Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One great way to market your company is to make it easy to find on search engines, like Google or Bing. Even if you’ve made the choice not to create a standalone website for your business, any relevant Facebook page, Twitter handle, or even Instagram profile for your business should fill the top spot on the search engine results page (SERP) if people are looking for businesses like yours in your area. You can do this by improving your website’s search engine optimization, or SEO.

While the actual algorithms used by search engines to bring up relevant results are largely unknown, sites like Search Engine Watch offer their best estimates of what Google wants in a website link. Listed below are a few key things to think about when improving your website’s SEO. Alternatively, you can travel to Search Engine Watch’s website for their full list of 22 SEO Essentials by clicking here.

SEO Etiquette

Relevancy – Quite simply, relevancy refers to a search engine’s main goal of answering the queries of its users. If you have a website to represent your plumbing business online, and somebody in the area wants to know about ”plumbing services nearby,” then you are likely to show up on the SERP when they ask that question.

The caveat, however, is that you need to make sure that search engines know what you are and where you are located. One great way to accomplish this for Google searches is to register your business with Google My Business. By providing Google with information like your business’s hours, contact info, and industry type, they can tailor their search results to better inform locals about your business as it’s relevant

Meta Descriptions and Title Tags – When you’re searching for businesses in your area on Google, you may notice that some business websites have search results with professional, concise titles and quick, clear descriptions. While these fine-tuned title tags and meta descriptions aren’t necessarily improving these websites’ positions on SERPs, they may help to entice people to enter their website and look around.

In regards to implementing these tags and descriptions, all common website hosting services – such as Wordpress and Wix – should have the capabilities to let you do this quickly and easily.

User Experience – In ranking similar websites, search engines often give SERP priority to the ones that appear to keep users engaged for long periods of time. This means that focusing on your website’s user experience may be killing two birds with one stone; while a positive user experience has always kept the user coming back for more, it will now also lead to an increase in the site’s overall visibility.

So how exactly does one create such an experience?  While the actual nuts and bolts may vary depending on what your website is for, you’ll generally want your site to have an intuitive design, and a good number of internal links in the right places. The design aspect will let users understand where they need to go to get the information they need, whereas internal links will let users jump between relevant topics, lowering the site’s bounce rate (the rate in which users leave the site entirely).

Another increasingly important aspect of the user experience is whether or not your website supports mobile viewing. Nowadays, websites that don’t do this just seem outdated. Google has stated that a website with a responsive design – one that changes its layout based on the size, type, and orientation of the user’s device – is preferred, and will assist in boosting your SEO.

Key/Buzzword Stuffing – While it may seem tempting to fill your webpage with reams of oft-Googled keywords in an attempt to boost your relevancy, it actually does more harm than good. Search engines avoid sites that exhibit behavior. This includes hiding keywords or links in your page that nobody can see, by the way. Search Engine Watch wonders whether or not Google even uses keywords as a SERP ranking criterion anymore.

Annoying Advertisements – Having an ad on your site that automatically plays sound, covers large portions of the screen, or just slows down and degrades the user experience overall will lower your SEO ranking. While advertisements are a large source of income for some website owners, you have to consider whether or not an ad is doing more harm than good.

Link Buying – While it’s true that your SEO ranking is boosted if another site has a link to your content, the catch is that the link has to come from a site with A site with authority is one that is trusted by its users, other sites, and the search engines themselves. A link farm – an operation with the sole purpose of using multiple webpages to link to your content – has no such authority and will only help in penalizing your SEO ranking.