What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the system of improving the quality and amount of traffic a website receives through non-paid search engine results.
Google and other search engines crawl the Internet to find pages that match the queries users input. Their job is to find the best answer and put that answer at the top of the results. There are many ways to produce and edit content so that Google sees it as valuable and worth ranking. We will discuss some of the factors that affect your rankings on Google and how to utilize these factors to rank better.
First, let’s cover reasons why users navigate away from a page that may have the answer they’re looking for.
- Page Loading Speed- If your page loads slowly, not only will users navigate away impatiently, but Google will also notice this and penalize your rankings. A page should not take more than 3 seconds to load, and should ideally load in 1-2 seconds. Use Pingdom to check your page speed. Resize or compress images so that huge files don’t affect your page speed. Use keywords when you name the images for an SEO boost.
- Not Mobile Optimized- Mobile devices are now the number-one way people browse the internet. If your site is not mobile optimized, it affects both the user experience and your SEO rankings.
Ways to Improve SEO
Useful Content- Regular blogging improves your search engine rankings. Your content should give value to users. More in-depth content is preferable to short subject matter that just brushes the surface. Break up text with headings and space so that users aren’t accosted by a wall of content. Try to create evergreen content- it can be updated from time to time because its always relevant. Content should be easy to read so that it is digestible and doesn’t require too much effort on the part of the reader.
Linking- Use both inbound (links that go to content within your site) and outbound links (links that go to other sites) in your blog content. Inbound links should be to relevant pages in your site that relate to the topic. The same goes for outbound links, but you should not link to websites that are your competition in any way.
Keywords- The keyword density sweet-spot for a page is between one and five percent. Do not stuff your pages with keywords- Google will penalize you. Do research to find both long-tail and short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords, three words or more, are quite popular as specific queries obtain the most accurate results. Learn how to conduct keyword research by reading our blog.
Titles- Write catchy titles that load the main keyword at the front. HubSpot has some great tips for titling your content.
URLs- Short URLs perform better. Focus on including the keyword and summarizing the subject.
Get Backlinks- Backlinks increase your domain authority, which increases the juice Google puts behind your website. The higher your domain authority, the higher your rankings and therefore, traffic. This article gives actionable ways to increase your backlinks.
Social Media- Be active on social media. Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your site. It can increase search traffic and thus your SEO rankings. Social media works as an avenue that establishes your brand and values, while also generating interest about your products or services.
This list includes the simplest ways to improve your SEO. Once you’ve mastered these, research more complicated ways to improve. We suggest optimizing your WordPress site by following our blog.
About the author: Sheri Holshouser is a marketing manager based in Dallas, Texas. In her free time, she likes to read science fiction novels and play with her pug Chloe. Learn more about her professional qualifications on LinkedIn.