If you already have a website or are starting to build one, probably you have already seen the term SEO. When the subject is conquering visibility online, promoting brand awareness, and growing with organic traffic, SEO for website is fundamental.
Discover how you can optimize your pages for search engines, and enjoy the potential internet has to offer to make a business grow. If you sell online or not, when you have pages that rank well on search engines like Google, you have the opportunity to reach a bigger audience, conquer credibility and authority in your industry sector.
Having a website is no longer the differentiating factor from competitors since it has become a basic requirement for most companies. But, you can stand out with the strategies you implement and by developing incredible content, which is relevant and provides value to your target audience.
What Is SEO?
Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO refers to several practices that are made to help pages to rank in the first positions in search result pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.
Do you know when you search online using Google, and under the ads section, it appears several pages related to the term you typed? Probably, they used SEO best practices to rank and conquer visibility without having to pay for an ad, growing through organic traffic.
Search engines like Google index millions of pages and it uses bots to understand how relevant a page is for each search to offer the best results for every search made in the platform. The bots have several criteria to determine the position of a page at the SERPs
When you implement SEO for website, you optimize your pages to make it easier for search engines to understand that your content is relevant.
Why Does SEO for Website Matter?
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes more than 40.000 queries per second every day. In a Think With Google report, 59% of the shoppers interviewed affirmed that they search online before buying to make sure they are making the best choice.
The numbers speak for themselves and show how internet search has become part of our lives. Whether it’s to discover a song’s name, to answer a question, or to buy online, for instance, search engines are used daily by millions of people all over the world.
SEO for website matters because it offers the opportunity to make your brand stand out. You can reach people who are searching for terms related to your products or services and have a higher potential to become customers.
For instance, if you have an electronics store, and someone looks for the best 4k television to buy when your page appears as the first organic result for their search, the chances to turn this lead into a customer is very big. You can reach several people who are looking for the same term, investing in a highly qualified audience.
This is different from making an ad for TV or putting a billboard in your city, both have a high cost and don’t allow you to aim specifically at an audience, nor to measure accurately the performance of the ads. On the other hand, if you use web analytics tools, it’s possible to know precisely the number of visits that came from Google searches, and how many people have turned into customers, besides the cost is lower.
10 Basic Steps to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
1. Make Sure Your Page Is Listed on Google Search
The first basic SEO for a website is to check if the pages you want to rank are indexed by Google on its search engine. Remember that Google and the other search engines don’t list the website on their search results, but single pages, so SEO strategies have to be implemented on each one of them.
To know if a page is indexed by Google, it’s very simple: just look for the address on Google, if there is no result, it means your page isn’t listed. You can ask it to be indexed by accessing Google Search Console, inserting the URL to be inspected, then clicking on request indexing.
If you use a website builder for SEO, you are going to see that it already has on-page and off-page optimization tools that help your pages to be automatically indexed.
2. Create a Sitemap
A sitemap can be defined as a file that provides information about the content on your website, such as pages, videos, and images, and shows the relationship between them. It enables search engines to understand the hierarchy and how your website is structured, identifying the most relevant pages and files in your website.
When you provide a sitemap to Google, you turn the task to crawl your website much easier and efficiently, enhancing the chances of ranking your pages better. A sitemap tells, for instance, when was the last time a page was updated, and you can specify information about different types of content on your page.
For example, for a video entry, you can insert running time, category, and age-appropriateness rating, while for an image include the subject, type, and license, and for an article put the publication date and the title. Most of the CMS software available already offers a tool to help you create your sitemap, or they even do it automatically.
3. Plan the Keywords
Keywords are fundamental when it comes to SEO for websites, and to create strategies to rank on the first SERP, it’s important to set which keywords you wish to aim for on every page. You can use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, to search for the most relevant keywords that are related to your business and the content of each page.
Define which is going to be the main keyword and the secondary ones too. This is very important, for example, when you write an article, to know what keyword to use on the title, subtitles, and to include in the text, which helps to point out that your content is relevant for specific searches.
4. Place the Keywords Strategically
Once you have defined the main keyword for a page, it’s recommendable to customize the URL, adding the keyword to the page address. It facilitates showing that your content is relevant to search engines when bots read and evaluate it. The same logic applies to the page title, which also should contain the main keyword.
Most website builders allow you to quickly and easily edit the URL and page title as you prefer, using its editor. You should also write a meta description focusing on the chosen keywords. The meta description is the text that appears below the page title on the search results page, and it consists of a summary telling what the page is about.
It should have around 160 characters and be written in a persuasive way that instigates the reader’s curiosity to click and check out the content, besides including the keyword or keywords.
If you use images on the pages, it’s also important to add alt text to them, which consists of a description of what can be seen on the image. When you do that, you make your content more accessible, for example, to people with visual impairments and who use screen reader apps, and makes it easier for search engines to identify that the image is also relevant to specific keywords.
5. Produce Amazing Content
Placing a keyword strategically isn’t enough to rank well on search engines, it’s also necessary to deliver high-quality content to your target audience. To do that, you need to research deeply about who your target audience is, get to know their behavior and preferences, and create a persona based on that.
Ask yourself, what are the pain points of your target audience? How can your content help to solve them? When you use this as a guide, it gets easier to find the best keywords to aim at, and also to develop content that is valuable and can grab your audience’s attention.
Take this Electrician Salary Guide for example. Not only does it target the keywords “electrician salary” and “electrician salaries” while answering the target audiences’ questions, but it also grabs their attention with engaging content, interactive elements, and supporting statistics.
Google and other search engines also take into consideration the time spent on a page, for example, and the bounce rate. If you provide good content, people are going to feel compelled to keep reading and to continue navigating through your website.
Another benefit of producing high-quality content is that you can become a reference in your industry sector, conquer more credibility, and enhance your brand’s image as well.
6. Develop a Website Focused on User Experience
When creating your website, it’s important to consider, in every step of the process, the user experience (UX). Put yourself in your website visitors’ shoes, and evaluate if the design and content are developed to facilitate the navigation through all the pages.
For instance, it’s important to provide a menu where the user can quickly find the section they want to go to. You can also insert a search bar to simplify the process even more, for example. The design also influences how the user is going to perceive your website and feel when accessing it, some web design best practices can help you to improve UX, for example:
- Don’t add too much information on the pages
- Opt for a minimalist design
- Align the design with your brand’s visual identity
- Check for readability
- Consider accessibility
7. Provide a Mobile-Friendly Website
According to Statista research, 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online. Nowadays, having a mobile-friendly website has become a necessity, otherwise, you can lose thousands of access just because users won’t be able to see your pages properly on their smartphones and tablets.
If you opt for developing your website using a pre-built template, check if it offers a responsive design to enhance user experience. It’s a simple solution that doesn’t require design or coding skills. Besides, it also helps with SEO for website. Google takes into consideration if a website performs well on mobile devices when ranking it.
8. Check The Pages Load Speed
Another factor that influences user experience therefore can affect the average spent time on a page and the bounce rate is the load speed. When you access a page if it takes too long to load, do you keep waiting or go to the next website you want to visit?
Exiting the page is what many people do and it has a negative impact on the page performance, which also influences how search engines understand the page’s relevance and it’s a ranking factor. Check how long your pages take to load, and see what can be done to improve time, you will see how it’s going to help you have better results.
Now that you have understood the basic steps to implement SEO for your website, it’s time to put them into practice. Optimizing your website for search engines is a continuous process, remember to keep yourself updated about the changes and latest trends regarding SEO. Keep track of your metrics to understand your website visitors’ behavior and identify how to improve.
Jaqueline Corradi is a Content Manager at JivoChat.
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