Let’s face it – Google sort of runs the world. And if your business is looking to increase its web presence and/or online sales, there is a definite need to consider advertising on Google. And though – if done correctly – it can be a very successful approach to getting immediate results, many small businesses simply do not have the financing to compete with their major competitors.
If spending heaps of cash on paid campaigns to (hopefully) convert clicks to clients isn’t your cup of tea, you may want to focus on the following tips to be sure you’re taking the necessary steps in structuring your web presence for success among the organic search marketplace.
Strategizing your SEO campaign involves more than just paying per click these days. Sure, you’ll need to play more of the “patient game”, but in the long run, you’ll improve your site’s organic ranking, have a heck of a lot more content to fall back on, and even learn something in the meantime. Here are 4 focal points to consider when structuring your site to be optimized for the search engines.
This is the easy one, but it can also be one of the more time-consuming ones. The cliché states that “Content is King”, and that saying exists for a reason. Whether you’re selling skinny jeans, pushing your HVAC services, or even trying to get people to read about your daily boring life, if you’re not loading your site up with relevant content and continually doing so, you might as well be putting your keystrokes in the same basket as your unrealistic wishes for becoming the next best online hangout.
Undervalued. It’s that simple. I can’t speak for you, but personally, I get annoyed when I am surrounded by people who are completely involved in their phones, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and every other mind-numbing open-book to the lives of their friends and businesses. This, however, should be evidence in itself that it can’t be ignored. Users are spending an increasing amount of time shifting between social media platforms to pass time and you’d be a fool to ignore the cheap ways of associating your content (read number 1 again) with a cheap (or even free) avenue of broadcasting. Become more active in the social media community, join groups that are related to your business/industry, and BE ACTIVE. Joining/Signing Up doesn’t make you known, contributing does.
I can’t speak for anyone but myself here, but if I stumble across a site on my phone that clearly isn’t developed for mobile devices, i bounce. I don’t have the patience to pinch to zoom, move around, and squeeze myself back out. No one does. So, to put it simply, make certain your site is responsive. Be sure to test all elements of your site before pushing it live. The amount of web traffic coming from mobile devices these days will shock you, but shouldn’t. The more visually appealing your site is, the higher the likelihood there is of someone staying on it and navigating through it. The longer someone stays on your site, the better. Search Engines see and measure these little details, ultimately aiding in the determination of your site’s ranking.
Speaking of metrics, there are a number of items that go into how search engines view your site and rank it accordingly. It’s important to keep all of these in mind, as how they work together can significantly impact where you’re getting placed in a user’s search results.
- Site Weight – Keep everything light. Keep your images small (file size, not dimensions), keep your coding to a minimum, and do your best to limit redundant content, which can hurt your ranking in more than one way.
- Server Speed – Not only is this frustrating to deal with as a user, but a slow or overloaded server can have detrimental effects on the way search engines view and rank your site. The faster it loads, the better off you are.
- Relevant Keywords, Descriptions, and Metadata – This might be your most basic form of SEO, but it matters heavily. Strategic placement of the encompassing metadata associated with your site can act as one of the first “go-to” points of search engines once they have indexed/crawled your website. Keep it clean, simple, and if done on multiple pages, consistent to the primary subject of “what it is”.
- Backlinks – Focus on backlinks the “right way”. Having your site mentioned on other sites can have some benefits when it comes to SEO, but these benefits are exponentially increased when they are coming from sites that are both highly ranked themselves and industry related to your business. Plastering your site name all over forums or social media outlets won’t necessarily benefit you anymore and could potentially hurt your ranking if search engines find your content to be unrelated or irrelevant.
Getting indexed and ranked organically is no small feat. It can take time, but if you are dedicated to truly maintaining your site as one should, it can be evolutionary and exciting, like planting a seed and observing it sprout. As your site grows, so will your user-base. The more people who land on your site, navigate through it, and even share an aspect of it, the better off your ranking will be.