SEO Basics: How to Optimize Your Website for Google SEO
Whether you have a website already or have one in the works, your online business won’t achieve its full profit potential without search engine optimization (SEO). Take advantage of a few SEO basics anybody can implement and see real results to get higher rankings on Google and drive more traffic to your website without any major technical experience or expertise needed.
Why Search Engine Optimization Is Vital for Your Online Business
The more SEO-centered your site is, the more attention it gets from Google, so the higher it appears in the search engine rankings. This matters because it's important for people to see your business when they enter search keywords related to your business. The likelier they are to see it, the more likely they are to click on the link that sends them to your landing page, main website, and/or e-commerce dropshipping website.
That’s free traffic from people actively searching for this information, making them more likely to take action, whether it’s to sign up for your email list or actually buy a product.
Traffic of this type often proves far more powerful and valuable than paid advertising such as pay-per-click or banner ads. Consider that, according to industry watch Conductor, at least 64 percent of the traffic to your website will come from SEO efforts, referred to as “organic” traffic. Jupiter Research says its 81 percent. Also important to note is that people who come to your site as organic traffic resulting from SEO efforts tend to have a higher lifetime value (they spend more money) than those who come in through paid advertising.
Statistics indicate that less than 5 percent of searchers go beyond the first page of a Google search. According to a study from Advanced Web Ranking, 67 percent of the clicks go to the first five results, with the #1 Spot taking in just over 30 percent of clicks.
Think about it, are people more likely to trust a business that is running ads and forcing their message in front of their prospects or more likely to trust a business that is naturally recommended by Google as one of the top results for what they are looking for?
So how to get Google’s attention, and increase all of these benefits? Luckily there are a few fairly easy fixes you can implement to make your website Google-friendly.
SEO Basics: Making Google Happy (and Web Surfers Too)
Remember back in the early days of the web, when folks simply included a long list of words related to their niche at the bottom of their home page? Doesn’t work these days, not by a long shot.
Create Good Content
You see, Google is very savvy. Content marketing can be a great strategy for your SEO, but it has to be done right.
Google now focuses on useful content, added consistently, that is relevant to what people are searching for, like blog posts, articles, and videos. Before they recommend your website to their users, they want to know you have real advice, important information, and a more immersive experience to offer people interested in your niche.
An important factor to keep in mind is that even as you work to make your website Google-friendly, real people will be reading your content as well. If the message you’re trying to communicate doesn't strike them in some way, they won’t be back. This impacts your business and search ranking so tailor your content with consumer insight ever front-of-mind, even as you structure it for Google-friendliness.
If people click on to your site and spend a lot of time on it then this signals to Google that your site is valuable and will rank it higher. If you visitors click on your site and leave quickly then it signals that your site is not useful and Google will not show your site in the rankings.
Have a Good Title and Meta Description
Whenever you do a Google search you will see a list of websites. The first thing you'll see is the title, followed by a description.
To get the attention of your visitors and entice them to actually click through to your website you should take time to write a good title for your content and a good description.
The meta description is a very short site description ideally including at least one keyword which appears under the link in the search results. A good meta description is not a big SEO influence but may help convince the reader to click to find out more.
Use Internal Links
Aside from quality content, your SEO efforts should also include work done in your “back office.” Internal linking, for example, is important. Your site should have plenty of useful content on related topics and these should be linked among different pages. This will keep visitors on your site longer, which shows Google your site is useful. Crucially, this also allows Google to crawl through more pages of your website and make sure they are included and ranked in Google.
Keywords have to be included naturally in your content -- they can’t seem forced. You should have short, attention-grabbing headlines that include a keyword and at least one keyword should appear in your title tag (the very short bit of text that appears as the highlighted blue clickable link on the Google results page). Finally, keywords should be included at least once near the top of your webpage within the content, and then sprinkled throughout the rest of the page, including variations.
If you include photos or images on your site (which you definitely should), include “alt text” describing the content of that image. Google can’t “see” photos but it does read the alt text. This increases the chances your images will appear in Google’s image search results.
These strategies, solidly combined, should help you build authority in your niche market and compel other sites to link to you. The more links your site garners, the better ancillary exposure it gets, further improving your SEO.
SEO Basics — Finding The Right Keywords
Having addressed the importance of keywords, let's narrow the scope to finding the right ones for your website. They can't just be pulled from out of the blue, and if you optimize for the wrong keywords, even if they are related to your niche, all efforts will be for naught. Find out how people are searching for information and structure not only keywords but also blog posts and other content for your website to those parameters.
A keyword planner tool will go a long way in assisting research for the right keywords to optimize your site. Google has an excellent planner tool. Of all the SEO basics, this is probably the best place to start, as having the right keywords will guide all your other optimization efforts.
Let's say your niche is yoga. The keyword “yoga beginners” results in just 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month in the U.S, but “yoga for beginners” has 10,000 to 100,000. Can you see what keyword you should be optimizing for?
Another example: If you’re providing a treatment for back pain, the search term “lower back pain relief” has 10,000 to 100,000 searches per month, but “back pain treatment” only has 1,000 to 10,000.
These are two great examples of how people search for information and products in each niche. The keywords you pick for your SEO efforts should reflect similar and industry-relevant search term distinctions.
Go After the "Long Tail"
Though going after these keywords with higher traffic can seem attractive, keep in mind it can be rather difficult to get ranked for them, especially with a newer site.
Another strategy is to target what's referred to as "long tail" keywords. These are keywords that are generally longer and more specific which tend to have a lower amount of search volume.
The benefits if targeting long tail keywords is two-fold:
- Long tail keywords usually have less competition so it's easier for you to get ranked for them.
- Long tail keywords are more specific, so although they may get fewer amounts of searches; the searcher is more likely to be ready to make a purchase decision.
A good strategy with a new site is to start writing content targeting these long tail keywords first, then as your site becomes more established and gets more rankings in Google, you can start going after those bigger keywords and get ranked for them more easily.
The Only SEO Constant Is Change
Keep in mind that making your website Google-friendly is not a one-time task. It's important to create and post useful content consistently because Google is always 'building a better mousetrap' by crawling the web and tweaking its page rank algorithm to update results pages.
“Tricks” to get high page rank now may not work a few months from now, but sticking to the SEO basics shared in this article will provide a solid foundation for an optimized site that makes Google happy. And a website ranking higher on Google's search results page will send more website visitors your way, which is good for business.