Consider this your ultimate (and simple!) SEO roadmap for increased website traffic and online visibility.
1. Do your keyword research
Proper keyword research and mapping is the foundation of successful SEO. Using tools like Google Keyword Planner, AnswerthePublic.com and Google Analytics, compile the search terms that people are using when they find your business, offering or industry.
These are the exact words you’ll want to use in your website page copy, blog posts and page titles.
2. Simplify your site map
Every website is structured as a map of menus and pages. The cleaner and more connected this map is, the easier it is for a search engine to ‘crawl’ its pages, index the contents, and direct people to it.
Broken links and disconnected pages and blog posts are seen as a break in the map, and can affect your site’s credibility or ease of use in Google’s eyes.
3. Clarify your page titles
How you name each page on your site can have a huge impact on a search engine’s ability to serve it up when queried.
The words on your site carry a lot of weight in Google’s eyes, and using quirky, unclear page titles – the same ones that then appear in your navigation menus – is a quick way to confuse and lose your visitors, while also hurting your search ranking.
4. Use Google’s tools
Google has created a multitude of free tools to help you improve and optimize your website to be more easily found in search, AND to help your users stick around longer and take the actions you want them to take.
5. Build your links
A very under-utilized search optimization tactic is the simple art of link building, where high-quality internal and external links placed throughout your site go a long way in establishing authority, relevancy and trust in Google’s eyes.
Seek out opportunities for your partners and customers to link to your website from theirs – and vice versa, while creating newsworthy site content that provides natural sharing and linking interest for your users.
6. Google Analytics
Beyond the Google tools that allow you to see how your site is performing technically, it’s integral to know how it’s landing with your users.
Where are they coming from? How are they moving through your pages and content? When and why are they taking actions throughout? Google Analytics is a wealth of info and a key part of the SEO mix.
7. Ensure multi-channel consistency
‘Owning page 1 of Google’ means that when someone undertakes a direct name search of your brand, or even better, a generic industry search – ta-da! Your website appears in top spot, with your various social feeds, sub-domains, media mentions and directory listings occupying all the spaces below.
Ensure they are speaking the same language with consistent bios, branding, products and beyond. Google likes clarity, and so does your user.
8. Reporting and metrics
As any savvy marketer or business owner knows, monitoring your search ranking performance over time is an integral piece of the SEO puzzle.
Know which metrics to measure, including meaningful stats such as organic vs paid traffic over time, individual keyword rankings, external links, referring domains, page load time, bounce rate, and pages per session.
9. Conversion psychology
The main reason most websites don’t earn the attention or conversions they deserve is a lack of focus. People simply don’t buy what they don’t understand. They want a clear and simple solution, with no further clarification needed.
Each page on your site must do two things – help the user accomplish a specific task, and make the next step easy to access. Seek out anecdotal feedback from users as well as analytical info as to whether your site is delivering, and adjust as needed!
10. Image tagging
An ever-increasing number of us rely on the “Images” tab of the search results page. And since search engines can’t read images, only image tags, 3 ways your images need to be SEO optimized include:
- A file name that describes what the images is, alongside your company name
- A descriptive title, where allowed, that expands on the file name
- Alt text written in a way that no information is lost if the user can’t actually see the image
Ready to dive deeper with guided training and proven activation exercises to get your SEO game in ship-shape?
Check out our Simplified SEO lab for a 60-minute workshop here, or our more comprehensive training in the full scope of Search Engine Optimization – also known as course #2 in our Digital Marketing Certificate!