One of my most popular questions asked by bloggers and small business owners is “How do I drive more traffic to my website?” The answer is SEO, which stands for search engine optimization.
What is SEO?
SEO is the basic term for all the methods you can use to ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine result pages.
The key is to have your site appear high up (ideally the first page) on ‘organic’ search results, rather than in the ‘paid’ sections. Note: you can also have your site appear high up on ‘image’ search results!
This week we’re going to talk about SEO Basics: what search engines are looking for, and how to build a site that is pleasing to visitors/readers/customers as well as search engines like Google.
Why do you need SEO?
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When it comes to how much traffic is driven by search engines to your website, the percentage is huge – or at least it should be. My top 3 drivers of traffic to my site are Google organic, Direct and Pinterest. What are yours? (Google Analytics will tell you!)
Just to give you an idea: on average, 55-60% of all Your Marketing BFF website traffic comes from organic searches!
So how are you going to up your SEO results and drive more traffic to your website? With today’s SEO Basics – What search engines are looking for:
- Relevancy. Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to what the person is searching for, whether it’s answering the simple question “what is the best coffee shop nearest me?” to something a little more in-depth like “how to use chalk paint?“
- Quality Content. Do you regularly write helpful tips, useful articles, how to’s, videos or other types of content that are popular topics and themes that your target audience and prospects are searching for? Well, you should.
- User Experience. Your site should be easy to navigate, clearly searchable, and contain relevant internal linking and related content. Basically, all the things that will keep readers on your site longer! The example below is a snippet from a blog post titled “Branding Your Blog”.
- Mobile Responsive. Is your website and its content optimized to fit different screen devices? Search engines like Google give mobile-optimized sites a boost in search results when the searcher is on a mobile device. You can read more about this here.
- Site Speed. Google and other search engines want your webpages to load quickly. The biggest problem I see with site speed are bloggers who upload images larger than what their theme requires. For example, if the images you’re uploading to your site are 1200 pixels width and they should really be 850 pixels width, make them 850. Don’t know the answer to this? Ask your website designer or someone like me.
- Meta Descriptions. The meta description is the short paragraph of copy that appears under your page’s URL in the search results. Note: The meta description won’t necessarily improve your ranking on search engines, but it can increase your chances of someone who is searching to click on your site link.
Tip: The best tool in wordpress to create your own, clearly written meta description – one that is relevant to your headline and the content of the article – is the Yoast SEO (free) plugin seen in action below.
- Headlines and Permalinks. Keep your post headline titles under 55 characters to ensure their complete visibility in search engines.
- Evergreen Content. Evergreen content is content that is useful and interesting to your readers months and years after its initial publish date. You can read more about evergreen content here.
- Social Media. The most obvious way to raise your site’s visibility and drive traffic is through social media marketing. Remember at the beginning of this post, I stated my top 3 drivers of traffic – the Pinterest social media platform is one of my biggest referrers of traffic!
- Local SEO. Google also serves results to users based on their location. So if you’re a local business and you need to catch a searcher’s attention just at the right moment, as they’re walking down the street, on their mobile and looking for somewhere to shop, eat or drink, be ready. Make sure all your site information is up-to-date (address, phone, customer reviews, etc.).
You should always keep SEO in the forefront of your mind. If you don’t do the SEO basics and aren’t providing what the search engines are looking for, you can miss out on some amazing growth and revenue opportunities.
Now you know how to drive more traffic to your website. Make me proud. wink
*Main image via Ashley Ella Design