The world wide web is no longer a niche, but a commodity. In other words, just having a website where consumers can find you isn’t good enough today. Today, you need to invest in your website and the strategies that can help you outshine and outrank your competition.
If done correctly, doing so won’t just help improve your web traffic, but likely your revenue as well. Whether you’re new to website strategy or just want a review of some of the best practices to give you an online one-up on your competition, we’ve put together this guide of tips:
1. Do your keyword homework
Any good SEO strategy first starts with keyword research, or determining what terms or phrases you want your company’s website to become synonymous with when a user enters them in a search engine. Obviously, as a business you want to attract more users to your website, but it’s also important that the right types of visitors are frequenting your site so that, ideally, you can convert these visitors into customers. It all starts with the right keywords so you can be found. So how do you determine the keywords to optimize your site’s content around? We suggest using a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to identify the words and terms that are relevant to your business, and view the level of competition to see how easy or difficult it would be to outrank similar companies if you optimized content around said keywords. Ideally, you’ll want to select relevant keywords and terms that have a low competition level so you rank higher in the search engines when a user enters them.
2. Optimize your site for keywords
After you settle on your keywords and terms based on competition level and other metrics such as average monthly searches, the next step is optimizing your website to incorporate them into it accordingly. Ideally, you’ll want the keyword or terms to appear on your website frequently, but without overdoing it or disrupting the natural flow of the content. Remember, while you want to rank high for the terms you select, you don’t want to “keyword stuff” to the point where the content flow reads awkwardly.
3. Revamp your site content
To piggyback off of our previous step, we strongly suggest building out a multi-page website and targeting each page of the site to rank for a different keyword or term. For example, if you’re a carpet cleaning company, you might have one page dedicated to carpet cleaning, another page dedicated to upholstery cleaning, a page on air duct cleaning and so on. Each of these pages should be optimized to rank for the keywords and terms based on your research from tip No. 1. These keywords and terms should appear in your website’s URL for these pages, in titles and headers, in meta descriptions and within the text body. This may require an overhaul of your website’s content, which we’ll get to in our next step.
4. Create engaging new content
While it’s important to have your keywords and terms identified, don’t underestimate the value of quality content. You should be minimally tweaking any existing pages on your website to incorporate these keywords. At most, you should be completely rewriting them to align with your SEO goals. Consider working with a content writer for assistance with this step and to outshine your competition not just when it comes to SEO, but as it pertains to creating quality, engaging content as well.
5. Start a Blog
You should have a multi-page website that includes a home page, individual pages for each service you provide, product pages, a contact page, a testimonials page and perhaps another page dedicated to any unique competitive advantages you hold over the competition. But one of the best additions to your website as it pertains to creating regular content and fulfilling your SEO strategy is to start a blog. Even blogging a few times per month can keep fresh content coming, improve your ranking and also direct readers to other areas of your site in an effort to convert them into customers. Keep in mind, however, that it’s important that what you blog about is valuable. Search engines have a tendency to punish websites that are only creating blog content for SEO purposes.
6. Keep Content Timely
Timely, valuable content is important for blogging because your website might be punished by the search engines if the content is deemed obvious for SEO purposes. Using the carpet cleaning company website as an example, blog topics might vary by season or offer DIY tips for stain removal to offer some sort of value to the consumer you’re trying to reach. We suggest creating an annual content calendar where you can map out certain topics to cover in your blog at various times of the year. You’ll also want to be spontaneous and opine on anything that’s made the news in an effort to relate it to your business and position yourself as the expert. For example, if a news report came out explaining the hazards of poor indoor air quality in a home, you might create a blog that leads with this information and then explains how your air duct cleaning services can help improve air quality. Keep in mind that your blog shouldn’t be the only part of your website you update. Update all of your website’s pages to keep it timely and relevant.
7. Internal links are your friend – use them
Strategically using internal links are a great way to improve your website’s footprint and meet SEO goals. This is another reason why starting a blog is a great idea, as you can strategically link to other areas of your website that users can click to stay on your site and learn more about what you do and why they should use your services. Don’t just use internal links in your blog though. They should be strategically placed throughout your website to improve interaction across the entire website.
8. Grow your backlinks
This one of the most significant ways to improve your SEO, yet it’s often underutilized. Simply put, you want other websites to link back to your website. Not only can this improve traffic on your site, but the search engines love to see it. This can take some work, and it’s often a strategy that involves reaching out to your partners in business and in the community to see if they’d be willing to backlink your company where and if they mention it on their site. Backlinks are another reason you want a good, engaging blog. Ideally, you’ll want other users to share your content on their platforms, which is a win-win for pushing more users to your site and improving your SEO.
9. Optimize your site’s load time
How fast does your site load? Ideally, you want it to load up in three seconds or less. A higher load time can frustrate users and cause them to go elsewhere. And when you lose a user, it’s unlikely you’ll get them back. To improve your load times, work with your web host to remove any unnecessary large files, plug-ins or media that could be stalling load times.
10. Utilize meta descriptions
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth taking more time to discuss the importance of meta descriptions, or the description that users see under your page title when it appears after a search. Essentially, it’s the hook that may determine whether or not a user will click on your page. You’ll want to incorporate your keywords or terms into these descriptions, but you’ll also want to make sure they are engaging and enticing to the user.
11. Get social
Hopefully your company has a Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook account. If not, you’re likely way behind your competition. It’s important to not just have these accounts, but to utilize them. After all, likes, shares, retweets and comments have been proven to help with search engine rankings. Again, this all ties into the strategy of creating engaging, valuable content that other users won’t just want to read – but share. Make it easy for them to share your content on your social channels and be sure to develop a cohesive social media strategy where you push content to users as well.
12. Track your progress
When it comes to an SEO strategy, it’s a marathon – not a sprint. And the last thing you want to do is develop a plan, optimize content, start a blog and then hope it works. You want to be tracking your progress over time, and there are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you see how your site is ranking so you can make any adjustments to meet your SEO goals.
13. Consider hiring help
A content writer can help create engaging blog posts for your website to keep a steady flow of SEO-optimized content coming in, but that’s not the only type of professional that you may benefit from. If you’re having a hard time developing an SEO strategy or following through on your SEO goals, consider hiring an SEO expert to help. Managing a website today shouldn’t be an afterthought. In fact, in many cases, it’s a full-time job in and of itself. An SEO expert can help assess your website, identify areas where you can improve and then outline the steps to do it. While there’s a cost to hiring any professional, the return on investment can be significant as it pertains to better ranking in search engines and more sales as a result.
14. Leverage positive customer feedback
When it comes to local SEO, one of the best ways to earn consumer trust and create value is to publish positive customer feedback. This is ideal for any website landing pages that feature regions or areas that your company serves. There are several automated forms that you can use to gather customer feedback. Many of them will integrate with your website and auto post after input has been received.
15. Make sure you stay consistent, up to date
Consistency is key when it comes to any SEO strategy. Not only do you need to be consistent with your keywords and terms and how and when you’re using them, but it’s also important to be consistent with your company name and how you refer to it. This involves continuously updating your site to reflect changes in address, phone number, location and other data.
16. Incorporate video
Search engine algorithms are always changing, but they’ve been increasingly favoring websites with videos. Video is proven to improve several key website metrics, such as click-through rate, growing your backlinks and improving your bounce rate. It’s estimated that users will spend at least twice as long on your page if there’s video content to consume – and if it’s engaging, valuable video content, they’re more likely to further peruse your site.
17. Invest in a pay-per click campaign
If you have a marketing budget, you might consider investing in a pay-per click, or PPC, campaign that can help feed into any organic search to help your SEO strategy. These campaigns are typically affordable and you’ll only pay for users that click through to your website. You’ll just want to make sure your keywords and terms play well in a PPC environment.
18. Make sure your website is easily viewed on mobile devices
A good mobile presence is key, especially locally, so a responsive website is important. Responsive websites are those that look great whether you’re viewing them from a computer or from a mobile device. This doesn’t just lead to a better experience that can boost your rankings, but it should also help you convert more customers. For example, if you own a roofing company and a consumer in your area searches for companies on a whim after experiencing storm damage, appearing first in that search and having a mobile responsive website will be key in earning their business.
19. Pay attention to off-pages too
In addition to focusing on your own website, you don’t want to ignore off-pages, such as Google My Business. Make sure your citation profile is strong and there are inbound links back to your website so consumers can more easily find you off-page.
20. Don’t let your guard down
Good SEO strategy is a marathon, and not a race. So don’t let your guard down when it comes to your SEO strategy. Always be assessing, improving and monitoring what your competition is doing and how you stack up against it. Just because you’re outranking your competition today doesn’t mean that you still will be tomorrow.
21. Ask for help
Lastly, one of the best things you can do for your website and your business is ask for help from experts who care about SEO and have years of experience. Infographic World specializes in content marketing campaigns that produce amazing SEO results. Reach out to us for an SEO audit that can help improve your site’s performance, and website traffic.