Search Engine Optimization(S.E.O) is a key component of any digital marketing strategy that delivers results. Because individuals make trillions of searches every year, often with the intent to find information about products and services, SEO is a critical component of digital marketing.
Brands’ major source of internet traffic is often being discovered from search engines, which is supplemented by other marketing channels. Greater visibility and higher placement in search results than your competitors can have a significant impact on your eventual sales and bottom line.
SEO comprises all the various measures you can employ in ensuring your brand/website is at the very top of the results page returned to anyone using a search engine to look for similar services/products to what you offer. SEO involves you taking actionable steps to improve the quality of content on your website which increases your site visibility when search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, etc. use their bots to crawl through your websites.
A lot of people tend to think there is a huge silver bullet to automatically boost your website SEO, this is untrue and as anyone with industry knowledge would inform you; improving your site SEO often consists of taking small incremental steps that combined, gives visitors a better user experience and higher ranking in Search engine queries.
The steps outlined below can help you improve your ranking on search engines, help bring more visitors to your site and empower you in converting more leads.
- High-quality content: when it comes to ranking high in search engine queries, content is king. This is because search engines want to show the most relevant results for a user query as a response, as such; making sure that your content resonates and would be relevant to any visitors coming to your site is one of the key components of SEO which is often neglected or not given as much attention as the other components.
- Indexing your site with search engines: All websites that a search engine is aware of are stored in its index. Each page’s index entry describes the page’s content as well as its location (URL). When a search engine bot downloads a page, reads it, and adds it to the index, it is said to be indexed.
This is especially necessary if your website is new as an unindexed site won’t even show up at all in results for a search. To check if your site is indexed on Google, for example, type this into the search bar on Google “site:yourwebsiteaddress.com” replacing the text “yourwebsiteaddress.com” with your URL. If you see results, congrats! You’re in the index.
- Zipping your website for speed: Page speed also plays a pivotal role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google considers a wide variety of factors when deciding how to rank web pages, and this is one of them. In a word, page speed is the time it takes for your content to load when someone views a page on your website.
- Image optimization and adding alt text: Like site zipping, image optimization also helps to increase website speed, therefore affecting your search optimization positively. Images improve the quality of your content while also improving the design of your web pages. Large photos, on the other hand, can cause loading times to be delayed.
Hence, it is tactical to compress the images to optimize them. Changing their file types, enabling slow loading, and compressing photos using lossy or lossless compression are all various ways to do this. You may lower the “weight” of your photos by reducing their file sizes, which can help your pages load faster. WP Smush is one of several image optimization plugins available for this purpose.
You can also use a program like Photoshop where you can retain control over the quality of the image.
Another method of image optimization is the use of alt text. Alt text, also known as alt tags or alt descriptions, is the textual language that replaces an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on the user’s screen. This language aids screen-reading software in describing photos to visually challenged readers, as well as allowing search engines to crawl and rank your page more effectively.
- Making sure your site has an SSL certificate: Without getting too technical, an SSL certificate establishes a secure connection for such actions. The most important thing to remember about SSL is that anything that requires internet security should be protected by an SSL certificate. Search engines are penalizing websites that are deemed to be insecure.
Websites without an SSL certificate will appear in users’ browsers as HTTP, while those with encryption will appear as HTTPS. SSL is now a ranking signal according to Google, therefore if you don’t have it, your site will be tougher to locate, affecting your traffic and revenue.
- Add a robots.txt file and a sitemap: As a new or existing online business, you’ll want your site to appear in search results. And, to appear in search results, search engine bots must crawl and index your website and its many web pages (robots). Robots.txt and XML sitemap are two files on the technical side of your website that help these bots find what they require.
The robots.txt file is a plain text file that is placed in the root directory of your website. This file contains a collection of instructions that inform search engine robots which pages on your website they are allowed to crawl and which they are not. The address of another key file, the XML sitemap, should be included in the Robots.txt file.
This section contains information about each page on your website that you want search engines to find. An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on a website that you want robots to find and visit. For example, you could want search engines to have access to all of your blog entries so that they can appear in search results. However, you may not want them to have access to your tag pages, as these are unlikely to be suitable landing pages and should not appear in search results.
While SEO can take time to develop and start showing results, a structured approach using the right tools and industry knowledge can make that process faster for you and jumpstart the rewards you earn for investing in your site’s SEO potential.
One way to get started is using several of the free tools available to analyze your site URL’s current SEO such as the one here. This would inform you as to where your site currently is and quick fixes you can start with towards improving your SEO score.