As the world has taken a turn into the 2nd decade of the 21st century, it’s safe to say we’ve become a society of “now”. Long gone are the days of looking things up in books or encyclopedias or pouring over research at your local library.
Everything you look for nowadays is all in the palm of your hand and is slowly running the world. Google has and will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when people get stuck, or are looking for answers – or more importantly for this discussion – looking for a local business to help them out.
As a local business owner, you want your business to be in the conversation – to be able to compete for people to find YOUR business. The best way to accomplish this is through a website that’s properly set up with search engine and user considerations.
Small businesses looking to get an advantage against their competitors have looked to search engine optimization as an alternate, less expensive route than it’s expensive advertisement alternative. This has become the substitute for businesses to high-priced advertisements or commercials to get their name out there in the world.
SEO is the method of creating a structured website built to drive traffic through organic searching. Paid search results are displayed because of high-priced paid advertisements, whereas organic search results is built from the ground up through strategic content and high ranking on the search engine.
Achieving that first result can and should be an achievable goal for all businesses looking to increase their business through the web. It’s a crucial part of any business, but quite a daunting task if you’re new to the online spectrum.
Let’s dive into a few tips that can help alleviate those concerns before getting started.
Create a concise, clear structure for your website
Google has long set the standard for how all websites should be structured and have rewarded those websites for complying to those protocols. No matter how many tips and tricks that are implemented on your website, without a proper structure to make it easy for web crawlers to search your website, it will prove fruitless. A clear navigation should be your first priority and should be hierarchical across all the following:
- Internal linking
By structuring your website in a clear way that suggests what information should be considered higher ranking and lower ranking, it will allow for easier crawling by both Google and users alike.
Making sure you have all of your content in the correct order and how the information should be displayed will play a big role in how you rank on Google.
Staying in the know
Google will often change their protocol, so it’s very important to make sure you’re in the know about all the latest trends online. Having a professional help you sort out the different metrics and signs to look for can be of tantamount importance when fulfilling your objectives.
Having clear direction on what your objectives are will help give you a good gauge of where you want to go with your website. Things such as:
- Metrics – used to monitor your traffic. Are you logging the sign-ups, purchases and leads in one location so you can gauge how you do on a week to week or month to month basis? It’s important to keep tabs of the information so you can make all the necessary tweaks.
- Tools for SEO – keep trying new methods of search engine optimization – be it optimizing content or proper tagging and you’ll be set for success!
Content, content, content
Google has prioritized good, rich content to be the supreme source of a higher ranking. Getting good results for your searches should be a priority for you, the user, and should definitely be a priority for your customers. A few things to consider when optimizing your content online:
- Google’s algorithms will prioritize higher quality content over splashing keywords all over the page. Google has penalized websites for overexposure to keywords and have rewarded those websites with clear, rich content for the end user.
- Longer, richer content will always rank higher than shorter, concise content
- Don’t write your content for a robot – write it for the end user as you would want to read the results yourself. Keyword spamming used to be a tactic to flood Google with the keywords of your choice on your website. It’s better now to appeal to people vs computers.
- Your content isn’t limited to just text – photos and videos have come a long way in helping your pages attain a higher ranking.
- By testing out different methods and styles to your writing and seeing what works and what doesn’t, you’ll get a better idea of what your website needs to stay on top.
Another tried and true method is building links to and from your website. This is a constant process, whether you have an existing website or are starting a new one. By adding to your link list every day, it will grow into a great list of outbound links from your website.
By internally linking your content to other pages and posts within your website, it will offer users other avenues to the information you are trying to sell them. Having a post or page bereft, or orphaned, from the rest of your website isn’t good practice and will rank your website lower, because Google will consider it less important. By creating more interlinking within your website, it will help Google crawl your website with a better understanding of the level of importance each element has and will help visitors navigate the website better.
Backlinking is also a vital point to building a successful website. Back in the early day of SEO, buying links was the thing to do. Nowadays, Google ranks quality links higher than a sheer quantity of links. Having high ranking website link to your website and yours to theirs gives your website a strong presence online.
Keeping your website fast!
Having your website optimized for mobile has become a major part of Google’s algorithm and indexing. Starting in 2018, Google has indexed mobile websites and have rewarded websites for being mobile and responsive-friendly. When designing your website, consider its responsiveness and ensure all of your elements are viewable across all devices. By emphasizing the user experience for the end-user, you will give Google more of an incentive to rank your website higher.
Mastering all of the steps above will give your website a leg up on the competition. While you are making all of the modifications and alterations, make sure to keep a log of it through Analytics and metrics. Deciphering what works for your website and what doesn’t will go a long way towards a successfully run website! Good luck!