How Can I Improve My SEO?
Have you ever wondered why (or how) your company’s website isn’t listed on the main page of a Google search? Well you’re definitely not the only one! The short answer is this: you probably need to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Understanding how Google’s algorithms work, and therefore how to create a SEO strategy within those parameters, is a major stepping-stone in improving your webpage traffic and customer conversion.
SEO can easily turn into a complicated process, and the fact Google’s algorithms are constantly changing sure doesn’t help. It can often seem that as soon as you’ve finally perfected your SEO strategy, Google changes its algorithm once again, sending you right back to square one. Google has been known to change their algorithms as often as once a week, which means your SEO practices must also change at the same rate in order to maintain a strong site ranking.
A search engine’s goal is to provide the reader with the information they’re looking for, without having to dig through a bunch of ads or irrelevant articles – creating both an obstacle and an opportunity for business owners. Business owners have to somehow find a way to work within Google’s parameters to prove to the search engine that they have the content the viewer will be looking for, while also fighting against countless other competing businesses attempting the same thing.
If your site doesn’t appear on page one of Google’s search results, it’s safe to say you’re as good as invisible to potential customers. In fact, most users seldom go past the first page when searching for a product or service. So how can you improve your SEO rankings and get your site on that first page of search results?
Use the Right Keywords
A “keyword” doesn’t necessarily mean one word – it can also be a phrase or multiple words strung together. Keywords are going to be the words that people will use to find you through search engines, particularly Google.
Google’s algorithm matches the keywords users are searching with the same keywords that are (hopefully) placed throughout your website.
For instance, let’s say you own a bakery. Some keywords people looking for a bakery may be using are:
- Birthday cakes
- Wedding cakes
- Cake pops
Some keywords, however, may not be so obvious and may need to be more specific. More specific keywords tend to require a string of words put together. For example, potential customers located in Wichita may be searching for:
- Best bakeries Wichita
- Wedding cakes Wichita
- Wichita bakeries
- Cupcake stores near me
Very specific searches may require what is known as long tail keywords, which are three or four keyword phrases that are very specific to what it is you’re selling, and also tend to bring in the most business. Those customers may be searching with keywords like:
- Fourth of July cupcakes in Wichita
- Hanukah cookies in Wichita
- Donut cakes in Wichita
…and so on
If you offer a unique product or service, make sure you promote that information on your site. Anything that will help distinguish yourself not only against your competitors, but with Google as well, will help tremendously.
But how do I know what the “right” keywords are you might ask?
Keyword research software can help you discover which keywords will bring you the most hits, and which ones people in your area are searching for.
Once you know which keywords potential customers are searching with, you will need to make sure those words and phrases are strategically placed throughout your webpages.
Stay On Theme
Each page on your website should have one main theme, which means each page should also have one main keyword or phrase. So, your cupcake page should use keywords relative to cupcakes, while your wedding cake page should use the words and phrases about wedding cakes.
A well-optimized webpage should include as many of those relevant keywords as possible. However, you must be mindful not to go overboard.
Avoid “Keyword Stuffing”
Google’s algorithms are designed to detect what they call “keyword stuffing”, which means plugging a keyword or phrase into your webpages as many times as possible in order to receive more “hits”. If Google feels your site is lacking in strong, relevant content and simply trying to bait users by stuffing the site with these keywords, the algorithm will penalize the site by placing it deeper in the search engine results page (SERP).
Put Your Keywords in:
- The browser tab title
- The meta description tag
- The main heading of the page
- The last sentence of the first paragraph
- A secondary headings
- The title and description of embedded videos
- The alt text and alt tag of images
Google reads pages the same way you do: from top to bottom and from left to right, so the logic of your main keyword placement is actually relatively simple.
We could go on and on for hours on end discussing the many algorithms Google uses, along with each of their purposes and features. However, when it comes to choosing your keywords, as long as you research which keywords are the most relevant and then strategically use them throughout your webpage – which should be full of helpful, relevant, and strong content – your site should not be penalized.
Build Evergreen Content
Speaking of relevant content, another way to help improve your SEO rankings is by creating Evergreen content. Evergreen content describes webpage content that is always going to be useful and interesting to readers. This type of content drives traffic to your website, which helps you to hold a valuable position in search engine rankings.
Search engines are constantly analyzing and indexing webpage traffic. When indexing pages, the algorithm takes into consideration content that may be dated or expired, as well as recent traffic history.
For example, an article on “2011 fashion trends” would not be considered evergreen content because it has been restricted specifically to the year 2011 and probably isn’t receiving much traffic anymore, so Google’s algorithm is going to place it much lower in the search results. However, if you were to change the keywords to “current fashion trends”, the algorithms would be much more inclined to place that page higher in its rankings.
Other examples of evergreen content would be:
- How to hard-boil an egg
- How to crate train a puppy
- Types of tomatoes
These kinds of articles are relevant no matter the year or season, therefore classifying them as evergreen content.
A few examples of what would not be considered evergreen content include:
- News stories
- Statistical or numerical reports
- Seasonal or holiday articles
- Include an FAQ page
- Write “how-to” or “advice” articles
- Explain common concepts (in layman’s terms)
How can I improve my content to make it more “evergreen”?
When writing content for your site, try to think of topics that readers can refer back to for months and years to come.
Optimize Your Images and Videos
We should start off by saying Google LOVES websites with images and videos. Images and videos signal to their algorithms that the webpage probably contains desirable and strong information.
But how can Google read pictures or recognize a video’s content? It does so by reading the text attached to those images and videos through the page’s coding.
This can be done through what is called “alt text”.
Google takes notice of video optimization for many reasons:
- People tend to spend significantly more time on a web page that has video, meaning Google will reward your site for longer visits.
- Videos with one keyword in its title, tags and/or description, and a link to one of your web pages that also uses that keyword are heavily rewarded in search rankings.
- Most viewers prefer video over text, which means Google’s algorithms rank those sites with videos higher than those without.
Google uses what is called “alt text” to evaluate strength and relativity of a page. Alt text is a description of the image placed within the HTML code. If you’ve ever hovered your cursor over an image on a webpage and noticed a text box appear with a description of the image, that is the alt text.
You should also use alt tags, which are similar to alt text but instead are geared towards visually impaired viewers. Alt tags will allow those with vision impairments to hear the description of the image through their screen readers.
As always, make sure to place your main keyword within your alt text and alt tag to further strengthen your SEO ranking with Google.
You’ve Reached the End, Now Let’s Begin!
We’ll be honest. The few guidelines we’ve discussed just barely scratch the surface of all the ins-and-outs of SEO, and we don’t blame you if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Developing a solid SEO strategy can truthfully turn into a full-time job. So what can you do if you just don’t have enough time in the day to build and monitor your site’s performance? Lucky for you, you can hire someone to do it for you!
Companies like US Logo – based in Wichita, Kansas – offer SEO and other online optimization services to get your webpage performing its best. With several marketing platforms at our disposal, we can monitor and alter your online strategy as often as necessary to attract more customers than ever. Don’t waste any more time getting your website to work for, and not against, you!
Call us today to discuss your SEO strategy or visit our page on SEO here!