Search engine optimization. Let’s face it, even the name is a mouthful. SEO – for short – can be confusing, but that does not mean it should be ignored. In fact…
- 93% of online experiences start with a search engine (Forrester study 2006)
- 76% of desktop searches and over 94% of mobile searches start with Google (NetMarketShare)
- 91.5% of Google users never scroll past the first page of search results (WebiNerds)
- 70% of the links users click on are organic and not paid ads (Search Engine Market Watch/Merkle 2016)
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles (WordStream 2016)
And the list goes on and on. It is easy to see how quickly SEO can add value to your website, blog and business .We know getting started with SEO can be uncomfortable, so let’s start with the basics.
SEO FOR BEGINNERS
Definition: Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search engine results page (SERP) – including Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. – Webopedia
So what does all that techie jargon to mean you? Search engines – especially Google – are the dominating factor bringing traffic to your site. Want more traffic? It’s time to up your SEO game!
Starting off it is important that your site:
HAS AMAZING CONTENT
When it comes to content, is yours relevant? Does it offer value to your visitors? Does it keep users on your site? Is it unique? Will people share it across social media? Those are just a few key questions to ask yourself when building your website. Your text should be easy to read and flow well. Types of content include the different pages on your site, blog posts, guides, videos and images, infographics. (KartHost™ Bonus Tip: search engines love new content, so don’t stop adding and updating yours after the initial setup of your page)
IS MOBILE RESPONSIVE
Going mobile is a must in this technologically driven era we find ourselves in. A resposive web design means you have one website whose layout and content adapts across multiple screen sizes. (KartHost™ Bonus Tip: Read Why Responsive Web Design?
Ranking high on the first page of search results means the difference between getting visitors to your site or not. Three of the major cornerstones to SEO:
- Keyword Search
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
KEYWORD SEARCH RESEARCH
This is the first step and arguably the most important. The key words and phrases that make up your website’s content are what Google, and any other search engine, uses to place your website into their SERP. In other words, keywords are literally the key for users to find your website.
Not only do you want to be visible on search results pages, but you want to make sure you are using the right words to bring in the right and relevant traffic to your site. So how do you determine these magic keywords? Research the language your target audience uses and the words they use to search and use that to fuel the content of your website.
(KartHost™ Bonus Tip: Keyword research is an ongoing process. Don’t make the mistake of only doing this one time. You should constantly be researching, updating and expanding your keywords.)
On-page SEO and optimization refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings. – www.searchmetrics.com
Examples of these measures include optimizing your page headings, meta tags, URLs, internal links to other pages on your site, alt text for images, (KartHost™ Tip: that’s an internal link example) having great content, etc… on each page of your website. (KartHost™ Bonus Tip: Yoast is a popular WordPress plugin helping to optimizeyour site for SEO)
Also sometimes referred to as back-linking, off-page SEO refers to what you can do off your website to help you rank higher. The more links you can get to your page through other sites, the more trust you are building in your web presence and the better you will rank.
In this day and age it is vital you have a presence across social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn are all top sites to check off your list first.
Examples of backlinks include social media shares of your content, creating a blog, local listings, business reviews and yellow page listings. (KartHost™ Bonus Tip: You should be responding to online reviews.)
So there you have it, a very concise crash course in SEO. The takeaways here?
- SEO sounds intimidating, but it is important and doable even for the DIYer.
- Get people to your site by first and foremost creating amazing content. Make sure that content is searchable through keywords. Make sure that content is responsive. And be social.
- Your web host plays a big role in how fast your site is, which can make or break your site. KartHost™ has several options for web hosting: Managed WordPress Hosting, Self-Managed WordPress Hosting & SSD Kloud Hosting
Ready to move on? See part 2 of our SEO Essentials: A Checklist HERE