As a business owner, you probably know very well that the Internet is the place to be if you want your company to be seen. Yet, there is so much happening all the time and it’s no longer enough to have a good-looking website and a slight social media presence – at least not if you’d like to get ahead of your competitors.
While there is a lot to be done that an SEO expert could help you out with, it’s also a good idea to understand the basics of it so that you’re up to date on everything that’s happening with your business.
Start by using this nifty guide to educate yourself on all the new stuff online. It just makes it a lot easier to stay in control of your business and recognize the signs if your web presence should be starting to go downhill for some reason. Here is a handful of the most important SEO practices you should know about sooner rather than later.
What is SEO? The Basics
SEO stands, of course, for search engine optimization and is an umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure a strong visibility on the web. You’d like your company to pop up in the search engines when someone types in words that are related to your business – and you’d like it to pop up as high as possible.
Particularly because most people only look at the first page and is much more likely to click on the highest results because they are, undoubtedly, the most relevant sites for their search. Your business could be highly relevant, though, but sometimes you’re buried underneath your competitors who offer the same kind of services or products.
The search engines value relevancy as well as high-quality content. This means that not only do your website need to be very relevant in terms of the keywords you’ve been using when building the site, but it will also need to feature content of a good quality that doesn’t attempt to misuse the system.
Search engines are rather clever these days, you know, and they will see right through any attempts of stuffing your site with keywords and no proper content. They may even punish you for it, by the way, so stick to the kind of content you’re proud to be publishing.
That’s where an SEO agency can come in and increase the chances of search engines placing your name on the top rather than your competitors. You can achieve this in a lot of different ways, as we will discuss in this article and the work you do on your website as well as all the promotion you do off-site such as social media marketing and other forms of link-building.
There are, in fact, so many ways to increase your web presence and the more work you put into it, the easier it is for people to find you and make use of your great services – which again leads to increased revenue. Below we’re going to take a look at exactly how you can do this and regardless of whether you choose to hire someone to take care of it for you.
On-site SEO: Fix your website
The most important part of having a visible website is to make sure that the site is as functional as possible. So many business owners neglect to think about how easy it is for the users to find the information they need and navigate with ease – and they certainly forget that information overload looks terrible on any website.
Clean it up right away, implement that white space, and make sure that it is compatible with mobile devices as well. Most people browse on their phone these days and a mobile-friendly site will ensure that you’re not missing out on potential customers who, in frustration, give up on your site because it doesn’t look as it should on their phone.
You’d want to make it as user-friendly as possible which means that the navigation should be excellent, flawless, and completely free of frustrations. Let a professional take a look at your site and invest in it if you’re able to, paying particular attention to the landing page as well as your contact details.
The search engines will evaluate, firstly, how relevant your website is in terms of the keywords the user has plotted in, before looking at how user-friendly the site is. This means that you want it to be compatible on all kinds of devices, of course, but also that is efficient and doesn’t let the user wait around for the page to load.
Remember the internal linking on your page as well as it provides your readers with a few more reading options. Try to think about the kind of keywords you’d like to rank higher for and include other variations of them when linking to different sites – and it makes you appear more trustworthy as well, both in the eyes of the user and the search engine.
That’s how important your website is for the success of your business and you simply won’t be able to rank as high as you could have without taking care of this first.
Off-site SEO: Expand your network
Next, it’s just as important to make sure all that off-site SEO is done properly. Social media is your best friend in terms of expanding your network and seeing your business linked to from other sites as well. Team up with social media influencers if you’re able to and see if you’re able to offer them something for reviewing your products and services.
Sending them a sample could be a good idea, for example, as long as you know that your product will get an excellent review. Just keep in mind that they’d want to be compensated for their time as testing, researching, and reviewing a product often means hours of work.
High-end bloggers take pride in the work they do and value their audience; they would not want to work for peanuts and they will always want to be honest with their readers.
Show the influencers that you appreciate this and, most importantly, that you value the work they do. Reach out to a few and see if you’re able to get some links to your website incorporated in their blog article; with their network, it can mean a lot for your business in terms of traffic and new customers.
Try to think about the kind of content you are publishing as well and keep it ‘evergreen’ rather than peppering it with quick stories to gain a bit of traffic. Thoughtful articles that make an honest attempt at helping the readers will not only make you appear more authoritative and helpful, but it will also increase your credibility. This can boost the traffic to your site which again, of course, helps Google to rank you a bit higher in the future.
Read more in this article if you need some ideas on how you can create that evergreen content, by the way, and get started helping your audience out right away.
What is the search engine not looking for?
Now that we’ve talked about what the search engine wants to see from your on-site and off-site work, it’s time to take a look at what it definitely does not want to see. Although we’ve mentioned it before, it’s worth another reminder; keyword stuffing is never appreciated and Google will quickly punish you if you attempt to trick it like that.
You shouldn’t go overboard with the links either. Try to make it look natural and include just the right amount rather than going all-out and thinking it will bring more leads. Annoying websites is another factor that might push you down to the bottom of the page, by the way, and this includes its functionality, layout, and whether or not you’ve stuffed it with annoying ads.
You may need ads to survive on the market, but don’t impose them on the users and certainly refrain from sending them too many newsletters. Create good, publishable content with meaning and never duplicate the posts you’ve published; if the search engine spots duplicated articles, it will scrap one of them.
That means that you should keep your eyes out for other sites stealing your content, by the way, as Google may scrap your site instead of the thieves’.
There is even more to search engine optimization, though, and it’s a good idea to hire a professional to take care of the most important bits. That way, you know that your business is getting the kind of visibility it needs and deserves – and you can feel a bit more confident about the traffic to your site and an increasing number of customers, in the future.