Have you invested in a new website and spent a lot of time and resources on development and design?
Do you expect potential customers to find you, but find to your disappointment that traffic is surprisingly sparse?
There are billions of searches a day through Google, which presents both challenges and opportunities when it comes to the visibility of your website.
To increase your chances of getting traffic to your site, we recommend reviewing your SEO.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is called in English, is a method that helps you to increase visibility for the search engines and to rank higher in the search results.
61% of internet users google every day. Google uses search robots that retrieve information from websites all over the world, which is then stored in the search engine's index.
To ensure that you get the most relevant information from your Google searches, the Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda algorithms are used.
Google prioritises the content that is considered most relevant and of the highest quality to users, which in turn will rank highest.
So with quality content that answers what your target audience is looking for, you have the opportunity to drive more traffic to your website.
The question many people therefore want answered is: How does search engine optimization work in practice?
How search engine optimisation works
By creating content with relevant keywords and descriptions, you can help the algorithms rank your site higher.
For example, if you run a flower shop and know that your customers are searching for flower delivery, wedding bouquets, cut flowers etcetera, it's important that those keywords are included in your website content.
The more authority Google deems you to have in, for example, wedding bouquets, the higher you will rank on that keyword. There are different ways to build authority, link power is one of them.
For example, if you have an entire landing page on your site that answers everything you need to know about wedding bouquets, with links from both internal and external pages, you will have higher authority on that keyword than if you only mentioned wedding bouquets in a product text.
Other factors that affect how high your website ranks are how well it works technically. Loading time, mobile-friendliness, security and internal links will affect the page's quality score, which in turn is important for ranking high.
Follow these 9 steps and you'll have a good foundation for your search engine optimization in place.
1. Meta titles and meta descriptions
Meta titles and meta descriptions are an easy way to help Google better understand what your website contains, so start there.
Let's imagine you're running a flower shop again. You want to create a meta title that both captures your recipients' interest and gives them a good idea of what you offer.
Flora's Florist Boutique - Flower delivery in LA.
The title briefly tells us about your brand, your offer and where you operate.
The purpose of a meta description is to complement the title with information and to call for action, which could be formulated as:
Florist that delivers bouquets, plants, cut flowers and pots throughout LA. Visit our website to see our floral selection.
Create unique meta titles and meta descriptions for all your pages.
If you use the same descriptions for multiple pages, you risk being flagged by Google for Duplicated content, which instead has a negative effect.
2. Internal links
Internal links are used to enhance specific pages with selected keywords and to improve user-friendliness.
The purpose of an internal link is to refer to another page on the same site and is called "internal" because the domain of the pages is the same.
Internal links are effective for SEO as they help Google's search bots understand the page structure of the website.
Internal links promote and emphasise the authority of the different pages.The home page usually has the most linking power on the site, with internal links leading the visitor further into the main menu, for example.
- From an SEO perspective, you should only link to the most important landing pages from the main menu.
- Avoid linking all pages on the site from the home page, as this can make it harder for Google to prioritise content.
- Landing pages, on the other hand, can link to subcategories on the site.
You also have the option of linking on in your running text. But remember that the home page also has the highest authority compared to the landing pages.
The most important thing is to adapt your internal links to the structure of your site.
The aim is to help users navigate and to strengthen the landing page from an SEO and ranking perspective.
3. External links
Having interesting and quality content on your website increases the chances of other websites and social platforms discovering, recommending and forwarding your content.
Increase the chances of sharing by making it easy to share your content, for example with sharing buttons next to your blog post or article.
In other words, an external link means that another website creates links that lead to your website.
This creates authority for your website on the topic of the shared content, which results in higher search engine rankings.
4. Name your images and videos
Something many people miss is naming their images and videos on the site.
The search engines can't yet see what your visual content represents, so you need to clarify this with a description.
Name your content with a few words that explain what the image or video is communicating, preferably with one of your keywords. The right keywords can help you rank higher, as the search engines read the information during indexing.
Put a description under the alt attribute and make sure the file name contains the same text.
5. Create content after a keyword analysis
Base your content on your keyword analysis to adapt it to users' search behaviour. The keyword analysis will be the basis for all your content creation, with the aim of increasing the relevance of your content to your target audience.
Keyword analysis helps you identify the phrases and search terms your visitors use, so you can better answer their questions and give them the information they are looking for.
You can use the Google Keywords Tool to find out how many people are searching for a specific keyword.
In the Keywords Ideas section, you also have the opportunity to find related keywords that may also be worth using in your SEO and that can further boost rankings for your primary keywords.
Another tip is to do your keyword analysis manually directly in Google. This will give you a clear picture of what your competitors are already doing - or not doing.
6. Create clear headlines
All pages on your site should have an H1 tag. H1 stands for the main heading and is followed by H2, H3, H4 for the subheadings.
Each H1 should describe the content of the specific page and respond to the most important keyword.
The subheadings can be used to highlight additional keywords relevant to the topic and describe sections of the page. The tags help to make the content of your website clearer to the search engines.
7. Minimize loading time
A short load time is important for both visitors and quality indexing.
Did you know that visitors often leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load? There are several ways you can improve your website's load time.
Check the format and size of your images. JPEG is recommended for larger images and PNG for simple graphics such as a logo that should have a transparent background.
The larger the image size you use, the longer the loading time, therefore the image should not be "bigger" than the size exposed on the web page.
Use the right pixel size from the start, and you will also avoid having to scale the image down on the page. You should also optimise the file size of your images, as this risks slowing down the speed of your website.
8. 404 pages
Many websites still have links to old sub-pages that are no longer active, for example from discontinued products or offers that are no longer current.
These links lead the visitor to so-called 404 pages. For the quality of the page (and the visitor's trust), it is important that you redirect to a working page, or remove the broken link.
9. URL structure
Each of your pages on the site has a unique address.
The base URL is the same as your home page, for example www.floraflorist.com, which is then supplemented with more descriptions as you go further down the page structure.
A good URL and URL structure gives both Google and the recipients a hint of what the page contains, which creates the conditions to rank higher in the search engines.
An example of this is:
Again, it is important to include relevant keywords. Avoid including numbers as this makes it more difficult for search engines to interpret the content.
So, what can you achieve with SEO?
SEO is a long-term investment that will help your business become more visible to your target audience, just when they are searching for more information.
- Organic search traffic therefore often converts well compared to traffic from a display ad, for example.
- Small changes in titles, descriptions and links can make a big difference to results.
We recommend that you continually monitor how traffic to your website is developing and review opportunities to improve the structure and content of your site.
We hope you've been equipped to dive into your SEO and find the places where you can optimize to make your website stand out and rank higher than the competition!