Ranking high in Google’s search results can have a phenomenal impact on the success of your business and is accomplished by improving your site's SEO or search engine optimization.
You can engage the expertise of a reputable SEO company, but here are some easy steps you can make to your website yourself to immediately improve your SEO results.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Which keywords do you think your customers are typing in to search for your products or services? A keyword could be one word (e.g. “golf”), but multi-keyword phrases are usually what gets searched because they are more specific and more likely to be what your prospects are looking for (eg. “golf course in st. louis”)
Write down as many of these keywords as you can think of. Brainstorm with your team. Think of alternative keywords. Consider geographical phrases if they are relevant to your clients (e.g. “cookie shop Brooklyn”). Also, try to get some ideas from your competitors’ websites. Try to come up with a list of 30+ keyword phrases.
Choose the two keyword phrases you think would be searched for the most. But also remember, the more competition there is for a given keyword, the harder it will be to achieve top rankings. If you want to rank high in Google for the keyword “credit card”, you have a very long journey ahead. So try to select two keyword phrases that are the most relevant to your business but that are not vague nor competitive. It’s a good practice to have 2 or 3 words in each phrase (e.g. “roof replacement services”)
After you have chosen your two best keyword phrases it’s time to improve your on-page SEO.
Step 2: On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO refers to all the content and meta content on your website. Because content is king in the world of search engines, your keyword phrases need to be placed strategically on your webpage to make it clear to Google that your website is highly relevant to those keywords. The more prominent these keywords are, the better. Keep in mind though, that you want to convert visitors to customers, so write for people first and search engines second.
Here are some ways you can increase each keyword’s prominence:
- Place your keywords in headings, preferably at the beginning of the heading;
- Include keywords towards the top of the page or above the fold;
- Bold or italicize keywords where appropriate;
- Instead of having a link with anchor text that says “Click here to read more “, reword it to include your keywords, i.e. “cookie shop in Russellville”.
One important tip is to also include these keywords in your HTML “title tag”. Use your content management system such as WordPress to make these changes yourself, or ask your web developer to do it if you’re unsure how.
Once you have optimized the content on your site, consider adding new content, such as detailed descriptions of what you offer, FAQs and/or helpful articles about your products and services. If you don’t wish to write these yourself, you can use article directories or hire a freelance writer.
Another good practice is to interlink between pages on your website. If you have ever surfed Wikipedia for hours, you will notice it is most likely because they link from one piece of their content to the next.
It’s also good to keep in mind that search engines primarily read text. So more content usually equals higher rankings. But you can also include pictures and videos if they are relevant to your article in some way. This could even boost conversions as it gives visitors visual representations of your offerings.
Step 3: Off-Page SEO
Every link from another website to your website (not from your website) is considered by search engines as a type of “vote” for your business and will improve your rankings.
Keep in mind however that it is the quality, not quantity, of the links that is crucial. The other websites should be relevant to your industry, and it’s even better if they are highly regarded themselves. Ten links from quality sites carry more weight than 500 links from spammy websites. In the same way your personal business network can have a big impact on the success of your business, so too does the quality of sites that link to your site.
Research all the relevant websites that could link to you, such as non-competing companies, industry networks, and organizations. Reach out via a friendly email to each one describing the benefit their members or visitors would get from knowing about your business and request them to create a backlink to your site. A lot of people won’t respond to these types of emails so you may have to put in numbers here.
How do I measure my results?
Monitor your rankings in Google over the next 2-3 months by entering your chosen keywords into the search box, and recording your ranking. You can also use a service like SERPFox to monitor for you. You could also use Google Analytics on your site to understand which search terms your visitors are using to find your website.
This process can also be repeated for each page of your website. Keep updating your site with fresh content, and continue to make efforts to increase the number of links to your website.
As you see your rankings improve you should see a corresponding increase in traffic and an increase in leads and sales. If possible, ask your customers how they found you. If a particular piece of content commonly attracts customers, then you can make more content like that.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. If you put consistent effort in over the long haul, it will pay off.
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