SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of those terms that you've probably heard but you're not sure what it actually means or how it will help you and your website. It can be scary and intimidating as carving out time to do any additional work within your business is hard, let alone learning a new skill. But here is the thing, if you want to rank higher in online searches and be more visible to the audience you want to attract, then you have to have some kind of SEO foundation in place.
Most website services these days offer basic SEO assistance to ensure that your website has some of the key things you need in order to visibly rank in online search engines such as Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Take advantage of those and make sure you've followed all of their prompts! This is the easiest way to start laying your SEO foundation.
With that said, we've compiled 5 easy steps to follow that will really kick your SEO into gear. Now before we jump in, just a friendly reminder...this is not an overnight fix. It takes time to rank higher within online search engines and despite some businesses claiming they can get you to rank higher within a few days, it's not possible. Do not buy into any quick-fix scams, they could actually end up hurting your website's reputation in the long run.
Step 1: Sign Up for Google My Business
Start by going to go to https://www.google.com/business and register your business. Fill out as much information as you can (seriously, the more the better) and verify your business. You can do this even if you don't have a physical location, simply select the region/state/country you provide services or shipping to. Once you've been verified and your profile is live, encourage reviews! The more activity on your Google My Business account, the more Google pays attention to you.
Step 2: Sign Up for Google Analytics & Search Console
This step is simple. You're just going to ensure you've signed up and registered your website for both Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Go to https://alalytics.google.com and https://search.google.com and input your web address.
Step 3: Keyword Research & Focus
While using Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you're going to look at a few things. In Google Analytics, look at your Acquisition Overview to see where your traffic is coming from and then your Behavior Flow to see how your audience is using your website. From there you'll head over to Google Search Console and see what keywords (referred to as Queries) you're ranking for and what keywords people clicked through to you.
This information is important because you may be getting traffic to your website with keywords you don't find relevant to your business. Also, you may see that the keywords you feel are important to your business are not helping you get traffic at all. Make a list of the keywords you want to be found under and the keywords you're actually ranking for. Then see if you can narrow down that list to a core set of keywords you want to focus on.
Pro Tip: Check out https://trends.google.com to see what keywords people are searching for the most. This tool allows you to input several keywords to see their popularity within the Google Search Engine. You can even narrow down your location so you can make sure that the keywords relevant to your business are the keywords your potential audience is actively searching for.
Step 4: Website Improvements
Based on the keyword research from Step 3, you're going to apply this information to your website. Make sure these keywords are reflected in your content regularly. And, make sure your titles (also known as H1 headings within your website) have your keywords. This is incredibly important. If your headings do not feature these same keywords, Google will not know they are important to you.
You also want to ensure that you have a unique "Meta Description", or page description, for every page of your website. If you are missing the page descriptions, or they are all the same, Google will not value these pages as much as the ones with descriptions. And, be sure to include Alt Image Titles for your images so Google can understand the imagery on your website.
Lastly, create regular content that reiterates your keywords. This includes blogs, but if you're the type to release video content, make sure you transcribe your audio so your keywords show up in a way that Google understands. Google can only read your website, so the more words you can include the better!
Step 5: Backlinks
This last step is one of the most important, and one that we've seen skipped the most. Find as many opportunities you can for your website to be highlighted and linked back to from other reputable (and relevant to your topic) websites. The more websites that link back to your website, the more Google sees that you have relevant and valuable content to share with it's users. Thus, this increases your overall ranking.
Work to find ways that you can either collaborate or provide content to other websites. Set a goal of finding 1 to 2 opportunities a month and work to grow this over time. Google can tell if you've paid someone for back links - so DO NOT do this. You want to make sure you, and the websites you work with, have good Domain Authority reputations and should work to improve this score regularly. You can go to https://ahrefs.com/website-authority-checker to see this number for free any time.
Yes, this can seem like a lot of work, but if you spend a little time every month on your SEO you'll start to see the improvement over time. Then, you can start checking in on your SEO quarterly instead of monthly, and know you're consistanly working towards ranking higher through the steps you've taken.
If this still seems a little overwhelming, don't worry. We would love to work with you and we are offering special SEO Consulting Packages to help you through the process. You can find out more about these packages by clicking here. Of course, if you'd rather have someone do the work for you, we're also happy to help with that, too. Find our list of SEO services here.