When planning to start a business online, there’s a lot to think about. But one of the most important things to you need to take care of early on is drawing organic traffic to your business website.
Search engine’s main task is to give us the content that is relevant to what we’re looking for. So how do you become the most relevant site for your customers searches?
There are 4 main criteria that search engines to determine which website is more relevant and should be ranked higher in organic search:
- Content. Obviously, it should be relevant to what the client is looking for.
- Speed. Websites that load faster are usually in priority and have smaller bounce rate.
- Authority. Usually determined by the quality and number of the backlinks.
- User experience. A website should be easy to navigate, safe and make access to the content it provides simple.
You’ll have to focus on these 4 points when optimizing a website. As for SEO, these 5 tips will help you to make sure that your website is just right for the search engines and their users:
Step 1: Choose the best possible domain name
Domain name is the first thing, related to your website that people will see. When choosing a domain focus on the following:
- Keywords. Don’t bother too much with adding keywords to your domain. EMD (Exact Match Domain) update from Google solved this problem for you. Websites that have keywords in their names no longer have any advantage. So instead of creating a website like cheap-pants-for-sale.com you can be creative and stick with the name you like, all the better if it has a branding potential. Which brings us to the next point.
- Branding. First of all, websites with simple addresses don’t look suspicious and spammy, unlike keyword-keywrod-name.com websites. Picking a good name helps to build credibility and make backlinks to your website more efficient. Before sticking with a name check if it’s not taken on major social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Also, make sure that your links are human-friendly, website.com/products/toys is a lot better than a random selection of symbols.
- Spelling. If your company name is hard to spell or pronounce people who hear about you somewhere will have a hard time finding you this is another reason to make your name short and simple.
- .COM By all means possible try to get the .com domain, if it’s taken you might want to reconsider the name of your website, as you’ll be missing a lot of traffic.
If you’re going to buy a domain that has been owned by somebody, make sure to run a background check, see if this domain was penalized by Google, for what reasons? And don’t forget to check if the previous owner used the name to register social media accounts.
Step 2: Use Keyword Research To Study Your Future Audience
Find out which words your audience is using when trying to find the products or services that you provide. The efficiency of the keywords makes a big difference for SEO.
Avoid the following:
- Too short and generic keywords, like car, shoes or iphone. Such keywords never work for a new business, competition in organic search is huge and running a PPC campaign for something similar will destroy your budget in no time.
- Keywords with a low number of searches. Too specific keywords, like cheap car parts for 2005 honda civic in Seattle, are pretty much useless and won’t draw any traffic to your website.
- Irrelevant keywords and keywords with several meanings, if their main meaning is irrelevant for you.
Here are the signs of good keywords:
- High search volume – shows that keywords are popular among your audience.
- Low competition. Usually attributed to long-tail keywords. Unlike generic keywords they are good for running a PPC campaign and their conversion rate is higher.
- Relevancy. If your content and your keywords aim different audience you won’t get any results.
There are few tools you can use for Keyword Research, most popular is Google’s Keyword Planner. But for deeper research, you’ll need to use more complex tools, like Ahrefs, Serpstat or Spyfu. With Serpstat, for example, you can filter keywords related to your product by their search volume and level of competition, find out what keywords your competitors use to gain traffic and more. This short video review of Serpstat’s possibilities should give you an idea of how such tools work and what exactly they do.
Step 3: Work on your content
The quality of your content is what customers will notice the most. After all, they have the last word in the ranking of your website. Anything that you publish to your page is content, this includes:
- Page content
- Images (pictures, infographics, avatars, etc.)
- Blog posts
- Blocks of text
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- FAQs and any information about your business
Make your content useful and interesting, it must catch and hold the attention of your visitors.
Even though you’re writing content for people, don’t forget that it’s also a crucial part of your SEO and requires optimization. Web crawlers will check your website to understand, what’s it about and rank it for the keywords that you used in your content.
Aiming for more visitors with popular keywords is not always a good idea, you should chase after the quality if your visitors to have higher conversion rate.
When trying to make your content appealing to both, users and search engines pay attention to these things:
- Titles. A catchy title is the best way to get the attention.
- Keywords. Use relevant keywords that will bring in the audience you’re aiming at.
- Quality. Users will come to your website for answers and solutions to their problems. Make sure that your content is as helpful as can be to keep your bounce rate low.
- Originality and freshness. Make sure that your content is unique and is always up to date.
- Length. Most specialists recommend keeping the length of your regular post somewhere between 400 and 700 words. There’s no correlation between the text length and the number of backlinks it gets, but a short text that gets to the point fast are more likely to be read to an end.
Step 4: Technical setup
- Set up Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and to see how your website is performing. Which pages attract the most visitors, how long do they stay on your website? You’ll need this data and more to keep track of your development. Google Analytics is easy to set up and provides loads of useful data about your users and their preferences.
- Set up Google and Bing Webmaster Tools to get more detailed and deep information. See the number of backlinks, what queries bring people to your website, what issues does your website have and more.
- Install SEO plugins for your WordPress if you use this platform for your website. It will help you to optimize your content. There are many plugins available, pick the ones you find the most useful. A lot of professionals use Yoast plugin, it’s free, has a lot of functions and is easy to use.
- Use robots.txt file; it contains instructions for web crawlers as to which pages they should ignore. This file is basically a list of commands that tells web crawlers which pages they can and can not retrieve. If you use a “disallow; /” command for a certain page it will not appear in Google search results which are the price you must pay so you don’t get penalized for duplicate content. It’s also a good idea to use this command while your website is under construction, but don’t forget to remove the tag once you’re ready for visitors.
Step 5: Build links
Getting quality links is an important ranking factor, being linked from an authoritative website is always better than having hundreds of garbage links.
Here are some tips to help you with your link building strategy:
- Create shareable content, like infographics, guest posts or posts that mention resources you want to share the content (they usually set up Google alerts to know when they are mentioned).
- Promote your content. The more people see your content, the more chances it has to become popular and shared. The best way to advertise your content is to target your audience in social networks. It will be cheaper than regular PPC campaign and you’ll reach out to people who are interested in your content.
- Get people to know you. Build relationships with people who can help you with promoting your content and ask them to give your content a look.
Step 6: Post-launch monitoring
- Usability. It’s a very important part of your SEO and helps to keep your visitors happy. When users have a great experience with your website they will return and maybe even recommend it to their friends. Visit your website as a customer, or better ask your friends to do it. Check how many steps it takes to buy something from your website, how easy it is to navigate, etc.
- Speed. Another crucial ranking factor, so don’t forget to improve your site’s speed and loading times. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is the best tool for the job. You will get a report on your performance with pieces of advice on what to improve to make your website run faster.
- Mobile version. Make sure that your website works properly on all devices – desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Use Google’s Tool to test is your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile traffic is increasing every day and is expected to overtake desktops in nearest future. Monitor your analytics to control the percentage of the traffic coming from mobile devices, make working on mobile version a priority if necessary. If you don’t get any mobile traffic, just remember that Google favors mobile-friendly pages in ranking.
Follow these tips, and your website will have more visitors and a better reputation. Don’t expect instant results, it takes a time to index and rank your website, so don’t change things every other day in a panic.
There are no shortcuts in SEO unless you want to try shady stuff and get penalized, it’s never worth the hassle. Keep working on your website and improving it for better results.