"Can you get our website placed on the first spot?"
We often hear this question about our marketing services.
SEO, or search engine optimization, has changed significantly over 10 years. Your ranking is based on countless, mysterious, and continuously evolving factors that go beyond simply knowing what keywords to use. There are many businesses and consultants who claim that they get your website on the first spot. The truth is that no one can make that guarantee.
As digital marketers, it's important to have a working knowledge of SEO. Since we're asked this question frequently, we put together a few interesting tips on how to improve your SEO ranking. (tl;dr? Click below or here to watch a summary of these tips.)
First, here's a summary of how SEO works. When someone searches on Google or another search engine, SEO is the process that ranks your website when someone types in the keywords for the information that they are seeking out. Search engine companies (Google isn't the only one) send out crawlers, or an algorithm, to crawl your site and index it based on numerous factors. Whether your site checks all the boxes influences your ranking within search results. These algorithms change constantly and aren't public knowledge, which is why it can be so frustrating.
Use keywords that are relevant to your product or service, but write your content like you're talking to a person. Do not stuff as many keywords as possible for the sake of SEO. That trend was popular 10 years ago, and will count against your website today. Crawlers and algorithms are the mechanisms that help people find you. Ultimately, people purchase your product or service. They want to read captivating and engaging messages that convince them to say yes to purchasing your product or service, and that is what increases your ranking.
Start a blog and add new content to it often. Add fresh pages with relevant content to your website that answers your customer's questions. Posting at least weekly is best, but we know many owners and marketers of small to medium-sized businesses can be pressed for time. A few times per month is good.
Use Google My Business. Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses and organizations to control how they appear on Google Search and Maps. Many companies and organizations already use this to communicate their hours, address, and collect reviews. Did you know that there are many features like posting special offers, photos, and more? Very few companies keep their profile updated and post to it regularly. Keeping your Google My Business page fresh and relevant helps your SEO ranking exponentially. Getting reviews from your customers and responding to them promptly is also critical.
Optimize the photos on your website. Yes, the crawlers also look at the photos on your website.
Make sure that you name the photo file with relevant keywords. For example, if you're selling tickets to a dance performance and are posting an image of a ballerina. Save the file as "ballerina in a tutu" or "ballerina dancing," not simply "ballerina"
Use alt text - this a short description of the image that appears when images do not correctly appear on your screen. You may have seen a space for this as you're uploading new photos to your site. Taking just a few seconds to add alt tex will help your SEO. Alt text is also required under the American Disabilities Act for people who are blind or visually impaired. You can use the same phrase that you used for your file name (but do not include .jpg in the file name).
Compress your images for web. This helps your site load faster, which is also a significant factor in SEO.
Provide the best user experience possible. Your website is your greatest asset, and should be built to drive revenue first. This means you need to create a great user experience with functionality at the forefront, followed by compelling, eye catching design. Examples include:
Your site's load time, or how fast it appears on a screen.
Easy navigation and functional purchase pathway.
Mobile-device friendly or responsive.
Again, these are only a few of many tips that help your SEO ranking. As you can see, some of them are also related to legislation, which means your website may not be legally compliant. If you're considering a website refresh or redesign, it's always best to work with a pro to ensure that all website best practices are in place.