Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important tools for modern websites.
According to a Search Engine land report, the top two online activities are search and email.
The same study shows that it’s important to rank high on organic search results given that between 70 and 80 percent of users completely ignore paid advertisements.
Couple that with the fact that 93 percent of all traffic comes from a search engine, it becomes clear why SEO is so important for modern businesses.
After all, if no one can find your website then you’re not going to be able to monetize their traffic.
Here are a few more key statistics that should demonstrate the importance of SEO:
- More than 63 percent of all searches come through Google
- 94 percent of mobile and tablet search results emanate from Google
- Search engines are 300 percent more effective at driving traffic to sites than social media
- 87 percent of smartphone users use a search engine at least once a day
- Despite all of the searches conducted, 60 percent of clicks only use the top three results
Given facts like this, there is no doubt that search engine optimization is pivotal to the success of any online business. Indeed, an entire industry has emerged offering people certification in SEO.
Given that sites like Google are constantly changing their algorithms (more on that later), it can be difficult to lay down any hard and fast SEO rules to help improve your site.
Still, there are a handful of best practices that can help you stand out in the pack.
What follows is a list of some of the best ways you can get started implementing SEO into your website today:
Keywords are what we use to make websites rank higher in search engines. They help demonstrate to the search engine what content people can expect from your site.
In general, think about what words people would type into a search engine if they’re looking for a site like yours.
You can do some basic keyword research to help figure out the most popular search terms for your business. Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent free resource for this.
Once you’ve determined the keywords and phrases, strategically place them throughout your website. The best places to put keywords are in the title, meta description, URL links, heading tags, and in the alt text of images.
Remember to make sure they appear naturally throughout the copy. Keyword use is very important, but abusing the system can be dangerous.
Don’t try to stuff in multiple keywords just for SEO purposes because you may end up with ugly, lengthy URLs that set off the various spam filters.
Remember, the point of keywords isn’t to rank highly for ALL keywords, it’s to rank highly for specific keywords that relate to your site and what it offers.
The content on your website matters. Web crawlers like Google’s give higher stock to websites that demonstrate expertise in a subject.
Additionally, if search engines can’t index your site’s contents, then it won’t show up in search results.
To make sure your content is indexable and demonstrates trustworthiness and expertise, you have to publish high-quality, informative content that delivers on what it promises.
This will also lower your bounce rate.
Be sure to double check for any duplicate content on your site. That can bring with it an SEO penalty and drive down your SEO ranking.
Crawlable Link Structures
Internal links are links that send people from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. These are omnipresent throughout most websites.
They are useful for a variety of reasons, including helping visitors navigate the website, establishing information hierarchy on the site, and spreading link equity around websites.
Essentially, these internal links are used to establish a site architecture. Crawlable link structures allow your website to be easily found by search engines.
Ensuring you have meaningful keywords in your URLs instead of numbers and symbols will provide the best results to sites like Google.
www.yoursite.com/seo-friendly-site is more crawlable than something like www.yoursite.com/18394_99_ways_to_improve_your_SEO
These days, mobile friendly is search engine friendly.
Last year, Google began rolling out its mobile first indexing system. The new system meant that Google would look first at the mobile version of a website before looking at the index desktop of your site.
Google made the switch because more and more people are turning to their mobile devices to browse the internet.
The company wanted to ensure that these users had the best experience online and decided to prioritize these results.
That means your site should have a mobile version of your site using techniques like responsive design to ensure your layout adapts to whatever device its being used on.
This will bolster your SEO and help provide a higher ranking.
And responsive design is definitely the way to go here. Search engines hate duplicate content. So if your site has a desktop and mobile version, that could count as points against it.
Fortunately, Google provides a handy free tool to help determine whether your site is mobile friendly.
Stay Up To Date
It’s been suggested that Google changes its search engine algorithm roughly 500 to 600 times each year. Keeping up with these changes is nearly impossible for a single human.
Couple that with the fact that Google isn’t exactly forthcoming about the minutiae of the various changes it makes on any given update and website owners can quickly fall behind with their SEO game.
Fortunately, there are a number of resources including YouTube tutorials, blogs, and certification programs that can help you stay on top of your game.
It’s a good idea to review your knowledge base every six months or so to ensure that you don’t get lost in the mix.
Indeed, according to Netcraft there are 61.8 billion active websites on the internet. That means standing out from the crowd is exceedingly different.
Website designers, online stores, web publications, and every other site on the internet should be using whatever means necessary to get their sites ranked higher by search engines.
By using this handful of standard SEO techniques you can ensure that your website appears higher on search engines like Google, making sure that your business will endure for years to come.