We all know that it is important for a business to appear on page one of the search engine’s results page, but how do you build that kind of organic search strength? Here are six steps you can take to help increase your search engine optimization (SEO).
1) Offer Valued Content
Ultimately, people return to your website because you offer unique content. This is what makes your site different from competitors. If your content is current and engaging, you give your audience a reason to return and become a trusted source for them. Content isn’t just a written post, it can be photos, videos, a social media post, or user generated content. Part of strengthening your SEO is increasing the number of people who read and link to your site.
2) Have Navigation that Makes Sense
After content, your site’s navigation might be the most important element to help the foundation of your SEO. Obviously, the more straightforward and direct your navigation is, the easier it is for an audience to use your site. Search engines grade your site on how fluid your site’s navigation is. They want to see direct links from your homepage to a section and then back to your site. Stay away from navigation links that are an image or animation because search engine crawlers can’t read images, they are looking for words to direct them.
3) Create a Sitemap
A sitemap may not seem necessary because you have adequate and thorough navigation available. But a sitemap isn’t for your customers, it’s for search engines and their web crawlers to find and index your site properly, and to compare it to the site’s navigation. As part of the sitemap include keywords when describing the different pages, so that search engines will be able to find and connect the similar text.
4) Select Your Keywords Thoughtfully
Keywords need to be specific to your website. The keywords and phrases you choose should relate directly to your business, industry, service, or products. If your selections are too broad and occur too often, search engines will devalue those parts of your site.
5) Make Your Site Shareable
Thanks to social media, it has never been easier for customers to share links to your website. If they post a link on their feed and encourage friends to visit your site, your SEO will strengthen with every click. Every person who opens that page creates a path for search engines to follow. Making your content available with social media links, will create more opportunity for users to link to your site, which strengthens how search engines will rank you.
6) Don’t Be Afraid of Analytics
Every search engine offers a way to measure your website’s analytics. It gives you the opportunity to look at what content is attracting visitors, and where your audience is coming from. You can use these numbers to see what marketing campaigns are customers are engaging with, to compare how popular your social media feeds are, and even see what time of day people are looking at your site. The more you understand about your audience, the easier it will be for you to build a website that your users will want to engage with.
By continuously adjusting these elements of your website you are making it easier for the search engines to do their job. The easier you make their job, the more they will reward you for doing so. As your SEO strengthens it will become easier for people to find your website, and as more people find your website it will demonstrate to search engines that your site is a destination. The bigger the destination you become, the higher you will rank on a search engine results page.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.