Google searches are the core to a business's success. Search engine optimization can seem more like magic to many business owners. Let's look behind the curtain and expose the key things you should know whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a search engine optimization expert.
Searches on Google are at the core the lifeblood of a business' success and growth. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) often feels like a dose of the secret sauce to thriving businesses, whether their transactions occur online or in a brick and mortar store. Let's pull back the curtain and reveal a couple of the key points that you should know about regardless if you are doing things on your own or possibly thinking about hiring an expert in SEO.
Did you know that Google has over 3.5 billion searches per day on average? These are usually individuals using search engines to research and locate the goods and services they need at that moment. Overall, that equates to 1.2 trillion searches per year, which continues to rise annually as more products/services that are offered in high demand become readily available to the consumer. Every search that occurs without visibility of your business is an opportunity for a competitor to make a sale.
Just like you, Google is a business and wants to provide the best resources to its users/searchers. They don't want their business to fail and, in turn, don't want yours to fail either. That being said, the main thing that Google wants is quality.
Useful, informative content that will fill the need of the searcher. This demand is why businesses embraced blogs and the ability to expand the content of their website.
Websites that are user-friendly. With the ease of accessibility and rise of more mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) globally, Google has seen the number of users searching on these devices and rewards websites for having a mobile/device-friendly site. Also, the time it takes for a page to launch once entered is a big factor in the experience. The latest statistics show that your average consumer wants the website to open fully within the first three seconds. This is something that Google knows and understands very well.
Since Google is essentially referring your business to its searchers, it looks at your company's reputation. Look at it as if someone were asking to use you as a reference for a job they're applying for. You wouldn't recommend someone who is unreliable and can't do the job correctly. Google is the exact same way. Google looks at:
The secret sauce to your potential success is reviews for your business and links coming into your website.
Beginning in 2021, Google announced that they will start to incorporate "page experience" as a ranking factor. In short, speed and security matter, as well as the overall layout of the website itself.
Google keeps an eye out for how often you update and work on your viability as a site. A good SEO plan includes regular updates to content via articles, blog posts, adding projects, or other means.
When updating your website, put in the extra effort to build up your website's internal links. This technique is a little daunting at first to wrap your head around; let's look a little bit deeper.
A search engine is essentially a spider; Google calls it Googlebot. When it comes to your website, it scans your content and any links on that page. As you create content, you will link to your website's other pages, whether it be pages, articles, projects, etcetera. This method refreshes the older content as you post new content according to Googlebot.
The challenge comes when you add new content, go back to previous posts and add links to the new content. This can help boost your content efforts on items that are ranking in search and generating traffic, essentially creating a circle of life effect on your site.
Rename your images using keywords if you can or the product names. Don't be spammy with it, just keep it in line with where the image will be on the website and what the image is. Quality trumps keywords, always.
Resize your images based on the page it is going on. Large images can weigh down a web page and cause it to load slowly. Use Photoshop or an online tool like PicMonkey to reduce the sizes of your images before you add them to your website.
ALT tags are the way we tell Google what an image is. They cant see the image, so they have no way of knowing what it is, add alt text to all images. Keep it short and relevant to what the image is.
Every page of your website should have a purpose/goal and a list of keywords for the goods and services you are offering. On each page of your site, your keyword saturation is preferred to be under 5% of the content on that current page. This does become challenging, however, when attempting to rank for multiple keyword phrases.
A best practice is to serve your visitor first and tweak your keyword phrases along the way. It is possible to cater to both; it just takes a little more time and effort to accomplish the goal.
Before Penguin (a significant Google algorithm update we had in 2011), it was common practice to overload pages, images, and links with keywords and phrases. If you attempt to follow that practice now, it will hurt your rankings in Google search. One thing is definitely for sure: Search Engine Optimization methods change frequently and will continue to be adjusted as more businesses begin to optimize themselves to attract new consumers of their products/services.
The structure of your website matters.
How you organize your navigation menu.
How your content flows on the page. The header tags on your website should follow a flow to be ideal.
We have designed websites in the past where the page structure was optimized; however, with the lovely world of content management (sarcasm intended) the client went in and changed it, incidentally destroying the structure. Their changes did impact their rankings slightly in a negative way, potentially costing them new customers and, more importantly, REVENUE. No one wants to miss out on a potential sale, no matter what the situation is.
Bottom Line: What you do not know will hurt you.
Google makes updates to its algorithm regularly. It becomes difficult to keep up with the changes if you are busy with the hustle and bustle of your business. If you are brave and want to go at it alone, I recommend that you stay up to date with reputable experts in Search Engine Optimization.
If you do not have time, it is best to outsource this part of your business to trusted hands. A good SEO company will get you where you need to be and then keep you up to date and provide updates as needed based on changes in the algorithm.
A search engine audit can show you where you are and what is needed to improve your business rankings. Keep in mind, SEO isn't a quick fix, and nobody can guarantee instant results. That being said, having a professional in your corner can help to improve your odds significantly. Have a question about SEO? Let us know. We can review yours and your competitors in an audit and provide whatever may be lacking to your website. Give us a call at (405) 753-4114 or or request a quote. You can do the tasks yourself, or we can perform them for you, and you can focus on the main thing that is important to you: Growing Your Business.
Richelle is the founder of Lighthouse and has over 25 years of experience in online marketing and website design. Richelle enjoys meeting with clients to pinpoint their goals and come up with a strategy to achieve them. She is active with many groups; including a mastermind group for business owners, a podcast, as well as industry groups to stay current with current marketing, search, and design trends. When not helping businesses, she spends time with family including her fur-kids which you may see pop in to say hello during one of her podcasts.