Whether or not paid advertising is in your marketing arsenal, search engine optimization (SEO) efforts should be at the top of your list.
For those unfamiliar with this digital marketing term, SEO is the organic traffic that’s driven to your website. This includes traffic that is derived from a simple Google search, Bing search, or traffic from any other search engine.
Like all good things, SEO takes time to build. A top spot on the first page of your desired search term requires the ongoing use of some of our favorite SEO tactics, such as link building, content targeting, page speed optimization, and technical optimization.
If you are feeling lost in the world of SEO, let the search engine optimization gurus at The Design Group guide you. Take a look at the easiest ways to improve your business’ SEO:
Introduction to SEO
SEO can be broken down into three main categories: on-site SEO, off-site SEO, and content marketing. Content marketing is somewhat unique in that it can float between the first two categories.
On-site SEO involves implementing an arsenal of technical tools and tactics that help positively influence your website ranking. On-site SEO strategies include technical implementations such as metatags, broken link corrections, image optimization, and much, much more. The idea behind on-site SEO tactics is that your website will allow bots to better index and understand your site.
Off-site SEO typically refers to link building campaigns. The more credible websites you have linking back to your site, the higher the search engines interpret your own credibility. Having more links is not always better. If you have a lot of spammy sites linking back to you (for example, sites whose only content is lists of bot-generated keywords), Google and other search engines may penalize your site instead. Link building is everything you do to gain those “do follow” links from legitimate and relevant sites.
A link building campaign is a time consuming and sometimes difficult process, so we will not focus on that in this post on the easiest ways to improve SEO. If you are interested in learning more about this, take a look at this beginner’s link building article from Moz and this link building guide for SEO from Backlinko.
Your website is filled with copy that can be optimized for search engines. This content can always be expanded upon by creating more pages or relevant blog posts. Content can also be considered part of your off-site SEO efforts as part of your link building campaigns, as guest blogging is one popular way of gaining links.
Improving SEO via On-site Changes
On-site changes can be the quickest and easiest to begin implementing, but like most aspects of SEO, you will need to invest some time.
On-site SEO Tip #1: For content, strategically pick a relevant keyword or keyword phrase
Some keywords get more search volume than others, which can influence the traffic to your page. If you focus your content around a certain keyword, this can help to improve your page’s ranking in search results. Pick your words strategically, though, because higher search volume usually means higher competition.
On-site SEO Tip #2: Add metadata, microdata and schema
Adding schema, microdata, and metadata to your HTML helps to provide search engines with the information they need to understand your content and provide the most accurate search results. You can easily increase page rank for desired keywords by adding in relevant phrases to alt text, titles, descriptions and yoast settings.
On-site SEO Tip #3: Fix broken links
It’s annoying to see “Page Not Found” when you click on a link. If your site has a lot of these, not only will people be discouraged from clicking around, but search engines will also consider your site outdated or neglected. To keep your SEO points up, correct these errors as soon as possible.
On-site SEO Tip #4: Remove duplicate content
Duplicate content on your website can raise a red flag to search engines for a multitude of reasons. If the same content is showing up on multiple pages of your website, search engines have a hard time determining which version to include on result pages, which has shown to diminish SEO efforts. It’s best to make sure this content is transferred to one page on your website.
On-site SEO Tip #5: Use bold, italics, underlining, and heading tags
Search engines give more weight to content in heading tags or that is distinguished from the rest of your content in some way. Try to emphasize keywords or phrases, but don’t trade quality writing for the sake of a search engine.
On-site SEO Tip #6: Optimize images to decrease page load speed
Seconds is all it takes. 3 seconds of waiting for a page to load and half your visitors have left. Especially with Google starting its mobile-first indexing, you will want to make sure your images are not weighing down your site.
On-site SEO Tip #7: Enable social sharing
Give people a way to share the quality content on your website by enabling social sharing on your posts. Gaining an external link on a social media platform is an easy way to increase traffic.
Improving SEO via Off-site Changes
Link building is a component of any good SEO strategy, but it is no quick fix. Rather than going into the details of a campaign, let’s focus on tips for getting started.
Off-site SEO Tip #1: Target relevant websites for link building
Before you start brainstorming a blog pitch or sending out emails, ask yourself if a partnership with this brand makes sense. Target relevant, high-quality links.
Off-site SEO Tip #2: Don’t try to get on every directory possible
Directories may look like easy opportunities for getting links to your website, but many of them don’t do much for SEO. Instead of spending your SEO time seeking out every directory, find the most relevant ones. Even those may not give you much link juice, but you will be associated with a directory that consumers trust.
Off-site SEO Tip #3: Set up Google My Business
A lot of SEO is about making things easier for the consumer. Having a business page available with information like hours, services, and locations means the consumer has less work to do.
Improving SEO via Content
Content is the cornerstone of SEO. You can make thousands of tweaks to your microdata and you can send out pitches to hundreds of website owners, but if you don’t have quality content that is relevant to your audience, your other efforts can only do so much. Bottom line: don’t just write to fill the space. Your SEO efforts rely on the targeted and high-quality content that you provide.
Content Tip #1: Provide value
Give people who visit your site a reason to stay. Besides building your brand’s authority, the presence of useful information can affect how long visitors stay on your site. You want people to be spending more time on your site’s pages; if visitors are only staying fractions of a second on your site, they aren’t seeing content relevant to them.
Content Tip #2: Write with your keyword in mind
While search engine algorithms do take into account exact keywords or keyword phrases, they also examine related words in your content. It may be useful to consider how a reader will come across your page. What questions would they ask? What phrase variations would they use? Highlight your keyword phrase and variations of it throughout the page.
Content Tip #3: Optimize for how people read web content
Make your content easy to read and scan. Break your writing up into headings and subheadings, use bold and italics so that readers can pick out keywords, and use bulleted lists where they make sense.
Content Tip #4: Publish consistently
Search engines like to see active websites. If you haven’t published anything new in a while or you haven’t made tweaks to existing content, this could be harming SEO.
Are You Ready to Begin SEO?
Search engine optimization is not something that can be done overnight. It takes serious planning and time to implement all of these tactics, and those are just the ones that can be done easily!
Your time investment will pay off in better leads, more site traffic, and better conversion rates, so SEO is not something to neglect. If you are interested in learning more about how SEO services can add value to your business, contact The Design Group.