SEO 101 - Four Ways to Increase Your Website's Search Ranking
When Three Feathers Design opened shop in December 2013 we were on page 7 of Google when you searched "Santa Barbara Graphic Design", today we are on page 1. In this month's post I wanted to share with you some of the simple ways we achieved a page 1 ranking.
If you're a business owner in 2015 chances are you have a website, if not get one! More often than not your potential customers use the internet to search for your services or product before they go anywhere else. That means they use search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to type in key words that make your business pop up. For example "Santa Barbara Graphic Design" or "Best Sushi in Santa Barbara". Ideally your business shows up on the first page because let's be honest, who goes past page 2 or 3 when doing online searches?
There are tools and best practices you can put in place to ensure your business shows up on the first page of these searches, aka Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Below is a list of things you can do as a business owner to increase your SEO and start bringing in more customers.
Tailor the content on each page for your specific audience and what they might be searching for. The home page of your business website, should state exactly who you are and what you do/offer.
Think about key words or phrases that people might use to search for your business and incorporate them into your content. For example:
Search Term: "Santa Barbara Graphic Design"
Content on Page: "Three Feathers Design is a Santa Barbara based graphic design studio dedicated to helping businesses succeed. It aims to help bridge the gap between communication and design by using a variety of techniques to achieve results based on it’s understanding of color, typography, photography animation, layout and media. Learn More >"
The content of our home page is relevant to the types of searches users will be using and we incorporate the key words from the search into the content of our page. Don't be greedy with your keys words, this can lower your ranking. Try to make the content of your page feature the key words as naturally as possible.
It is estimated that in 2015 there will be over 50 billion local searches on Google using mobile devices. This means your website better be mobile friendly or it's not going to be seen. Having a responsive website that is friendly to mobile users will increase your search engine ranking. To find out if your website is mobile friendly use this test. If your site is not optimized for mobile, talk to your web developer ASAP.
Meta what? Put easily, meta data is the title of your website, the title of each individual page page and the description given on the backend of your website. The page description should incorporate the keys words talked about above. (See a lengthier explanation here).
Website Title: "Three Feathers Design: Santa Barbara Graphic Design"
Page Title: About: Santa Barbara Graphic Design
Page Description: Three Feathers Design is a Santa Barbara based graphic design studio dedicated to helping businesses succeed. It aims to help bridge the gap between communication and design by using a variety of techniques to achieve results based on it’s understanding of color, typography, photography animation, layout and media.
If you are using a Content Management System (Squarespace, Wordpress etc.) you can usually enter the title and descriptions in the settings and if you hired someone to build your website (recommended) they should have does this for you, talk to them about it if you're unsure.
FEATURE RELEVANT AND CURRENT CONTENT
The easiest way to feature new and relevant content on your website is through a blog. Relevant and quality content is content that matches the users search query as closely as possible. If you're going to start a blog it is recommended that you pick a theme and stick to it. For example, this blog gives tips to business owners on how to use graphic design in their business. Sticking to a theme will build a loyal audience that can rely on your blog for content that is relevant to them.
Using quality and current content means keeping your blog up to date. If you're not going to contribute frequently, don't bother. No one wants to see stale content and it makes your business look less credible when your last entry was months or even years ago. If writing isn't your thing, try using original images, videos or audio recordings.
The whole point is to increase traffic to your website by featuring relevant content that people will want to read/see. This increase in traffic boosts your search engine ranking and in turn increasing your traffic to your site through organic searches.
While these four tools are only the tip of the SEO iceberg they are some simple ways your can do it yourself and start increasing your website's traffic today. For a more comprehensive list read SEO for Idiots by Blog Tyrant.