Did you know that over 60% of organic traffic comes from search? Well now you do. If you see the letters SEO and immediately feel confused, this beginners guide will tell you how to optimize your website to increase your traffic.
SEO is about optimizing websites so that search engines understand your value and rank it accordingly on search. If you’re still wondering why SEO is important here’s an example. Let’s say you go to Google because you want to find information about a specific topic, for example, ‘marketing companies near me’ and you get a list of results. Which one do you click? Most definitely one on the first page. Your goal is to be on the first page (even better: within the first few listings) of the search your customers are making so that you see increased traffic to your site.
Let’s look at some strategic ways to optimize your website.
1. Do keyword research and use relevant terms
A keyword indicates the main topic of your article and it’s what makes it possible for people to find your article once they make an online search for a topic. This is why you should make sure your keyword matches with the search intent of your target audience. It can be a short keyword like ‘digital marketing’ which often have a higher search volume or a long-tail-keyword which are very specific, such as how to create a good digital advertising campaign’. It’s best to go for a mix of both of these.
2. Place keywords throughout your page
Ideally, your chosen keywords should be in the:
Title of the post
The first and last paragraph of the post
In the text organically throughout the post
The tags of images used
As long as they don’t disrupt the flow of the article, put them in!
3. Include SEO in Permalinks
A permalink is the URL you see when you access a webpage, they shouldn’t be too long and at the same time, clearly describe what the webpage is about. Use clear and meaningful words in your URL. For example, if you have an online book store, some examples could be:
www.lovelybooks.com – is your website
www.lovelybooks.com/selfhelp – can be a page where people can find all books in the self-help category
www.lovelybooks.com/selfhelp/BOOKTITLE – is the page where they’ll find information about a specific book in this category
4. Hyperlink your existing content
If the post you are currently writing is related to another post you’ve already written, link it! It’s good practice to hyperlink your content to other posts and pages on your website. This will contribute to a better user experience by helping the reader further discover related content.
5. Write high-quality content.
Make sure to cover your topic in full and don’t leave out information that might be important, however still make sure to be engaging. Don’t place your keywords all over your article in hope to have a high keyword density. Trying to cheat the system by placing as many keywords as they can everywhere, will not work and many actually get penalised for it.
6. Optimize your images
Images help visualize your content and help make it more understandable to readers and they are also important for SEO. An image can’t be crawled, but what can be crawled and indexed is the image ALT-text, in other words, the image description.
7. Page speed
Your page speed is incredibly important for website ranking and it’s been used as a ranking factor by Google since 2018. People spend literally seconds on your homepage before choosing if they want to explore it further or jump off.
8. Don’t forget your mobile version!
As people increasingly use their phones to use the internet, it’s important to optimize your website for smart devices. Incorrect formatting could have annoying faults such as buttons that don’t work or having to scroll to the side just to see the page entirely.
9. Technical SEO
Technical SEO goes beyond just permalinks and choosing the right keywords. It’s about creating a responsive design for your website. This topic is technical (obviously), so it goes beyond what this beginner's guide describes. Nevertheless, it’s important to point it out here. Work with a technical SEO expert, as well as with your team to understand how the ideal website structure and design should look for your target audience.
10. Update your pages and content
You will regularly want to do an SEO-audit to update your content. Especially since information and trends are rapidly changing and you don’t want to be penalised on search rankings because of outdated information.