You have a great product or service, but people just aren’t finding your website.
Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts can make a significant impact on your bottom line—or be a waste of time and money. It all depends on whether those efforts are focused on areas where they will have maximum impact. Consider these SEO tips to boost traffic to your website.
1. Choose a Good Domain Name
Search engines will give top priority to domain names that match search keywords, so try to select a name that’s relevant and includes an important keyword or two (but isn’t so ridiculously long that it is difficult to remember or to type on a phone keyboard).
2. Content is King
Does your website feature useful, customer-focused information throughout its content? Search engines crawl website pages looking for text, and the more relevant text you provide, the more keywords will be indexed in your website. Use “live” text content rather than text built into graphics whenever possible, and content should also be original: search engines may actually downgrade a site with too much copied content.
3. Page Titles and H1 Tags Should be Keyword-Rich
Make sure each page’s <title> tag has relevant search keywords taken from page content. This is especially important on your home page! Put your <H1> header tags to work as well—they should feature additional relevant keywords for search engines to find.
4. Make Sure Your Meta Description Tags are Optimized
Meta description tags in the home page’s HTML are used by search engines to provide a summary of search results to the user. Search engines also scan them for keywords. Make sure the text contains keywords in sentence format and isn’t overly long. A well-worded meta description tag is also important in getting click-throughs.
5. Use Smart Filenames for your Pages
The inner pages of the site should use descriptive keywords within their page file names so that they become part of the URL. For example, instead of naming a page “/about,” name it “/about-website-design.”
6. Build Quality Links
Gone are the days when the search engines ranked you primarily on the number of inbound links you had. The quality of those links is now much more important. Get some significant clients or partners to link to you (preferably not in a directory format). And if you can get .edu inbound links, that should really give you a boost!
7. Add Content on a Regular Basis
Search engines check how frequently a website is updated. More frequent updates are interpreted by search engines as a more relevant and active site, and that will be used as a criteria for pushing it up higher in the rankings. It can make the difference between being on the first page of results, or seeing vastly fewer click throughs. Keep your site current!
8. Add a Blog, and Use it!
An active, relevant blog shows the world you are an expert in your line of business. But it also helps to add keyword-rich content to your website on a regular basis, which the search engines love. Make sure to blog often so new content is always being added, even if you’re an e-commerce site.
9. Make Sure your Website Speed is Up to Par
Faster websites get better rankings in the search engines than slower ones. The time it takes to load a site can have a direct impact on your search results, so make sure your web pages are speed-optimized and on a fast server. Also, studies show that 25% of your customers will abandon your website after a four-second delay. So measure your page load time on an older computer that’s never been to your site, and ask yourself, “How long am I willing to wait to see what I came for?”
10. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Today, more pages are viewed on phones and mobile devices than on computers! Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This can be done either with a responsive website design which adapts to all browser types, or with a separate mobile site that automatically loads on handheld devices. Search engines like Google use this as a critical component when it comes to mobile searches. If you do create a separate mobile site, make sure it includes all critical functionalities.
11. Localize, Localize, Localize!
Some keywords are too generalized to generate quality search engine “hits,” especially for territory-based businesses. To get your website in front of users most likely to be interested in your site, localize your keywords. Associate keywords in page texts and in file titles with a targeted geographical location. You can also build unique pages for each location to further target defined locations.
12. Make the Most of Social Media
For additional search results, create social media pages that are integrated with your website. Make sure to add posts to these pages with backlinks to your website pages on a regular basis. Blog pages are an ideal place to seed lots of backlinks, as users already are viewing them as a place to find new information and ideas.
13. Do—and Redo–Competitor Analysis
Look on high-rankings competitors’ websites for keywords you can also use. Study their website carefully to see what they are doing right, and take note of best practices you can adopt.
14. Use Google Search Console and Analytics
Utilize free research tools such as Google Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) to inspect your search engine ranking, and use Google Analytics to study your website traffic and patterns. You will see where you are succeeding, and where you need to focus your efforts to improve results.