Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of adjusting these parts of your website to make you show up on Google when customers search for a product like yours.
SEO is important because even if you aren’t adjusting your site for it, your competitors likely are. And if your competition is showing up higher in search results, your customers may never find you.
Here are some SEO tips to help you keep up in Google and Bing rankings.
A mobile-friendly site means that it automatically adjusts pictures and text sizes to be readable on smartphones and tablets. In 2015, Google began ranking mobile-friendly sites higher, yet many small businesses today still haven’t redesigned their websites to take advantage of this.
In addition, users are five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile friendly. This, paired with Google favoring mobile-friendly sites, can result in your businesses losing customers if you aren’t prepared.
Google works based on looking at words on your website and listing your site for users searching for a specific term or phrase. For example, if you’re a bakery in Shakopee and you want to be listed for users who Google “Shakopee bakery,” you would use that phrase in your headlines and text.
A long time ago, you could repeatedly use a word you were trying to rank for on a webpage to get a higher ranking on Google. (Think: “Our Shakopee bakery is the best bakery in Shakopee if you need a Shakopee bakery.”). Some pages would have the same word repeated hundreds of times just to get the top spot on Google.
Today, Google punishes sites that overuse keywords by giving them a lower ranking. So fair warning: if you’re placing your keywords between every other word, you may want to make friends with the delete key.
Meta tags are the short descriptions on Google results that explain the webpage that it links to. You can usually adjust this on the backend of your website. Some apps—like the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress—make it very simple.
When you write this short description, a good way to get clicks is to answer the question that the user is typing in the search bar. If they search “Is the moon made of cheese?”, you could have a description that says, “The moon is not made of cheese. Here’s why.”
Alt tags are the descriptions of images on your website, hidden to the viewer but detectable by Google. Search engines like Google will “read” the image descriptions and rank your site based on those descriptions.
If you haven’t yet, fill out those alt tags on the backend of your website. Use keywords when appropriate, but don’t over do it (see keyword stuffing above).
This is one of the newest SEO techniques. As virtual assistants like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa find more kitchen counters to sit on, users will start asking longer, fully structured questions.
This is because longer questions are easier to ask out loud than to type, and these devices are getting more accurate at understanding complete sentences. (A typed search may read “bakeries in Shakopee” while a spoken search would be “What are some of the best bakeries in Shakopee?”)
So when someone asks Google Home, Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortona or Apple’s Siri a lengthy question, like, “If the moon were cheese, how many could it feed?”, you can have a page or post with that exact phrase as a focus keyphrase.
Every business should have its website optimized for search engines. If you have time and access to the backend of your site, use these tips to bump up your site in search engine rankings.
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