SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and using its methods can pull your website to the top of search results on search engines, like Google. We explore a few easy ways you can boost your site’s organic traffic with simple SEO practices.
Why You Should Care About SEO
When you’re creating a website, one of your priorities should be optimizing your site to rank high on search engines. If you’re not using SEO practices, you risk your site being buried under hundreds of other search results. This means you either have to rely on social media platforms to grow your business or just word of mouth.
So how do you get your business to rank on that important first page of results? By implementing SEO practices on your business’s website, you can boost your rankings, beat out other sites, and drive new traffic.
Learning all there is to know about SEO can take years, but luckily, there are a few practices you learn quickly to help boost your search engine rankings over time. Implementing SEO best practices on your website is a long-term game, but it’s worth the work.
How Search Engines Work
Think about how you use Google: you type a question or topic into the search bar, hit enter, and thousands of results show up in seconds. What exactly determines those results, though? Google and other search engines use a myriad of things to determine what it thinks is the best answer to your search query, and whatever they think is the best “answer” is what you see first.
There are also different kinds of results. Ever search for a business on Google and see results with “Ad” on the left-hand side? That’s a paid-ranking slot. It’s when a business pays Google to have their site appear on the front page of a specific query.
Any other search result that isn’t a paid slot is called an organic search result – that’s what SEO best practices can help. You don’t have to pay Google to appear on the first page of search results because you can optimize your website to increase how high you rank.
Basic SEO Methods
- Research your keywords
One of the first things you should do is find out what keywords you should focus on, and then scatter those words all over your site. Say you own a coffee shop. Good keywords associated with coffee shops include: coffee shops (of course), best coffee near me, café, coffee bar, coffee house, local coffee, coffee places, and more. When someone searches “coffee shop,” and you have those keywords all over your site, search engines view your site as more relevant to that specific query and rank you higher.
Those keywords can be placed all over your website instead of just your little intro paragraph under your shop’s name. It’s worth it to have an intro paragraph covering the coffee shop’s mission statement, an “about us” section, and possibly a landing page featuring blog posts all about coffee. Sprinkle in those keywords everywhere to help boost your rankings – but don’t go crazy. Google can recognize an overuse of the same words, and that may lower your ranking. Don’t sound robotic, but have a list of focus keywords that you want to rank for.
You can simply search online the type of business you have and the keywords that are best associated with it to help give you an idea of what to focus on.
- Choose a SEO tool
Many people use Google Analytics to track their websites traffic, and you can set it up for free. You can track events such as when someone completes a purchase with your site, when someone leaves (called bounce rate), point of origin (how someone found your site), and much more.
Take time to learn how to use a SEO tool so you can track what keywords are working, what pages are getting the most traffic, and see how long visitors are spending on your site.
- Learn about links
There are a few types of links you should know for SEO practices: permalinks, backlinks, and internal/contextual links.
Permalinks are URL links unique to your website, also called a URL slug. For example, www.website.com/blog-post/. The “blog-post” part of that example URL is the permalink. You can edit these links to boost keyword count, and help boost your ranking on Google.
Backlinks are a little more complicated, but it can be thought of as other sites vouching for you. Some websites online have high domain authority, such as a major news site like NY Times. If a major website posts something with a link to your website, it increases your chances of ranking higher on search results. This is about Google trusting that your site is legit, because another site linked to you, and it adds to your ethos. The more backlinks, generally the better off you’ll be.
Internal links are pretty easy to implement on your website right away. Using that same coffee shop example, you can have a blogpost on your site with a link to your main menu. This is called a contextual link, because it gives your reader context and the ability to click on the link and learn more about what you’re saying without having to leave your site. You’re keeping the user on your site with your own content, and not backlinking to others that bounces them away. Putting high-traffic internal links in your content is a great way to boost your search results, and it’s pretty easy to do.
SEO for the Long-Haul
SEO isn’t a one-day project – it can take a while to see results. However, hitting those vital top-three slots on Google is frankly immeasurable (well, you can measure it but you know what we mean).
With a little practice and hard work, you can implement good SEO practices and build your brand. It also helps to have a great-working website, too! Here at Ornery Lion Web Development, we know how valuable a great website can be for your business. Whether you’re a freelancer or a restaurant owner, we want work with you. Get in touch by filling out our free contact form, or browse our products to see what we can offer you.