Congratulations! You’ve created a great-looking website chock full of valuable, engaging content! But the best content and stunning design doesn’t do any good if no one can find it. You know you need good search engine optimization, but just what IS that, anyway? Search engine optimization is an umbrella term for a whole toolbox of settings, code and techniques that maximize the way search engines match websites to search terms. In the cutthroat competition to be on page one of search results, understanding how search engines work and setting up your site accordingly is essential.
You can handle the basics.
SEO is a complex world, with algorithms and standards that are constantly changing, so there’s good reason why companies hire professionals to get and keep their site optimized. But short of hiring an SEO professional, if you’re a little tech savvy and know your CMS from your SUV, you can do several things to improve your rankings. If you don’t know what a content management system is, I’d really recommend hiring someone who does.
You should confirm that your site includes an XML sitemap and that it’s been submitted to the major search engines. It’s also important to claim your business account and verify your website and address on Google and Bing. Only verified businesses will show up on Google maps in a search result.
Use SEO tools.
If your website is built with WordPress, the first thing you should do is install the Yoast SEO plugin. Discussing Yoast is a whole article by itself, but essentially, Yoast will give you tools on every page of your site to ensure you’re optimized for keywords, metadescriptions, titles and more.
There are many tools to help you with your SEO. Screaming Frog SEO Spider downloads onto your computer and allows you to quickly crawl, analyze and audit your site. Google has an array of SEO tools available, including Webmaster Tools, Keyword Planner, Google Trends and Google Analytics, which will give you a jaw-dropping amount of information about how your site is performing in search queries and visitor information. Bing has similar webmaster tools.
Keep it fresh.
Search engines like fresh content. So including a blog, and writing your posts to focus on your keywords will bring you up in ranking. And be sure to link your social media pages to your website.
This is a very basic handful of on-page SEO techniques that can help a small business owner get started streamlining their SEO. But on-page SEO is only part of the equation. Technical SEO (indexing, page redirects, using robots.txt and more) is also essential, but is really best done by a professional or the more tech savvy website owner. If you’d like more info on how to get your website into shape, please get in touch.