If you have a website, or run any kind of business with online content, then most likely you have heard of the term SEO. You may have even Googled those three letters only to, ironically, not get a very clear answer besides that it’s an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. And, you may even be here reading this blog post right now because you still have absolutely no clue what it means. In that case, you may want to leave because neither do we.
SO WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEAN?
Well, that’s where the confusion is, because it means many, many things. SEO is a strategic combination of all these tiny little steps you can take to get your business to show up at the top of a long list of search results. Think of it as a puzzle. Except this puzzle can have as many pieces as you want (the more the better), and to make things even more complicated, the image of the puzzle is always changing, so you constantly have to be adding or moving the pieces around. I know, that probably just made you feel worse. But stay with me.
Here’s an example: think of the last thing you searched for on Google (don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me). You probably clicked on one of the first five results that came up on the page. You may have not even looked at all five of them and just automatically clicked on the first, because that’s obviously the best one, right? Well, not necessarily. It may not actually be the best vacuum cleaner for pets or the true best amount of time to wait to text your crush back. It is most likely there because of SEO. And that has to do with everything from that little description underneath the link, all the way to the backend tagging in your website’s code, to how long your site has been live, and about a million other factors.
It does get very technical, but the good news is, you don’t have to be the most tech-savvy web wizard to put a few SEO tactics in place. There ARE things you can do, right now, without looking like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. So here are a few of them:
5 Easy Ways to Boost Your SEO
If you haven’t started a website yet, or if you already have one but it isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be, ask yourself this question:
“What is my overall theme?”
Whether you’re a business, or a blog, you typically want to have a specific niche and a pretty accurate idea of your target demographic. What is going to attract that specific group of people to your site? What keywords are those people searching for right now? And, most importantly, why should they pick you? What is unique to your brand?
Think of the look and feel you want, and stick with it. Don’t have a bunch of different fonts floating around, make sure to edit your photos with similar effects, and pick your two top colors and an accent color to work with for most of the site. Be consistent in everything you do. Once you figure your “theme” out, you will be able to create things that follow it, thus improving searchability.
When people say: “content is king,” its ‘cuz it is. You would be surprised how much those google bots can figure out when sifting through your site. It’s not always enough to have a page that simply describes your business and its services. It is also extremely important to have quality content on your page that is informative, relevant to your overall topic, and easy to understand.
Plan your content on both relevance and popularity. If there is a huge viral hit that just happened, could you spin it into a funny post that somehow relates to your business? I mean let’s admit it, we all know that all those TV show hosts and Youtube stars probably didn’t want to deal with the Cash Me Ousside girl, but they saw an opportunity to increase their own viewers. Be strategic in your message and your timing, and take advantage of things that are happening now.
3. IMAGE DESCRIPTIONS:
Besides having good written content, quality images are also crucial – especially this day and age when the consistency and overall aesthetic of images is what define a user’s success on many different channels. So you should have at least a few of them on your site. And surprisingly, that doesn’t just mean finding one and clicking the “Upload” button. The way you name and tag your images actually has an impact on your SEO.
First off, you want to make sure your files aren’t too big (I recommend under ~1MB as more than that can slow the site down).
Second, you want to actually name the picture something relevant and not just upload it as is (ex: DSC3456.jpeg is a no-no).
And third, when you upload a photo and see the space for the “alt tag,” write something in there! That “alt tag” is what describes what the image is. Those bots may be smart but they are also not human and can’t see that it’s clearly a photo of you running in a field with your Golden Retriever. So a good alt tag in that case would be “girl and dog running in field.” Pretty simple, right?
You may think it’s helpful to add external links to your site that are relevant to your content. And it is, but to an extent. Too many of them can look spammy, so make sure that they are there for a beneficial reason and that they are specifically acknowledged in your posts. Make sure they are also coded correctly (always test them when you post them to make sure they work) and that they are taking your readers to more quality content. And on the upside of links: if you work with other businesses or bloggers, offer to write them a guest post or see if they will promote you on their own site in some way. When other sites contain links to your page, it’s a huge bonus for your SEO.
5. META DESCRIPTIONS:
Like alt tags but for your pages, meta descriptions summarize what a specific page is about. When you search for something online, it is the text that appears in a lighter color underneath the actual link. These descriptions are extremely important because it gives you a chance to get your reader’s attention before he or she even clicks on your page. This also helps build more information as to what your overall site is about for SEO purposes. What sentences would make you click on a link? If your page is a post for a cookie recipe, then an example of a good phrase to include would be: “………Click here for the most delicious gluten free cookie recipes.” I mean, delicious kind of balances out “gluten free,” right?
So there you have it, folks! 5 easy ways to boost your SEO!
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