For a small business, a website is one of the most important marketing tools to drive in new customers, and 51% of all website traffic comes from natural search results. In order to maximize online presence for their website, a business must appear in the first page of search results as 92% of all search traffic comes from the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
It is imperative that a business employs at least some Search Engine Optimization techniques in order for them to appear on as many relevant search keywords as possible. These three tips are some of the most important for new websites attempting to rise up the ranks on SERPs.
1. Google and Bing Webmaster
The only way to get your website indexed in a timely manner is to tell Google or Bing directly that your website is up and running and ready to appear on SERPs. This is exactly what using the search engine’s Webmaster program will do. Search engines use advanced algorithms to determine what sites appear for certain keywords, but the most important step for a new websites is to get the site indexed by Google or Bing. Search engines use “bots” to crawl to internet and identify what websites should appear in SERPs. While there are many functions for these Webmaster programs, one of the most important is using the “Fetch” feature which tells these bots specifically to crawl your pages.
It may take a couple weeks for the search engine to index your page when using “Fetch”, but the alternative of natural indexing can take anywhere from 2-6 months. This is a very long time to wait before internet users can finally see the website you worked so hard to build.
To use this program, you simply have to search for Webmaster on Google or Bing and connect the email you use for your website. Both programs give you step by step instructions on how to connect your website with the Webmaster tools. Once your website is connected, go to “Fetch as” and submit all of your pages’ URLs and select “Fetch and Render” for both desktop and mobile devices. And you’re done! Google or Bing will now index your site and it will appear anywhere within 2-14 days in SERPs. Submitting a sitemap is also very beneficial, and you can find more information on how to that by searching for how to access the sitemap for your specific Content Management System.
2. Using the Right Keywords
Keywords are exactly how they sound, key. Too many beginner web designers don’t put any emphasis on keywords or keyword research, and it serves as the major reason why they can’t seem to rank on search engines. There are tons of wonderful resources to complete keyword research for your market, but some of the best websites that we use at Frost Marketing Group are Moz, SEM Rush, and Wordstream. To do keyword research, all you have to do is use a word that is relevant to your business, and the program on these websites will output the top searches on Google having to do with this main keyword. Don’t use just the top results as these are extremely competitive, but using keywords and phrases that are searched between 1,000 and 20,000 times per month; however, this highly depends on the market your website is targeting.
Once you select the keywords you wish to target, you must create content, which is very difficult to create for some industries and very easy for others. But wherever possible, use these keywords you chose in the writing on your website, as content marketing is very effective. Search engines also give more weight to the first 200 words on a page, so make sure your keywords are appropriately placed near the top of the page.
You cannot overuse keywords, however. It would not be beneficial to type your keywords over and over again throughout your page, as Google will penalize you heavily for overusing keywords, and your website will fall even further down on the SERP. Just make the content natural. The user should never obviously see which keywords you are targeting, as it makes the content a lot less impactful.
3. Use “alt” Tags in pictures
Optimizing alt tags to contain your selected keywords is the most important “behind-the-scenes” Search Engine Optimization tip there is. Adding alt tags to your photos really depends on the Content Management Service you are using, but all of the information on how to add these alt tags can be found online. Alt tags are essentially just additional keywords you can add to your website that are out of sight of the user and is not penalized by Google for over use if the keyword is relevant to the page. An effective keyword optimization campaign is not complete without filling every picture with a relevant keyword or phrase in the alt tag.
Fitting keywords into your website can become very difficult, especially if you have limited content. But, every web designer should make it their goal to create as much content as possible to naturally add keywords to their pages.
Search engine optimization is a tool that every web developer must possess. Whether you are designing a website for yourself or were hired by another company, using just these three tips can push your website to the top of search engine result pages and drive traffic. There are many more nuances to the “art” of SEO, but this guide gives you the basics to allow your website to appear for potential customers.
Have any other tips you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment!