by Danielle Andrews
Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the act of optimizing your business website to appear higher in the list of websites shown when someone performs an internet search for the services your company offers. A common misconception is that by performing a search, the searcher is combing the internet for those services, when in fact they are only being shown that particular search engine’s index of the web.
In order to get yourself or your business listed higher on that Search Engine’s index, you must know how to optimize your website for that search engine’s algorithm.
As you know, technology is ever-changing. What worked for SEO a few years ago, or even a few months ago, is no longer relevant. To stay on top of the SEO game you need to change with it.
Google is the undisputed leader for Search Engines and therefore it is just good business to optimize your website according to Google’s algorithm.
What matters to the Google algorithm?
Google’s algorithms rank high quality websites higher than other websites. Make sure your website has quality information, whether it is directly in your webpages or through your blog, content is King!
You have probably noticed that some URLs start with http:// and some start with https:// The “s” in the URL is a “Secure Sockets Layer” which encrypts the viewers connection to that website so their connection cannot be hacked. As of January 2017, Chrome will flag websites that only have an http URL as unsafe!
It is far better to have a few related keywords (Google Adwords suggests no more than 25,) than to have hundreds of unrelated keywords. Coming up in searches does not get you clients or money, its the quality of the searcher and their intent, that determines how effective those keywords will be. Knowing this, it is important for you to do Keyword Research for SEO before choosing what keywords you want to focus on.
Stop “Keyword Stuffing”:
Google has warned webmasters over and over to stop the practice of “Keyword Stuffing” (putting as many keywords into a page as possible,) but I keep seeing this on certain wedding professionals’ websites. Not only does it look awkward and silly, but it doesn’t work, and Google is penalizing you for the practice. Did you know it is actually against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?
Optimize your Images:
Search engines can not see your images, so it is important to use relevant image file names and alt text (a description of what is in the image), do not use filenames such as IMG00254.jpg, THIS is where you can and should use your keywords. Google can index the following extensions, so make sure your image files are one of these: bmp, gif, jpeg, png, webp, and svg.
Utilize Social Media:
A great way to improve your chances of getting on the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page), is by having your viewers share your website. Going back to “Content is King,” you need to have content that your viewers will want to share, and you need to alert readers to that content through Social Media. Anytime you write an article or Blog that will be useful to your target audience, create beautiful title photo and post it to Pinterest and Instagram with a link to the article.
Get Rid of the Annoying Pop-up:
If you have a newsletter that you like to send out to potential clients, and you utilize a pop-up to collect your viewer’s information, which does not allow the viewer see the information on your website, you could be seriously hurting your SEO. Google announced last August that they will penalize any website that makes it difficult for their client to transition from their SERP to the content itself. That means, any website that utilizes “Intrusive Interstitials” (pop-ups that block the user from content) will be penalized with a lower rank than websites that do not utilize these pop-ups.
Be Mobile- Friendly:
According to Smart Insights, 80% of Internet users own a Smartphone. Think how often you search things using your phone throughout the day. How frustrating is it when a website is not Mobile-compatible? A lot of your potential clients are going to be checking you out from their mobile devices, so make sure you are making it easy for their, by being Mobile-compatible. Google mobile-compatible websites higher, so that their clients can have the best quality. In their own words, “In Google Search, our goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using.”
Improve the User Experience:
Google wants to make sure that the pages it suggests to their user offer a good user experience so that they will continue to utilize Google as their search engine of choice. Of course you want to be one of the websites that Google Suggests, so you need to make sure that your website offers a good user experience. This means your pages load quickly, and guests stay on your page rather than quickly “bouncing” off of it. Ways to keep guests on your page, is by being relevant, having an attractive site, easy to use and navigate and provide quality information, readily accessible. For example, if your guest wants to know about the services you offer, they can easily and quickly access that information.
Make sure your Plug-ins and Extensions are Updated Regularly:
A lot of website owners put their website up and then forget about it. You need to be checking your website regularly to make sure that all of the Plug-ins and Extensions that you are using are current, if they aren’t, Google might not be showing your website in their SERP. This means updating every week or so.
Highlight the Fact that you are Local:
I have noticed that so many wedding professionals do not state where they are located on their website. I am not suggesting that you post your home address, but you do need to state what your operating area is. You want to attract local couples getting married, so you need to list your city and operating area on your website. When couples are searching for a wedding professional, they are looking for a local wedding pro, not a random company for information. So many wedding companies forget this basic information.
The long and short of Search Engine Optimization is: create the best experience for the end-user, your potential clients. Keep your website up to date, mobile-friendly, relevant and easy to use, and it will rise in the rankings of Search Engine Report Pages.