How do you get your website to show up on the first page for an organic search? Through search engine optimization, or SEO. The answer is simple, but the process, unfortunately, is not. Search engines take several factors into account when indexing and ranking web pages, including its users’ engagement with that page over time. As a result, a proper SEO strategy requires multiple concurrent efforts, over time. SEO is a long term and ongoing process, but there are some things you can do right now to impact your efforts. Below are five quick steps you can take to improve your business website’s SEO today.
Related: 6 Ways to Google’s First Page
The title tag is one of the key components that search engines use to learn about, categorize, and list your web page. Search engines also use the title tag as the title of your listing in its results pages.
By putting keywords in your title tags that reflect the page’s content, you are helping search engines to more quickly identify what the page is about, so it can determine which searches it should show up for. Search engines prefer pages that have title tags, because it helps them to do their job easier and faster.
Title tags are also important because they are the first thing that users look at when scanning through a results page, to see which result to click. A title tag that makes clear what the page is about will influence a user searching for that information to click on your page.
In addition to putting keywords into your title tags, pay attention to their length. Search engines only use the first 65-75 characters of your title tag as it’s title in results listings, so make sure that your title doesn’t exceed this limit, or that the most important and informative terms of your title are in the first 65-75 characters.
Meta data is simply the information about your website that search engines show in your listing. It’s like a mini snapshot of your webs page. Since your title tag is also the title in the search engine result listing, it is also known as the meta title.
Another important piece of meta data is the meta description. This is the brief snippet about your web page that shows up beneath the meta title in results pages. The meta description is important because it is what users will look at when deciding whether to click on your page.
If you don’t create a meta description, search engines will just pull the first sentence from the page, which isn’t usually an accurate summary of that page. Create meta descriptions for each of your pages that briefly describe what the page is about and what readers will get out of it. Using relevant keywords will help users to quickly decide whether this page is worth clicking or not.
Alt text refers to the text alternative of an image. When you upload an image to a web page, you will be asked to provide a title, description, and alt text for that image. Users viewing your page don’t see the alt text, but search engines do.
Search engines gather information on a page through text, so you need to create a text alternative of your images so that search engines can detect those as well. When search engines can detect images, they can gather further evidence of your page’s relevancy, as well as index it for image-only searches.
Just as with title tags and meta descriptions, alt text should contain keywords relevant to that page, that users are searching.
Internal linking is the practice of putting links in pages of your website to other pages of your business website (like we just did). You commonly see this in blog posts, but you can also create internal links in your other pages of your website such as product, contact, and about us pages.
Search engines like websites whose pages are internally linked because this creates a coherent network that it can crawl more easily. They also like internal linking because it creates a better experience for its users. When you have internal links, users can navigate around your site with ease, and as a result spend more time on there consuming information rather than searching for it.
There are a number of reasons why you should blog for your business, and SEO is one of them.
Placing keywords in your website is crucial for getting search engines to find you and connect you with searchers. However, you don’t want to overload your website pages with text, and you don’t want to stuff keywords into the limited space you have.
Blog posts, on the other hand, are pages on your website that are meant for longer pieces of content. They provide more space and more opportunities to insert and go into depth on specific keywords. In addition, users expect blog posts to be more text-heavy, so they facilitate a positive user experience for your website—which search engines look for when ranking.
Write blog posts that center around specific keywords, related to your business location, products, services, and specialties. Remember, blog posts are web pages in and of themselves, so be sure to include the keywords you are targeting in your meta description, title tag, and alt text for images.
Search engine optimization may be a rather complex and long term process. However, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to get started with improving your website’s rankings. These five actions are great first steps to getting search engines to find the pages of your business website and show them to the people looking for them.