When someone searches Google for information related to your brand, you want your website to pop up at the top of the list. How do you make that happen? Google’s ranking algorithm is tough to crack. Luckily, understanding and implementing basic search engine optimization (or SEO) techniques is all you need to ensure your website lands at the top.
At Safeguard, we specialize in the most effective marketing approaches out there. SEO is one of them. By understanding SEO, you’ll reap the rewards of ranking high on Google’s list – without the agony of understanding how their ranking algorithm works.
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Here are a few key SEO techniques to keep in mind.
- Multimedia is a must.
Face it – plain text is boring. No matter how exciting the words may be, a picture makes it better and Google knows that webpages with images are better than those without. If you can manage a video – even better – but every post must have at least an image.
- Break it up.
No one wants to read a page of solid text and neither does Google. Pages not only look better and are easier to read if they are broken up into sections, but Google likes them better, too. Each section should have a sub-heading (H2) and at least one of these sub-headings should contain your keyphrase.
- Location, location, location.
Your website needs to be optimized for people searching for businesses in the local area. Optimizing for local lets Google direct searchers using the “find nearby” tool. It will match up their Geolocation with your business – but only if Google knows where every one of your locations is.
- Outbound links.
Outbound links help Google identify and confirm what your page is about and help “legitimize” your site. One or two hyperlinks – like this one! – to “official” sources like trade industry sites or publications can increase your ranking.
- Internal links.
Adding a couple of internal links to other pages on your own site – like this one! – helps make sure that more of your content gets “crawled” by Google. The more Google sees, the higher your site can rank.
- Say a lot, but say it well.
The length of your pages is a balancing act. You have to catch and keep the attention of website visitors with visual interest and interesting content. Longer content ranks higher, but if it is boring website visitors don’t stay to read it – and Google will penalize you if they back out too soon. A word count of 1500 is a good goal but only if it is good.
- Speed, speed, speed.
This one, we can’t say enough about. Your website has to load fast – every page and every image. The days of waiting for webpages to load are over and most Internet users will simply back out of your site if they don’t get immediate action. Even more important, Google already knows this – down to the millisecond and slow pages now get ranked lower than faster sites.
- Mobile first.
It goes beyond what happens on desktops, too. About half of all Internet users are getting a majority of their web content on smart devices so your site has to be mobile-friendly by loading fast and looking good on the small-screen. Ideally, it should be “mobile first” which means it is designed to be used from a mobile device.
- Check it twice.
Google will soon be ranking websites seen on desktop searches differently than those on mobile. They haven’t said how the new double indexes will be different yet, but in the near future a website that ranks first on desktop may not rank well on mobile – and vice versa. You need to check on your rankings from both desktop and using a smart device.
- SEO Audits.
Google makes frequent changes to their algorithms and it is hard to keep up. Just because you met all of the quirky requirements today, doesn’t mean that you will still rank well next month. At least once a year, you should have an SEO specialist audit your site – more frequently if you can.