Did you know that 39% of total global web traffic comes from search engines, with Google receiving over 63,000 searches per second on any given day?
75% of users never click past the first page of search results.
Which is where SEO (the acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization) comes in. SEO is the process of earning traffic from search engines organically — meaning you aren’t paying for ads or sponsored content placement.
While there are many, many definitions on the web describing the process of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), I really like the clarity of this one — particularly the last sentence.
When someone searches a word or phrase related to a business, good SEO ensures that the business’s website shows up prominently in the organic (non-ad) search results, that their result is informative and enticing enough to prompt searchers to click, and that the visitor has a positive experience with the website. In other words, good SEO helps a website get found, get chosen, and convert new business. Duda
So, first things first.
Open a new browser window and do a search for your website on Google. Take note of where you are positioned on the search engine results page (SERP). You’ll want to set this as a benchmark so you can return to it in a month’s time after you’ve optimized your site to see if your position has shifted. The goal is to get your site to rank as high as possible for target keywords or phrases relevant to your website so that your site organically appears in the top of the SERPs.
Now let’s dive deeper into the SEO elements that will help your website move further up those rankings so you can get found, chosen and convert to new business.
This is not an exhaustive list — there are many elements involved in good SEO, but it’s a great place to get started on your SEO journey.
1. Mobile Responsive Design
Without a mobile responsive site, not only are you losing out significantly in the organic search rankings, but Google has made it very clear that it will penalize sites that are not mobile responsive.
Google says 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing with 40 percent visiting a competitor’s site instead.
If you haven’t implemented a mobile-first strategy yet, make it an urgent priority in the coming year.
Here are three tactics to make your website mobile-friendly:
- Check if your site is mobile responsive (ie your site adapts to any device ( hint — if you need a magnifying glass to view your website on a mobile device, it’s not)
- Scale your images when using responsive designs, so they’re not pixelated or slow to load
- Get rid of intrusive popups
2. Voice Optimized
While the majority of people searching for information on the web still trust search engines, the way people search for information online is changing.
Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets or voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices) to search for information on the internet (yet another compelling reason to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile).
In essence, voice searches are largely about answering questions, not about focusing on individual keywords. SEO is fast becoming AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation).
Insider Tip! Structure SEO around conversational keywords — in other words, address not just a specific keyword with your content, but rather the breadth of what someone is trying to learn when they search for that keyword.
3. Optimized For Local Search
If you want to attract new customers, your website also needs to be optimized for your local area. Searches on mobile devices containing the phrase “near me” has skyrocketed in recent years.
4. Fast Site Loading
How fast your website loads is critical — a good site will load in 2 seconds. Research shows that a single second delay in site load time can reduce your conversions by 7 percent. If your site is taking longer than that, consider that around 40% of people will leave a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds.
Insider Tip! Use GTmetrix a website speed test tool to test how fast your site loads. It not only gives you insight into your site loading time, but it also provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it. You can also use the tool to analyze the page-load of your site from 28 servers in 7 different regions around the world.
5. Relevant Content
Optimizing your website content for SEO is the most effective way to ensure your site will rank well in search engines. Put simply, Google rewards sites that give readers the information they are looking for.
This step involves creating content that is relevant (i.e. answers your audience’s questions) by identifying the terms people are searching for online. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for search engines to understand what your website is about.
Insider Tip! To boost your content’s relevancy, you want to write with keywords in mind. Focus on long-tail keywords — keywords or key phrases that are more specific — and usually longer — than more commonly searched for keywords (50% of search queries are four words or longer). They get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.
Further Reading: How To Find The Best Keywords For Your Website
Bonus Tip: Keep an eye on your site’s “bounce rate”. Your bounce rate is the percentage of users who left your website without visiting more than one page. If someone read your blog without reading another, that’s a bounce.
It’s one thing to create relevant content, but you also need to ensure that it is readable by your audience. Keyword- stuffing — an older discredited SEO tactic — not only makes your content irrelevant, it negatively impacts your SEO.
It’s crucial to remember that you’re writing for a human and not a search engine. You need to present information in a way that’s digestible and engaging and resonates with the reader. This means your content should be easy to read, use simple language, well-organized (use bullet points and incorporate visuals to break up text) and remains on topic.
Insider Tip! Use a tool like Hemingway Editor, a proofreading tool which clears your copy of all unnecessary words. Just paste your text into the editor and you’ll get an analysis that highlights lengthy, complex sentences, adverbs, passive voice, and common errors.
Recommended Reading: The 7 Factors that Influence User Experience
7. Customer Reviews
According to Moz search engine ranking chart, customer reviews are another important element of being found and chosen online. Not surprisingly positive reviews make consumers more likely to use a business.
It’s important to keep your reviews fresh. 85% of consumers think that online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant and 40% of consumers only care about reviews submitted within the last two weeks.
Insider Tip! Research shows that 86% of consumers would consider leaving reviews for businesses. Use a tool like Yotpo to notify customers to review your services via email.
Finally, now you have optimized your site, go to a tool like Browseo, a web app that allows you to view your website the way a search engine sees it.
For more SEO tools like this, read this list of Free SEO Tools To Improve Your Online Marketing
Keep testing different elements and working on your SEO. Good SEO takes time, consistency and commitment. Set-it-and-forget-it is not an option. It’s important to perform an SEO analysis of your website on a regular basis. Your competitors are always ready to steal a march on you, technology is ever-changing, and Google is constantly changing the search experience.