Search Engine Optimization is the key to bringing QUALITY visitors back to your site!
If you’re an SEO pro, you may want to skip this blog because this will cover some of the basics that ALL website owners can do on their own. But if you’re a new website owner or webmaster, then this is for you!
Select Keywords You Want to Rank For
You don’t need to have a fancy keyword checker tool to accomplish this. Just perform some Google searches for keywords you think are relevant and try to come up with a list of 5-10 keywords that you want to rank for.
When you do this, pay close attention to the companies ranking for those keywords. For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for the keyword “Kitchen and Bath Design Bucks County”.
Notice how nearly every listing for that keyword includes some variation of the terms “Kitchen and Bath” and “Bucks County”. These companies identified that keyword to be valuable to them because it has:
- Searcher intent – Meaning people are likely looking for a kitchen and bath company in the Bucks County area.
- Not so much competition – As is made evident by the 6 Houzz links that I left off of the screenshot.
So when you identify the keyword(s) that you want to rank for, it’s time to…
Optimize Your Meta Information
Meta information is the blue and gray text you see in the screenshot above; they’re what shows up on the search engine results pages (SERPs). No matter your website builder (whether it be WordPress, Adobe Muse, Wix, Square Space, etc), you are able to edit this meta information on every page.
Craft call-to-actions that encourage people to click on the links and but one thing to look out for is keyword stuffing. If all you do is copy/paste your keywords into the meta, basically tailoring it for search engines, you will may initially see a bump in rankings. But over time, your rankings will fall.
There is no magic number of keywords you can or should use, but try to stick to one or two per page. Optimizing your meta information should be at least a quarterly task and should change based on your previous months’ keyword performance.
Run a Technical Audit of your Site
Screaming Frog is a great, free tool to use for this. With this tool, you can easily spot:
- Unoptimized meta information
- Any 404 errors
- Heading tags
- Internal Links
- And more
But if you don’t feel like using that tool, simply go through your website page-by-page. Click on every link you can, read every piece of text, examine each picture, view it on multiple devices. Just a simple visual audit can make sure that your website is built for users and not for search engines.
Track Your Performance with Google Analytics
When you install Google Analytics on your website, you’ll be able to see tons of information about the visitors that come to your website. This data can be used to determine if your SEO efforts are working or if they need to be adjusted.
While Analytics won’t allow you to track your keyword performance, you will be able to set up goals, assign monetary values to conversions, run A/B test, and much more.
One of the most common metrics you can check right off the bat would be your traffic’s geo-location. If you are based in Philadelphia, PA but most of your traffic comes from Philadelphia, AL, then something is wrong with your SEO. Another common metric is the time on site. If your website features content that is engaging and keeps people on, then you’re doing a good job!
Install & Verify Google Search Console
The Search Console is essentially your backdoor to Google. On it, you can submit sitemaps, request re-indexes, check your robots.txt, remove URLs from Google, and much more.
It only takes a few minutes to install and is an extremely valuable tool that’s absolutely free to use. The guide linked in the previous sentence sums everything up better than I ever could, so please give that link a visit if you’re have trouble with GSC.
That’s Enough to Get the Basics Covered
Yes, there are hundreds of other things you can do to help improve your SEO performance but these few are the absolute basics upon which a full campaign can be built. If you are still a bit overwhelmed with SEO, one of the industry’s leaders, Moz, has a great Beginner’s Guide to SEO that I highly recommend.
During my first internship at Infinity Digital, it was part of my first month’s duty to read that entire guide and understand it completely. Then, during my time at Temple University, we literally used that guide as our curriculum when I was in an SEO class. (Yes, I took an SEO class as an easy A. Don’t tell me you never took one either, haha).
As always, I’m eager to help small businesses or website owners get the most out of their SEO performance. So if you have any questions, I highly encourage you to reach out to me via Twitter or leave a comment below!