Getting it Right the First Time
When it comes to developing a custom website, it's common for developers to focus primarily on design and functionality first. Understandable considering this is the tangible deliverable that you, the client, paid for. While being pretty and functional is an important part of a successful website, a beautiful website serves no purpose if it has no visitors. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO is the process of making your website more searchable so that it appears higher in search engine results. The good news is, you can have a beautiful, functional and easy to find website.
Designing for aesthetics and function through the lens of SEO from the start is the most efficient way to maximize ROI from your custom website. Not to fret, if you've already designed your website. A website can be optimized at any time, but the more content your website has the more painful of a task it becomes to optimize.
Whether you develop from the beginning with SEO in mind or you retroactively optimize, you wont regret. It doesn't take much google searching to see the ROI associate with SEO. In today post, we'll be focusing on the step you should take up front to have great SEO.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Keyword research is a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO) and is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. The purpose of keyword research is to identify the words and phrases that people are searching for when looking for information related to your website, products, or services. By identifying and targeting the most relevant and effective keywords, you can optimize your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more organic traffic to your site.
There are several steps involved in conducting keyword research.
- Brainstorm potential keywords and phrases related to your website, products, or services.
- Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to refine your list of potential keywords and identify the most relevant and effective ones. Hint: Look at what competitors are going after!
- Evaluate each keyword's search volume, competition, and other metrics to determine its potential. Hint: Do NOT go after keywords that are nearly impossible to obtain. For Example, If you're a new SAAS company, you are very unlikely to take control of the "SAAS" keyword, so you'll need to get creative.
- Consider the intent behind the search to understand what kind of content people are looking for when using specific keywords.
- Organize your keywords into categories based on relevance and intent.
- Optimize your website content, including titles, headings, and meta descriptions, using your target keywords.
- Build internal and external links that use your target keywords to increase your website's authority and relevance.
- Monitor your website's performance in search engine rankings and adjust your keyword strategy as needed to stay competitive.
Keyword research is an ongoing process, and it's important to regularly revisit your strategy and update your keyword list based on changes in search trends and your website's performance.
Step 2: Website Structure
A website's structure is crucial for SEO as it helps search engines to crawl and index the pages. A well-organized structure should have logical categories and subcategories, with each page focusing on a specific topic or keyword. This makes it easier for search engines to understand the relevance of your content and improves your chances of ranking higher in search results. Ensure that each page is optimized for a specific keyword or topic and that you use it in your page titles, headings, meta descriptions, and content in a natural way.
Step 3: On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization is a core component of SEO that involves optimizing the content and HTML source code of a web page to make it more visible and relevant to search engines. On-page optimization techniques are designed to improve the quality and relevance of a web page's content and structure, which in turn can improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic to your site.
Here are some of the key techniques involved in on-page optimization:
- Keyword research and optimization: Incorporating relevant keywords and phrases into your content and meta tags can help search engines understand the content and context of your pages.
- Content optimization: This includes creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that is optimized for both users and search engines. This can include optimizing headlines, subheadings, and body copy, as well as using images, videos, and other multimedia elements to enhance the user experience.
- Meta tags and descriptions: Optimizing the title tags, meta descriptions, and other meta tags on your web pages can improve their visibility and relevance in search results. This includes incorporating relevant keywords into these tags to improve their search engine optimization.
- Mobile-friendly design: With mobile devices accounting for an increasingly large share of web traffic, ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile devices is a wise move. This can include using responsive design, optimizing images and multimedia elements, and reducing page load times to improve the user experience on mobile devices.
- Fast-loading pages: Page speed is a crucial factor in SEO and user experience. Optimizing your website's page load times can improve its visibility in search results and enhance the user experience on your site.
Step 4: Link Building
Link building is a crucial aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) that involves the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites to your own. Backlinks are a key ranking factor for search engines, as they are seen as a signal of the quality and relevance of your website's content. When a website links to your site, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant, and can improve your website's authority and ranking in search results.
Here are some common link building tactics:
- Guest blogging: This involves writing articles for other websites and including a link back to your site in the author bio or within the content. Guest blogging allows you to reach new audiences and can help to establish your website as a valuable source of information in your industry.
- Directory submissions: Submitting your website to online directories can help to improve your visibility and attract new visitors to your site. These directories can range from general directories like Yelp and Yellow Pages to industry-specific directories.
- Social media marketing: Promoting your content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can help to attract new visitors to your site and can also help to generate backlinks from other websites.
- Content marketing: Creating high-quality content that other websites and blogs will want to link to can be an effective way to earn backlinks naturally. This can include blog posts, infographics, videos, and other types of content.
- Broken link building: This tactic involves finding broken links on other websites and reaching out to the website owner or administrator to suggest replacing the broken link with a link to your own relevant content.
- Local SEO: List your business on Google’s business directories to increase your local foot print.
Step 5: Content Creation
Creating high-quality, relevant content is another aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). Your website's content plays a key role in determining your website's SERPs ranking and in attracting and engaging your target audience. High-quality content can also help to establish your website as a valuable source of information in your industry and can encourage other websites to link to your site, which can improve your website's authority and ranking in search results.
Here are some factors to consider when creating high-quality content for SEO:
- Content types: Consider a range of content types, including blog posts, videos, infographics, and other multimedia content.
- Keyword research: Identify relevant keywords and incorporate them into your content in a natural way.
- Topic relevance: Ensure that your content is focused on a specific topic or theme that is relevant to your target audience.
- User intent: Understand the intent behind users' search queries and create content that addresses their needs and provides valuable information.
- Content length: Consider the length of your content and aim to provide comprehensive and detailed information on your chosen topic.
- Formatting: Use headers, bullet points, and other formatting techniques to make your content easy to read and scan.
- Visuals: Incorporate high-quality images, videos, and other visual elements to enhance your content and keep users engaged.
- Internal linking: Include internal links to related content on your website to help users navigate and explore your site.
- External linking: Incorporate links to high-quality, relevant external sources to provide additional context and credibility to your content.
- Readability: Ensure that your content is easy to read and understand, with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Step 6: Analytics and Monitoring
Regular monitoring of your website's performance using analytics tools like Google Analytics is an essential part of effective SEO. By tracking key metrics such as website traffic, search rankings, bounce rates, and user behavior, you can gain valuable insights into how your website is performing and make informed decisions about how to improve its SEO.
While We Have Your Attention
If you've made it this far, great! We hope you gathered valuable information that you can apply when building your website. If you're not sure how to apply this information, let us know. SEO is integral in every custom website we build.