Does the word “algorithm” make you cringe? If you’re anything like the average business owner, you keep hearing the term “Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) and are wondering if it’s something you need to focus on in your business. You’ve likely done some research on it, but you don't understand the mystery of how to increase your SEO ranking and how it really works. Sounds spooky, right? It seems like there are new SEO tools and resources coming out every day, explaining new strategies for how to optimize your website for the ever-evolving Google machine.
Bad News: You absolutely cannot ignore SEO for your business.
Good News: You can take simple steps right now to optimize your website for SEO.
You don't need to be overwhelmed on how to improve your SEO ranking. By spending just a few hours, you can start making tweaks to your website that will improve your search engine results overnight. Let us give you some pointers, and then you'll look like the genius that finally cracked the case of SEO.
Here are five simple steps on how to improve your SEO ranking overnight.
1. Add in Alt Text to Your Images
What the heck is alt text? This is the text that pops up on your screen when you hover your mouse over an image. The reason alt text is important is because Google doesn’t search for images. Google searches for words. If you add a picture of your cat to your blog post, your cat won’t show up on Google’s search results unless you tell Google what your image is about.
This is really simple inside Squarespace. Select your image, click “edit”, then add a descriptive image title. Ask yourself what someone would search in Google if they were looking up your image. For instance, “black cat sitting on chair”. Click save and you’re already boosting the search score of your website. Boda-bing, boda-boom.
2. Use Descriptive Headers to Break Up Lengthy Content
Most people won’t read every single word of a web page (sorry, copywriters). The typical page visitor wants to be able to scroll through and get the idea of a post in just a few seconds. If the page has what they’re looking for, they’ll read more. Use headers (also known as H1 tags) to create descriptive titles of the content. Search engines favor pages that use H1 tags rich in keywords, because it shows that you’ve optimized that page for your reader’s experience.
Headers work in a hierarchy. Your main heading should be an H1, and as your content gets more specific, use H2, H3, etc. (up to H6). Think of it like an outline format. Main points are bigger, details are smaller. Pro tip: Use an H tag after every couple hundred words, so your content is easy to digest.
3. Optimize Each Page URL with Descriptive Keywords
How often do you see pages with URLs that are just a giant set of jumbled letters and numbers? These URLs are doing no favors to search engines that are trying to find the purpose of your site. Do Google a favor and adjust every page URL with a clear description of the content inside the page. Look at the URL of this page. "https://blog.jcimarketing.com/business-marketing/jcis-latest-responsive-web-design-projects" Without even seeing the content, you would be able to know that we are a marketing agency, we have content related to business marketing, and this is a page on SEO. Go through your website and check if your URLs are helping you out on Google. It’s a super quick fix that can improve your rank and win more busine$$.
4. Utilize Inbound Links
Inbound links send your readers to different pages and resources on your website. By including these in your content, you’re keeping your reader engaged and on your website for longer lengths of time. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more search engines are going to favor your pages. Giving your readers access to more resources is helpful, both for them and your website.
Look through your content and identify places where you could direct readers to a different place on your site. For instance, if you wrote, “When we started our business, we wanted to help people with their problems.” You could highlight “started our business” and link to your About Page, where people can learn more about your story. Link to any related blog posts, services, and resources that might apply. Get people to your site, get them clicking, and keep them around for as long as you can.
5. Add a Title and Meta Description to Every Page
When you look at a search result on Google, you’ll see a page title, URL, and a sentence or two that describes what the page is about. These sentences are called meta descriptions, and focusing on these is crucial to your website’s search engine ranking. You have 160 characters or less to explain the “gist” of that page. Make sure you use descriptive long-tailed keywords and explain clearly what you can offer that person by clicking on your page.
With these meta descriptions, you’ll build trust with visitors if you describe the page accurately, and deliver them valuable content that is actually what they were looking for. This will get you on your way to that coveted first page of search results.
These five tips are an effective introduction for increasing your website optimization, but they only scratch the surface of SEO tips and tools you can take advantage of. Make sure you check out our other resources if you’re looking to dive a little deeper into mastering the formula of search engine optimization, and it will help to boost your website’s SEO ranking immediately. Booyah.