5 Tips for Creating A Search Engine Optimized Website

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by Marla DiCarlo

If you build a beautiful website, but there’s no one around to see it, does it still exist? Unlike the similarly posed philosophical question about sound, there’s little debate here. Your site does still exist, but if you aren’t getting traffic, then it’s easy to feel like your website doesn’t matter.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the key to getting search engines to rank your website on the first pages of search results. 75% of searchers will never go beyond that first page of results. So, it’s crucial to search engine optimize your website.

Here are five tips for creating a search engine optimized website.

Tip #1: Choose Your Keywords Wisely

The foundation of a good SEO strategy lies in keyword research. Start by figuring out what people are searching for within your niche. Look into search volume for relevant terms to see if people are searching for that keyword and to see how competitive it is.

There are three basic types of keywords: short tail, medium-tail, and long-tail. Short are usually one-word highly competitive keywords with a lot of search volume. Long-tail are several word keywords with very low competition and lower search volume. Aim for medium-tail keywords, because they have less competition but still have a decent amount of search volume.

Once you’ve decided on a list of keywords, place them in strategic places around your website. These places include:

  • URLs
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Title Tags
  • Headers
  • Body of Website Text

Tip #2: Maintain a High-Quality Blog

A HubSpot study found that the more frequently a company writes blogs, the more their organic traffic increases. Blogs provide a place for keywords and direct people towards your website. Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to create high-quality content that people will want to link back to on their sites. These links are called inbound links, and they’re essential for any successful SEO campaign.

When it comes to blogging, you shouldn’t just cram a bunch of keywords into a page and hope that it works. Blogs are also an avenue for you to communicate with your visitors. Focus on creating engaging “evergreen content.” This is content that stays relevant for a long time. Since SEO often takes a while to build, your blogs need to be written to outlast trends.

Plus, there are several SEO blogging best practices to keep in mind:

  • Optimize those meta descriptions and use all the characters.
  • Make sure you optimize all your blog images with image alt text.
  • Only pick 1-2 keywords per blog post and incorporate them organically in your post.
  • Be sure to put them in your title tag, blog URL, body, and header.

Tip #3: Intuitive and Responsive Design

Did you know Google really loves mobile. In fact, they say it’s the third most important factor in determining site rank. Beyond that, they crawl the mobile version of your website, before the desktop version. So, when it comes to design, you need to make sure that your website is responsive and mobile-optimized.

On the topic of design, it’s vital that crawlers can easily access your site. If you don’t know, search engines use something called crawlers (also called spiders or bots) to index websites. Sites unknowingly block these little bots by txt files, HTTP headers containing status codes, and meta tags blocking crawlers. Be sure you aren’t unintentionally blocking these little spiders from crawling your pages.

Finally, when assessing design, you need to have a robust internal linking strategy in place. Internal links help search engines understand the structure of your website and allow you to prioritize your most important pages.

Tip #4: Optimize Those Meta Descriptions

Meta tags and meta descriptions describe the page or post to potential visitors. Search engines often take these meta descriptions and tags and display them alongside the corresponding search result. They’re an opportunity for you to provide a snippet to explain what visitors can expect when they visit your page.

These are important, because it’s your pitch to entice readers to come to your website. You need to make sure to include your keyword in the meta tag and description organically. It can’t seem like incoherent, keyword-stuffed text. While search engines say that they don’t use meta descriptions or tags for SEO ranking, they are important to increase your click-through rate.

Tip #5: Increase the Speed

Google prioritizes site loading speed in site ranking. So, when it comes to SEO for your website, you need to crank up that speed. There are several options to increase your website’s speed. Some of them might require help from a developer, but there are several quick things you can do to speed things up:

  • Make sure you’re caching.
  • Decrease image sizes and compress images.
  • Embed large files rather than loading them onto your website.
  • Remove unnecessary plugins.
  • Make sure all your scripts, themes, and plugins are up to date.

If simple fixes don’t do the trick, it might be time to call in some help. You may need to change your host or adjust some more advanced codes and processes on the backend of your site. However, do what you need to do to make sure your site loads quickly.

In Closing: Creating a Search Engine Optimized Website is Important
While this list of tips is in no way complete, it’s a start to getting your website on the first page of Google. Don’t underestimate the power of SEO and its effect on your future success. If you try these simple tips, you’ll be well on the path to being on that first page of search engine results. Soon, you won’t have to question your website’s existence with philosophical questions.

About the Author: Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell their business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.

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