Especially for local businesses, ranking high on Google for product or service-related keywords can be extremely valuable. Directing consumers to websites that offer goods or services that they are already interested in, and then converting them into customers forms the foundation of online marketing. Think about it — if you were unsure of where to eat in your neighborhood, maybe you’d do a quick Google search. You might pop into the search bar: “restaurants richmond” or “restaurants in richmond va.” You’d then, ideally, receive a list of nearby restaurants in Richmond. But how does Google decide who gets that first spot, the second, third, or who doesn’t quite make the cut and falls onto the second page? Well, if you’re familiar with Google at all, you know that the answer isn’t quite clear, and there isn’t one clearcut formula to get your website to reach that coveted #1 spot. But through trial and error, people who specialize in search engine optimization (SEO) have discovered several elements that will certainly help your website to rank higher organically.
The title tag refers to the first line of text that appears for a result/listing on a Google search result page. For most browsers, the title tag also appears in the tab for the specific webpage. The title tag is arguably one of the most important elements of search engine optimization. Best practices for optimizing title tags is ensuring that each webpage has its own, unique tag — no duplicates. Characters should be limited to 60 (including spaces). Include relevant keywords pertaining to the page’s content that you think potential consumers are searching for; and as Google reads from left to right, the most important keywords should be written first, and less important ones should come toward the end. Separate keyword phrases with a pipe ( | ).
Good, Relevant Content
Though title tags, meta descriptions, and valuable backlinks are all important for SEO, making sure that your website contains sufficient, relevant content is equally important. A significant amount of content that users find relevant and valuable, while also containing your target keywords (without overuse) will help to improve your ranking. Conversely, too little content, duplicate content, and spamming your site with the same keywords over and over again will all hurt your rankings.
Avoid Unethical Linkbuilding Practices
Links are also valuable for your website’s SEO, as they count as “votes” and authority for your website. However, obtaining links by paying for them or building a link farm (a website which only includes thousands of links and no content) is considered to be “black hat” SEO and will consequently have a negative effect on your rankings.
Analytics may not directly improve your SEO, but it is great tool to use when developing your online marketing strategy. Google Analytics can be used to see where your site’s visitors are coming from, if they’re using mobile devices, how long they spend on each page, and more.
At the moment, Facebook and Twitter posts have little impact on SEO, but it’s speculated that this will change in the near future. That being said, it’s still a good marketing strategy to post regularly on social media in order to get consumers engaged with your business and drawn to your website.
Although there are few clearcut answers for search engine optimization, we do know that Google places a premium on user experience. If you’re unsure of what the best thing to do for your SEO, always consider what the user would find more interesting and relevant.