SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process that affects a website’s rank in search engine results. SEO is critical because most people find websites through search engines such as Google. SEO is especially important for small businesses who might not have the resources or exposure of a larger businesses. Small businesses need customers to be able to easily search and find their business.
SEO is difficult to master because search engines continually change their algorithms that control the rankings. SEO experts have a full time job determining the factors that impact site ranking with each algorithm change. I don’t claim to be an SEO expert but there are a few tips that every website should use when it comes to SEO. I’ve also included some of my favorite SEO tools that will help optimize a website for search engines.
Write Valuable Content For Customers Not Search Engines
A few years back SEO experts figured out that they could trick search engines by cramming keywords into articles. Search engines saw the increased keyword density and would ranked these sites higher. This approach resulted in an increasing number of websites that were awkward to read and not very helpful to visitor. Search engines caught on to this tactic and adjusted their algorithims to reward sites that focus on content. SEO friendly content will engage your visitors and keep them on your site. Search engines recognize user engagement and have made it an important factor into determining a site’s ranking.
Place keywords in the titles, text & meta data of your website
Placing keywords in titles, text and meta data might sound like it goes against my previous recommendation but it is still important to include keywords in your site, just don’t abuse it. If you are writing a post about a favorite ab exercise, you want to include the words such as “Abs (or Abdominal)”, “Workout”, “Exercise”, “Training” or “Strength” in some manner of the title. If the title was “My favorite exercise”, people searching for ab exercises likely wouldn’t find it. Carefully consider the keywords visitors might use when searching for information on your site. The key to keywords is to use a variety of terms and to use them naturally. Do not cram your site with the same keywords over and over.
Understand the Importance of Links
There are two types of links that impact SEO for a website: internal links and external links. Internal links point to pages on the same site and help users with navigation. External links are created when a website posts a link to another website.
The primary purpose of internal links is to help establish site architecture and enable search engines to easily find all the pages on a site. When a search engine crawls a webpage it searches for links on the page. Internal links help search engine crawlers to easily find all the pages on your site.
External links were one of the original factors in determining a sites rank. External links are still an important part of SEO and are used to gauge the relevancy and popularity of a website. Not all links are created equal though. Receiving links from authoritative and relevant websites posses more SEO value than getting links from just any website.
The role external links play in SEO have diminished over the years as search engine increase the factors that determine rankings. Despite changes over the years, external links still play an important role in SEO. If you would like to learn more about external links and link building I recommend reading this article from Moz.com
Social media has shaped the way people find websites and search engines have begun including social sharing into how sites are ranked. The impact that social media plays in SEO isn’t fully known but it is important none the less. Everyone wants increased traffic and social media is a great way to draw additional visitors.
A strong social media presence establishes the legitimacy of a website and increases the number links pointing to a site, all which help SEO. If you would like to grow your social media presence I recommend reading the articles I wrote on how small businesses can use Twitter and Facebook.
Moz.com is one of the leading authorities and resources for SEO information. If you are new to SEO, Moz’s SEO Begginers guide is a great place to start. I also recommend the Moz.com Blog to stay current with the latest changes and news in SEO.
SEMRush is a website that will analyze your business’s website or a competitor’s site and provide a wealth of SEO information. Some of the analytics and graphs can be confusing at first glance but SEMRush provides video tutorials that explain the data. SEMRush also offers a paid service with more detailed information and analysis.
I also recommend using the SEOQuake add-on for Chrome or Firefox browsers. The SEOQuake add-on provides diagnostics on webpages and suggested recommendations on how to improve the SEO for that page. It’s a great free tool for improving SEO on a site.
WhereIRank.com is a tool that lists a sites ranking in Google and Bing for specific search terms. Simply enter a website address and desired search terms and it will display the page rank for both Google and Bing. WhereIRank.com is useful for researching how a site is performing for certain search terms.
If you use WordPress then using either the Yoast WordPress SEO or All in One SEO Pack plugins are must haves. Both plugins help make sites more SEO friendly once the plugin has been properly configured. WPBeginner has developed helpful guides (Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack) that walk you through the process of using each plugin.
What is your favorite SEO tip? Do you have a helpful SEO tool that use? If so, please let me know in the comments!