What is SEO and why is it important?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your ranking in search engine results. It is important because it can be the difference between your business being found or not. The better the SEO the higher the ranking will be.

SEO helps search engines recognize what certain pages are good for. To be sure the engine is getting the right idea, there are some things that you can focused on: we have 17 tips to improve your SEO here.

1. Choose Keywords And Stick With Them

Content should be created around keywords. Use the keywords throughout your content; in the title; in the body of the content; in image names and so on. Be sure to have the keywords flow in the content. The search engine will pick up on them, no matter how you put them in, which is great, but you want to make your content flow so it is pleasant for the consumer to read.

There are tools you can use to help you find what people are searching for. Keep in mind that it is not always just about single words: try finding phrases that people may be searching for as well.

2. Quality Counts

It is important to find the balance between the keyword focus and a well written piece of work. Finding that balance is what gives the search engines reason to rank you higher. You want people returning to your site because they liked what they found and want more.

3. Stay Up To Date

Keeping your content up to date, by posting frequently, gives consumers a reason to return to your site. You don’t need to be posting multiple times in a day but at least once a week would be good. It keeps your site looking fresh and on top of things.

4. Customize Your Permalinks

Permalinks are another way to get keywords in and let the search engine know what your page is useful for. It is easy to customize a URL and it’s another way to boost your SEO.

5. Value Links And Work With Them

What kind of links are there to work with? Learning to work well with internal links, external links, and links to other sites will benefit you. The better your link building is, the better your SEO is.

Use internal links, within your content, to point people towards more of your content. Use external links to make people from other sites aware of your site and what it has to offer. Use links to other sites to help people get a fuller understanding of your content and point them in a useful direction.

6. Use Social Media To Your Advantage

Social media doesn’t have a big influence on search engine ranking. It does, however, encourage external links, it helps with organic traffic and helps your site develop authority in the areas it needs to.

Social Media

7. Make Your Website Quicker

Your site loading page time is important not only to search engines but also to consumers.

Try testing your pages with testing tools to be sure your loading speed is optimal.

8. Use An SEO Plugin

If you’re using a site framework like WordPress, plugins are a huge way to help you get the most out of your SEO. They help you stay on top of meta and get the word to the search engine that you have new content.

There are many different plugin tools you can look in to that can help benefit you in your endeavors to improve your SEO.

9. Metadata

Metadata is information which is inserted in the pages on your website in order to tell search engines about the information contained in the content on your page.

  • Page Title (or Title Tag) is what creates your page titles, you see at the top of your screen. This appears in search results, and as such should include your business name and main keyword that you’re targeting
  • Description (or Meta Description) is what will appear with your title tag in search results. It is a one or two line description of your business and what it does.
  • Keyword Tags are unable to be seen by visitors, but they are very important. They tell the search engines crawling your site what the page is about and what search terms it is related to.

10. Use Alt Tags

Alt tags, or alternative text descriptions, are textual descriptions of what is in your images and videos. Why are these important? For a search engine crawling your site, it may be difficult to discern what exactly is in the image or video you included on the page, so alt tags are a great way to help search engines lead visitors to your site.

11. Content Length

Not only is it important to have high quality content, it is also important to have a lot of content. There is research that suggests that the highest ranked pages have 2,000 words or more of content on them.

While quality is definitely more important that quantity, a really good page will probably be more than 300 words, right?

12. Image Optimization

Using images that are too big can slow down your page loading speed, and because that loading speed is so important for search engines, it might be a good idea to shrink the file size of those images down.

Not only is it important that your photos are the right size, but also keep in mind that the more photos you use, the better.

Research has shown that people are more likely to read and share pages that include lots of images. See our blog on The Importance of Photography For Your Website.

13. Header Tags

Formatting your website properly leads to a better user experience, which in turn can boost your rankings in the search engines. When you have a large amount of text, it is important to break it up into readable parts, and include a “header tag” to tell search engines what is important content on the page.

  • An “H1” tag is for the title of the page, what the page is about
  • An “H2” tag is for important pieces of content within the page (such as a sub-heading)

Search engines rank keywords that are in header tags more heavily, so be sure to include the keywords you are trying to rank for in the H2 tags within your content.

14. Outbound Links

If you want to show your readers where you got your information or where they can go to read more in depth about that subject, you can include a link to another site called an “outbound link.” You can link to other sites on the internet to verify a claim or to cite a statistic.

This shows that your information is relevant and up to date, as well as simply provides a more informational user experience.

Use this tool to check on all the links on a page of your website to check for broken links – you lose the value of an outbound link it doesn’t lead anywhere.

15. Different Media

To show search engines that you have a quality piece of content on your page, try including different types of media on your web page. Pictures, infographics, videos, audio clips, and slideshows can add to the overall user experience by being more informative as well as attract more views and shares.

Videos, for instance, have been found to raise a website’s conversion rate. Try mixing it up a bit, it could help your search rankings!

Multimedia Conversion

16. Readability

Regardless of who your site is geared towards, it is a good idea to keep the wording simple and easy to read. No one wants to have to struggle to understand what you are saying, which will lead to a negative user experience and a higher bounce rate.

Having a Flesch Readability Test score of 60-70 means that a typical 13-15 year old could read your content. This is a good range for web copy. There are tools which can measure the readability of your web page, and can make helpful suggestions about where to make changes.

17. Social Sharing Buttons

Having ready made buttons for major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make sharing that much easier for your reader. And the more shares you get, the better!

While social signals do not directly affect search rankings, social media can drive visitors to your site and enable your content to be shared around.

Social Sharing

We hope these helped! Let us know any other tips to improve SEO in the comments.

Jeremy Minick

Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. Spent high school summers running sandwich deliveries through the streets of Asheville, NC. Has a strong interest in helping small businesses do big things. When he’s not designing or marketing websites, you’ll find him spending time with his wife, family and friends.

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