SEO Essentials: The 6 Things Your Site Needs to Succeed
Getting into search engine optimization (SEO) is a bit like going down the rabbit hole; you don’t quite know where you’re going to end up, but it sure seems like a good idea to give it a try. Good SEO can raise your site’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPS) and drive oodles of traffic to your site, but where do you even start? Right here, with these 6 SEO essentials.
1. A Smart Domain Name
Once upon a Google, you could use a keyword phrase as your domain name and rocket to the top of the search results, but “bestplumberinPhilly.com” is no longer converting for the Mr. Fixits at Magic Wrench. Google dropped their Exact Match Domain Update and now you have to be more clever. Use your brand name, incorporate an obvious keyword if it makes sense (so MagicWrenchplumber.com is okay), and be careful purchasing low-level non-.com domains like .biz or .info sites to redirect to your .com site as it can appear spammy.
2. Strategic Meta Descriptions
That 300-character-or-less blurb under the site name in search results isn’t just for fun, it’s what happens when good writing meets sound keyword strategy. Your meta description should summarize the targeted page’s content, include the main keyword, preferably contain action words such as “discover” or “enjoy”, and be completely unique from any other content.
3. Fresh & Relevant Content
Not all words are created equal. Google is obsessed with relevant content, and rightly so. It’s all part of their user-focused algorithm, but what you really you need to know is that your site copy and blogs should be based on solid keyword research and interesting enough that it will resonate with your readers as well as the people in charge of other sites (gotta get those backlinks, too).
4. A Mobile-Optimized Site
In 2018, Google is finally rolling out its mobile-first indexing, an initiative intended to further improve user experience by indexing the mobile version of websites rather than the desktop version. Translation: Your ranking now depends on the quality of your mobile site and if you lag, you lose. To keep your organic traffic as bustling as the mall on Black Friday, make sure your site and its content are optimized for mobile, especially in terms of load speed and how you structure your content.
5. Quick Load Times
Speaking of load speed, consumers expect a site to load in under two seconds or they’re going to exit out and shop somewhere else. Search engines are just as demanding. Hire a specialist to review things like GZIP compression and look into cache plugins that keep the latest versions of your most popular pages cached instead of retrieving them every time someone stops by.
6. Internal Linking
You know how you head to YouTube to look at a cat video and then five hours later you’re somehow watching Portuguese karaoke contests? You want people to get just as absorbed in your site and the best way to do that is by pushing traffic from page to page using internal links. This maneuver is actually a triple whammy: you’re engaging customers, ranking for keywords used in the links’ anchor text, and reinforcing your site’s authority as Google’s bots note your bountiful linkage.
This is just a taste of what goes into top-level SEO but everyone has to start somewhere, and this beginning could be just what you need to pull rank and outshine your competitors.