Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website content to ensure it can be crawled and documented by search engine bots. These bots are sent out to websites by search engines like Google and Bing, to review websites, just like yours, and collect information that will later be shared in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Search engine optimization is one of the most important things you can do for your website. You have the option to either hire someone to help you conduct these SEO tasks, or you can do it yourself. In this article, I’m going to talk to those who are interested in going it alone, and doing it themselves.
First, we’re going to chat about why search engine optimization or SEO for short, is so important for your website and sales goals. Next, I’ll talk about how to conduct an SEO audit of your website in preparation to actually optimize your site. Then, we’ll discuss what to do if you feel the need to hire help and I’ll talk about some of the best tools for search engine optimization. Rounding out our topic list, I’ll give you a crash course in how to optimize your website for search engines and then end with a quick conversation about search engine optimization. So let’s get started.
Why is search engine optimization so important?
As I mentioned previously, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website content to ensure it can be crawled and document by search engines. You want to manage the content on your website and keep a hand on the pulse of your rankings within search engines. According to the GE Shopper Research Study, 81% of shoppers conduct research before making a purchase (https://www.chainstoreage.com/news/study-81-research-online-making-big-purchases). 81%!
So, why is search engine optimization so important? Because your customers are conducting research about their purchase before they decide on whom to buy from. If you’re website, company, products, or services aren’t showing up in search engines, when your customers are researching, you’re losing out! You must conduct search engine optimization to ensure your website is being seen when customers do their research.
How to conduct a search engine optimization audit of your website
To begin the process of search engine optimization, you should start with an audit of your website. SEO is best conducted on websites that have content. Content is the key to SEO. If your website has very little text / content on it, you will not be able to rank very high in the search engine results pages.
The more text your website has, the better context search engine bots will receive around what your website is about. You will want to check your text. Be certain all text is shown as text and not within images. Text within images cannot be read by search engines. Which brings me to another point. Check to make sure all of your images have descriptive ALT tags.
After auditing your text and images, I would do the pre-work of keyword research. When researching keywords you want to look for long-tail keywords, or keywords that have high usage, but low competition. You’re searching for keywords that your customers use a lot, but that don’t return very many results when searched.
Ok, so now we have text on our website, and we’ve checked the images for ALT tags, and we’ve conducted our keyword research. What now? Now, we ask ourselves should we continue this process or should we bring in help?
To do it yourself or hire some help — that is the question
Search engine optimization is a very involved task. There are many rules to the game that you must remember and it can become very overwhelming, very quickly. It is also extremely time consuming. Optimizing content on a website can take in upwards of a week or two, just to review everything and make adjustments. These adjustments could include writing new content, rewriting existing content, conducting more keyword research, and much more.
I like to tell my clients, when they are able, they should stay in their zone of genius. This is the place where you are most comfortable and do your best work. Just because everyone can conduct search engine optimization, doesn’t mean it’s for everyone to do. I always suggest that my clients outsource their SEO tasks to a professional who can take the task and run with it. This frees up your time and mental space to focus on more important things, like running your business.
The best tools for search engine optimization
If you decide to conduct your own search engine optimization, I suggest using a tool to assist you in your works. There are many tools available on the market today, that will make the process easier and faster. Let’s look at a few of them.
This tool is a full-service search engine optimization tool. It provides you the ability to review content on your website and measure it against your competitors.
It offers details about ranking keywords including their position in search engine results pages, the URLs to which they drive traffic, and the traffic trends over the past 12 months.
This is another full-service search engine optimization tool. It offers checks to help you optimize all the areas of your website. You can use this tool to identify which keywords any page on your website is ranking for.
AHREFs WordPress Tool
The Ahrefs WordPress SEO plugin offers content audits, backlink checking, and tools to help you monitor and grow your organic traffic.
Google Search Console
You can use the Google Search Console to engage with details around your website’s search rankings and data on how your website fairs within Google’s search engine results pages. You can also submit you sitemap to Google and see how often Google crawls your website.
Woorank is a useful website analyzer. It offers useful insights that help you improve your site’s SEO. Woorank generates an SEO score for your site and provides actionable steps, outlining what you can do to fix problems with your site’s SEO.
This tool offers the ability to conduct competitor analysis; showing you a given domain’s traffic, top pages, engagement, marketing channels, among other valuable information.
Google Page Speed Insights
Calculate your website’s page loading speed and ways to improve it.
One of the more newer tools on this list. RankMath is a WordPress plugin that provides SEO guidance to improve the crawlability of your website.
The most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast SEO allows you to identify focus keywords for your webpages and helps you optimize your blog posts and pages for search engines.
How to optimize your website for search engines
Ok, now that you have a great list of tools you can use to optimize your website for search engines, let’s talk about the actual process of optimization. In this section, I’m going to review the top 5 tasks you must undertake to ensure your site is fully optimized. This is by no means an exhaustive list of tasks. But this list will definitely get your started on the right track. If you’re interested in a full tutorial on search engine optimization, leave a comment in the section below. If I receive many comments asking for this tutorial I will create one for you.
- The content you create on your website must be of high quality and be written very well.
- Making use of multimedia like audio, images and video can set your content apart from your competitors.
- Create content that is prime to be turned into answers in the search engine results pages.
- When creating content aim for substance; stay away from shallow content.
- Create content that is timely and stays consistent with current day trends. When necessary retire old, stagnant content.
- Design your site in a manner that makes crawlability easy.
- Build keywords into your website’s URLs.
- Build your website for mobile first, make sure all of your pages are easily viewed on a mobile device.
- Your site should load quickly, do not make your website visitors wait for your pages to load.
- Always, always, always use an SSL on your website. Secure all pages on your website.
- Ensure your page an post titles and headings have strong keywords within them.
- Page and post meta descriptions should contain relevant, strong keywords, both short tail and long tail.
- All images should have ALT tags accurately describing the image for accessibility and SEO purposes.
- Using structured data and schema, can turn data into enhanced listings within the SERPs. You may need the help of an SEO or Web professional for this task.
- Your website’s reputation matters deeply in search engine optimization.
- Show your expertise through well written, relevant, actionable content.
- Authority is very important. Covet links, shares and other signals of authority.
- Links pointing to your website are taken into consideration by search engines.
- Positive links, pointing back to your website reflect on your website positively.
- Negative or shady links, pointing back to your website reflect on your website negatively.
- The more high quality links you can get to point to your website the better.
A quick conversation about site speed
Now, I wanted to quickly discuss the speed of your website. It’s imperative that the loading time of your webpages are as fast as possible. You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your website visitors. And if most of that time is spent getting the page to load, you will have already lost that potential customer.
When building your website, you want to select WordPress themes that are fast loading. When you are reviewing potential themes, run the themes through the Google Page Speed Insights tool and document how fast the page load speed is. If it’s too slow, skip that theme and move on to the next one.
You can also use Google Analytics and the Google Page Speed Insights tool to review the page speed of your current website. This will give you an idea of what your customer’s experience is like on your website. If you find that it takes too long for your pages to load, you will want to optimize the content and HTML on that page to ensure a faster load time.
Well, now we come to the end of this blog post. I hope you found the information contained within to be useful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below in the commenting area and I’ll respond as soon as possible. If you are interested in having someone conduct your search engine optimization tasks for you, check out my SEO services.