When looking at how to make the most out of online marketing practices to improve your website's traffic, you will have undoubtedly some across the term SEO and the suggestion that it is an essential aspect of online marketing.
But what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it allows your website to come in at the top of search engine results pages, thus increasing traffic to your website.
To make SEO work well with your website, there are several things that you need to be aware of while optimizing your website to allow this to happen.
1. Keywords, keywords, keywords
When a user runs a Google search for a product or service, they type in a question or phrase that contains a keyword to direct their inquiry, and as such, your page needs to include that keyword to match up with relevant search requests. When building page content to optimize your website, think long and hard about the keywords that describe your product and start writing a list.
There are longtail keywords that are important for reaching an audience targeted to that product; by using software to generate more keywords and tell you which ones people use (kind of like a thesaurus for keywords), you can create a product content that maximizes SEO search results.
As you build more product pages for your website, repeat this process for each page to allow your website to perform strongly in SEO across all products; just be sure not to over-do it with the keywords, as having too many on a page will also damage your ranking in the search results.
2. Figure out where you’re going wrong - Analysis of Log Files
Search engines work by using web crawlers to crawl through webpages looking for keywords that lead to relevant pages, and then analyzing the content using a variety of rules and parameters (which vary between different search engines). These pages are then ranked in a list of the most relevant pages through to least relevant and presented to you as your search results.
Undertaking regular log file analysis allows you to check on how well your website content is interacting with those web crawlers and figure out if any problem areas need fixing to bring your SEO and, therefore, product page up the rankings. Being aware of the sorts of things that can and will cause your site to not perform to optimal levels will make reading the data provided by a log file analysis much more helpful to you.
3. Don't forget internal linking
There are some mistakes that will effectively make part or all of your website effectively invisible to web crawlers causing your product page not to appear high up in the rankings (if at all). Examples of this include orphan pages – as there are no internal links to your website, search engine crawlers cannot locate them on their own. A visitor to your website cannot find the specific page; instead, they would need to type in the exact URL for the page manually.
Page errors will also cause a web crawler to bypass your page when running searches, so make sure that your website doesn’t contain any broken links and other such errors. These are simple mistakes to avoid if you pay attention to detail at the content building stage, and should any slip through will be caught when running regular log file analysis, allowing them to be rectified at a later stage.
4. Don’t forget those visiting from a mobile device
A large proportion of internet users now access the web from mobile devices, but websites configured to run well on a PC will not load or function the same on a mobile device. Therefore, it is essential to make sure your site is optimized for these devices as well. Otherwise, you risk missing out on a lot of traffic to your website.
There are now a few web design options that let you go about this. The one you choose to go with partly depends on if you have an established site you aren’t able to entirely rebuild (either Dynamic web design or a separate URL for your mobile site) or if you can start from scratch. If it is the latter, you should build a Responsive web design page that is designed to show the same content on all screen sizes and types.
Many of the issues that cause problems for a website when encountered by a search engine web crawler are magnified on a mobile site. Of course, there are some things that are not an issue on a standard website, but can be an issue on a mobile site if not correctly optimized; such as videos that aren’t embedded using HTML5 and are therefore unplayable on a phone which a web crawler will treat like a broken link and ignore.
5. It’s not just about words on a page
We’ve discussed the importance of getting the keywords right within your content, but it’s not just what you have written that is important when it comes to SEO; it's also about the non-written content - images and videos. Whatever the product is that you are trying to sell, whether it be a physical item or knowledge about a subject, having an image that represents that product is going to both engage the user and, with correct labeling, give context to the page that search engine web crawlers will use to determine how relevant the page is to the search it is running at that time.
Obviously, it isn't as easy as just uploading a picture or video to a product page and giving it a title. As with the rest of your content, web bots are looking at a number of factors; what is the image loading time? Because if an image is too large and is therefore slow to load, visitors to a site will become frustrated and leave to look for a quicker loading site.
Again, it comes down to the fine details, but that extra time taken to get the balance right is worth it when your page ranks well, thanks to good SEO practices.