In the competitive online marketplace search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential component to success. We all recognize Google as the most widely accessed search engine in the world. Given this, Google is considered the gatekeeper to all things search engine related and has focused all efforts on the end-user experience, Google continues to update their algorithms to ensure that only top quality sites make high search rankings.
While the entire algorithm remains a mystery, there are several known website elements that promote SEO. Great content, multimedia, quality linking, key word usage and a fast-loading site remain some of the most important elements to promote higher search engine rankings. Learning the newest methods of maximizing your website’s visibility with search engine results will greatly improve quality traffic to your website.
Here are some of the best on-page techniques to maximize search engine visibility for your website.
1. Killer Content
Exceptional written content is a necessary component to a successful website. Why are users visiting your site? What sets you apart from your competitors? Google and other search engines value sites that are valuable to their users. In order for a site to be valuable, it must contain interesting, original written content.
First, consider who your audience is. Effective written content needs to be written at a reading level understood by your audience. For example, don’t go “total geek-speak” if your site is introducing the basics of web development to newbies. Write directly to your audience. They need to understand the content or the point is moot.
Secondly, consider what your audience will find helpful. Your content needs to be useful to other people. Before you publish content, be sure to consider what the goal of the content is. Is it helping someone in your target audience? Is it useful? Is it accurate or relevant? If all of these answers are yes, you can confidently proceed with publishing.
What is original content?
Original content is not copied and pasted from another site. If it is original, its first published location will be on your website. If it’s your content but it has already been published on another site, it’s not original to your site. So while it may be your original content it is not original to your website. Be very careful of duplicating content (see our article: Perils of Duplicate Content on Your Website & Social Networks). It can be one of the most damaging factors for websites trying to rank in the search engines.
Keep in mind that your titles, headings and descriptions also need to be well written. SEO ranking looks at the entire site as a whole, your titles are not excluded. Don’t drop the ball on your titles. Ensure that your titles are relevant to the content, hold key words and grab the attention of your readers. Also, as we mention above, be careful of duplicating titles, headings and descriptions too. Often website owners get lazy and use the same title tag and description on every page. Make sure it is unique for every page to help search engines properly index every single page of your site. This also tells the search engines that the title of your page, and the page content are both talking about the same subject matter.
Another tip, don’t publish content based on public opinion. Research and perform your due diligence on all content, making sure it is accurate. Publishing inaccurate information is not good for your website’s search rankings and really bad for your reputation as an authority in your field.
Always make sure to post new, original content frequently. The more fresh content you have available, the higher likelihood of increased search engine ranking.
2. Impressive Multimedia
Written content isn’t the only valuable content in search engine rankings. Photos, videos, graphs and other visual aids are valuable to your ranking. Humans connect with visual aids. If something visually captures our attention we are far more likely to continue to that page. Visual additions also add value to your content. A photo attached to a blog makes the content more attractive and trustworthy.
Keep in mind that Google evaluates the average length of time users spend on your page. Using videos can lengthen the amount of time a user sticks around. Perhaps you have a blog post on a popular topic, do a quick search in YouTube for that topic. Bam, you have a video that can be embedded in your page. Not only does this improve the chances that the user will stay on your page, but pages with videos are typically more visually appealing. In addition, use of multimedia promotes the value of your content which means that other users are likely to link to it.
3. Quality Links
Internal links will send users to other pages within your website. These links promote SEO. If you consider the design of search engines and the way they operate, this concept makes a lot of sense. The spider bots used by search engines build their web of information by using links to travel from website to website. Internal links will point the spider to other pages on your site. This is good as it enables search engines to find other pages and information contained in your website.
Quality links are those that are useful to your reader. Internal links should be linking to the most valuable information on your page. The link should represent a very accurate description of the page that the user will be going to so as not to add confusion. When choosing pages to link to, choose carefully as these are pages that search engine bots will likely end up on.
You should avoid over-linking. Using too many internal links looks spammy. There is not a specific guideline for internal links but use your judgment based on the length of the content.
4. Stellar Keywords
Keywords remain an important element of search engine optimization. There are many elements to consider when deciding on appropriate keywords. The most effective keywords are those that are highly searchable but that others in your field have not yet started using. This is the best possible situation as it means that tons of people are searching using that specific word but only your site is showing up on the results. While this is the best scenario, it is pretty difficult to obtain given the competitive web market. So, you have to be creative. Perhaps there are much larger companies in your field that are using the same keyword as you, but with paid advertising. Obviously you’re going to struggle to compete. However, if you use another keyword, that your larger competitor is not using, you can make a big impact. Keywords should always be closely related to your content.
As with linking, you don’t want to over-do it on the keywords. Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Too many keywords make your page look unattractive to search engines. Keywords should be comprised of 2-3 words in any given article and repeated only a few times throughout the post. Always remember that you are writing for the reader’s understanding, not for a search engine robot.
5. Lightening Load Time
Your page needs to load quickly. If the page is not loading in less than 4 seconds, you have a pretty serious problem. Users are impatient and do not stick around as often as you might think. As such, Google is adding more and more value to a page’s load time. If the page does not load at an acceptable speed, the user exits and moves on to the next result in Google. If Google’s analysis of your page reveals a poor load time your search rankings may be affected. There are many elements that promote a website’s speed but ultimately speed is dependent on the host as well as how the coding of the page is structured and what assets are being called to the page to load. Premium hosting can help you drastically cut your loading speed too. Google also provides recommendations to increase a page’s speed.
Search engines are the gatekeepers to website success.
There is a correlation between search engine rankings and website traffic. In turn there is a relationship between website traffic, brand building and lead generation. All of these elements support increased profits and business success. Given this, figuring out the elements necessary to achieving higher search engine rankings is essential. As you know, Google is continually changing and updating algorithms to ensure that only quality sites achieve ranking. You must always stay up to date on new revelations in the world of SEO. For now, the following suggestions remain some of the most important elements you should consider in maximizing your site’s search engine visibility.
1. Quality, Original Content
Write for your reader. Post content that is useful, accurate and fresh. Don’t copy the content of others. Take the reading level of your audience into consideration. Post new content frequently.
2. Make Use of Multimedia
Use photos, graphs and videos. These are easy elements to work into your content. Video is especially useful in building the user’s time spent on your site.
3. Employ Quality Internal Links
Use internal links to point users and search engines to the most important, most useful pages on your website.
4. Creatively Choose Key Words
Think outside the box when choosing key words. Aim for key words that are highly searched but not used as much by your competitors.
5. Value Speed
Your users value speed as does Google. You must value speed. Slow loading sites will suffer in the current online marketplace.
Optimizing your website and keeping visitors come back is one of many on-going efforts you should be thinking about if you aim to drive leads to your business through your website. Online marketing has become the most important marketing channel for many businesses today but is often approached haphazardly. If you woudl like to discuss your marketing needs and learn more about how we can improve leads to your business and increase traffic to your website we would love to speak further. You can schedule a free assessment call with us anytime.