Part 1 of 3 | This is a three-part series on Digital Marketing
Answer This: How will people discover your unique website among the billions of websites online?
This can be a scary question, considering the fact that having a website alone is not enough in today’s competitive digital economy. You need to build and implement a consistent SEO strategy to earn a reputation and climb the ladder of Google and other search engines.
In this article, I’ll provide you with a few tips on how to enhance your visibility in search engines—how you can climb that ladder and be noticed.
On-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The first thing you can do is review your website internally. What flaws does it have? Fix them.
Look at User Experience
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Does your site work flawlessly on your phone?
- Can you find popular sections of your website easily?
- What can you do to improve the experience of browsing your website?
- Optimize your site’s HTML Head section.
If you run your site on WordPress, install the Yoast SEO plugin. It enables you to easily edit the HTML heading of your site: Title, Meta Description, Open Graph (social media Title and Meta Description).
- Optimize images.
Are your images explained in brief for those browsing who are either blind or have restricted vision? Don’t skip optimizing your images not only for visually impaired folks, but also for Google. Add the “img alt” tag to your images to accurately and very briefly describe them so that Google can rank your images as well.
- Use an appropriate URL structure.
Do your URLs look like example.com/categoryc23/product%23%widget.htm or does it look like example.com/widgets/widget-name? Search engines like clean URL structure. Clean structure is easy to read and consistent—it describes the content of the page.
- Use heading tags appropriately.
Many people will overlook the use of heading tags (h1, h2, h3). Use only one h1 tag per page. Use the h2 tag for any sub-section, and use the h3 tag for sections under sub-sections. Tags like h5, h5, and h6 are not generally needed, but you get the point.
Keyword Research & Content Optimization
Is your content (text) relevant to what people are searching for? Use a keyword tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research keywords, variations, and average search volume for your demographic area.
- Make a list of keywords.
Use Google to search what you would as if you were looking for your own product or service. You will see auto-suggestions in Google. List these. When you search, scroll to the end of the page and you will see similar searches. List the relevant keywords.
- Use these keywords for your research.
The step above will give you a start. If you’ve found enough keywords, you can skip this step and move on to the next. In Keyword Planner, select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.” Enter the keywords you just found, followed by your website URL or your competitor’s URL of a specific page. Use a specific page to get specific keywords. You can also select a category for your business, demographic location, and various additional options.
- Get ideas!
Submit that data and you will get a graph of average search volume by year, quarter, month–whichever you select. Keywords will appear in a table with the traffic volume.
- Use the most frequently searched, or most relevant keywords.
You may be shooting for traffic volume, or you may have a very niche product/service. Use the keywords that make sense to your business.
- Modify or build your content.
Now that you know what people are actually looking for and how they word their searches, you have a chance to provide valuable information and answers. Take full advantage of this opportunity by writing awesome content with your users in mind. Use the keywords you’ve found, but do not stuff them in your content. Google is smart and will read your website just like a human. Ensure your content makes very clear sense. If you overuse keywords, you could actually end up penalized by Google.
Off-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Let’s examine your presence—or lack thereof—offline.
- Google My Business & Bing Places
My Business is Google’s directory, and it often times shows up in the right-hand column or the maps section of search results. Bing has a similar directory. Be sure you are accurately listed in both.
- Yellowpages, Manta, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List
You don’t need to be in every online directory—just the top ones. If your business is on Facebook, make sure your address, phone number, hours, and all contact information is accurate. Be sure you link to your website. If you’re not already in other directories, like Yellowpages.com and Yelp.com, add yourself. If you are listed, but your website isn’t listed, claim the listing and add your website. The more information you provide these directories about your business, the better the outcome.
- Get some links to your site.
Good quality websites that will link to you and are relevant to your website are beneficial to have. If you have sponsored events or have business partners, ask for a link to your website. You may even contribute a blog post for their site in return for a link back to your site. Another way to score links to your website is by publishing awesome content that people want to share!
Next up is Part 2 of this three-part Digital Marketing series which covers SEO, Remarketing, and PPC.