What to Know about SEO
If you’re looking to drive more organic traffic to your website, it’s important to understand the basics of search engine optimization, or SEO, which is the practice of increasing both the quantity and quality of website visits through organic or “non-paid” search engine results. SEO is more than just inserting keyword phrases into your website in hopes that bots can “crawl” or search it and increase your ranking on search engines such as Google or Bing. There are other steps to take into consideration when optimizing your website.
This blog offers an overall understanding of SEO basics and takes a closer look at best practices your organization can implement to capture more website visitors to drive engagement and sales.
For some, learning SEO can feel like learning another language. Before we get into best practices, it’s important to familiarize yourself with SEO terminology, including:
- Crawling: The process of search engines discovering your webpage.
- KPI: A key performance indicator is the measurable item that shows how well your website is performing toward your goal.
- Organic: Placements or visits that are earned through search engines and not paid for.
- Ranking: Order of search results that are relevant to the query.
- Indexing: Storing and organizing content found by search engines.
Best Practices for Success
SEO can be a painless process that starts with understanding your customer’s search queries. For example, if you operate a cleaning services company in a large city like Chicago that specializes in carpet, your prospects will likely search terms such as “Carpet cleaning services in Chicago,” or “Chicago carpet cleaners.” You want to ensure that your webpage is optimized so that your it is one of the top search results.
These are a few basic steps to follow to increase your website visibility:
- Optimize your webpages with target keywords: Whether your goal is lead-gen, increasing sales, page visits or signups, it’s important to start with optimizing organic keyword phrases. This allows you to understand user behaviors, draft effective content, measure traffic potential and drive qualified traffic to your website. Test and research a variety of keywords before optimizing them. This will allow you to create a list of keywords that are reaching your conversion goals. Use keywords in your URL, page titles, headings and links.
- Create relevant content for indexing in digital marketing: If your site is not indexed by Google, it essentially is invisible and therefore won’t show up for any search queries. However, indexing and ranking are two completely separate entities. Indexing shows that search engines are aware of your website. When the search engines are aware, that’s where SEO comes into play and allows you to optimize your webpages so that they show up in search results. In order to get your content indexed by Google, you need to produce valuable information such as blogs that visitors would find interesting or helpful and ensure that your pages are crawlable. If your website has too many URLs or non-text pieces of content such as images, flash files, and Java applets, it won’t be crawled efficiently.
- Update content regularly: With content being the driving force behind SEO, it’s important to update your website regularly. In fact, this is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy, which is why it’s critical to continuously audit and update the site’s content. Create an editorial calendar filled with blog, webinar, podcast, white paper and even case study topics and updates. Then, publish these items as they are completed so that your site always features fresh content.
- Make your website easily accessible: Not only does your website need to be accessible to those who are interested in your organization, it also needs to be accessible to search engines in order to achieve a better ranking. As previously mentioned, if there are too many non-text pieces of content the crawlers will have difficulty finding those specific pages. Crawlers read HTML, so if images and video content is important to your page, ensure that there put the alt-text tributes, and titles in HTML. Make your pages visible with robot.txt files. The robot.txt file essentially tells the crawlers which pages to crawl. Additionally, make sure it’s user friendly. If the site is too overwhelming or not easy to navigate, your chances of visitors staying longer decreases. Use headings, lists, bullets, and don’t overload your site navigation.
Why SEO is Important
There are nearly 2 billion websites worldwide and the battle for visibility continues to grow as more websites are created each day. Thus, it’s important that your company has a high-quality website and regularly populates it with informative content. By learning the basics of website optimization and SEO crawlers, and following the aforementioned best practices, you can secure an increase in search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to your site.
The right tactics can support your brand’s SEO goals. Contact us to start a conversation.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She has a deep passion for media relations and content creation.