Think about it this way: you are working in a library, let us say you have read all the books. Whenever someone wants a book about a subject, you give him recommendations to read specific books that are most relevant to that subject.
In like manner, the search engine analyses, but in a more complicated way, all the websites. Whenever someone searches for a topic, the search engine selects, following an order, websites that according to it, are the most relevant to the topic that person is searching for. In order to get selected as the most relevant website, you should have a Search Engine Optimization strategy using SEO practices.
Simply put, SEO, the abbreviation of Search Engine Optimization, is a set of practices that help generate traffic to your site in order to improve your rank among the search engine results.
The higher the website is ranked, the more chance it has to be visited.
Why is SEO important for your small business?
Gary Vaynerchuk always says that nowadays it’s all about content, and a great content means more followers, brand awareness increased and good sales conversion rate. The bad news is that the web is overwhelmed by content, it is hard to make your content consumed. The good news is that you can use SEO to excel and reach your goals. SEO means content consumed, and content consumed means audience, potential clients.
How to improve the ranking of your website?
The first thing you should know about SEO: there is no magical receipt. If you want your website to be visited, you should put good content before putting effort into any other SEO practice. It is essential! Who would like to visit a website that offers no added value? Obviously no one. Even the search engines won’t tell the difference. It’s all about quality content. Today, search engine algorithms, that are much more complicated than ever, try to match the answer to the intent of searchers, rather than the words they type to get the answer. This means you should really work on your content that gives the best answer to their question. You need to understand the searchers, so they can feel you, trust you and rely on you. You can only reach that goal by being user-oriented, then make them have the best experience on your website.
Besides the amount of original and valuable information you are providing, good content also includes the architecture of your website. The design of the site, for example, should make it easy for visitors to browse it. The website’s speed is important too. Today, users are in a hurry, and they want to get the information as quickly as possible. So you have to care about the content of your website in a holistic approach to improve its ranking.
Moreover, the quantity of content matters. If you regularly publish new blogs, articles… readers will keep coming back and that will definitely boost your ranking. But pay attention, do not sacrifice quantity over quality otherwise you will end up at the bottom of the search pages.
SEO practices to improve your website’s ranking
As it was mentioned earlier, content is a solid foundation. And these practices will improve the ranking of your website, but none of them will serve your goal by overdoing it. Each practice helps in a different way, the more you use them in a rational combination, the more you improve your position in the search engine. Here are some of these practices:
- A keyword is a word someone types in the search engine in order to get a result. There are also long-tail keywords, it’s a group of 3 words or more, which has the same function as a keyword except that it gives more relevant results. As its name tells, a keyword is a word that you should use in your content in order to match what definitely searchers will type on the search engine. Your content should speak the same language the searchers speak, in that way you will answer their question. Additionally, you should emphasize that keyword by repeating it so the search engine understands what your content is about. Again, stuffing your content with the same word won’t work, the search engine is smarter than you think.
- Website crawling is when a search engine browses your website to read your content, and stocks, known as indexing, the information, until someone searches for that topic then it chooses to list your website if it’s relevant. Your job is to help the search engine read and understand your website, so they can rank it optimally.
- Structured data markup: If you want to make your website even more readable by search engines, you better use this. It’s a code, a standardized format that you can add to your pages to provide more accurate information to search engines. Searchers can find you simply by using one of these pieces of information.
- Page title – HTML title tag: is the most important HTML code, it tells the search engine what is the topic of the page. Each page of your website has to have a unique and brief title, the most accurate one that describes your content.
- HTML image helps search engines process the image and understand it, then show it in the search results.
- Header tag: are headings that emphasise important sections of a web page, and help search engines to understand the topic of your content. They should be meaningful to the main points of the text, and define well the structure of the page.
- A backlink: when someone recommends your website, it means that your website is valuable and offers something interesting. The same thing is when a website embeds your link. The search engine understands that your website is good, and it improves the ranking of the both websites.
- Mobile-friendly website: if your site is not optimized for mobile you are already left behind. Nowadays, people are more connected through their mobile devices than their laptops or desktops. If users can’t find you through their mobile, you are going to lose your ranking boost.
- Secure site: your site should be secured, that makes surfers trust you and revisit it again. From the other side, search engines rank better the sites that run under HTTPS servers.
- Local audience: “think global, act local”, your website may be designated for worldwide, but as a small business, your local audience is the key to improve your ranking, then reach the global audience.
- Reviews and feedback: for those who neglect their users’ reviews and feedback, they will have a hard time to improve their ranking. Lately, search engine algorithms are considering this part of the digital experience as a major element to rank websites and businesses. You should consider your audience and respond to their issues asap.
How to recognize an SEO expert?
These were some of the good practices that you can use to improve your ranking and meet your goals as a small business. If you or your SEO expert are using bad practices to improve the site ranking, that definitely will not help. At the very end, your website will be at the bottom of the search results if you are lucky, or punished by the search engine and banned from the platform.
This article was written by Youssef El Yamani, who is currently on a marketing internship at RCMT IT Europe