SEO is certainly one of the most discussed topics among business owners and digital marketers. It is a rapidly evolving and constantly changing entity that defines where and how your business will appear on Google and other search engines.
There is a multitude of aspects that one needs to consider when working on your SEO, and many of the requirements and rules set out by Google change so frequently that it could be difficult to keep up. In fact, SEO requirements can actually change at least 500 times a year.
So, where do you start and how do you make sure that you keep on top of SEO and the search results at all times? We took a look at the steps you should be taking to improve your SEO and ensure that your customers can find you at the top of the search results.
Invest in Link Building
As with traditional marketing, one of the sure ways to get your name out there and to be seen is by getting people to talk about you. Link building is a digital form of word-of-mouth, and not only puts you in front of other site’s audiences but it lets Google know more about your company and offerings.
Google essentially scrapes your site to understand where to categorize you and where you should be ranking in that particular category. If you are a car insurance site, for example, you will be wanting to be listed under insurance, finance and car categories. So, not only do you want your content to reflect this, but you need to guide Google with the help of other sites.
Link building is an exercise wherein other sites share links to your site on theirs. Whether it be links to your product pages or blogs, they can link it to certain keywords on their site and redirect their readers to you. Not only does this increase your traffic, but Google will pick it up and be able to categorize and rank you according to their site.
The rule of thumb here though is to ensure that the sites that you are approaching are authoritative sites. Google will rank you higher when linking with a high traffic and authority site. So, spend some time regularly looking for potential sites to partner up and to share content with. If this is too time and resource-consuming, it is wise to invest in a linkbuilding specialist. The ROI will far outweigh the cost when your ranking starts climbing and you start generating solid traffic on your site.
Focus on Your Content
Next, let’s take it back to your actual site and what you are placing on it. Content is one of the center points of SEO, and elements like keywords are critical in ensuring your site is ranked correctly. We mentioned earlier that Google scrapes your site to see where and how to place you. The first thing it will look for are your keywords and what is being repeated on your site to know where you should be placed.
Let’s take a look at the car insurance example again. The keywords car insurance, insurance, third-party insurance, comprehensive insurance, etc. should be appearing regularly on your site. The rule of thumb here though is to ensure that you do not stuff your content as Google can pick this up and penalize you. So, keep the keywords frequent, without overdoing it. Remember, your customer still needs to read your site, identify with it and be convinced to convert. So, keep that content simple, easy to read and educational.
Keyword research is an exercise that you will need to be doing regularly for your brand. Although your basic product keywords are likely to stay as is, different trends and phrases will most likely change frequently and you will need to keep up with what your customers are searching for.
Take COVID-19, for example. The pandemic sparked a wave of change in what people were searching and brands had to scramble to change their content on their site to keep up with the new search trends. So, do regular research, and update your site as regularly as you can.
Optimize Your Pages
Keywords and content aside, there are a few other aspects of SEO that you will need to ensure are in place on your site to heighten your rankings. Let’s break them down.
Your images are incredibly important when it comes to the loading speed of your site. Large images slow down your site, which will in turn, affect how Google ranks you. It increases your bounce rate and leads to abandoned carts. So, make sure that you have quality images that are compressed for load speed. The next thing you will need to do is ensure that each picture is labeled correctly. Make sure that you’ve placed a keyword in the title of the image so that it can easily be found on Google and can increase SEO on your site.
The HTML or URL
Your slug is incredibly important for your SEO rankings as it too needs to contain the relevant keywords. Do not include unnecessary words like “and”, “to” “for” etc. Keep the slugs simple and centered around keywords without the unnecessary additions
Title Tags, H1 and H2 Headings and Meta Descriptions
Not only does this relate to your blog, but to all of your product and landing pages. In order to be SEO optimized, each page will need to have well-created descriptions, headings and subheadings that contain the relevant keywords. When you search a page, this is the first copy that shows up on search telling you what the page is about. So, each will need to be thoroughly optimized not only for Google, but to drive traffic to your site. If you are working in WordPress, the plugin Yoast is a great feature to have to assist you to optimize each element.
Conduct SEO Audits
Once you start getting your basic elements of SEO right, you will start finding that it gets easier and easier to manage your SEO. You will find that you will only be doing keyword research and SEO audits every few months to check your status and see if there is anything you need to fix.
SEO audits can pinpoint if a problem has sprung up on your site. It can highlight if a page has broken somewhere along the line (it happens more frequently than you think), if an external link to an affiliate site has changed or broken, if an image has changed, if duplicate content has popped up or if there are new keywords that you are missing out on.
It will also pick up the loading speed of your site and let you know if there is a problem with either your mobile or desktop pages. This is all critical insight you will need to have at all times to ensure that your site maintains its ranking position on search.
Do not be too intimidated by SEO. As mentioned, once you start getting the hang of it, you will find yourself simply going back making tweaks and alterations. There are a plethora of online tools and platforms to help you on your way and ensure that every part of your site is optimized for SEO success.