SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to the process of tweaking a website to rank higher in Google’s (or any other search engine's) search results. This results in more traffic, sales, and exposure for your company. Here are a few things you need to know about SEO:
In case you haven’t noticed, the Internet is taking over. By the end of this year the Internet is expected to influence trillions of dollars in sales, with billions of people making online purchases. How do these people find their potential transactions? Simple: Google. The massive search engine accounts for almost 90% of online searches. Of the approximately 1.2 trillion searches done per year, 92% of people never click on anything past the first results page. If your site ranks on the second page you’re missing out on massive amounts of traffic.
Coughlin now presents to you eight pillars of SEO to guide you in your SEO journey. These pillars consist of Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, Local SEO, XML Sitemaps, Markups, Content Planning, Google Search Console/Analytics and Linking. Understanding these concepts will give you a solid foundation on the majority of what SEO encompasses.
Discover what your target audience is searching for. Properly implemented keyword research improves content quality, leading to better customer experiences and search results. It's all about understanding how users search on the internet, and using that to your advantage. Some of the best research practices include:
Analyze the keywords of competitors, a big reason they may be ranking higher than you.
See what keywords the top results have in common.
Utilize LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords. These are synonyms and related search terms “surrounding” the keywords your website is using. Tools like LSI Graph can give you some ideas for which LSI keywords may be relevant to you.
URL Optimization—Having URL’s that are short, concise, and descriptive encourages users to click on them, and makes it easier for the search engine to read.
Title Tags—These are the clickable main headings displayed in search results. Page titles should provide a summary of that page's content, with relevant keywords and perhaps your company name.
Content—The most important part of any site is its content. Focusing on quality content, especially that which remains relevant for a long time (or, evergreen content) encourages a steady stream of online traffic.
When your phone says "There are five Asian restaurants near you," you are enjoying the benefits of local searches. Local SEO helps Google recommend your company to people that are in your geographical region. The best ways to implement local SEO include:
Adding your company location to Google Maps. This lets people in your area know how to get to you and enriches search results for your company.
Including your company address on your site in an easy-to-find and easily read format.
Include company hours on your site. Google will confidently recommend you to potential consumers if they know you’re open.
An XML Sitemap is a file that contains all the important URL's on your site. Note that XML sitemaps cannot exceed 50,000 URL's, but that's not a problem for most people! These maps help Google and other search engines more efficiently “crawl” through your content. When it comes to creating a sitemap, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Only add SEO-relevant pages to your sitemap. If you don’t want a page to show up on the results page, don’t add it.
Be sure to keep your sitemap updated as your website grows and expands.
Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console once it has been created.
Markups allow for search engines to better understand your data. As Google crawls your pages it cannot always detect the type of information it is analyzing. Put simply, markups are a way of adding code to your website in an organized and predetermined fashion. The most important and influential markup is Schema. Schema was developed by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex in order to make the gathering of data more streamline across all search engines. Learn more at https://schema.org/
Use your target audience to guide content creation. If you are in the business of selling cars but writing about baking cakes you’re doing something wrong.
Begin with a large topic that you can branch off of to create smaller, more detailed articles.
Google Analytics allows you to set goals and track many different statistics on your site. Whether you want to track sales, clicks or simply page views, Google’s tools help you see how your site is performing. Google Search Console has a separate set of tools created to help you fine-tune your website’s SEO and performance. You can take advantage of these resources for free by registering your domain on each platform.
When it comes to linking, there are two types: Internal Linking and Backlinking. Internal links serve to bind your site together, making sure every page on your site is linked together is important. If a page isn’t linked, Google has no way of accessing it. You could have top-tier content, but if Google can’t see it then nobody will. Backlinks bring people to your content from other sites. Google considers backlinks to be one of the best ways to measure a website’s reputability. Some good linking strategies to try are:
Ensuring that all important pages on your site can be navigated by clicking links, enabling Google and other search engines' crawling success.
Guest Blogging to build backlinks. Blogging for another site gives you an opportunity to show a new audience what you can do, and recommend your website to those people.
“Broken-Link Building” to form backlinks. This involves finding links with 404 errors on high reputation sites and contacting the owner to let them know the link isn’t working. Then, recommend your own content to be linked there instead.