every day for opportunities for myself and clients to see where we can get more links. (There are plenty of high value publications here, including sites like Forbes!)
Lastly, consider press releases for those newsworthy events. There are plenty of places to publish your press release, but one of my favorites has always been PRweb. For about $100, you’ll have your story published to thousands of outlets, with potential links coming back to your site from many of them!
Which of these four tips are you working on? Which ones are you already doing?