Search Engine Optimization. It’s a term that’s become ubiquitous in today’s digital world in that it’s important for the success of their web campaign, but many people still don’t quite know what it is or how they can apply it to their website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is precisely what the name says it is: actions you can take to boost your website’s standing when a user performs a web search for terms related to your organization.
For example, to promote a BBQ restaurant in Baton Rouge, you’d organically mention “BBQ” and “Baton Rouge” in your site titles and webpage content. That way when users search for BBQ restaurants around Baton Rouge, your restaurant has a better chance to pop up at the top of the page because you’ve explicitly defined yourself on your webpage as exactly that.
However, there are a few different factors to consider when building your SEO strategy. We’ve outlined a few of them below to help you consider how you can improve your search engine standing.
Design And Functionality Take Precedence
You may be thinking that the most important part of SEO is the words. That is a huge part of it that we will get to later, but before you start thinking about that you need to make sure that your website is both functional and intuitive.
Search engines like Google factor in website performance metrics such as bounce rate into their rankings. Above all else, your website should be stable and encourages the reader to stay on the page longer. A magic number benchmark to aim for is having a home page load time of three seconds or under.
There is a wide array of analytical tools you can use to achieve this such as heat maps, scroll maps, confetti maps and specialized software tools designed to assess and upkeep your web design. Some examples of this type of software are PageSpeed Insights, Test My Site, Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, Optimizely and Clickflow.
Write Clear Content
A basic tenant of SEO is including unique URLs as well as alt tags, image descriptions and page titles. These are the keywords that you probably assume SEO is built around. To an extent, you’re right.
But a great SEO strategy doesn’t just rely on those keywords. In order to really maximize your standing, your content needs to be clear and easy to read. Search engines have shown to respond better to content that is more blunt and easier to understand. The easiest way to do this is to focus on the quality of the information you are conveying above all else. Ideally, your paragraphs are no more than three to four sentences long and have a decent mix of length. Avoid too many fragments, but be careful not to overcorrect with too many run-on sentences.
In essence, avoid writing too many paragraphs like that one.
Your writing should be written in an inverted pyramid style when you can. This is where you begin with a hook that leads into the most important and contextual details before expanding into the broader, less pressing details.
Another useful tip is to use sub headers to break up the page in order to help people read it better. You can also use bullet points to do the same effect while driving home key points. Some examples of how bullet points highlight key information as well as some sub headers to break up information:
· Let’s get started:
· Dig a little deeper:
· Let us explain:
· We can show you how:
· In short:
· To recap:
· In a nutshell:
· Don’t take our word for it:
An example of a sub header breaking up a page and making it easier to read would look like this:
Optimize For Voice Searches
You may not think about it much, but when you ask your virtual assistant (Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc.) for information, they use a search engine of some sort. Tailoring your SEO to match these types of searches may seem a little extra, but there is an audience for it.
25% of adults use a smart speaker, and that number is only skyrocketing. Out of that 25% of people who use a smart speaker, 72% say it is part of their daily routine. It couldn’t hurt to keep this emerging trend in mind when you build your SEO strategy.
However, these smart speakers use the search function in a different manner than we do. A human looking to see what horses eat may input “horse diet” into their search engine. But a smart speaker takes the information exactly as it was presented to it, meaning that it would search for “what do horses eat?”
That may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a difference between the two. Try entering those two queries into your search engine and see what results pop up. The information will be the same, but they will come from different sources.