Search Engine Optimization is a process that organically drives traffic to your website by ranking higher in search engines. The methods for increasing unpaid results have evolved with the improvements of search engines, but good results are still very achievable. This is a guide for those who are in the process of creating a website or who are just starting to acquaint themselves with basic SEO principles.
1. SEARCHER FIRST, BUSINESS SECOND
Whether your website is trying to sell something and simply inform individuals, do your best to write content that clearly and effectively answers people's questions. People come to search engines like Google and Bing because they have a question and want it answered. It is very natural to want to jump right into the details of your business and who you are, especially when it's your own website. However, the search engine's job is to answer the question the best it can so it will show websites that cater to the searcher.
I might search = Lures for rainbow trout.
A page with good content would talk about which lures would work in low light conditions, really sunny days, cold water, warm water, prices, which seasons, or even which lure works best with the type of line or rod you are using. A page with poor content would merely list all the different types of lures with their size and color variations.
2. INTENT MATCHING VS KEYWORD MATCHING
Search Engines are shifting towards intent matching instead of keyword matching. Keyword matching is looking to optimize a single page to match with a single keyword. Intent matching is looking to optimize a single page with the shared intent of multiple keywords.
My keywords might be Paddle Boards, Stand Up Paddle Board, Stand Up Paddle Board Equipment, etc. If I was keyword matching, I would create one page just for Paddle Boards, then another for Stand Up Paddle Board, etc.
Rather, think about all of these keywords and what the searcher's intent might be. If and when keywords share intent , create a single page that will satisfy the searcher's intent. So in this case, my one page would focus on the types of paddle boards and compatible equipment.
3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE MOBILE FRIENDLY
According to Statista, 60% of Google searches are done via mobile devices. If your site is not mobile friendly, it will hurt your rankings. With a site that is difficult to navigate or slow to load, people will immediately leave the page once they arrive. Search engines notice this behavior (referred to as bounce rate or pogo sticking) and are less likely to show your pages. It is important to not bury good content. Searchers should be able to find their answer efficiently and enjoyably.
Things to keep in mind:
- Make sure images work well on smaller screens
- Make sure your buttons are large enough
- Clear and specific Title/Headlines.
There are also many website tools and builders that already optimized for mobile. All you have to do is fill the site with your content.
Remember, these are just a few tips to get you started. With all of the changes happening across search engines, consistent quality content is crucial if you want to rank high and longer. Quality content will continue to drive traffic to your website and build momentum moving froward.