SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ) is one of those viral “trend” words going around this year. 90+% of my clients have asked me about SEO and it’s benefits. Whether you are super busy or looking for your first client, I feel EVERY business should NOT ignore the value of SEO in their space. I’m not saying every business needs to publish 2 articles/blog posts a week. Even though that would be a great way to get content and knowledge out to your potential customers. But even at the very least having a company ( like Run Sleep Design ) work with you on setting up your website with the basics of SEO will be very beneficial. Having this set up correctly NOW will then save you time and money if and when you want to scale your SEO. There are so many clients that we have on-boarded in the last few years that have ZERO SEO presence or awareness. It’s not your fault, and I am not being critical with other website companies. However, I want to be very clear that YOU CAN DO SOMETHING TODAY for your SEO. I don’t want this to be a huge post, so I will try my best to provide you with the best 5 SEO things you could and should do now!
#1 Content is KING
You have heard it before and they are right. Content is King when it comes to SEO. There are so many facets and layers that can be included with content. I won’t go into every little detail here, but I will give you an idea of what we are talking about.
You know your business the best. I’m sure every owner could write a book about their unique space. NO, you don’t need to publish a book, but you do need to create content around your products and or business. The small details really matter most on page to page and product to product.
On-page SEO, start with the TITLE tag
First and foremost, you or your web manager will need to go through “page by page” starting with your landing page to organize and edit the important “keywords”, “products” and or “geo-location” of what you are offering. Start at the top, the TITLE of the “page”. Here you want to provide your business AND some sort of local or general geo-location keyword. So for example if we have a business of being an “SEO expert or marketer”, then you would want to put that in the Title of the page. From there, you can add the name of your business or add a geo-location of what area you are wanting to serve. For example if Gunnison and Crested Butte is your area, then you would want to use something like “Crested Butte and Gunnison SEO Expert – Run Sleep Design”. Remember, we are still on your landing page, so researching a bit to come up with a good title here will be very important. When we move to other pages, those titles should reflect what is “on the page”. The TITLE, HEADERS and CONTENT should work in collaboration with each other.
Working down the page, we will need to add a “meta description” on each page. The meta description is a small synopsis of what the page is about. It gives the search engines a small snippet on what to show on results. Here you need to mindful of not making it too long. You can use this area to throw in some good keywords that you would want your business to reflect on search results. And to also remember you MUST use these keywords in your content below. Don’t just throw spammy keywords in the meta description that doesn’t make sense or talk about what is on your page.
Next in line is your HEADER titles. Those are the larger font “titles” that break up the page. They usually are a H1 or H2 tag that search engines love. Use those headers to break up the page with specific “titles” that make up your business or products. The more detailed and specific you can get here, the better. Don’t be spammy, just be authentic about providing a good title for your users.
Last, but not least is the actual content that you provide. This will most likely be wrapped in the “paragraph tag”. This will be where you can mix, match and combine ALL the tips from above to describe in a little more detail. Here you can “emphasize“, “bold“, “list- number or bullet”, “link” and “underline” some certain keywords that you would want to highlight. When you bold or emphasize a word, remember what you are doing. You are saying that you want the USER ( or search engine ) to take this keyword to be somewhat important. So be diligent and creative here and remember my consistent rule, don’t be spammy.
If you want to take advantage of creating a list, either numbered or bulleted, then in the content piece will be where you can do this. Some companies have success in providing tips or services-products that they offer in a simple list. Search engines really like the bullet and numbered lists for some reason. If it works for you, then create one!
Like I said at the beginning, there is a lot more to do with on-page seo, but I want to provide you with an outline on how you should be thinking of your page design and layout.
#2 Sitemap what ?
The next important thing you could and should do right away is make sure your website has a sitemap AND then make sure to submit it to the relevant search engines that you want to work with. A sitemap is a structured document that maps your entire website on one page. Post and pages that you want the search engines to crawl. Remember, when you submit and create a sitemap, you should be asking what pages and posts do I want to submit or be prioritized when crawling. There may be some posts or pages that you do not want to come up in search engines. Most of the time you can include a “no-index” on those pages. You also don’t want to include those in your sitemap either. There are a lot of tools that can easily do the hard-work of creating and configuring your sitemap for you. They do have to be in a certain structured format before you submit them to the search engines, but most content management systems like WordPress will have plugins that will do this for you.
Submit your Sitemap
Once you are satisfied with your sitemap, you will then need to submit this. I will use the example of submitting your website sitemap to Google here. You will first need to sign up and verify you are the owner of your domain with Google Search Console Tools ( formerly Google Webmaster Tools ) Once you sign up ( free by the way ), you will add your domain and then you will have to verify that you own the domain by adding a DNS value to your domain. There will also be a way you can add a meta value to your website for verification as well. Either way, if you are having trouble here, just reach out to your webmaster for some help!
Once you verify, you can go to the “Sitemap” section page to upload your sitemap. Once you submit your sitemap, then you will be notified if there are any errors that you may need to fix. But most times, if you used a tool, then you will be good to go. The sitemap submission for your website is basically telling Google to check this a few times a day for new content that you have prioritized.
The Google Search Console is invaluable to any webmaster or business owner. You can learn a lot about errors and tips on how to tweak and improve your SEO presence.
#3 Be Authentic, not spammy
I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I think the title speaks for itself. Knowing your business and not trying to game the system with SPAMMY content, reviews and posts will be important. Remember that if you respect these search engines and play by their rules, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. It’s those certain businesses or people that try to game the system and get banned or demoted in page ranking. So, be careful here to follow the rules. The search engines usually have a change-log that they publish once a month on certain changes they have for their SEO policy. It’s not an easy read, but for those interested, here are a few links for you:
#4 Images are also powerful
Don’t forget images on your website! Yes, content is king, but also provding a couple to few images will be beneficial for your page rank. The short answer and tip for those wondering is to :
Name the image correctly
Don’t just use the default name that you got from your camera download. Renaming the image to better describe it will be helpful in not only search, but also organization. If you have an image of a dog on a skateboard, then you can name it “dog-on-a-skateboard.jpg”. Make sense ?
Compress and resize your images
The biggest pitpeeve I have is going to a webiste and seeing an image take FOREVER to load. Don’t be that person. First, a slow loading page will not contribute to a better page rank. You will need to compress your image to a smaller and smaller sized file before adding this to your website. Most CMS systems have something built in for image compression, but if you are looking for a quick and easy tool, use this one: https://tinypng.com/
Alt tag and title tag and description on images
Once you upload and embed your image to your page or post, you must do a few more things to help you in the SEO world. You will not only benefit your users and screen readers, but you will also get a boost for providing a readable and purpose of what the photo is. The “title” tag for an image is what will show up when a user “hovers” their mouse over the image. So providing your user with the purpose and description of the image will be the key. The other tag “alt” is also a complementary of the title tag. IT also should describe the image as well. I usually put a very similar description on the “title” and “alt” tag. You can be mindful here on using a good keyword to describe the purpose of the image, but again, look at my #4 above.
You don’t need to add 100’s of images to your page to be successful here. This is an added bonus for your on-page SEO. Also, people love images more than content.
#5 Backlinks and internal linking
I’m sure you have heard about backlinks and the importance of them. A backlink is just a link that directs the user to your website from another website ( externally ). It’s a pretty simple concept here. The more backlinks you can have, the better “page rank” you will receive. Also, the higher page ranked websites that have your link will also give you more SEO page rank! There are a lot of opinions that come from backlinks. There are businesses that operate on “guest posting” and other “creative” ways to get these backlinks. I feel a good start at the least is sharing your website with your network of friends, family and other like minded businesses that may want to add your link to their website. There are a lot of sites that have a “link” page that they can add to. Other publications can also publish a “guest post” on your business for their news feed. This is a good way to add content about your business AND to provide a link back to your website. Be creative and authentic here again.
A lesser known SEO strategy is internal linking. This is powerful. An internal link is linking a keyword to an existing page on your website. Usually you want it to NOT open to another tab, but a “_self” target instead. This will provide not only a good way to keep your users on your site, but you will also have the ability to link some good keywords to other important and more descriptive content on your site. You can see the example of this on this post above. I linked to CMS and Content Management System article that I wrote. This is a link to provide a more descriptive definition to your users. This also helps with great local and organic SEO that anyone can accomplish. Use this sparingly, but also if you have a lot of articles, then you can really take advantage of this strategy. There are a lot of systems that have this automated in there publishing system.
You made it to the end! Thanks for hanging in there. I hope I showed you at least one thing you can do to help your SEO presence for your business. This isn’t rocket science, it’s knowing what to do and how to do it. If you do at least these 5 things to your website, then you should see your site get pushed up a bit on search results! Of course every scenario and client will have different outcomes.
Be patient and if you don’t have time, reach out to someone you trust that can do this for you.
I hope that helps!