How to improve SEO for your website
Here are 5 quick tips, and fundamental concepts for success. Ready? Let’s go!
If you’ve read much about how to improve SEO on your website, you’ve probably run into articles that make SEO sound incredibly intimidating.
And to be honest, SEO can get very complex. But SEO fundamentals are a bit like healthy living: If you eat your fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise like your Grandma told you to do, you’re usually going to do well.
With SEO, if you listen to your audience and give them the information they need, you’ll do well. With that said, here’s what your Grandma would tell you about SEO.
In this case, “Grandma” is Duane Forrester, a digital marketing expert who helped lead Microsoft’s SEO efforts. He was also a critical part of the executive team for Bing, and works with webmasters to help them build better websites. You can watch Duane’s full 1-hour+ expert session on SEO below. We’ve summed up the major points for those of you who are in a hurry.
5 Quick Tips You Can Use Now
- Understand how your customers search. One of the keys to good SEO is providing quality content that people can find when they use a search engine. Before you write anything, ask yourself: What are my customers typing in when they are researching the products or services I sell?
Brainstorm — come up with a list of phrases customers are likely to search. Then start doing some keyword research. Take advantage of tools like Google Keyword Planner and Bing Keyword Planner (which are free to use even though they are part of advertiser platforms). Type in the phrases you have brainstormed to see related keyword phrases that might be relevant to your website, as well as how often those phrases are searched. The more often a search term is used, the more valuable it may be for your business.
Make a list of keywords that are frequently searched and relevant to what you have to offer the world. Here’s what to do with that info. You’ll want to use these keywords as you write the content for your site.
- Use your keywords in title tags. The title tag tells the search engine how it should identify your webpage. It’s the headline link that shows in search results, and it is also the text that appears at the top of the user’s web browser. So, for example, here’s an interesting blog from another SEO guru, Neil Patel. This blog is more than 3 years old, but it still ranks well for the phrase “help me get better SEO results.”
“SEO” and “Results” both appear in his title tag.
- Use a compelling meta description. The meta description is the information on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that describes the link. Searchers read this text to help decide if the link is worth clicking. In the example above, the meta description says “Bigger isn’t always better! Getting irrelevant SEO traffic is useless because those visitors won’t convert…” The description argues that not all traffic is worthwhile traffic. That’s an important message! I bet it makes you more likely to want to read that article!
- Keyword stuffing is the worst type of stuffing. It’s even worse than the time Grandma burned the Thanksgiving stuffing. Don’t stuff the stuffing in the stuffing stuff. See? Awful, right?
Once you have a good keyword, great. Use it in your meta title, use it in the first paragraph of your copy, consider using it in a photo file name (if it makes sense), or an H2 header somewhere in the article (if it makes sense). But don’t write stilted awful sentences just to cram your keyword in more often. That won’t help you improve your ranking — and it could even hurt you. Search engines have learned to detect signs of keyword stuffing, and they see it as an indicator of bad content that shouldn’t rank well in results. It’s also a turnoff for users, who will learn to associate your site with spam rather than seeing it as a source for authoritative, credible information.
- Get some relevant links. Once you have some good content on your website, reach out to other website owners whose audience could benefit from the information on your site. Do you sell indoor swimming pools? Reach out to a store that sells beachwear. Own a lawn care company? Make friends with landscape architects and look for opportunities to share links (and referrals)!
Website links are like a professional network that exists between websites. Just like in the non-digital world, people with the widest and best professional connections are usually the ones that win business. Help your website make new friends.
Concepts for Success
Ultimately, your goal is to win a battle for online authority. You want to be seen as “the” go-to resource in your field.
The way you do it isn’t by using a magic combination of keywords. It’s by knowing your audience, understanding what they want and need, and then helping them get it.
In the meta title example above, did you notice that Neil Patel ranked #1 for the phrase “help me get better SEO results” even though he didn’t actually use that exact phrase anywhere?
He won because his website gets a ton of traffic from users who come back often and stay a long time each time they visit. He’s made himself an invaluable resource and built a loyal audience. That not only helps him get great search engine results, it also helps him win trust and gain a paying audience.
At the end of the day, there are some technical things you can do to improve your SEO, but the biggest key to improvement is embracing a fundamental mindset. If you’re a business owner, it’s a mindset you’ve probably already embraced in your everyday life:
Find out what people want. Then deliver it to them, consistently and with excellence.