The new year is upon us, and as we look down the road at 2017, we need to envision how to best set our business up for success. One way to do that is to plan out how to get noticed online. Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is called in industry parlance, is the method by which that is done. In other words, we need to make sure that when a potential customer or client searches for something pertaining to our business online, that those search results point them directly at us. Based on research that we at Lift Media Group have conducted from a wide range of online articles and expert sources, the following list of SEO best practices should help make that possible.
- Keywords, or searchable terms, are one way that search engines interact with the content on your website. Find a set of keywords that performs well in your target demographic, perhaps by using a tool such as Google AdWords, and incorporate these keywords into the content of your website. In addition, you should also use “proof” or “relevant” terms in your content. These are terms that Google or other search engines expect to see in content that matches your keywords. This proves to search engines that your keywords are legitimate and effective, and that you are not simply trying to game their system. This is necessary because search engines have begun looking for the user’s search intent, rather than simply the keywords they use. For example, if I am searching for coffee shops I would expect to find terms such as espresso, Colombian, drip, roast, or milk. If these words are not present, your website will not perform as well in search results.
- A blog is a great way to build your SEO rankings. If you do not have a blog on your business website, perhaps you should think about starting one. Find relevant topics to write about, topics your audience would be interested in, and structure the content of your blogs around high-performing keywords related to those topics.
- According to Google, the top-ranking content has an average word count of between 1,140 and 1,285 words. Other online authorities even push this number up to 1,500 words. This is notable because there was a time when the higher performing content was between 300 and 500 words. However, in our age of tweets and emojis, many online consumers of information are craving and seeking out meatier content. A higher word count should allow you to go further in depth into your topic, rather than simply providing an into or brief summary, in order to help meet this desire for meat.
- Make sure your internal links are organized and structured in a way that a user would naturally flow through your website, like the eye is guided and flows through a masterful work of art. Any broken links or links that lead to dead ends will harm your website’s SEO performance. A user should be able to navigate to any page of your website—from any page on your website—without having to use the back button on their browser.
- Metadata is data that describes other pieces of data. It is not regularly seen by the common web surfer, but it does get seen by search engines. Make sure that each page, image, video, and chart on your website has a metadata description that informs the search engine of its actual content. Incorporate keywords into these descriptions whenever possible, and most of all make sure that they are accurate. That goes for your headlines (H1) as well. A headline that includes information about coffee needs to be followed by content that includes information about coffee, not parachutes.
- Mobile computing is taking over the web, and websites need to work on mobile platforms if they are going to have a high SEO performance. So, build your website around mobile compatibility first, then optimize for desktop computing. Mobile is simply more important. If a page does not work on mobile, your rankings will drop dramatically. Your potential customers are not going to stick around on your website for very long if they find it even remotely difficult to use on their mobile phone.
- Make sure your webpage can load quickly. We have become increasingly impatient as a society as information has become more easily and readily accessible. A website that loads slowly, even a second or two, will irritate the common consumer. That goes for loading on mobile devices as well. So, naturally, the faster your website loads, the better its SEO rankings will be. No, people are not going to click on your website more just because it loads quickly, but people will not become irritated by your site and leave prematurely. A fast load time simply removes a potential barrier to access.
- Video content performs better than words. Incorporate video content whenever possible. It is as simple as that. If you have a video that relates to your business in any way, throw it up on your website. Incorporate it into a blog post. Share it on social media. People will watch videos sooner than they will read content, no matter how compelling the content is. Images have a similar effect on a website, but not to the same extent as video. And, with whatever videos or images you have up on your website, make sure those metadata descriptions are present, accurate, and loaded with effective keywords.
Have fun boosting the SEO performance of your website, and have a happy and profitable 2017!
- Posted by Lift Media Group