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5 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Higher Search Engine Rankings

Ask most business owners what the best way to generate website traffic is, and they will pretty much always talk about SEO. Sure, there are plenty of other channels available, such as referrals and social media, but nothing really compares to search engines. The problem is that, not only are business owners competing against every other business owner out there for certain keywords that relate to their industry, but they also generally don’t have the resources they need to develop and deliver content and an experience that resonates with both current and prospective consumers. Considering how much the landscape of SEO evolves and fluctuates, this is a real issue. In fact, so many business owners just don’t bother with it at all. According to a recent report, only 17% of small businesses are investing in SEO!

It’s a lot of work. It’s confusing. It’s hard.

Fortunately, there are ways to optimize your website that, while not guaranteeing high ranking on search engine results pages, do provide some great opportunities to generate website traffic and boost your conversions.

1: Include video content

Any website would be seriously lacking without prioritizing video as a main content medium.

Just look at some of the key stats about YouTube:

• YouTube has over a billion users. That’s nearly one-third of all of the people on the Internet!
• YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
• Over half of all YouTube views come from mobile devices.

More and more companies are starting to incorporate video into their content marketing strategy. With its incredible popularity, video is no longer just an option when it comes to marketing – it’s a MUST. You see, Google is constantly changing its criteria for ranking websites and determining their placement on search results pages. Complicated algorithms comb over all the various facets of a website, from the keywords to the images.

And, yes, video content.

Video has become such an invaluable part of any digital marketing strategy, but it does need to be optimized in order to be effective. You want to include a carefully tuned mix of keywords, text, video language, distribution, and promotions. Have a strong video presence on multiple channels, including YouTube, and you’ll definitely notice a difference in your website traffic.

2: Produce relevant, impactful content

Search engines take into account a whole host of factors to determine the relevance of your content and website. It’s not just relevancy in terms of topic that’s important, but also how closely your website and its content matches the search someone is conducting. For example, search results for a “red white blue bikini” in the month of December would yield a totally different result set than the same query in July. If a search engine is able to figure out what the user is looking for, it will be able to offer up a better set of results for that search. That’s why it’s so important to produce quality, relevant content.

Content that isn’t directly relevant to the user’s search engine query will probably never show up in the results at all, which is why optimizing the relevancy of each and every page on your website is so important.

3: Focus on brand awareness

Increasing your website’s popularity heavily relies on boosting brand awareness. In order for your website to be popular with your target audience – or just popular in general – that means your content asset (page on the website, video, or image) needs to be well-liked. This usually comes about in the form of other websites providing a ‘backlink’ to your site or landing page. Creating brand awareness and growing your website’s popularity is the best way to optimize an asset for higher placement within search engine results. This could be done through strong and effective marketing, keyword placement, strategic domain choice, and other SEO fundamentals.

4: Make sure your website is easily accessible

The harder it is for search engines and your audience to access and navigate a website, the lower it will rank in search engine results, and lower in terms of user popularity. Nobody wants to take the effort to wade through tons of pages, deal with slow load times, or have distracting popups. Speed and security are two of the biggest factors that determine search engine placement. Sure, it’s important to make sure the visitor’s experience is a top priority, but having a safe Web destination that loads quickly and efficiently gets rewarded with much higher rankings.

Improving the load times of you website’s pages AND ensuring the experience of accessing and navigating your site meets user expectations will boost conversions and search results placement.

5: It’s all about the keywords

It’s an obvious point, but it’s important enough to be emphasized – you need to incorporate your industry keywords all throughout your site. In order to increase your site’s optimization, you need to include those keywords as much as possible. However, the placement of those keywords has a HUGE role to play in your rankings.

You want to include them in:

• Titles (The HTML element that tells search engines what your webpage is about. They show up in the title of a search engine result page and in the top bar of a user’s internet browser.)
• Descriptions
• Headings
• Content
• Images and their alt text
• URLs/domains

Incorporate keywords naturally, rather than just stuffing them in, or you will be flagged by search engines AND have poor content on your site.

To get the most out of this optimization, start with the webpages that generate the most traffic. Then, optimize as you go when you create more pages in the future, such as blog posts or product descriptions.

Final Thoughts

Optimizing your site is crucial for higher search engine rankings, but also for improving your visitors’ experience and your own Web presence. By doing this, your site will be seen as more relevant and popular for a prospective customer’s search query. SEO is all about creating a strong, effective Web presence and building a brand awareness that will be rewarded with higher search results page placement. Effective optimization involves finding and creating a balance between the technical side (for search engines) and the creative (for humans) side of things. By finding this critical balance, your website will be looked upon more favorably by search engines AND your customers.

What are your top tips for website optimization? Let me know in the comments below and, while you’re here, don’t forget to share this post!