Rank higher in search results
When you build or maintain your website, don’t forget SEO, also referred to search engine optimization. With SEO techniques, you can help your business rank higher in search results in the leading searching engines – Google, Bing, and Yahoo. According to Hubspot, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of results, so you’ll want to make sure your offering is seen.1 Plus, “more than 65% of consumers conduct online product research before stepping in a store,” so ranking high in search engine results is critical for extending your reach. 2 Ideally, you want your website to come up within the top 5 results on the first page of online search engine results (also known as organic search results), but getting there isn’t easy.
Reaching the top of search results for a given keyword or phrase is an on-going challenge. The search engines are always changing their algorithms. Plus, with more companies coming online daily and technology constantly improving, newcomers are sure to nibble away at your top line position… so beware of vendors indicating they can guarantee a high ranking. SEO is a 24×7 job for a company whose business is solely internet based.
Where to start…
- Offer interesting, timely, and valuable content. Content that’s updated and valuable to customers keeps your users coming back for more and search engines notice.
- Select keywords that are used often to conduct searches, but are not used frequently by competitors or others. Google’s Adword Keyword Planner can help you evaluate keywords to use and can help you decipher what your competition is using. Avoid overly broad terms and consider going after niche market words or phrases to build ranking.
- Add geography to your keyword phrase to help increase your ranking in a particular market. With the proliferation of mobile devices, local search ranking is gaining more importance for obtaining new business. “72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles.” 3
- Lace your target keywords throughout the copy of your website, tags, link descriptions, whitepapers, images, presentations, and URLs if appropriate or relevant. Include the keyword(s) in the file name, which shows up in the URL.
- Be sure all tags and images are complete on each page and use ‘complete’ URLS that don’t have gibberish in them (numbers and letters in incoherent strings).
- Make sure title, headline, description and meta keyword tags are complete. If you don’t include the description tag, Google will determine what to show in the search results, which may not be what you prefer.
- If you use a content management system, you may want to create a vanity URL to help prospects remember offering specifics.
- Be sure images use alt text, captions and descriptions with keywords included so that the search engines can pick-up the words.
- Leverage 3rd party websites -YouTube, Slideshare, LinkedIn, etc. – to drive traffic to your website.
- Add a blog; search engines like new or fresh content and can help with lead generation activities. Be sure the blog is treated as a subdirectory (ex. www.mycompany.com/blog), not as a sub domain (www.blog.mycompany.com).
- Submit your website to search engines – Submit your website to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Webmaster Tools.
- Seek backlinks or links from other high ranking websites to give your website more authority.
- Be sure you’re listed in free online business directories – Manta, Business.com, plus others; these can help direct traffic back to your site.
- Create a sitemap to help ensure search engines index your website; the more pages indexed, the higher your probability of rising to the top.
- Your website should view positively on mobile devices and be optimized for mobile search traffic. Check your website via Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page to gauge a site’s performance.4
- Share articles and newsletters with complementary websites to drive traffic to your site, but try to avoid web spam, where your unique articles or comments are submitted to so many websites or directories that the originality is lost.5s
- Include social media links to enable users to share your content easily.
- Share and optimize whitepapers, presentations, photos, and videos on social media sites such as YouTube, Scribed, SlideShare, Pinterest, and others, then link those to your site for increased traffic and visibility.6
- Minimize or avoid Adobe Flash, Frames and AJAX programming; search engines or spiders can’t index them well.7 While these features are nice to have from a user perspective, they won’t help your site be found. If you use them, do so sparingly and be sure to incorporate text links on the page for spiders to follow.
- Optimize your website performance; search engines love to index content that loads quickly and it is especially important for mobile sites.8
- “19 Actionable SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic.” Matthew Barby. Last modified February 1, 2018. https://www.matthewbarby.com/seo-tips/.
- Barysevich, Aleh. “Five Local SEO Tips for Small Business Owners.” MarketingProfs LLC. Last modified June 27, 2016. http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/30181/five-local-seo-tips-for-small-business-owners.
- Barysevich, Aleh. “How to Optimize XML Sitemaps: 13 SEO Best Practices.” Search Engine Journal. Last modified March 1, 2018. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/xml-sitemap-best-practices/237649/.
- Dean, Brian. “Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days.” Backlinko. Last modified July 28, 2016. http://backlinko.com/seo-techniques.
- Kumar, Gaurav. “7 Simple SEO Tricks to Improve Your 2016 SEO.” I’m From The Future, LLC. Accessed on January 22, 2020. http://www.seonick.net/7-simple-seo-tricks-to-improve-your-2016-seo/.
- Kwan, Cherry. “32 Essential SEO Tips for Small Business.” TechWyse Internet Marketing. Last modified April 27, 2015. https://www.techwyse.com/blog/search-engine-optimization/32-essential-seo-tips-for-small-businesses/.
- Lee, Jessica. “The Power of Persuasion: ABCs of Leveraging Personas for Search Success [#CZLNY].” Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC. Last modified March 31, 2015. http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2402362/the-power-of-persuasion-abcs-of-leveraging-personas-for-search-success-czlny.
- “Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO.” Third Door Media, Inc. Accessed January 22, 2020. http://searchengineland.com/guide/seo.
- Shelley, Ryan. “The Human Side of SEO: The Power Of Personas.” Third Door Media, Inc. Last modified August 23, 2016. https://searchengineland.com/human-side-seo-power-personas-255747.
- “Webmaster Guidelines.” Google, Inc. Accessed January 22, 2020. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en.