What the hell is S.E.O. you ask? Search. Engine. Optimization or SEO, a 3-letter word that improves website performance. It all comes down to how well your website ranks on search engines like Google without the use of paid tools.
What the hell is S.E.O.?
SEO is about key words first and foremost. But not the ones you are paying for (in which case we say “pay per click”).
In a way, SEO is the result of your ability to create a website that stands out. But to achieve this, you have to gain a better understanding of Google’s (and other search engines) algorithm.
Search engines have mini robots called bots. They travel the web and analyze everything they find. Think of a teacher and the report card. Different things are considered when assessing a website: content, length of text, images, key words, updates, credibility, and many more.
Since new sites come up every day and that others close down or are updated, it’s a neverending process, which means your ranking can change over time.
Why should I care about SEO.?
Why should you care about SEO? Because an optimized website can make the difference between one that is bringing in new leads and another that does nothing for your organization.
According to Moz, 71% of clicks on Google happen on the first results page, and this number can increase up to 92% in some instances. That’s why SEO is so important.
Your website should be a tool you use to help you reach your main goal, whether it’s to get a donation, make a sale, book an appointment or get someone to contact you. It’s your perfect ally to generate passive sales, but for that, you need to make sure people can find it.
Ok, so how can I improve my ranking organically?
1. Be relevant.
There was a time when certain optimization specialists used less-than-stellar practices such as inserting unrelated but popular key words on your website.
Today, Google wants relevance. The bots scrutinize the words you use, assess if they are linked to your field of work or expertise and to what extent your content is original and of interest to visitors. Content copied and pasted from other sites don’t pass the smell test.
2. Write just the right amount.
Relevance is also assessed in terms of text length. Content that is considered too short can bring your credibility down a notch and get the bots to penalize you for it. Something too short sends the message that the information is too superficial.
If you’re told that long reads are a no-go because of people’s online reading habits, know that interesting content will always find its public. Also, you can use different writing strategies to make sure your text is reader-friendly.
3. Update your website.
When you update your website, you send a signal to search engines saying you are interested in your visitors and know how to reinvent yourself. A website with no update will be perceived as obsolete, which will make it lose optimization “points”.
Think about it. When you research a trending topic, do you choose the article published 5 years ago or the one published yesterday? Google’s logic is the same.
You don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your website. Adding blog posts or doing small edits here and there is often sufficient.
4. Use key words (but don’t overdo it).
Fundamentally, SEO is about key words. Choose the most relevant ones based on your area of expertise, your geographical location and other words people are searching for online.
For example, if you’re a dentist in Toronto, people may search for “dentist + name of neighborhood”.
But if there’s anything that makes your business stand out (perhaps you offer a 24/7 service), use that. Truth is, some key words are difficult to compete for, there’s just too many people using them. There might be less people searching for a 24/7 dentist but there’s a good chance that those who do will find you.
Only use one key word per page and try to include it in your page title, your image description and make sure to repeat it a few times in the body.
5. Create a Google Business account.
An easy solution to help optimize your search engine ranking is to create a Google Business account. This will allow you to get a Google listing – the box with a map, hours of operation and reviews that appear on the right of the list of results when you Google a business.
If you have a Gmail account, it’s even easier to open an account because you’ve already completed half of the registration process. Not only will your account help you gain better SEO, it will generate additional visibility thanks to that Google listing.
Again, remember to update your Google Business account and to ask for client reviews to support your optimization even more.
6. Include images.
Always aim to include at least one image for each content page. Search engines will appreciate it.
But don’t forget to give your images relevant file names by incorporating your key words.
You can do it!
These are just some of the basics you can implement to help your SEO and improve your website’s performance. The best part is that you can easily do this yourself.
However, SEO is not an instantaneous thing – it can take time to see changes happen. But the day you do end up on the first page, do everything you can to stay there! Because if the bots penalize you for something, the impact on your website ranking could be felt for a long time.