Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website so that it is more easily discoverable by search engines. Since 94% of all users click on links that only appear on the first page, you should have a solid and consistent SEO foundation to ensure that your desired audience lands on your web page. It is important to note that SEO not only brings traffic to your website, but also potential customers that are looking for the products and services your business can offer.
Here are the three fundamentals of SEO that will help you build a solid foundation:
To begin building your SEO foundation, you should first do a keyword search.
List the keywords your prospective customer (buyer personas) would search for
Mimic the language your buyer personas would use
Use Wordstream’s Keyword Niche Finder to find different keywords
Identify what keywords people use to find your own website. Search engines like google have encrypted their organic search data, but analytic tools like google analytics can help you get some insight.
Use keyword phrases that consist of at least three words (long tailed keywords) which are easier to rank for because they target niche demographics rather than a mass audience.
Optimize your content
Add your keywords to the page title URL, the body of the text, page headers, descriptions of the images (image alt-text) and your meta description – which is that little description that is found beneath your search results on search engine results pages (SERP).
Promote a good user experience by customizing your website’s error page (404 error) to provide a seamless navigation experience and offer links back in the site.
Optimize your website for mobile – make sure your website pages can be easily viewed on any screen size as 80% of all searches are done through mobile devices.
Search engines follow links between pages to see how they’re related to each other. Links help search engines analyze how authoritative your website is. If a site with high authority is linking to you, your website becomes more trustworthy.
Include links to other websites (external links) and links to other pages of your own site (internal links) within the content- this helps build trustworthiness to your site.
Publish valuable, useful and relevant content on a regular basis
Focus on earning links from existing authoritative websites that are relevant to your business. Links to and from non-credible sources can actually lower your rankings.
Use The Moz Open Site Explorer to identify which websites are linking to you and their authority.
Knowing the right keywords, optimizing your content and earning high quality links will help you build a solid SEO foundation.
Avoid quick fixes such as unnecessarily repeating keywords (keyword stuffing) and focusing on the quantity of your links rather than their quality. Keyword stuffing and link overdose can actually result in Google penalizing your site by demoting your page’s ranking on Google Searches or even removing it altogether. Although high quality links may be harder to get, they are a more reliable measure of the quality of your website and that is why search engines prefer them.
Implementing the 3 Fundamentals of SEO and avoiding “quick fixes” will help you create a favourable user experience that will ensure that your visitors will perceive your page positively. A good user experience encourages sharing and return visits—all of which contribute to higher search engine rankings.