How to Get Started with SEO Right Now
Right now, more than 40,000 people are typing in keywords and hitting Google search. That means the ubiquitous search engine processes approximately 3.5 billion searches per day and more than 1.2 trillion searches per year.
Of all of those searches, about three-quarters of queries end in the user clicking a result on the first page of Google search results. Roughly a third of all users open the top search result; the second highest search result gets opened about 15% of the time. After the second position, the percentages of what gets opened drops into the single digits.
What ultimately separates that top result from everything beneath is effective SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about more than just keywords. Google’s RankBrain, the machine learning algorithm that finds users relevant search query responses, has a host of over 200 considerations as it scans every page on your website. Among them are site speed, responsive mobile design, backlinks, location, and website reputation.
But where do you get started?
In the following piece, we’ll provide you with step-by-step guidelines for optimizing your content for search engines. Read on to learn more.
Your Website Design Should Adapt to Mobile Devices
Before you even input content onto a web page, scrutinize how mobile-friendly your current website design is. Does the site automatically adapt to your cell phone screen and your tablet? Or, do you need to resize the page in order to scan and scroll through the site?
If your website appears to be the latter, then it’s time to invest in a new, mobile-friendly website design. Mobile users generate the majority of Google searches in 2018. Not only will you risk losing potential customers with an archaic design, RankBrain will ding you in the search results. Mobile response is a significant consideration in any SEO effort.
Focus On On-Site SEO Efforts
Now we come to your keywords, the most talked-about part of SEO. Keywords should be four words or less, but never a single word. They also should typically include a location. Perhaps most importantly, keywords should accurately reflect the exact service you provide or the product you sell. Your primary keywords should be the four words, or a phrase, with a location that you think your customers would type in to find your business.
If you aren’t sure where to get started, use Google AdWords to find appropriate keywords
Make sure to include secondary keywords. All searches aren’t created equal. As a result, you want to incorporate some similar, alternative phrases that a minority of users would use to find your business.
Remember that each page should have its own set of primary and secondary keywords. It’s best to include them in header tags on the web page. You can also include keywords in the HTML code of image tags.
Compose a 70-character title tag and a 300-character meta description, incorporating both your business’ name and your primary keyword with location. These snippets of information will appear in the search results page to help your audience understand more about your business and its services when your website pops up on Google.
A final cautionary warning: be very careful not to do what’s called “keyword stuffing.” Do not sprinkle keywords all over the page and do not use the terms in awkward phrases or sentences. The RankBrain will penalize your site for keyword stuffing, after which your site will drop in the Google search ranking.
Don’t Overdo It On the Backlinks
Backlinks used to be a major determining factor in your Google search results. In a large-scale effort to game the system, business, website developers, and content producers dumped so many links on a page that irrelevant content got pushed to the top of Google searches.
The media backlash was tremendous. Google responded by making changes to its search algorithm, which enabled content with credible sources and links from reputable sites to improve their search results. It also published a 2015 study called, Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating Trustworthiness of Web Sources, that outlined how the search engine measured credibility.
The result? Now only useful information wins the battle for Google’s first page, and the backlink backlash is over.
Instead of creating what’s called “link soup” on your web pages, strategically link credible sources of information.
Create Content That Informs
Just like you need credible sources to link, you also need credible content to post. Invest in content development, including SEO copy, blogging, how-to guides, and web articles.
Avoid clogging up your website with unhelpful articles and other content. That will not help you improve your SEO. Every piece of content you post on your website and your social media channels should answer a question you think your audience would ask. It also should demonstrate your industry knowledge and expertise.
Measure Your Website Speed and Optimization
Once you’ve implemented all of your content, enter your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This incredibly helpful tool will analyze your website’s speed and give both its mobile and desktop optimization a score out of 100. Know in advance that your mobile optimization score and your desktop optimization score will be different, as will the Optimization Suggestions Google suggestions be for each.
Review the Optimization Suggestions carefully. With this analysis, Google is essentially giving away a series of quick fixes to improving your website speed and, with it, its overall optimization. Loading speed is another critical factor that RankBrain considers as it scans your website. A slow website will, in time, drop in search ranking.
Do You Need Help Optimizing Your Website? Contact iPage Today!
Don’t let your best SEO strategy rest solely on primary and secondary keywords. Employ a multi-pronged approach, and watch as your website climbs to the top of the first page of Google search results.
The dedicated team at iPage can help. We offer website design and marketing services at a competitive rate for small to medium-size businesses. To learn more about how we can improve your company’s SEO, explore our marketing services overview. We encourage you to reach out to our team directly with any questions you may have about online marketing and advertising.