All businesses need a web presence, whether you’re a restaurant or a subscription-based SaaS company. But these websites, no matter how amazing, advanced, or user-friendly, need to be found by the business’s core audience if they’re to be of any use.
After all, the greatest website in the world is worthless if no one knows that it exists.
One of the best ways to generate traffic to your business website is through search engine optimization, also known to many as SEO.
But what is SEO? It’s a series of content tweaks and link-building efforts, both on and off your site, that improve your standing when people look for your services on popular search engines like Google.
SEO is a complicated and constantly evolving process. Even if you taught yourself SEO tactics five years ago, most of what you learned is now completely invalid. That’s why we’ve put together this checklist of five helpful tips that can improve your SEO score and boost online traffic for your business website.
Let’s dive right in and start optimizing.
Before you can start optimizing your website, you need a realistic view of where it’s currently at. That means determining where you rank for popular key terms, what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong.
(Image Source: seoperfect.net)
You may discover that you’re already ranking high for certain terms without even intending to. If that’s the case, you can determine what you need to do to maintain and elevate that optimization and bring its effectiveness to the rest of the keywords you’ll be identifying in the next step.
You’ll also be able to identify content that could be updated and re-optimized. This can save you a lot of time and effort when you get to the content production and optimization step. Some blog posts simply need a keyword injection and some back-end optimization to become relevant and start ranking.
A site audit is not a one-time process. It’s something that you should regularly revisit to determine how your site is performing and what you need to change in your SEO plan.
Determine which keywords are important for your site. They should be relevant to your services, high in search volume, and have relatively low competition.
Part of keyword research is a search engine results page analysis. If you see that Wiki listings and Fortune 500 companies dominate the first page of Google, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome those listings and claim a top spot.
You have to figure out what low competition terms your customers are searching for, how those terms apply to your business website, and create a strategy that will allow you to rank for them. These terms will also differ based on the target prospect’s place in the customer journey.
For example, customers who want to start playing battle royale games might search for "what is a battle royale game?" If they are in the consideration phase, they might look for more specific terms like "best battle royale games." However, users further down on the journey might Google "Apex Legends vs. Fortnite." If they’ve already purchased and are in the follow-up stage of the funnel, they may search for "download Fortnite," or even more specific terms related to a product, such as "Fortnite skins" or "Fortnite Harley Quinn skin."
You can find these terms by looking at the people “who also ask” section of Google or by using an SEO tool. Google has a free Keyword Planner tool, but paid options like MarketMuse, Frase, and Clearscope are also available and highly effective.
Once you start creating content, you have to do so with optimization in mind. All SEO content has to go through two different forms of optimization. They are front-end optimization and back-end optimization.
Front-end optimization includes sprinkling your chosen keywords into your content naturally. This includes the main keyword or term and any other secondary terms you’re going after. You also need to optimize your headers with keywords.
But all of this isn’t enough to get you noticed. You’ll also have to optimize the back-end of your page. This process includes putting keywords in your meta title and meta description, optimizing alt tags for your images, and using keywords in your page’s URL.
When Google recommends a website on its first page, it’s telling the audience that you’re the authority on this subject. You can then leverage Google’s positive reputation in the market to increase your authority.
But because of this, Google gets very picky, and it takes your site’s performance and user experience into account. Site speed is a huge factor for Google. If it takes more than four seconds for a website to load, most visitors will navigate away.
(Image Source: websitebuilderexpert.com)
That’s why Google judges your page's usability and holds onto that as a ranking factor to determine your placement on the SERP. Designing good looking pages and templates for your posts is a must to influence the visitors perception and positively influence important SEO factors like time on page and bounce rate.
Internal links are simple enough. You’re connecting your pages together and creating a web for Google’s bots to follow and index your pages more easily. This is also helpful when users land on your page because it keeps them on your site as they click along to other relevant content.
Backlinks are where things get tricky. You’re trying to get authoritative and relevant external websites to link back to your page. This is one of the most difficult aspects of a well-rounded SEO plan, but it’s also one of the most vital.
A great way to generate backlinks is to create contentspecifically for some of the sites you’re targeting and offer them a free guest post. That post would then have a link back to your page. Once it’s posted, you’ve successfully generated a backlink, even though you were the one who wrote it.
Another effective way is to release original research, like a customer survey or case study, that is relevant to your industry. Content writers are always looking for sources to back up their points, and are more than happy to cite new high-quality data sets.
Some niches allow for link building tactics like joining business listings and catalogs. For example, you can do link building for your restaurant by adding it to third-party review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Avoid buying links if you can, as it’s against Google’s webmaster guidelines and can backfire on your rankings and authority in the long term.
There you have it. Five must-do checklist items that you can follow to boost your website traffic with SEO.
To review, you want to:
- Perform a website audit on yourself
- Conduct keyword research
- Optimize your content on the front and back ends
- Improve the user experience
- Generate links on and off your page
By doing this, you’ll create a solid SEO foundation that will feed your greater SEO efforts and propel you up the Google rankings.