How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines?
The secrets to becoming No. 1 on Google and staying there.
No doubt, SEO is a technical topic that often turn people off.
But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, once you understand how it works, you’ll enjoy doing it.
Because so many people are doing SEO wrong, Google is constantly changing the rules. This article is not about shady and spammy SEO tactics. It’s about the best practices. Those that won’t change any time soon.
You don’t have to worry about Google changing their rules or creating new ones. Why? Because you’ll be on their ‘good side.’
In SEO, no matter what you do:
Inspire trust, build authority, and stay relevant.
Google’s Top 5 Ranking Factors:
So, what are those unchanging rules and how to leverage them?
SEO experts who worked for years to figure out how Google works, encapsulated their findings in five primary principles. You’ll find that those rules don’t only apply to Google, but also to YouTube and elsewhere.
1. Content Length:
A blog post with 1000 words will outrank a post with 500 words. Why? Because a 1000-word article is likely to have more information than the 500 word article.
It’s much more useful as it gives the reader something more. Long form content also keeps visitors on your website for a longer time. Long form content will provide higher value than shorter, and is more likely to be covering the topic in deeper detail.
Keywords are a large part of SEO.
Without the right keywords, you’re wasting your time. Your keywords must have a lot of traffic and little competition. A large part of SEO is devoted to find the sweet spot keywords that a) receive a lot of traffic and b) few websites compete for it.
For maximum success with your SEO project, you need to tailor your keywords to each buyer’s journey:
The Awareness Stage & Informational Keywords:
At this stage, the buyer is aware that there’s a problem but still not sure what to do about it. So, he searches for more information. Your role here is to provide educational content. He might search for “how to increase my website traffic.”
The Consideration Stage & Commercial Keywords:
The buyer knows he has a problem and he is actively seeking a solution. The intent to buy is starting to grow but he’s not ready yet. For example, he might search for “best SEO agency in my area” or “SEO agency X vs. SEO agency Y”
The Purchase Stage & Transactional Keywords:
Now, the buyer identified the solution to his problem and he is determined to solve it. The buying intent is present and strong; he now is searching for "SEO Agency for hire" or "freelance SEO writer."
The Importance of Long-tail Keywords:
Noticed how, at each stage, the buyer searched for complete sentences with three or four words? It is called long-tail keywords.
If you were the business owner in the above example, you’re less likely to search for a short keyword like “SEO service.” Instead, you’ll be specific, knowing what you want. Believe it or not, it’s easier to rank for “live chat support software” than “live chat.”
Now, to generate your keyword list, you can gather ideas from your competitors or brainstorm them with your team. In both cases, ensure that your target customers search for these keywords.
3. Responsive Web Design:
With more searches done on mobile devices, Google is moving forward with a Mobile First Index.
Themes and templates make another huge chunk of SEO structure. Unfortunately, most themes out there get it wrong. Don’t believe the “SEO-friendly” stamp on most premium themes on the internet.
Website responsiveness means that your website loads fast on all devices. Speed is of essence in SEO. If your website takes forever to load, visitors will be frustrated and might leave altogether.
Here’s the real difference between optimizing your website for humans and search engines. Because from the outside, your website might look pretty with all the bells and whistles. But search engines might have a hard time understanding the coding.
Usually, both will go hand in hand. But this one is an important ranking factor you don’t want to neglect. Make sure to optimize the pictures, the title tag, headings, use PageSpeed Insights, and minify code whenever possible.
Remember that this is where SEO tends to get tricky. However, don’t panic. If you do it right, you have nothing to worry about. At the very least, ensure that your website functions properly on mobile devices just as well as on desktops.
4. SEO Visibility Score (Domain Authority):
You don’t have to be a digital marketing wizard to understand the value of SEO Visibility.
Your visibility score is determined by your position in relation to your list of keywords. Search engines will calculate your position based on how you rank for each of your target keywords.
You can increase your score by two methods:
- Link building: Get websites with high visibility score to link to you.
- Branding: Get your business name out there.
5. User Signals:
What your target customer does on your website is very important for search engines.
You see, search engines actually track users and take notes. Everything is recorded. From the moment your ideal customer enters the keyword, clicks on your websites, searches around, and leaves.
Every second spent on your website counts. Every click, and every interaction.
Tip: How you structure your internal linking will help your SEO because it takes customers through their journey. Remember: You can make search engines happy if you make the customer happy. Not the other way around.
How to improve User Experience for SEO:
Make your content easy to read with proper headings. Use only one H1 at the beginning, and H2, H3, H4 as needed throughout the copy.
Make your website east to navigate. Not all visitors will come through the homepage. They need a clear roadmap to navigate your website, and that includes clean URL structure.
Encourage users to click on your Google My Business posts, use the click-to-call feature, and leave five-stars review of you.
SEO Tools of the Trade:
Keywords Research: Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Optimization Tools: Google Page Speed Insight, Google Snippet Optimization Tool, and Google Webmaster Tools.
Additional SEO Tools: Searchmetrics and Moz.
In conclusion, to thrive in the SEO universe you need to be creative, fast, and engaging.
There’s no other way of doing SEO than inspiring trust, building authority, and staying relevant.
Focus on delivering great value to your ideal customers. Google is watching, and if you do everything right, you don’t need to worry about penalties or rankings. Naturally, you’ll rise to the top.
If you’ve been struggling with SEO, integrate the best practices outlined in this article and watch as your desired results unfold. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do SEO, but you do have to be patient and willing to go an extra mile for your ideal customer.