There was a time when SEO wasn’t nearly as important as it is today. But the Internet has completely transformed how we access information. Post-pandemic, the surge in online businesses shows that online presence is vital for business survival, especially for small business owners. Whenever I meet someone and introduce myself as a digital marketer, they ask me to give them tips for ranking better on Google, and one way of helping them is by writing actionable articles. Now, more than ever, SEO is crucial for small businesses. According to Hubspot, 93% of consumers begin their research online before calling a business. That means having a solid SEO strategy can make all the difference between success and failure.
You can do many things to ensure that your site ranks high in organic searches. One of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is by employing good SEO practices.
So, what can you do to ensure that your website ranks high in organic searches? Here are ten simple, actionable steps to optimize your site for search engines.
#1. Optimize Your Webpage Title Tags
Your webpage title tags are the first thing visitors see when they land on your page. Title tags are significant because they appear at the top of each browser window. They are the only part of your web page that appears before a visitor decides whether or not to visit your site. Therefore, it’s crucial that they accurately describe your page’s contents.
For example, if you sell shoes, your title tag might read “Shop Shoes.”
However, if you sell clothing, your title tag might say “Find Women’s Clothing Online.”
Adding keywords to your title tags increases customers’ likelihood of clicking on your page.
#2. Use Descriptive URLs
URLs are short web addresses that point to different pages on your website. The URL is usually displayed beneath the address bar in your browser window. Visitors use it to find your site and search engines to index your content. Descriptive URLs are great because they provide visitors with a clear idea of what each page of your website contains. They also let visitors quickly find the content they were looking for.
But when it comes to SEO, descriptive URLs are insignificant, as per google. Since they lack words, they won’t get indexed by search engine bots. To fix this, you can use keyword-rich URLs. Add keywords to the end of your page URLs and make sure those keywords appear in the title tag. These changes will increase the odds that Googlebot will crawl your site.
#3. Include Alt Text to your web elements
Alt text (alternate text) describes the purpose of the web elements, such as images, links, and buttons. It’s one of the most essential parts of SEO because it explains the elements on your page. Although you may be familiar with using alt text to describe photos on your site, you can also use the same approach when linking to another site. Let’s say you have a link to a product page on Amazon. Instead of simply stating, “click here to see our products“, you could write, “See the latest Gillette Razor.” It tells humans and robots that clicking on the picture will lead to a new page.
Further, When you share a link on social media, it’s often accompanied by some description and an image for preview. But many times, these descriptions aren’t beneficial because they don’t tell your audience what the linked page is about. In fact, they might not even be accurate. That’s why it’s so important to use descriptive alt tags and titles for a better visitor experience.
#4. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is a set of codes to tell search engine bots what kind of data they can expect to find on your site. Search engines often use this information to determine how valuable a given piece of content is and interpret your website to understand its structure better and provide users with more accurate search results. Marking up the names of your products is just one example of schema markup. Other examples include marking up the title of pages, dates, and authorship.
You’d want to add schema markup because it allows Google to index your pages faster.
To learn more about schema markup at the beginner’s level, see the below resources:
- For documentation on schema and official guidelines: https://schema.org/docs/gs.html
- Hard coding schema takes a lot of time, for convenience there are auto schema generators to use like the below link:
We use schema markup for our SEO clients and spend a reasonable amount of time implementing it on the website. It’s a very foundation aspect of our SEO services.
#5. Create Internal Links
Internal linking is a powerful tool for improving your website’s organic traffic. In simple words, it refers to connecting posts within your website. When you use internal linking effectively, you can link related topics together within your site. This linking creates a more cohesive experience for visitors across your site.
For example, imagine you run a blog about fashion trends. You might create a post called “Summer Fashion Trends.” Then, you could link to that post from a different post by writing something like “Check out these summer fashion trends.” It not only lets readers jump directly to the relevant section of your site, but it also gives Google additional context about your site.
Next time, when you create a new post, make sure to include links to all related posts. That way, readers can easily find what they are looking for.
#6. Build Relevant Backlinks
Backlinks are links pointing to your site from other websites (external websites). Backlinks are essential to any link-building strategy and crucial for any business. They indicate that another site trusts your brand and deems it worthy of linking to yours. Those external websites send signals to Google that say, “This website is useful. I trust it. And I like it. So should you.” Google values these types of signals and uses them to determine how relevant your page is. Having many relevant backlinks means that other websites have considered your site reliable.
An important point to consider here is that not all backlinks are worthy. Links relevant to the website niche, industry and media outlets are essential.
So, how do you build backlinks?
First, you must create high-quality content. Content marketing is important because it allows users to read articles, watch videos, and learn new skills. A good blog article always gets attention and references from other websites like bloggers or media.
Second, you must share your content through social media sites. Social media sites allow users to interact with each other and share their ideas.
Finally, you must optimize your content for SEO purposes.
And a most common practice to build backlinks is to identify good websites, contact the website owner, and ask for a backlink.
#7. Submit Content to Social Media Sites
Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., are popular platforms for sharing content. Submitting content to these networks can be beneficial because they have large audiences who may share your content. They are also often used by potential customers when researching products and services.
Therefore, submitting articles, videos, and pictures to social networks is essential to build awareness and drive traffic to your site.
However, finding the right places to submit your material is not always easy because there are many different types of social media sites. And often, it may not always work out how you expect it to. It all depends on the type of business you are dealing with. For example, if your product or service is in B2B segment, LinkedIn and Twitter will be more beneficial than Facebook. Whereas, if your business is into e-commerce, Facebook and Instagram are great places to share content.
#8. Use Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords refer to terms people rarely use when looking for products or services. You can target a specific audience with long tail keywords without being overly competitive. Instead of typing “iPhone case,” you might enter “iPhone XR soft case with a custom background.” Since long tail keywords are less competitive, they tend to bring in higher quality leads.
In short, it involves focusing on specific phrases instead of broader topics. When done correctly, long-tail SEO improves your chances of attracting targeted traffic.
To get started –
- You need to define your product or service.
- Next, write a list of related keywords of the product/service for each page.
- Type the primary keyword in google and see all auto-suggestions by google for the keyword. Note down relevant ones. Try different keyword combinations to see more choices of suggestions. See the image below for auto-suggestion references.
- Alternatively, use tools like ahrefs or SEMrush to find long-tail keywords and build content around it.
#9. Write Original Content
Writing original content is hard work. Original content means writing unique, informative pieces that no one else has written. To generate original content, you must invest time and effort into researching topics that interest you. And yet, it’s also one of the best ways to build authority on your website.
But creating great content isn’t easy. Especially when you’re starting, and while it might take time to perfect your craft, you’ll quickly see the benefits once you start producing quality content.
Here are four steps to writing original content that will keep readers engaged and coming back for more:
Step #1 – Understand Your Audience
The first thing you must do when you start writing is figure out who you’re targeting. Are you writing for beginners? Advanced users? People looking for general information? Or perhaps you’re trying to sell products through your posts.
Step #2 – Research Popular Topics
Researching related topics doesn’t mean you need to copy everything you read. Rather, it simply means you need to understand the concepts behind each piece of content.
For example, let’s say you want to write a post about email marketing. You could look up “email marketing” on Google and read 10 blogs that cover the subject. Then you could take notes and incorporate the best points into your own post.
Step #3 – Create Great Headlines
Headlines play a significant role in your success online and are the first thing anyone reads on the search result or your site. Whether you’re writing articles, blog posts, press releases, emails, or social media updates, every piece of copy has a headline. So, it’s vital that you write compelling headlines that capture their interest and keep them reading. According to Copyblogger, 80 percent of readers scan headlines. The best headlines grab their attention and compel them to read further.
Step#4 – Craft Compelling Copy
The secret to creating compelling copy lies in understanding the psychology behind human decision-making. Writing takes practice and lots of trial and error. Your writing should be clear, crisp, and well-organized. Your goal isn’t just to entertain your visitors but to inform them. Provide additional context whenever possible. Don’t leave your reader guessing about what you mean.
To achieve consistency, keep your writing style consistent. Write the same way every time you draft a new piece of content.
#10. Track Conversions
Conversion tracking measures whether or not your marketing efforts are successful. It lets you see what works and what doesn’t work so that you can make changes accordingly. Additionally, conversion tracking enables marketers to find out which types of ads perform better than others.
Google Analytics is a very useful tool for monitoring websites. The primary purpose of google analytics is to measure every site page’s traffic and conversion rate. By doing this, they can improve their marketing strategies. If you are new to tracking visitor data, you can use Google Analytics’s free tool to begin.
Visit analytics.google.com to sign up and follow the instructions to install google analytics on your domain. However, tracking conversions requires a bit more effort. You need to create goals and let the tool start collecting data to track conversions or leads on the website.
In conclusion, SEO is a powerful tool to help you reach potential customers online. It’s probably one of the smartest investments you can make. However, building a successful website takes time and effort, which means you won’t see immediate returns from your efforts. That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in search engine optimization.
The truth is, if you want to succeed online, you have to spend time building relationships with your audience. It means spending time writing content that engages your readers and sharing it across social media channels.
What are some other ways you’ve optimized your site for search engines? Let us know in the comments below.