2018 is upon us. Hopefully, this past year was good to you and your organization, thanks in part to your website. If not, now’s the time to figure out what to do moving forward.
What is your approach to Search Engine Optimization? Do you have an official strategy in place? Or are you just taking it day by day? Even if you don’t have a “formal” Search Engine Optimization plan, there are absolutely things you can do to ensure you are giving your website the best shot at the best rankings and providing your customers with a user-friendly site. Here are some of the most basic things you can do to get your site in shape.
Do you have Google Analytics implemented on your site? If so, use it! It can give you insight on how customers are interacting with your site...the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you don’t have Google Analytics already on your site, it’s a simple process to add it.
Google Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools)
While Google Analytics can tell you how your customers interact with your site, Google Search Console can show you how the search engines are interacting with it. Making sure your site is being crawled and addressing any errors is crucial if you want to stay in Google’s good graces.
These are your site’s page titles. This is usually what is displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That is why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a good Meta Title...they should be descriptive but not overwhelming and should give a clear idea of the content included on that page. Most Content Management systems will allow you to indicate Meta (or Page) Titles.
This snippet of content usually appears below the Meta Title on the SERP. This is further expansion on the content that is contained within the page. It is often this information that leads the user to click or not click on your site’s link, which is why thought and research should go into each meta description. If your Content Management system gives you access to create meta descriptions, do it!
A picture is worth a thousand words….but not to a search engine unless it has an Alt Tag. If you’ve ever hovered over an image online and a boxed word or phrase pops up, you’ve witnessed an Alt Tag. Alt tags are often overlooked but are vital to a successful SEO campaign. Why? Search engines have no idea what images are on your site unless you tell them with an Alt Tag.
How are your customers finding you? Or perhaps a better question would be, how would potential customers find you assuming they don’t search for you by name? Keywords are a cornerstone of any SEO effort because they are what tie you to a search result. For example, let’s say you provide auto repair services. Would someone in need of that search for “local auto repair” or maybe “local car mechanic”? They basically mean the same thing but if you’re optimized for one and not the other it can make all the difference. You would know your audience best and there are many free tools you can use to help you come up with target keywords to incorporate into your site. But if you’re new to SEO, or you just don’t have the time, partner with a professional who can help you quickly define an initial list of keywords that will change and grow with your organization.
Now you have your target keyword list. What’s next? Well, now you need to incorporate those keywords into the content on your site. But it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Providing information, selling your service and incorporating keywords can be tricky because you want to make Google happy, but you also want to make your customer happy. The best content will usually be a result of a partnership between you and a professional writer. Because you know your audience best, but a professional writer knows how to speak to them on the web.
There is never a bad time to step up your SEO. With a few simple actions you can make sure you are doing what you can to achieve the best ranking results possible and still providing a great user experience. Make 2018 the year you focus on SEO, either by your own efforts or by partnering with a trusted expert.