The internet is saturated with information in the form of articles, blogs, comments, and links. This can make it incredibly difficult to get your message directly to your audience because there’s so much noise drowning you out and pushing your website further and further down the results page. You might feel like you’ve tried everything, but there’s probably one thing you haven’t thought of: SEO.
By KEVIN DEVOTO
Search engine optimization is an illusive term used to describe a variety of ways you can optimize your online content so it appears higher in search results and generates more traffic and views. There are a few key techniques you can employ to improve your overall success.
Focus on Content
While you’re worrying about setting up that multi-factor authentication software, you should also be concerned with the content you’re publishing. The easiest way to boost your visibility and improve your SEO is to create and post valuable content that’s relevant to your business and the overall industry trends. For example, if you’re in the tech industry and everyone is talking about a new phone model that was just released, you’ll want to jump in on that action. You can capitalize on joining the top-hits party by effectively using keywords in your posts. Think about what a person might type in the search bar if they were looking for the information in your article, and include that phrase early in your post.
As you might have guessed, it’s not enough to put up quality content just once, or even once in a while. You want to make sure you’re updating your content regularly so you always have new information and insights to offer your web viewers or customers. Most companies shoot for an update at least once a week in the form of an email newsletter or blog post. This keeps your viewers engaged and curious about what you’ll say next.
Finally, don’t forget your metadata. It might seem like a difficult content to grasp if you haven’t spent much time in the tech world, but you can think of metadata as a description of your content. You can fill in fields for title, description, and keyword metadata which can all help to improve your standings in search results. This information is what services like Google, Yahoo, and Bing pull from to rank and categorize search results, so leaving it empty can leave you in the dust.
Evaluate Your Site
When people choose to read your content, they’ll be redirected to your site. This is great! It’s exactly what you want. Except if they leave your site as soon as they finish reading, then you probably didn’t get much value off that hit. This is why it’s important to design your site to support the user experience. You want things to be easy to find, cohesive, and informative enough so viewers feel like they can easily find what they’re looking for. You can also utilize options such as a “related articles” field under each post to keep them clicking through your content.
Formatting your content to make it easier to read is another way you can support the user experience on your site. Most people skim or speed read internet content, so finding ways to draw them in quickly but keep them engaged in your article can be tricky. One easy way to use subheadings and short paragraphs in your writings. This breaks up the visual weight of the article and also allows people to pick and choose paragraphs they know will be relevant to them. Additionally, if you have a topic that includes copious facts, figures, or numbers, consider using a bullet list instead of integrating it all into your narrative. This can:
- help to break up your paragraphs
- create some much needed white space in your article
- and bring in a skimmer by addressing the reason they opened the article.
You might not think much about the URL your site uses to direct people to various pages, but it can make or break an effective SEO strategy. People are more aware of internet scams, unsafe websites, and exposure to hackers than ever before, so a sketchy URL might deter people from clicking on your site. To avoid this problem, you want to make sure all of your links are clean and professional. One URL issue you can see a lot of online is the link that ends in a series of numbers. This is confusing and might trigger someone’s internal warning signals that it could be a spam sight. Try to keep your URLs to only text that describes the webpage if you can help it.
Remember the keywords we discussed earlier? Well they aren’t just for hiding in your content. You can also slip those little words and phrases into your URLs to make them easier to find and remember. Using a keyword in a URL is a great way to push your post higher in the results list and grab the attention of a searcher. For example, if you’re searching for information about baseball cards and see the website URL baseball411.com/baseballcards-info, you’ll probably click on it. It sounds like it has exactly what you need! This is the power of keywords and if you can implement it in your own business, your SEO can improve dramatically.
Think About Mobile
More people than ever are using their phones as their main computer, meaning they’re most likely finding your content on a small screen. You want to keep in mind the challenges of mobile viewing when you’re designing your site and content because it’s a simple way to engage your audience. Most experts suggest taking a “mobile first” approach to web creation and design, meaning build for your cell phone users before your desktop audience. You want to make sure your webpage is compatible with handheld devices and adjusts to those size parameters, also that it responds well to mobile software formats.
One of the first things you should consider in this approach is removing any pop-up ads you might use on your website. These can be aggressive in a mobile format because they fill up the entire screen and can be difficult to close. You run the risk of overwhelming a reader as soon as they enter your site and losing them within seconds. Allowing your website to be clean and distraction free might be the best way to keep readers engaged and focused on your content.
Finally, you want to leave a trail for viewers to follow once you have them on your webpage. An easy way to do this is by adding internal links to all your content. As someone reads, they can open another one of your articles about the topic they’re interested in, then bounce to yet another from a link in that article. This makes it much easier to expose people to more of your content in a shorter amount of time because you’re capitalizing on their attention.
Improving SEO can seem like a difficult task, but it’s all about improving your content and your website. Make sure you create valuable content, build a user-friendly site, utilize clean URLs, and think about the mobile experience to improve your SEO techniques.