Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website and specific webpages more easily discoverable by search engines. When users enter a phrase in the search bar in Google or Bing, whether it be “best vegan pizza recipes” or “brilliant digital marketing agency,” complex algorithms determine which websites and pages best fit your search and then organize those pages neatly on the search engine results page (SERP).
The website links that appear above the fold (that is, before the user has to scroll down to see additional results) make up the majority of online traffic. In fact, the first five positions get nearly 70% of all clicks. So, the higher your website ranks, the more traffic it will receive. And the more traffic your site receives, the more likely you are to generate business opportunities and sales.
In this blog, we’ll outline a few signs that might indicate it’s time to revamp your online SEO strategy, and we’ll also detail some simple steps to help you optimize your website for superior search engine performance.
Does Your Website Need Better SEO?
As with any digital marketing tactic, SEO best practices are constantly changing and evolving. What might have worked well just a few years ago can now fail to provide results or even hurt your site, especially as top search engines continue to update their search algorithms to provide the best possible user experience. So, whether you invested in a heavy SEO reset three years ago or haven’t given it a single thought before today, you should keep reading to see if any of these signs appear familiar. If so, it’s probably time to re-examine the content, structure, and technical optimization of your website pages.
1. Your Title Tags Aren’t Optimized
Title tags help send signals to search engines about the general topic of a page. Users also interact with your title tags since they appear for each webpage when that page winds up on a SERP. Optimized title tags should include descriptive information about the content on the page. If you operate in a crowded industry or are focusing on thought leadership instead of product or service promotion, you might consider being a bit more creative with your title tags and even using long-tail keywords to capitalize on high-intent searches.
2. Your Website Is Missing Header Tags
Header tags also help inform search engines about the type of information on a given page, although the signals that header tags send aren’t as strong as those from title tags. Header tags help you structure your page in a neat taxonomy that explicitly states how you want search engines to crawl the page. And more importantly, header tags break up the page and keep users from getting fatigued from paragraph after paragraph of uninterrupted copy.
When writing your webpages and blogs, you should separate key sections with H2s. Within major H2sections, you can further delineate critical information as it becomes more and more distinct with H3s, H4s, and so forth. (More on that in a bit.)
3. Your Website Is Outdated and Difficult to Navigate
Many business owners and company stakeholders think that once they build and launch a website, they don’t need to update it again for many years. But this type of thinking is wrong-headed for two reasons:
- Search engines are constantly updating their increasingly sophisticated algorithms; and
- The expectations and behaviors of potential customers continue to evolve rapidly.
Rather treating your website like an unchanging marble sculpture, you should continually work to improve your site’s design, usability, and navigation. You should also continually re-evaluate how you’re structuring your page hierarchy (information architecture) and keep abreast of best practices for internal and external linking. Also, remember to occasionally crawl your site for 400- and 500-level page errors and update accordingly. Often, fixing these errors is a simple process of creating a few page redirects.
4. Your Content Is “Stuffed” With Keywords
Once upon a time, digital marketers would “stuff” as many keywords as possible on a page regardless of how the results affected the quality of the finished product. This type of behavior led to many pages with content that was impossible to follow or completely void of actual meaning. To discourage keyword stuffing, search engines updated their algorithms. Today, keyword stuffing not only won’t help your site’s search engine rankings but can also incur penalties from Google.
3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Website’s SEO
Improving your website’s SEO is a never-ending process. And while that might sound daunting and tedious, there are several simple steps you can take right now to catch up with today’s search algorithms and set your site up for long-term success in search.
Write Detailed Meta Descriptions
A meta description is a short (160 characters or less) synopsis of the content on a given page. Meta descriptions appear as the brief copy below title tags on a SERP. So, the meta description you write is often the first copy the user reads after your page title tag, and it may determine whether that user clicks on your page or not.
If you do not include a meta description with each page, search engines will automatically pull copy directly from it. This “description” is often not a relevant or accurate depiction of the page, so it’s usually not in your best interest to let this happen. (In fact, search engines will sometimes replace the meta description you write no matter what you do, but writing a meta description is still your best shot at controlling what appears beneath your title tags in search.)
Optimize Your Header and Title Tags
Optimized header and title tags should give the reader a clear idea of who you are, what you do, and how your products and services can benefit your consumers and solve their pain points. These tags are like dividers for your content, and they can help you sort your main ideas into convenient buckets for search engines and readers alike.
Writing informative and educational title and header tags is one of the easiest and most effective SEO tactics, so if you’re not driving the kind of traffic you’d like, this is probably the best place to start as you rethink your SEO and content strategies.
Focus on Content That Adds Value
Writing high quality content for your site is the most time-consuming and labor-intensive tactic on this list, but it’s also the most important. Make sure that all the copy throughout your site is direct, descriptive, and encourages visitors to take some further action: learn more, read more, view more, or make a purchase.
Make sure your copy reaches an appropriate length to satisfy search engines without alienating readers. (Increasingly, pages that are longer than 1,000 words seem to perform better in search.) Use active-voice writing as much as possible and follow all accepted rules of grammar construction and syntax. Many readers scan most of what they read (especially online), so be sure to use frequent paragraph breaks, headers, and bulleted lists to break up blocks of text.
Most importantly, make sure you’re adding value to the user experience. Don’t sell or promote — teach and persuade. Modern consumers expect modernized customer journeys, so accommodate your potential clients and buyers’ wishes for a more successful and engaging digital experience.
An Experienced Marketing Agency Can Improve Your Website
Search engine algorithms evaluate everything from design to content to usability. If you want to drive organic traffic to your site, you need to implement a comprehensive SEO strategy that accounts for the tips above. You also need to plan and implement a well-rounded content strategy that addresses any existing gaps and keeps your pipeline flowing with leads.
Of course, the problem is that you’re probably swamped trying to run your business, and you may not have the time or technical know-how required to optimize your digital presence. Fear not: you can work with us, and we’ll develop your web strategy and SEO tactics. We can evaluate the state of your website, identify strategies worth investing in, and spearhead the execution of those projects so you can focus on what you do best!
LaFleur: Working as a Partner to Meet Your Marketing Needs
If you have questions about SEO best practices and how we can help you implement them on your website and other digital properties, or if you’d like to learn more about how we can help your business thrive in other areas, we’d love to speak with you. Contact us today by calling 888-222-1512 or filling out our simple online contact form.
Dean, B. (2019, August 27). Here’s what we learned about organic click through rate. Backlinko. Retrieved from https://backlinko.com/google-ctr-stats