If you are a business owner in this era of digital transformation, chances are, you know the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). If you are in the early stages of a website launch or rebrand, SEO becomes even more useful to ensure your content ranks high in search results, which drives traffic to your website. These are just the basics of what effective SEO can accomplish.
As the main source of online information, Google reportedly receives more than 40,000 search queries per second which averages to 3.5 billion searches daily. So the more visible your website content is on Google, the more your brand awareness is likely to increase. But strategic SEO takes it step further beyond basic visibility. The objective is to refine your content, so it’s noticeable in searches by a specific audience in a certain group or location.
Whether you have practiced SEO for years or it’s still a new concept to you, here’s a list of basic, actionable SEO pointers that are often overlooked and underutilized. In a time when securing online real estate is the lifeblood of so many companies, these tactics could be transformative for your website’s customer reach.
1. Install the SEO Yoast Plugin for WordPress Sites
If your website is hosted on WordPress, then you have access to an SEO plugin called Yoast. Once installed on your dashboard, this tool makes it easy to optimize all website content with the keywords that visitors are most likely to search for. Just enter a keyword or phrase into the Yoast plugin, and it will scan your content to determine if these words are used often enough to be noticed and ranked, but not so much that Google could mark the content as “spam.” A basic version of Yoast is free to download, or you can access more features through Yoast Premium for $89 a year.
2. Research Keywords and Monitor their Rankings
On the topic of keywords, these are the foundations of SEO because they make webpages and content searchable. When a person enters their query into Google or another search engine, the algorithm retrieves data from around the internet and displays the relevant information it finds on the result pages in order of value to the user.
Understanding which keywords your audience most often searches for will increase your content’s rank in the search index. Here are strategies to help achieve this:
- Conduct initial keyword research across your website, service pages and content, then implement those keywords tactfully and revisit the metrics of your traffic each quarter to track how you are performing;
- Consider and examine how your services are named and marketed both in-person and digitally -make sure they not only align with industry standards but what your audience searches for.
3. Use Consistent Page Titles and Meta Descriptions.`
These aspects of your website are HTML tags featured as snippets on a search results page. The page title informs a user what the piece of content is, and the meta description summarizes what it’s about. Both of these should be optimized with keywords local to the targeted area of your business.
This does not always mean include the name of an exact city in both the title and meta description (you can, although it’s not required—just be consistent), but you do need to know what users in a local or even regional proximity search for. Enter a “word or phrase + location” in the keyword research tool (e.g. “Coffee Shop + New York”), and you’ll have access to a list of geomodified keywords. It’s important to note that whichever strategy you decide on, to be consistent across all pages of your website and even your business listings.
4. Install Google Search Console and Google Analytics
As previously mentioned, Google is the most visited search engine on the internet, so you need to constantly be aware of how your website metrics perform in Google’s overall index. There are two software programs that enable you to track this data in real-time—Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA). These should be installed as a baseline on all websites as soon as they are launched. The historical data and snapshot ‘behind the scenes’ these tools provide users with is invaluable.
GSC indicates how your content ranks on a search result page, so you can make improvements to enhance visibility. GA measures your traffic across all relevant platforms, from search engines to social media to external links to the website itself. Both can help you track the return-on-investment of virtually all digital efforts.
5. Create and Optimize Your Google & Bing Business Pages
When a user conducts a local search within a specific industry, business profiles that match this description will be listed at the top of any other search results, along with a map of their locations.
This information is retrieved from Google My Business, a service that allows you to create a free profile with a dropdown of your contact details. You can include the website, address, hours of operation, as well as an “about” summary, upcoming events, social media posts and customer reviews. In addition, you should also create optimized business profiles on other search engines like Yelp or Bing too.
6. Ensure that All Your Contact Details are Updated
While the initial goal of SEO is to direct traffic from a search engine to your website, the long-term objective is for them to connect with your business once they’re on the site. Your contact details must be in a visible, prominent location—not to mention, accurate and consistent with all of your business listings. You can display this information on the homepage footer or create a contact page in the navigation toolbar.
Make sure the phone number, address and hours of operation are listed, and to further simplify the process, include a link to your contact form, so visitors can reach out directly through the website.
7. Be Strategic about the Website’s Overall Structure
The architecture and layout of a website is just as important for SEO as searchable content. 88 percent of visitors will not return to a site that’s hard to navigate, warns QuickSprout, which could hurt traffic and click rates. But making these technical adjustments on the backend will create an efficient, responsive and functional user experience.
- Optimize your website’s search bar and insert quick links in the footer.
- Add your business phone number in the top right corner of the website.
- Navigate your website like a first-time user—then ask employees, customers and friends or family members to use the website and provide feedback.
- Create different subdomains for various locations (or languages) if your business has a national or even a global presence.
- Make sure how you list the business is consistent across all digital channels, social media networks and print materials.
If you want to learn more about how effective SEO strategies can factor into the success of your business, contact 10x digital for an SEO audit of your website. From the content and design to the user experience and more, we can help you create and maintain an SEO action plan to organically increase brand awareness.