SEO is one of the best tools businesses can use to improve their brand awareness and see higher online conversions. Many people think SEO is simply using keywords throughout their website, when it really includes a multitude of website optimizations. Knowing what to avoid and what to target during your SEO overhaul will help you learn how to improve your SEO results and ranking.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of your web traffic. Whenever a consumer enters a search query online, the search engine populates their answers from existing websites. The links that best match the query and have the most traffic usually rank at the top of the search engine results page, or SERP. This organic, unpaid process happens when companies optimize their websites to ensure that they rank well on SERPs.
Google uses the following elements when ranking sites on SERPs:
- Keywords — Most companies know that including keywords in their website’s domain name, copy, and links is vital for ranking well.
- Social metrics — Websites with more social action, such as shares, tweets, and likes, are ranked higher than those with little social interaction.
- User data — Both traffic and the number of users impact your ranking. The more people click through to your website, the better your ranking will be.
- Brand recognition — The more frequently your company name is mentioned on other sites or in news sources, the higher you’ll rank.
- Links — Linking to reputable sources that also garner high web traffic and SERP rankings can help your site rank well.
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Common SEO Mistakes
Many companies try their hand at SEO but end up making common mistakes that actually hurt their SEO rather than help it. When embarking on SEO, avoid these pitfalls:
- Using the wrong keywords — Keywords are an essential part of SEO, but if you use keywords unrelated to your products or services or even put too many on a single page, you won’t rank as well.
- Including poor content — Your content needs to be thorough, original, and well written. The more people click through and spend time reading your content, the better your ranking will be.
- Avoiding title tags and meta descriptions — Title tags and meta descriptions show up on the actual SERP, so including them in your coding can boost your ranking.
- Keeping slow load speeds — Users won’t wait for your page to load — they’ll simply find a competitor’s page to look at instead.
- Skipping over influencers — Social interactions can boost your ranking. If you engage with influencers and harness the power of their followers, you’ll see a boost in your SEO.
- Ignoring analytics — Analytics tell you if your SEO is working or if it needs tweaking. You can’t expect to make a change and then move on — you need to monitor its efficacy and make updates as needed.
Tips for Improving SEO
Improving your SEO can take time, but with a few tips and tricks, you can see some improvement relatively quickly. Use these suggestions to improve your SEO:
- Update your content. Ensure your content is up to date and accurate. For example, if your website includes customer reviews or testimonials, make sure you regularly update them to show recent customers’ thoughts rather than reviews from several years ago. New information, updated keywords, and links to social media profiles can all help improve your ranking.
- Use alt tags. Include alt tags on your images and videos. These tags provide an accurate description of the picture and allow you to include keywords. It’s one more opportunity for Google to see the value in your content and rank your website on the SERP.
- Include header tags. Headers help break up the text of a long article or webpage, ensuring a more pleasant user experience for your webpage’s visitors. The longer people stay on a page and the more people visit overall, the higher your ranking will be. Using headers can help keep readers interested in your content.
- Write a blog. Include a blog on your website to introduce consistent new content for your consumers. The articles themselves include important keywords, and you can link out to reputable, high-quality sources outside of your website and to relevant pages within your website. All of this contributes to excellent SEO.
- Include multimedia. Including multimedia like images and videos can help boost SEO. Consumers like these elements — watching something is often easier than reading something. Images help break up chunks of text, encouraging readers to peruse your copy, and videos ensure users stay on your site for longer.
- Fix broken links. Make sure any links you include on your site actually work. High-quality links help your SEO, but if a link doesn’t go anywhere, it can hurt your SEO. Use a tool like Dead Link Checker to ensure that your links are appropriately optimized.
- Format your website. Algorithm elements like title tags, keywords, and URL optimization are all helpful for SEO, but a well-formatted website is just as vital. Getting traffic to your site is only half the battle — you want visitors to spend time on the site and, ideally, make a purchase. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and well designed for easy reading.
- Include contact information. Including up-to-date and accurate contact information adds reputability to your organization. Make your customer service information easy to find on your website, and ensure the information included is correct.
- Use social media sharing. The more cross-linking you can do, the better. Make it easy for visitors to share your blog posts on their social media pages, and add easy like and follow buttons around your site to encourage users to track you on social media.
SEO is a multi-faceted endeavor. It takes time to build authority and gain enough clicks and user traffic to rank high on SERPs. However, if you make an effort to evaluate your site and follow these important tips, you can see your SEO — and your leads and conversions — improve.