Whether you run a small business, a personal brand, or a multinational agency, search engine optimization can help you take your business performance to the next level.
Here’s a couple of interesting facts. Google receives over 74,000 searches every second; 67% of the clicks go to the top five results. There’s one conclusion that we can draw: if you want to create a consistent source of organic traffic, your website’s content needs to rank high.
SEO is a process, not a result. It requires planning, maintenance, consistent testing, and optimization. It is similar to any website optimization – you keep improving it over and over again and you don’t stop.
I’m going to share three critical steps that will help you optimize your website for the search engines. Pay attention, take notes, and apply them!
Search engine optimization is highly related to keywords. Let me give you an example. If you type into Google the phrase “how to optimize website”, you’ll get different results compared to an extremely similar search term (“how to optimize a website”). Even though there’s a very small difference, it still matters.
Therefore, keyword research process is the first step in your SEO methodology. You must know your target audience and predict their intentions in order to offer them relevant content.
Start by identifying relevant keywords through brainstorming. Go to Google and type in those keywords and key phrases and look for suggested searches. Add the suggested terms to your list. Check out different industry forums to detect any possible search terms and add them to your list.
Once you have a decent list of keywords, you’re ready to continue the process. Take advantage of the following tools:
- Keywordtool.io (helps you discover more keywords)
- Google Keyword Planner (keyword analysis)
- SEMRush (keyword analysis)
Before you start focusing on keywords that you’ve brainstormed yourself, you need to validate those keywords. Use Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush to figure out the difficulty, the competition, and the potential of those keywords.
As you validate keywords, add them to a new list of “confirmed keywords” and start planning your future content around those keywords.
Continuous Testing and Measuring
Test, test, test. That’s the number one advice that you’ll receive from most SEO professionals. You need to analyze your search engine rankings and your incoming traffic in order to figure out the effectiveness of your keywords and strategies. You can use a free rank tracker tool to simplify the process. Ensure that you’re measuring your results properly and keep track of the changes. You need to create connections. Figure out what changes produced the best results and try to replicate that in your future attempts. Check the screenshot below:
You must also pay attention to your link building strategies. The quality of your outbound and inbound links is directly proportional to your ranking performance. There are plenty of tools that can help you track and measure your backlinks portfolio, so make sure you use them.
Maintenance is key. You should consistently add and modify keywords according to your results. As I’ve mentioned above, SEO is a journey, not a result!
Speed Up Your Pages
Speed matters. If your webpages load slowly, you’ll offer a bad user experience, and users will immediately bounce off your website. When that happens, Google will immediately take notice and start decreasing your rankings.
To improve your website’s loading speed, take advantage of the following tactics:
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Minify and combine your files (images, videos, etc.)
- Reduce server response time
- Buy a better hosting plan
- Run compression audits
- Enable browser caching
- Reduce the size of your images
- Reduce the plugins
- Reduce redirects
If some of these tips sound complicated, make sure you explore them using this useful post. Improving your website’s loading speed is critical since Google’s officials have specifically declared that speed is an important SEO factor.
Investing in SEO is one of the best ways to capture highly targeted traffic that are ready to interact with your brand. I believe that SEO is both an art and a skill. If you think about it, every skill needs to be practiced over and over again until one achieves mastery.
Of course, it’s going to be difficult at first, especially because SEO results don’t show up overnight. However, as you focus on your webpage optimization on a consistent basis, you’ll slowly gain a stable source of passive traffic that will significantly boost your marketing and sales performance!
About the author: Kate Peterson is a digital marketer, graphic designer, and content developer. She’s currently developing a beginners’ digital marketing course that aims to provide a comprehensive online marketing methodology. In her free time, she is contributing to various social causes through various non-profit movements.