It’s kind of mind boggling how quickly the internet has changed in the past two decades, and how vital digital marketing has become for a business’s success. Search engines alone have completely changed the internet landscape, and that’s why search engine optimization, or SEO, is so essential for businesses to succeed.
Don’t know the ins and outs of SEO just yet? We’re here to help. We’ll go over 5 basic rules that will get you started on the path to SEO success!
What is SEO?
Before we start going into how to best use SEO, it’s important to know what it is. Search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like: it optimizes the content you put out on the web to make it easier for search engines (think Google, Safari, etc.) to find. People use keywords–words that are most likely to be searched by people looking for your product–to help the search engines catalog their pages and bring them up when people search.
Ideally, you want your website to be on the first page of results. By using keywords expertly, you’ll be able to get one of those coveted page 1 spots–and even end up as the first result on the page!
5 Do’s And Don’ts For SEO
DO Use Specific Keywords
The more specific, the better! You want to get as close to what people are searching for as possible. For example, if you’re selling hand-knit hats, you’ll want your keywords to reflect what a query would look like. So keywords like “winter hats for sale” and “handmade hats” would be great ones to ensure your page comes up when someone searches for those things.
The more specific you get with your keywords, the more likely your website is to come up from organic searches. That’s what you want for your business, and it’ll get more eyes on your product.
DON’T overuse your keywords
We’ve seen plenty of shady webpages and listings that seem to jam a dozen different keywords together. And while “beautiful handknit winter handmade Beyonce cheap discount knit pompom hat” may have every keyword possible, it comes off as gibberish–both to potential buyers and to the search engine.
You want to incorporate keywords naturally in the text of your website, often in full sentences and somewhat on their own. If you’re not sure if you’re putting in too many keywords, read your text aloud. Does it sound like you, or does it sound like a keyword robot? If it’s the latter, you’ll want to get back in there and edit it.
DO Highlight Your Location
I’m sure you’ve used the tried and true “near me” approach to SEO plenty of times: Thai restaurants near me, gas stations near me, etc. This is a great way to get your business to rank high on search engines if you have a physical location, or if you do deliveries in the area.
But in order to use the “near me” keyword, you have to let people know where you are. Be sure to list your address on the site, so it can be easily logged in search engines. And, if you want to go one step further and ensure you come up in the “near me” searches, set up a Google Business account. Since Google is the most popular search engine, it’ll guarantee that you’ll get eyes on your site–and traffic into your business.
DON’T Ignore Character Limits On Page Titles & Descriptions
For most search engines, there’s a point where the title and description cut off on the results page. Ignoring it doesn’t just lead to an awkward cut-off word; it can seriously cost you in terms of SEO.
Search engines like being able to get the whole picture of what’s on the site, so having a complete, succinct title and description is key. A good rule of thumb is to keep your title 60 characters or less–and if you can fit your business name in, all the better–and keep your descriptions under 160 characters. Plus, editing your description and title is a great way to fit in more keywords (naturally, of course.)
DO Offer Quality Content On Your Page
You could do all of the above but it won’t mean anything if your website isn’t good. You want your content to be relevant, informative, and well-written–you don’t have to be Shakespeare, but there should be no glaring grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Be sure to include images as well (with image descriptions included, of course) and dynamic but not distracting website elements like dropdown menus, accordion lists, and more.
That quality content should include the webpage itself. Using the website you had made in 2005 just isn’t going to cut it anymore; if any elements are dated or difficult to use, it’s time to give your page an update.
A modern site should be easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and accessible to everyone. Be sure to avoid anything that causes eye strain with high-contrast text and background colors and a font that’s simple and easy to read.
And there’s the basics on SEO! While it may seem like a lot when you first dive in, you just need to know the simple, common-sense way of using search engines in your favor with smart keywords and beautiful webpages.
Still feeling out of your depth? We can help! Our digital marketing team knows all the ins and outs of SEO, website creation, and more. Get in touch with us today, and let’s get your website SEO-ready in no time.