What You Need To Know About SEO To Make Sure Your Website Is Seen

Only 5 percent of search engine users click on listings located past the first page, according to Brafton. As a webmaster, this means your website won’t attract many organic visitors if it’s located on the second, third or fourth page of the search results. But there are a few things you need to know about search engine optimization (SEO) to make sure your website is seen by visitors and search engines alike.

Domain Name Matters

The domain name of your website will affect its ability to rank in the search results. Using a long, irrelevant domain that’s hard for users to remember may hinder your website’s search ranking strategy. This doesn’t mean that you should create a domain name using the exact keyword for which you want to rank. Known as exact match domains (EMDs), Google updated its algorithm in 2012 to specifically target websites using them. According to Search Engine Journal, Google now lowers the rankings of low-quality websites with an EMD.

An effective, SEO-friendly domain name should include the following characteristics:

  • Relevant to your website’s content and what it offers
  • The .com extension
  • One to three words
  • No more than ten characters, preferably eight or less
  • Only letters; no numbers or hyphens
  • Easy to remember

Content Is King

“Content is king” is a mantra by which all seasoned webmasters live. For nearly two decades, Google has used content in its ranking algorithm. Websites and pages with high-quality content centering around a specific topic are more likely to rank for that topic’s associated keywords than websites and pages with low-quality content. In fact, a study conducted by SEO PowerSuite found that content relevancy is the most important on-page ranking signal used by Google.

The secret to producing content for your website that drives higher search rankings is to focus on quality. You can churn out hundreds of low-quality articles only to discover little or no change in your search rankings. In some cases, low-quality content can lower a site’s rankings. Search engines like Google prioritize websites and pages with exceptional, in-depth content over their counterparts with little content or low-quality content.¬†Shoot for articles around 1600 words long, or about 7 minutes of reading. This is also a great opportunity to go in-depth on a topic and build yourself up as an expert to readers.

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Include Visuals

Visuals are an essential element of your website’s content and, subsequently, your SEO strategy. Some webmasters only publish text content, such as articles, believing it offers the best SEO value. Search engines can easily scan text content — a process known as crawling — to determine what the web page is about. However, including visuals in your website’s content can help you achieve greater success in the search engines results pages (SERPs).

Adding images to your website’s articles and other text content, for example, increases its exposure in the SERPs. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have a unique search engine designed for images. If a user wants to a find an image related to a keyword, he or she can search for the keyword in Google Images, Bing Images or Yahoo Image Search. By including images in your website’s content, your website will appear in these image-based search engines. This means more people will see and visit your website.

Optimize for Local Searches

If your business has a physical location, you should make sure you are paying attention to local searches. These searches can bring you a lot of business, but only if you know how to use them to your benefit. The first thing you should do is claim your business in Google My Business. This gives potential clients information, including your location, your hours, and your basic services.

When claiming your business, it is important to make sure you categorize your business properly. If you are in the wrong category, you won’t be found as easily and it may send business to your competitors instead. Google has instructed businesses to select categroies that describe what your business is, not what it does or sells. The more specific you can be, the better chance you have of being found by your potential clients.

Compliment SEO With Social Media

Include social media marketing in your SEO strategy. Hootsuite explains that Google confirmed the use of social media signals in its ranking algorithm back in 2010. Four years later, however, the Mountain View company said it didn’t use social media signals in its algorithm. This has led to polarizing views among SEO and digital marketing professionals, some of whom believe that social media affects a website’s search ranking while others believe that it doesn’t.

But a 2018 study conducted by HootSuite found that social media signals directly correlate with a website’s search rankings. The more social shares and mentions your website has on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, the greater the chance of it ranking high.

Black-Hat SEO Doesn’t Work

Some of the most common SEO mistakes involve black-hat tactics. No longer can you manipulate or trick Google into ranking your website for a specific keyword that’s irrelevant to its content. Prior to 2012, webmasters would use black-hat SEO tactics like link farms and hidden on-page text to increase their rankings. Google quickly caught on, rolling out its Penguin update in 2012. This updated worked to clean up Google’s SERPs by penalizing websites that engaged in black-hat SEO, specifically link farms.

Your website won’t rank at the top of the SERPs overnight. Even with a detailed, effective SEO plan, it often takes months for Google to increase a website’s search rankings. By using these tips, though, your website will gradually climb the SERPs to dominate your target keywords.

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