First off, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is all about tuning up your website so that it ranks better in search engines. You want your website to show up on the first page of Google when someone types in a question.
The goal is to get your website to show up on the first page of search results. If you are looking up local photographers in your area for example, how many pages are you going to scroll through before you decide to click on a website and check it out? Probably not that far. Did you know, the vast majority of people never click past the first page. That first page is prime real estate and where you want to be, and understanding SEO is how you get there.
SEO is something you build. It takes time. There isn’t just a button you can click and WHAM! Your website is optimized for search engines. However, even though it’s something that you build and it takes time, it’s not as hard or confusing as some might think.
The first thing we’re going to talk about regarding SEO, is
1. Your Content
When it comes to optimizing your content, the first thing you need to start doing is using keywords. Whether you’re writing a blog post, or updating your website, keywords should always be front of mind. Now, what do I mean by keywords. I mean, you should be thinking about what it is your business and content is about, and think about what words a potential customer would type into google if they wanted to find you.
So for my business, as a wedding photographer, I know a keyword for me would be “wedding photographer” or “wedding photography.” Think about what basic keywords represent your business, or post specifically, and make a list!
After you’ve brainstormed some basic key words, it’s time to think of what they call “long tail keywords,” which just means, more specific key words or phrases, that include more words, and are more specific! So if we go back to my wedding photography example, that’s not a great long tail keyword. I mean, it’s pretty general right? If I just used that, think of how many other wedding photographers are out there?! I’d be trying to compete with HUGE websites and blogs and business that are already ranking on the first page of google. A great way to turn this keyword into a long tail version, would be to add my location. Like Wedding Photographer Syracuse NY.
Now once you have a list of keywords, basic and long tail, it’s time to use them to your advantage!
First, to optimize your website, you need to start utilizing the ALT text feature for all images on your website. ALT text refers to alternative text, and allows you to insert words or phrases as attributes to that image. Doing that, tells website viewers the content of the image, or purpose. You can’t see the ALT text. The only time a viewer would see it would be if there was an error and the image didn’t load. So essentially it’s like an invisible way to jam pack your website with keywords so that you can rank higher on google. Depending on what website platform you use, it will look different, but there is always a spot to add ALT text for images on your website and blog.
Now, keywords are also important for blog posts. Luckily for blog posts, you can download a plugin and Yoast has an AMAZING plugin for WordPress blogs. If you don’t have a word press blog, there are other plug ins you can download that will help you with your SEO. Yoast plugin gives the post that you write in WordPress a readability score and an SEO score. What I love about Yoast is the traffic light symbol that they use. Red means you need some work, yellow- it’s alright, and green means you’re good to go!
Yoast also has a spot for you to type in keywords associated with the post! Point blank- plugins are amazing when it comes to utilizing SEO. A few other keyword helpers besides Yoast are
Also, when you’re working on a blog post, you want to make sure your metadata is relevant to your content and includes keywords relevant to your post. Again, we want to be thinking about what our potential clients would be typing in the search bar to find our business, our website, or our specific piece of content like a blog post. Make sure you’re always thinking about search intent and make sure that your keywords, wherever you’re using them are relevant to your business and the specific content they might be representing.
You want to establish yourself as the authority. You don’t want to be shy, but you want to be clear and concise in doing so and there are a few ways that we can do this.
First, make sure you have strong copy on your website. By copy, I mean wording. Make sure it’s clear what you offer, and where you serve people or where you’re based out of. If you struggle with writing information on your website, from your About me to your Contact page, there are so many free resources out there for you! Plus, if you really wanted to, you could hire a copy writer to do it for you! But bottom line, you need to make sure your copy is strong, naturally uses keywords, and that your copy makes it clear what you do.
Another great thing to do, is to work with guest posters or to participate in other collaborations. This allows other people to link to your site, or share with their audience, giving you new viewers, and again helping with your SEO. If you guest post on someone else’s site, you will get what they call a “backlink.” Essentially all a back link is, is when someone shares your URL on their site which will give you some link juice, and that’s a good thing! It’s great for your SEO.
Another tip, you want to see what your domain pops up as. So have you noticed when you go visit a website and you see “http://“ Before a website? You want yours to say “https://.” The S makes your website more secure and can help with your ratings. If you are someone who is still using http://. You can google how to switch to https using your host. For each host it is a different process, but that is also something else to consider!
So working on your website copy, collaborating, and making sure your domain is secure, are all things on-site you can do to build your authority. But, there are also things you can do to build authority in the social world, because once you have and optimized website and content, it’s time to start promoting that awesome site and content!
First, engage! I cannot say this enough. Leave comments on other posts, interact in forums or groups, and just be genuine. If you leave spammy, generic comments, people aren’t going to be clicking over to your site to read more about what you have to say and that’s the goal! To get people to visit and share your site!
Bottom line: If someone is asking a question and you know the answer, help them. Be kind, be you, and build connections online. When you engage online, people will start to recognize your name and business which will help build your authority and trustworthiness- both of which are important components to ranking.
Once you learn how to optimize your content, and you work on building your authority, the last thing to help boast your SEO is to make sure all the technical stuff is good to go.
There are three things I want you to focus on in particular.
The first, is crawlability. Crawlability refers to how easy it is for a search engine to process (“crawl”) the information on a website. A crawlable website has: a clear layout, a straightforward sitemap, and an easy-to-access internal links to each page of content
Search engines like these features because they make the site easy to navigate. This is pretty technical stuff, but crawlability has nothing to do with user experience, but instead has everything to do with a bot’s experience.
We want to make it easier for a bot to access and navigate the information stored on your site.
Now you’re probably wondering Why does it matter?
Bad crawlability will hurt your search engine rankings. Google doesn’t want to bend over backward to index your website. They want your site data to be clear, readable, and accessible for readers and their robots. If Google has a hard time processing your website, you will be penalized. Period. End of story.
So what can you do to make sure your site is crawlable?
First, Make sure your site has a simple, organized layout. The more complicated, the most problems can arise and the harder it can be for google to index you.
Second, make sure there are no broken links on your site. A broken link just means the link a visitor clicks, doesn’t take them to where they want to go, it’s probably happened to you where you get that annoying 404- page not found error code. These are bad for two reasons.
First, they obviously make for a bad user experience where a visitor might get annoyed and not want to come back and second, they negatively impact your SEO ratings which is what we DON’T WANT. There are tons of free resources for tracking broken links on your website. You can use google analytics, or Xenu!
Next, utilize internal links on your site! Crawlers like internal links for two reason. First, they help the crawler find more pages on your site and Second, if your link includes a keyword, that keyword will help tell the crawler what the next page will be about, making it all the easier for it to crawl more of your content. So utilize internal links when you can!
Lastly, keep updating your website!
Crawlers like to see new, fresh content on a website. By giving them something new, you’ll keep the crawlers coming back to our websites and by having them come back, you’ll see your search engine rankings constantly refresh and hopefully improve!
To wrap it up
Let’s go over three action items we can do today to move the needle forward:
- Action step #1: Start going through your website and add keywords via ALT text to all images on your site.
- Action step #2: Install a SEO plugin to help optimize your content.
- Action step #3: Check your website for broken links! Remember, broken links equals bad, we want a smooth, user friendly experience!
Check out my last episode HERE!