SEO, or search engine optimization, is how you can make your website more visible to search engines like Google. According to Hubspot, organic search makes up almost a third of your website’s traffic. Clearly, it’s important.
So you know what SEO is. Now, how do you do it?
SEO is all about helping search engines understand you. The more search engines get you, the more likely they’ll direct people to your site. There are a number of things you can do to improve your SEO score – so many things that it can be overwhelming. But today, we’ll start off simple, and discuss four SEO basics you need to know to increase your ranking, and increase your traffic.
The first step is keywords. Keywords help search engines like Google understand what your site is all about, so when people searching for content related to yours, Google knows. Having the right keywords will help you get more traffic and better traffic. So just consider your site. What is it all about? What products or services do you offer your audience? What problem do people have that you’re solving? What would people search for to find your site?
How to find your keywords
If you want some inspiration, simply open an incognito window and try typing in some related words and see what Google suggests. These suggestions are what people often search for, which is exactly what you want. You can also use tools such as Google Search Console, BuzzSumo, SEMrush, just to name a few. There are a ton out there designed specifically to help you find our Holy Grail keywords.
Short tail & long tail
Let’s talk about short tail vs long tail keywords. Short tail, as you can guess, are short. They are one word. These keywords might be more commonly searched, but they’re also much more competitive because a lot of other sites will be using them as keywords. This means your site probably won’t rank very high when people search those words.
Instead, it may be wiser to use long tail keywords, or keyphrases. You guessed it, these are longer keywords that are more like phrases. They’re specific – meaning less people are searching for them, but it also means you’re more likely to rank high for them. Ultimately, this is better for your site traffic because it means your visitors are actually searching for your content, service, or product, and are much more likely to engage with your site.
The content on your page must also be relevant to the keywords. Your keywords should be dispersed through your page content, and you get bonus marks if your keywords are in your headers. This can be a bit tricky, because you want your keyword or keyphrase to appear in your content enough times so that search engines know that your keywords are relevant to your content – but you also do not want to simply repeat that keyword over and over again in your content. This is called keyword stuffing, and it may make search engines categorize your site as spam! Plus, your readers probably won’t be impressed. You have to remember that you’re trying to appease both the search engine and your readers!
Don’t use the same keyword for every page, either – this is called keyword cannibalization. This is a problem because they’re all competing for the same keyword, so they’re ultimately eating each other’s chances to rank high! It’s best to have unique keywords on every page, so each page’s keywords can rank as high as possible.
To get started with your keyword implementation, install an SEO plugin on your WordPress site- assuming you’ve already got your WordPress site or WooCommerce store set up. There are a variety of different SEO plugins available. We really like Yoast SEO. Next, you can start filling in your metadata!
Your metadata doesn’t just include keywords – it also includes your SEO title and description, which is the text that displays when your site appears in a search engine. Definitely implement your keywords into your other metadata, as well.
Many SEO plugins allow the input of many keywords, not just your one focus keyword. While your focus keyword or keyphrase is the most important and should be the most relevant, adding synonyms or related keywords can also help search engines get a better understanding of your content and rank you higher. Obviously, you may not be able to use all of your related or synonym keywords into your content. That’s ok! As long as your focus keyword appears in your metadata and content, you’re good to go.
As previously mentioned, page and post metadata is something that plugins such as Yoast can really help you with. But, metadata isn’t just for pages and posts. If you have a WooCommerce store, don’t neglect your products. Providing keywords and descriptions for your products can help potential customers discover them.
Perhaps more importantly, write descriptions and keywords for all of your site’s images. This is something that often gets overlooked when implementing keywords. But search engines cannot see your images – they can only read its metadata to understand the content of the image, so that’s why metadata for images is so essential!
More content, longer content, easier content. Okay, so search engines are a little bit picky – but your content should be long – the average page on Google’s first result-page is almost 2,000 words! – but it should also be easy to read. Keep your sentences short and your language simple, and write some informative and interesting content for your page. This is why many websites choose to have a blog, because they’re great for SEO. But if you don’t have the time or the resources to start a blog, then just try to write as much useful text as you can on your pages.
If you can’t come up with enough text, more images, videos, slideshows, or other kinds of media can help boost your ranking. These signal to search engines that you have high quality content, and it just makes your site more interesting to visitors.
Update your content often. You don’t want your site collecting cobwebs in some dark corner of the internet – you want search engines and your audience to think you’re relevant, up to date, and actively updating.
Another important part of SEO is linking. Linking your own pages inside your site is called internal linking, and it’s an excellent and easy way to improve your ranking. The more links your page has, the more likely search engines will recognize it as an important page. This includes menus, calls-to-action, buttons, but also links inside your page content. Pages that are linked to each other tell search engines that the content is related, which makes your site seem more trustworthy and your content more relevant in the metaphorical eyes of the search engine. This is a great article by Yoast about internal linking, for a more in-depth tutorial.
External linking is extremely valuable, too, but is it much harder to pull off. Links to your site from other websites indicate to search engines that your site is trustworthy, and thus you’ll be more likely to rank higher. This is especially true if the links are coming from reputable websites that search engines already know and love. With the right strategy and some time and effort, you can definitely build up more links pointing to your site.
While we’re on the topic of links, you must avoid broken links at all costs. Broken links are links that go nowhere – either because the link is wrong or the page has moved or been deleted. Search engines read this as a neglected or unusable site, and will hurt your ranking. Make sure all your links are functioning properly.
Search engines know how users behave on your site. Google knows if most of your site visitors click exit within the first ten seconds. So, how can you make sure visitors stay on your site?
Optimize for Mobile. Most Google searches come from mobile devices. It is becoming essential to be optimal for mobile use. And guess what? Search engines know when your site is mobile friendly. Most website designing tools will allow you to see your site from a mobile view such as Elementor, or you can use this tool that checks how mobile-friendly your site is, or simply go on your own smartphone to check it out.
Simple designs are almost always mobile-friendly. If you have overly-complicated or intricate web designs that are in complete disarray on a mobile interface, you may want to reconsider your layout. Another option is to make another design specifically for mobile – both may require some time and work, but it’s worth it. Trust me.
To avoid this issue, always go for a WordPress or WooCommerce theme that’s responsive. If it’s mobile responsive, it will say in the description.
If you follow these steps, you will see a difference in your SEO ranking. It won’t happen overnight – building your rank takes time and work! But ultimately it’s worth the effort, because SEO not only helps you get more traffic, but it helps you get the right traffic so you get more conversions. Work on your SEO day by day, and you might find your site on the first page of Google!
We hope you found this article helpful. Have any suggestions, or SEO hacks of your own? Let us know!