Make your Website friendly for Search Engines and most importantly your Customers
‘Ultimate Guide for SEO’, ‘Improve your search rankings’ – You come across such terms every now and then while using the Internet.
So, which is the right way to go? Perhaps, your mind is baffled by the heap of resources available online and offline to optimize your website for Search Engines, and you might even have dropped the idea of researching further.
But, in today’s time, where more than 500 new websites are launched every minute all around the world, from which one or more could belong to your existing or potential competitors, an aimless and unplanned web presence can prove detrimental for your business not only in the near but the distant future as well.
Therefore, to ensure that your website doesn’t lag behind in the race of search engine rankings, we have listed down the aspects focusing on which you can achieve the top spot on the SERPs and drive traffic and conversions.
#1 Website Audit and Target Market Analysis:
Study your Website:
Know your Audience:
An effective marketing plan requires conducting an in-depth research and identifying the sub-market for your products and services.
#2 Keyword Research:
Build the repository:
Prepare a list of all the keywords suitable for your website by including all the words and phrases that relate to your business offerings and locations you serve.
Short Tail v/s Long Tail:
Amidst the long-standing tug of war between the short tail and long tail keywords (key phrases), settle on the category which is profitable for your website.
- Short tail keywords have high competition and low conversion rate, but for new businesses to rank ahead of established brands, these are helpful.
For example, ‘buy jeans online’ key phrase can be targeted by the new E-commerce website, on which jeans are sold.
- Long tail keywords have low competition and a high conversion rate, but for businesses which are old or operate in a niche segment, these can help to bring relevant traffic and quality leads.
For example, ‘buy jeans online Australia cheap’ key phrase can be targeted by the reputed E-commerce sites or businesses which specialize in low-priced jeans.
Make a final call:
Now, find the right keywords to make a mark in your industry and location, using the tools such as Google Keyword Planner.
#3 Create a Base for Comparison:
Get the ‘Before’ Picture:
Insert your keywords in the search query and check the present ranking of the website in all the search engines which are popular in your targeted geographical areas.
Spot the competitors on the basis of keywords, you have finally decided for your SEO campaign, and study their website in the same way you did yours.
- Take 8-10 websites which appear on the first page of Google. (You can also go for multiple Search Engines)
- Check every element from text headings to images & videos.
- Notice the additional keywords, if they have worked on any.
Numbers speak for themselves:
Note down your findings from the exercise done in the above steps. Along with numerical data, pay attention to the qualitative facets as well, for instance, the design of competitors’ websites, the impact of a particular font type or size, and so on.
#4 Devise a full-fledged strategy:
Set the goals:
Define the objectives of your Internet Marketing plan to evaluate its success, both in terms of ROI and reputation of your website.
- For quantitative data, you can aim to increase traffic, conversion rate, etc. and decrease bounce rate. You must not forget that traffic here implies the number of unique visitors on your website.
Determine the core areas:
Now, to attain the goals you have set, recognizing the areas on which you need to work is necessary. So, jot down all the weak points that require immediate action from your side.
#5 Create a Base for Comparison:
Make SEO tools your friend:
Search Engine Optimization is a long and never-ending journey with constant ups and downs, and to get a proper direction in this journey, using the appropriate SEO tools is essential.
While there is an array of free and paid tools out there, every tool has its pros and cons, and so, you have to choose the one which is best for your individual needs.
Hint: We already shared information regarding Google Keyword Planner. Google Analytics and Google Webmasters are another two wonderful tools to use.
The URL or address of your website should be structured well.
- ‘HTTPS’ in the domain name gains the trust of visitors.
- Remove ‘404’ and other errors, if there are any.
- Include, but not stuff, keywords in the URL.
- Sub-domains should have a unique URL.
No need to mention that slow loading web pages can drastically increase the bounce rate, but most of the times, it goes unnoticed by many website owners as it doesn’t get tracked by SEO tools and software due to technical limitations.
- Site Pages: Keep the number of pages on your website as low as possible, but that doesn’t mean you remove the pages which contain critical information about your business and products. Just try to avoid adding pages that don’t do much justice to the overall purpose of a website.
- Coding: When you use readymade templates, some portions of the code might not be useful and can unnecessarily slow down the website loading. And so, ensure that the code is clean and correct.
- Images: Don’t forget to optimize all the images present on your site to reduce the size they occupy on the data files of your website.
- Hosting: If low speed is due to the hosting package you have subscribed to, changing the package or hosting provider can make a big difference. If your website is an online store and attracts huge traffic, you can opt for dedicated hosting service.
- Plugins: Remove unnecessary applications and plugins as these can increase the loading time of your web pages. For example, Flash – It is used for playing videos on the website.
There is a fair chance that you might be reading this blog post on your mobile or tablet, and therefore it’s easy to comprehend the fact that the desktop is not the only way to access the Internet these days.
- Make sure that your website is compatible with all Operating Systems, Browsers, Devices, and Screen Sizes.
- Creating a separate website for use on mobile phones would generate two URLs, which might confuse your audience. So, try to have a single website only, which can be easily used on all the platforms. If required, you can build a mobile app to support your business.
Every website has its own look and feel, which is a result of layout, design, font colours, images, audios, videos, slideshows, the tone of content, etc. used therein. Now, these look and feel factors can make or break a sale.
- Pick the simple layout and make your site clutter-free.
- Arrange the text, pictures, videos, and other elements properly.
Also known as Page Title, this is the first thing viewed by the people surfing the net, and hence, you should utilize it to increase the Click-Through Rate (CTR) of your website.
- Include the relevant keywords in the Title Tag of all the pages of your site.
After the Title Tag, the second important thing which influences the web surfer’s decision to open any web page is the Meta Description.
- Include the relevant keywords in the Meta Description of all the pages of your site.
The various headings on different pages of your website should give a clear idea to the readers as to what they should expect from your products and customer service policy.
- Give a proper thought to the words and phrases to be used in the H1, H2, and other headings.
- Headings with keywords can boost the rankings of your website.
ALT Text + Caption:
Putting images on a website is surely a great technique of enticing visitors, but images without the concise ALT Text and Caption can do more harm than good.
- Write ALT Text (ALT Tag) and Caption as per the information intended to convey via the images.
- All the pages of your website should have adequate content to enlighten the visitors about your business, products, prices, contact number and other details.
- Use Multimedia content, i.e., along with Text, use Audios, Videos, Images, Slideshows, Animations, etc.
- Ensure to make the content free of all structural and grammatical errors.
- See that the style of the web content compliments your business type.
- Incorporate keywords in your content and place them strategically.
- Craft informative and SEO-friendly content and publish it on the external sites consistently.
- Post Blogs, Articles, Press Releases, Guides, Infographics, Videos, Photos, Slideshows, E-Books, etc.
- Spread information about your website via Business Listings, Forums, etc.
- Try to employ latest content types, viz., Podcast, Meme, Case Study, Research Data, etc.
- Include keywords optimally in all the pieces of content you share with your audience.
- Post the content only on reputed sites and promote it through several mediums, such as Social Media.
- Take out time to read the feedback provided by the readers and interact with them.
A sitemap makes it easy for the search engines to index the website, and therefore never miss on creating one for your site.
Once, you manage to get visitors on your website, keeping them engaged for longer can be achieved by the internal linking.
- Make sure that navigation of your site doesn’t get complicated due to the links between different pages.
The whole idea behind optimizing your website is to increase its visibility and hence what can be better than the backlinks (incoming links) generated from other trustworthy sites.
- Link building should be done only with the sites with which you can relate your business.
- Create useful backlinks through Guest Blog Posts, Directory Submissions, Social Bookmarking, etc.
Quality backlinks can certainly help your web pages to rank higher on the Search Engine Results Pages for your targeted keywords.
#6 Review and Enhancements:
Measure the Output:
Once you have completed implementing your strategy, measure its output using ranking, traffic, conversions, and other metrics.
- Check the new search engine ranking of your website, either manually or with the help of rank tracking tools.
- You can utilize the aforementioned Google Analytics tool to know the results thoroughly in terms of traffic sources, visits per page, time spent per page, bounce rate, etc.
Time for comparison:
As you have the previous data on the website performance, it becomes convenient to compare it with the data accumulated presently to know the difference between the two.
- The ideal gap between the site optimization and the comparison dates depends on the particular metric.
Make the alterations:
Now, when you have all the past and current reports, you can decide which part of the campaign worked in your favour and which didn’t.
- Continue the site optimization techniques which played a positive role in the success of your online marketing strategy.
- Discontinue or modify the site optimization techniques which acted as the barriers to the success of your online marketing strategy.
- See the scope for improvements and work towards achieving them.
#7 Re-optimization of the Website:
This is a step which most of the companies tend to overlook due to the perception that SEO or Site Optimization for the Search Engine is a one-time exercise.
However, it’s not true, because the World Wide Web is filled with hundreds of sites, which might be competing for your targeted keywords and their efforts can bring your website down. Therefore, it is mandatory that you keep revising your strategy on a regular basis to maintain the ranking and aiming for a higher position on SERPs.
- Look out for the new keywords arriving in your industry and market.
- Eliminate the keywords which are no longer used or used very low.
- Update the web copy whenever any change occurs in the products, prices, contact details, etc.
- Keep a note of the new trends in the Keyword Usage, Content Marketing, Link Building, etc.
As “All good things take time”, the SEO campaign of your website also requires a decent investment of time and patience, regardless of the size of the business or the extent of competition.
So, once you set out for this journey, stay relaxed and work with a focused mind to get the outcome you have hoped for. You might face setbacks in the beginning, but remember to be persistent and creative in your efforts.