Search engine optimization (SEO) is one way of doing this. SEO refers to a set of rules and techniques that you can use to make sure your page ranks well within search results. Google has mechanisms and algorithms for monitoring quality information to ensure the best results come up on the first page, but some basic best practices can contribute to landing you there in addition to help you provide.
If you’re feeling a little panicked at the mention of SEO, then take a few calming breaths. The good news is that understanding SEO is relatively simple and can be broken down into a few simple concepts. Here are a few basic best practices to get you on your way understanding and mastering SEO.
First: Know Your Keywords
One of the first things you should know for optimizing your site for SEO is what terms or keywords people are searching to find you. As much as we would like to, no one can simply appear on Google’s front page for every single search. You have to choose what terms you think are most relevant to the information or services you provide.
For example, if you are a vacuum cleaner salesman, then you would want to focus on potentially trying to rank for “vacuum cleaners” or “buy vacuum.” This could be done via the landing page copy on your website, the meta tags within page descriptions, and through a smart content strategy. If you don’t already have a blog, now is the time to start one.
You can also use tools provided by Google to see how you’re ranking and what keywords are working for you. Google Analytics can be incredibly helpful for understanding what people are looking for when they come to your site, and there are courses you can take to master the tracking tool. There are also plugins you can find online at low-cost or for free.
Second: Know Your HTML Tags
Many people who grew up with the internet have a base-level comfort with some HTML components. If they don’t know how to use it, they at least know what it looks like. A very common form of HTML many people know are tags, which are the small descriptive abbreviations that sit inside “< >” on a page’s code. Some HTML tags are crucial for SEO ranking.
For example, it’s considered best practice to have your keywords in at least one header tag, which could be “<h1>”, “<h2>” or even “<h3>.” These tags signal to Google that your page is well-structured and easily navigable for users. It also shows the different categories on your page contain information relevant to the search.
You should also be sure the title of your page is relevant to the SEO terms you are trying to rank for. In some cases, as in WordPress or on a blog, this can be accomplished via an SEO-friendly title that contains your terms.
Third: Know Other Contributing Factors
There are some other, non-keyword-related practices you should know for ranking well in SEO. For one thing, you should be aware of how people are using technology to find you. It simply isn’t the case that people only use desktop computers anymore.
As such, you should make sure that your website is mobile-optimized or at least responsive. This means that no matter what device someone uses to search on—a smartphone, a tablet, or their computer—your website will adjust to the screen and be easy to use. Many content management systems will automatically make your page responsive, just be sure you’ve checked the box when publishing your page.
With the addition of AI assistants like Siri and Alexa, it’s possible also that people are searching for your site via voice command. People tend to voice search while they’re doing other things like cooking or driving and so their inquiries might be a little different than what they would type in. Do your research and find out what people are asking Siri about your webpage in order to nail those SEO results as well. Another factor to consider in your SEO is that machine learning is doing much of the work in updating algorithms. These machines are highly sophisticated and capable of understanding linguistic nuances in search strings.
Regardless of how you start, what matters is that you get started on SEO today. There’s no time like the present to improve your Google ranking for your business or webpage, allowing you to gain more traffic to your page and better customers over time. People will be glad they were able to find you and access the helpful services and information you offer.
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