If you Google your business’ name and find that it’s nowhere near the first or even fifth page of the results, you’re missing out on potential customers looking for your exact product or service. You have an SEO problem.
SEO, or “search engine optimization”, is the art of improving and promoting a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines by getting as close to the top of search results as possible.
This list is by no means definitive, as Google alone has reportedly hundreds of different ways it measures your website against others. Here are twelve simple things you can do to make sure that your site is doing the best job of appealing to search engines and more importantly – appealing to your target audience.
12 Easy Ways to Impact Your Site’s SEO
1. Keywords In Your Domain
Having your product or industry in the domain is a big signal for search engines to consider you an authority in your field. This is an easy and affordable thing to influence – if your company name is, for example, Simmons Manufacturing and you own www.simmons.com, consider picking up www.SimmonsManufacturing.com or www.SimmonsGenerators.com or www.SimmonsKeywordHere.com. All of them can point to your main site, but having searchable terms in your domain can be an influencer.
2. Keyword Density In Your Site
This is different than “meta tags” from years ago, where important words were placed in your code. Nowadays, the words need to appear organically in your site, and optimally on the front page. It not only gives search engines the context of your page, but how rich the content is. Be careful, though – going overboard can actually penalize you!
3. Utilizing Clear Focus Keywords
That said, make sure it’s very clear on your site who you are and what your focus is. Having a focus word or industry appearing often and clearly will make it easy for search engines to see what you want them to see.
4. Loading Speed
Both Google and Bing use page loading speed as a measurement. Search engine robots can estimate your site’s loading speed fairly accurately. Make sure that it isn’t bogged down with bells and whistles that slow it down.
5. Avoiding Identical Content
Don’t try and fool the system! An abundance of identical content on the same site (even if it’s been slightly modified) or cloned sites can negatively influence a site’s search engine visibility. The same goes with putting other people’s content on your site as well (and if you are going to, make sure you include a link back to where you found it – search engines like sourcing).
6. Image Naming & Descriptions
Images send search engines important information through their file name, alt text, title, description, and captions. Make sure you are including relevant information (description of the pictures is usually the best bet) for each of these.
7. Frequent Content Updates
Search engines favor recently updated content more than anything. This is why we always stress the importance of having a regularly updated “news” or “blog” on your site and to be updating it with well-written, relevant content as often as you can. You can see how important it is to Google since they show the date of a page’s last update for most sites.
8. Consider Link Value
Speaking of relevant content, search engines heavily value the content of the pages you link to as well as the ones that link to you (see #9 and 10). For example, if you have a page about cars that links to a site about movies, this may tell search engines that your page is about the movie Cars, not the automobile.
9. Reputation Is Everything
Unfortunately, user-generated reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, BBB, even Facebook play one of the biggest roles in search rankings. Google even posted a guideline of their approach to user reviews after a website was caught ripping off customers in an effort to get links back to their site.
10. Domain Trust
Measuring how many links away your site is from highly-trusted sites — is perhaps among the most important ranking factors. Put very simply, if you’re a small brewery and can get a link, tweet, or review from a larger company or trusted source (magazine, forum, etc), then search engines will deduce that you must also be a trusted source and increase your SEO.
11. Mobile Optimization
Google went on the record years ago to say that a responsive (mobile friendly) site has a heavy influence, especially given the dominance in mobile usage over the past few years. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site yet, not only are you making it difficult for your site’s visitors to get information about you, but you’re making it difficult for search engines as well.
Similarly to mobile optimization, making your site user-friendly for people with visual impairments is becoming more and more important for search engines as well. Leaving out a demographic can’t be good for your business either, so why not make sure your website can be usable for everybody, especially with the rise of website-accessibility lawsuits over the last few years.
This one is pretty simple – Google owns YouTube and so they give preferential treatment to sites that have YouTube videos embedded on them. However, exactly like the importance on quality content, tossing up a cute cat video on your site won’t cut it. The video needs to be under your account name and relevant to what you do to count. Otherwise search engines think you’re trying to beat the system and will penalize you.
Are you overwhelmed or have questions about what all this means? Send us an email or call us today and we’d be happy to do a free SEO analysis of your site or talk to you about successful solutions we use every day to get our clients’ search engine results on the front page!