With more than 2 trillion searches a year on Google, putting your business at the forefront of searchers’ fingertips is vital. Consumers are searching for solutions to their problems. The keywords they’re typing in that relate to your business ideally put you at the top of their results.
But search engine optimization (SEO) has so many moving parts to put strategic thought into, it can be tough to know which strategies to focus on. SEO success is not just peppering your website with keywords you think will work and then calling it a day. If you’re new to SEO or are wondering why your efforts have stagnated, look at these four key areas where SEO success is built upon.
Before you created a business plan, you probably researched the market and your competitors. The same principles relate to your visibility online. It’s vital to use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner to see:
- What keywords people are typing that relate to your business
- How much competition there is for those keywords
- What detailed, longtail keywords have the potential to bring you business, which you may not have even realized
Keyword research saves you time before writing. It can help you strategize what pages to include throughout your website. Keywords give you a better idea of types of blogs you can write as a guest author for other sites. They can also clue you in to future business developments, showing you the products and services people are searching for the most in your industry.
2. Use Keywords to Drive Content
If you’ve ever been stuck for ideas about what to blog about or how to format your website, search no further. The keywords you discover in your research are great places to start with content ideation. Keywords, including both general keywords and longtail keywords, can be used to:
- Build out site navigation
- Inspire blog and video ideas for your website
- Develop guest blogging opportunities
- Determine URLs, headlines, subheads and image tags
Keywords to drive content are only successful when they are presented in a way that engages the user. Keyword stuffing, where you’re adding keywords nonsensically throughout copy, results in penalties from Google. Use keywords to give you ideas for how to better position your product and service to users, so that your content is more likely to show up in their searches.
3. Design for Mobile
One of the simplest ways to improve your SEO efforts is to design for mobile devices. In 2016, Google reported it’s moving towards mobile-first indexing. With more than 60 percent of searches coming from mobile devices now, the shift makes sense. If your website still requires pinching, zooming and turning the screen to try and read it, you’re not only frustrating your potential customers. You’re also going to suffer on search engines.
Design for mobile by making sure your site loads immediately upon a mobile visit. All tabs and pages should be easy to navigate. The screen’s content should read easily, requiring no adjustments to the device the user is on. Buttons should be easy to click. The user experience should be seamless and intuitive. The more time a user spends on a site, the more that serves as a signal to search engines that your website engages users, so don’t drive mobile users off it by frustrating them.
4. Link Build Naturally
One of the most important signals to search engines that your business website is authoritative and trustworthy is the links that point back to it. There are several types of linking that your business should be concerned with to help SEO efforts:
- Internal linking is linking to other pages within your website throughout your website. One of the benefits of internal linking is that it provides more relevant content to users. As users consume more pages, they spend more time on a site. Your content becomes more shareable. Factors like these positively impact SEO.
- External link building is getting your website linked on other authoritative sites. When a credible website links to yours, whether it’s by mentioning you in a blog post or by letting you guest author content and link back to your site, that’s a sign to search engines that your website is meaningful.
- Linking out to external sites is featuring a link to another website on your own site. There are may reasons to do this. You want to improve the user experience for visitors, who will view your site as more trustworthy and consume more content on it. Externally linking sends a signal to the website that you’re linking to that you respect their site, which might encourage reciprocity or a beneficial relationship. Featuring a variety of authoritative links on your own website may also be a positive signal to search engines.
Like any type of content, you work on for your business, linking should be natural and improve the experience for the user. Slapping your link on tons of website comments, or blogging for poor quality websites, or going overboard with internal linking are all actions that can do more harm than good for your SEO.
Blend Onsite and Offsite SEO
As you can see, it’s important to pay attention to both SEO efforts on your own website, and to how your website performs throughout the web. Google has continually evolved to present searchers with the most useful information that is available based on each search. When your business takes the time to make your website experience one that is stimulating and valuable, it is more likely to reap SEO rewards.