Guest Post by Kim Fredrich, Founder, The Stylish Marketer
Search engine optimization (SEO) is yet another one of those web topics shrouded in mystery to the uninitiated. But SEO is not so complicated after all. Optimizing your website for your users (who wouldn’t want to do that?) also optimizes your website for search engines. At least for now.
You may already know that Google updates it search algorithms regularly, to provide the best possible search results to its customers. What that means in practice is that just when you’ve worked out how to rise to the top of the search results, Google will change its weightings or even penalize sites for taking actions to manipulate search results.
Can you say Penguin anyone? Which is actually a good thing, but does mean that search engine optimization is a continual process. And you need to play by the rules.
Top SEO experts all agree that there are many factors that contribute to search engine rankings, with these 5 being the most critical:
1. Optimized for mobile
2. Page load speed
3. Site architecture
4. Quality content
5. No pop-ups
Bonus points (oops, I meant rankings) for long-tail keywords.
Now doesn’t that look like a list of things any user would want when visiting a website? How many times have you tried to use a site on your phone and given up in frustration? That site loses you as a potential customer AND is penalized by search engines. And how annoying are those pop-up blocks that won’t let you get to the content you actually want? Guess what? Search engines penalize those too.
Conversely, sites that are optimized for mobile (content displayed properly on smaller screens, navigation still intuitive, page load speed maximized), sites with those things that you as a user demand, are all treated favorably by search engines. As is quality content that invites a user to stop and stay a while and is NOT blocked by a pop-up.
Ah, that quality content. Marketing experts also agree that quality content is one of the most effective things you can do to generate traffic to your website and rank higher in search engine results. However, they also agree that it is one of the most time consuming and therefore most difficult things to do. Apparently search engines like 2000 – 2500 words the best. As do users. That’s a lot of quality content!
This is classic you get what you pay for. And that’s another lesson for SEO. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There was a time when stuffing your site with all sorts of backlinks and keywords would help your search engine rankings, but not anymore. Now those tricks are likely to end up dropping you faster down the list than you can say ‘SEO’.
Long-tail keywords have become the holy grail for SEO. These are those longer phrases you might see suggested in the search box when conducting your own search.
Long-tail keywords are the sort of thing you might use in a voice search, as is increasingly conducted on mobile phones. You don’t ask Siri the address for a library, you ask Siri for ‘directions to the Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library’. Those long-tail keyword searches, as they are known, are what smart web developers and content creators are including in their content naturally.
There is so much involved in researching and selecting keywords to optimize SEO that that might need to be another post. One that is 2000 – 2500 words.
If you think about what you want as a user when you are visiting a website, those are exactly the things that will help your site rise in the search engine ranking pages (SERPS).
For even more ideas on what you can do to improve your SEO, check out this excellent article by Daniel Louis on http://www.jeffbullas.com
Come to a FREE workshop: Get Found! An SEO Workshop this Thursday, February 2 from 6 – 8pm at Hera Hub DC. I’ll be presenting more of the things you can do to improve your search engine rankings, plus, we’ll have a bonus 30 minute hands-on session including mini audits, keyword identification, page rankings, resources to activate and more. Bring your laptop!
About the Author
Kim Fredrich, The Stylish Marketer, works with women-owned businesses to improve sales revenue. She’s a communicator at heart; listening and building relationships are instinctive for her. But with a business degree and wide ranging experience focused on revenue generation, she understands business too – it’s all about the revenue.
Over the past nearly 20 years she’s practiced sales and marketing across a range of consumer and business industries, in-house and as a consultant, and in three different countries.
But wait! She’s also nice, approachable and she genuinely wants to help you succeed. She might even talk style with you.