Importance of a
If you build it, they will come. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing. It’s the piece of real estate your business owns on the internet, where you can tell people about your product, publish original content that helps them reach their goals and overcome their challenges.
But building a pretty website isn’t enough. You need to make sure you optimize it so that it generates a constant flow of visitors, leads, and customers.
More and more people use search engines to find information — it’s the first point of call when you have a question or you’re looking for information about pretty much anything. So, it’s important for your website to be displayed in search results so that when people are searching for something related to your company, they can click through to your website and find the information they’re looking for.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the key to getting your website discovered via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The traditional approach to SEO involves two sets of tactics: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On a basic level, on-page SEO is the strategic implementation of keywords on your website, including page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and other elements you can see. However, it can become much more technical, looking into improving your site structure, page load speed, and the rate at which Google is able to index your website.
Off-page SEO refers to improving your website’s overall authority, which is largely determined by what other websites are linking to you. The goal with off-site SEO is to attract inbound links (or “backlinks'') from relevant, authoritative websites.
SEO for the Modern Age
In the past, the goal of SEO was to impress (or trick) the search engines so that they’d give you higher rankings by gaming backlinks and adding as many keywords on a page as possible — with the ultimate goal being to achieve the coveted #1 spot in the search results for one of your target keywords.
Today, search engines are smarter. They can tell the difference between spammy websites that are designed to game the system, and legitimate websites that are providing relevant high-quality content. Modern SEO is about optimizing for the searchers, not just the search engines.
Getting Started with SEO: 5 Elements to Optimize
1. Page Titles
A page title is a text you see at the top of your browser window when viewing a web page. It’s also the title of the page that is presented in search engine results.
Page titles can be found and edited in your site’s HTML. The text that is surrounded by the <title> tag is your page’s title. Here are some guidelines for coming up with effective page titles:
Write page titles that describe -- and align with -- a page’s content.
Include relevant keywords (which should happen naturally if you follow the above tip).
Place keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
Make it fewer than 70 characters long. (Longer page titles will get cut off by web browsers and in search results. If you make the page title too long, it will also dilute the importance of the keywords mentioned.)
Include your company name at the end of the page title if there’s space.
Use different page titles for each page of your website.
2. Meta Descriptions
A meta description is a short summary that you can write for a web page, which search engines display in search results.
These descriptions don’t count toward search engine rankings, but they are still incredibly useful for increasing click-through-rate. When creating a description, the goal should be to write a compelling copy that actually describes what’s on a page so searchers are enticed to visit your website over another that appears on the same results page.
If a piece of text appears larger or more prominent than the other text on a page, it’s probably part of a heading. You can verify this by checking the HTML code of a webpage and looking for text within an <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> tag surrounding it.
Both search engines and searchers tend to pay more attention to headings in comparison with regular paragraph text because their larger size denotes the topic of a section. Many readers may scan your blog post, for example, until they find a section that addresses their specific query. It’s a good idea to include keywords in your headings whenever possible.
Keep in mind that <h1> tags give the text more weight as keywords than <h2> or <h3> tags. Including too many headings dilutes the importance of keywords in other headings, so we recommend using the <h1> tag only once. If the page is text-heavy (like a blog post), then feel free to break up the content with multiple <h2> tags as section headers, and <h3> tags as paragraph titles.
Images on a web page can enhance the user experience. When inserting images into your website, however, you should keep in mind the following:
Don’t use images excessively. More pictures can slow down the loading of your page, thus negatively impacting both user experience and SEO — search engines take page loading time into account in their ranking algorithms.
Customize the “alt text” of an image. For various reasons, the images on your site may fail to render. To ensure that visitors can still understand the information you’re presenting in the image, customize the “alt text” attribute of an image to describe the image. This will also help search engines understand that your image is relevant to the page, which is factored into search algorithms and will help you draw in relevant traffic from image searches. When writing alt tags, separate words with a dash (-).
5. URL Structure
The URL of a web page is its web address. For example, use http://blog.company.com. URL structure refers to how the text in a URL is organized, as well as how the different URLs on your website interact with one another.
When structuring your website’s URLs, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Separate keywords with hyphens. For your internal page URLs, separate individual keywords with hyphens (-). For example, http://company.com/marketing-automation/ is a good URL that captures ‘marketing’ and ‘automation’ as keywords.
Describe what’s on the page. Structure your URLs so that searchers can easily understand what information they’re going to find. For example, if you land on a company’s products page, seeing the URL http://company.com/products/product-name will be much more reassuring than something like http://company.com/1543?/eh?.
Use 301 redirects when necessary. A 301 redirect forwards an old URL to a new one. Make sure you do this if you change the URL of a page on your site. A common mistake is not applying a 301 redirect between yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com. This can be quite a problem from an SEO standpoint because search engines will give separate credit to both versions of your site.
Optimizing for Mobile
The topic of mobile marketing is tossed around frequently in marketing circles, often with many different intended meanings. While mobile marketing can mean many things, there is one primary message being conveyed to marketers looking to take advantage of mobile: optimization of websites for mobile viewing.
While there are a few different options for providing a mobile web experience, such as creating a separate mobile site or launching an app, the best option -- from an optimization standpoint -- is using responsive design.
A responsive website uses the same URL and HTML across all devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The only thing that changes is CSS, which is a programming language that describes the style and formatting of a web page.
CSS allows the content on your website to adapt to different screen sizes, which means visitors always get a great viewing and browsing experience. What’s more, Google prefers responsive design to other mobile technologies because it allows for more efficient crawling and indexing.