SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is frequently top of mind for business owners. We’ve received a lot of questions about it lately, so I thought I’d share a few simple updates you can make immediately to improve your website’s attractiveness to search engines.
Please note that these SEO updates might not have an immediate impact. It takes time – sometimes up to half a year – for Google to start to recognize your website as one to watch. That’s why there’s no time like the present to confirm that your website includes the following:
1. A descriptive browser title
The browser title changes with the page, but you should have a standard blurb that appears on each one. By descriptive, I mean more than just your company’s name. For example, on 3 Aspens Media, we always include 3 Aspens Media | B2B content marketing, strategy and research. The individual page title then appears before or after it.
Google loves images. When posting blogs or building pages – such as your About Us page – include images. Make sure those images’ file names and alt tags are optimized. That means including a keyword in the file name of the image before you upload it to your website. Don’t upload an image that’s named: 1402039563.jpg. If it’s a product image, for example, use the brand name and the product description in the file name, such as: Sqwincher Sports Drink Powder. Also update the alt field, which is the text that shows up if an image doesn’t load when a reader is on your website. (For product images, this isn’t going to be simple to do retroactively if you have thousands. One option is to select your top 100 products, and start there.)
While catchy headlines may encourage clicks, balance this approach with a descriptive headline that includes a keyword or two. For example, if your business targets industrial distributors, your About Us headline could include “industrial distributors.”
Make sure they are not just bold, but formatted with the <h2> tag for maximum impact. Incorporate keywords throughout.
Usually a website’s admin/back-end automatically creates a URL for a page based on the headline of that page. But not always. When creating a new page, make sure the URL of that page reflects the content of that page. Warning: Going back and updating past URLs will usually break any links that have been created that point to that page. Either avoid updating old URLs for now, or create redirects to those pages. (Don’t forget to test those redirects.)
Two bonus SEO tips:
Update your website regularly. This is one of the best things you can do to improve your standing in the eyes of Google and other search engines. The benefits increase with the frequency. A blog is one of the easiest ways to do this. (Read about building a content schedule here. And get blog ideas.)
Don’t worry about keywords matching exactly. For example, if you want your focus keyword on a page to be “energy efficiency services,” you could also use “services to improve energy efficiency” in your text. Google doesn’t like to see a keyword pasted as-is throughout the text. Write for normal people; don’t stuff your content with awkward phrasing for the sake of SEO.
I’ll end with this:
SEO requirements are always changing, and SEO is not the end-all, be-all. It’s important. You want to show up if someone is searching for a business like yours. But in some industries, it’s just as important to ensure that when someone does land on your page, you have what they need to move forward in the purchasing process. This is especially true for companies in niche industries where searches for relevant keywords could number in the hundreds and not thousands or millions.
Combine SEO with your other efforts to drive traffic and visibility for your business, such as social media, email marketing and in-person events.
The truth is: If you are continually updating your website and including content that your potential and existing customers care about, relevant search terms will appear naturally throughout your website.
That, combined with an eye on the basics as outlined above, will help Google will find you.