Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing technique that involves improving rankings in organic (non-paid) search results in search engines. In other words, the higher a website ranks in search engine results, the more people will see it.
Optimizing your website for SEO requires some creative, technical, and analytical work. Although there are more complicated SEO techniques with different goals, SEO success typically depends on common sense and a few best practices. If you’re interested in driving organic traffic and raising awareness of your business, here are some simple ways to optimize your website.
Learn what your customers are searching for.
To effectively optimize your website, you’ll need to find out what your customers are searching for. In most cases, common sense can help you figure out a few key search terms. For instance, if you’re running a legal firm in Denver, your customers are probably searching terms like “lawyer in Denver,“ “legal advice Denver,“ and “Denver attorney.“
Before you start working on your website, brainstorm what your customers might be searching for and list your ideas on paper. When you’re done brainstorming, type each term into Google and jot down what keywords Google suggests. Additionally, take note of recurring phrases in search results and use the “Searches Related to” feature to find more keyword ideas.
Brainstorm content ideas for potential customers.
After you figure out what your customers are searching for, you can start brainstorming content ideas. Content marketing involves creating valuable and meaningful content to attract and engage potential customers. For inspiration on what kind of content to create, use your keyword research to find what topics are popular in your industry.
To optimize your content, use the free Content Optimizer tool by Search Atlas. The Content Optimizer offers key metrics, including keyword frequency calculation, input URL analysis, title tag analysis, and meta description analysis, to help you write engaging content for potential customers. To use the Search Atlas Content Optimizer, simply plug in your keyword and content and the Content Optimizer will give you a score of 0–100 with instant suggestions on how to improve.
In addition to creating content that aligns with your customer’s search intent, it’s important to use short, descriptive URLs and create compelling meta titles and descriptions. Since your URL sends a signal to search engines about its content, incorporating target keywords into your URLs can help you soar in search engine rankings.
Make sure your website is accessible to search engines.
When optimizing your website for SEO, aim to make your website accessible to both potential customers and search engines. To make your website more accessible to potential customers, start by making sure your pages load quickly. According to a study by Google, approximately 40 percent of people leave websites that take more than three seconds to load. To find out how quickly your website loads and find out how to improve loading speed, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Next, optimize your website for mobile use. Since more than 60 percent of searches come from mobile users, using a mobile-friendly web layout can encourage more engagement with your website. To make sure your website is mobile-friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
To make your website easily accessible to search engines, create a sitemap XML file. A sitemap, which lists all of the pages on your website, can help search engines find your content and understand the overall structure of your website. Although sitemaps don’t directly affect search engine rankings, they make it easier for search engines to find and index pages on your website.
All in all, optimizing your website for SEO can help improve your search engine rankings, drive organic traffic, and raise awareness of your business. Since most business owners have a limited understanding of SEO, understanding the basics can give you a significant edge over the competition.