Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is what determines where you show up when someone goes to Google and types in the keywords or phrase you want to be found for.
Did you know that almost 75% of all searches take place in Google search? It’s not only important to show up on the first page, but the top 5 results get 67% of the clicks! So, you want to get as close to the top of the list as possible.
Google’s goal is to serve up the best, most relevant content for every search. If someone clicks through on your link and doesn’t stay on your page, Google considers your page irrelevant for that search term.
If you are in one of those coveted top 5 spots and that happens a few times, you won’t stay there long!
Your goal should be to provide the best possible content, make it easy to find (don’t make them go through several clicks to get to it!) and have related content to keep them on your site as long as possible.
Let’s talk about your on-page SEO. That’s what you have the most direct control over.
The main part of on-page SEO is content. Basically, when someone is searching for information on Google, they are searching for content. Google will do it’s best to serve up exactly what you asked for.
If you want a 5-minute recipe that uses grated cheese, you will get a variety of choices that can be made in 5 minutes and that use grated cheese. (Example only. I didn’t take the time to Google this to see if there are any recipes like that!)
Your goal, then, is to provide quality content that is specific in nature and, hopefully, on a topic that people are interested in.
Keyword research is key for this. Before you even write your content, you should search for words or phrases someone might “Google” to find content like yours.
The next step is to use those keywords in the article you write. Don’t be obnoxious about it and use them over and over again (that’s called keyword stuffing and is frowned on by Google). But using them in the title (and URL is usually automatic), metadata, first paragraph and the conclusion is a good rule of thumb.
Think about how you would talk to someone naturally about a cat. You would use the word cat now and then, but every other word wouldn’t be cat.
Another way to improve your relevancy score in Google is to post frequently. If you are only posting once a month, that isn’t going to help your rank very much.
I recently read an SEO guide that said the websites with the most visits post 16 or more blog posts a month! That’s four a week. I don’t even do that… yet… although I would like to experiment with that and see what it does for my traffic.
If you just can’t come up with that much fresh material, you can always re-write, tweak and update your older posts. Google also likes to see that.
If you are only going to post once a month, you need to focus on posting a longer, more in-depth piece of 2,000 words or so.
Your first sentence is pretty important in search terms. It will often be pulled into the Google search results as a preview of what the full article is about.
Using a plug-in like YOST SEO can help streamline your SEO for you.
Speed and responsiveness are going to be even more important this year. Google has made it clear that since more than 60% of searches are happening on mobile devices, your page must be mobile responsive and it must load quickly.
Finally, you will want to make sure you have a secure site (https instead of http). Many browsers now post a warning when you click on a link to a website that isn’t secure, and most people will go back rather than risk visiting a non-secure website.
SEO is a huge topic and this is just a brief overview. If you want to do well in the search engines and truly grow your business take the time to learn more about SEO. It will pay for itself tenfold!