Search Engine Optimization

By: Rachel Scanlon on 11/9/2016

The purpose of this blog post is to outline some ways in which you can optimize your website with the purpose of maximizing the amount of valuable traffic to your site and improving your site’s search engine ranking. These are up to date as of the publication of this blog post.

Set up a Google Analytics account

This will enable you to start measuring how much traffic is hitting your website and track other factors such as; how much traffic your website is getting, where the traffic is coming from, how often each visitor visits and how long they browse your website.

To set up Google Analytics you can refer to this page.

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008015?visit_id=undefined&rd=1

Google also has free online training course for those needing to gain more in depth knowledge about how to fully leverage Google analytics to monitor the performance of their site.

https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/

Add Website to Google Search Console

This has tools which enable you to view data about when Googlebot accesses your site, list all pages that link to your site, access any errors that Googlebot encountered when trying to crawl specific pages on the site. It also allows you to obtain information about which keywords led to the site being listed on a search engine’s results page and how much traffic these drove to your site. To add your site to Search Console, click on the link below.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

Submit Sitemap to Google Search Console

A sitemap is an xml document that is used by search engines to find and index allof the pages in your site so they appear in their search result pages. There are many tools that can be used to help you generate a sitemap. The site below lists some examples.

https://dynomapper.com/blog/16-sitemap-generator/164-top-50-sitemap-generators-for-creating-sitemaps

Once you have created a sitemap you can use this link for guidance on how to submit your newly created sitemap to google search console.

https://support.google.com/sites/answer/100283?hl=en

Create a robot.txt file

This file is used by websites to give the robots that crawl the site information and should be placed in the root directory of your website. You can use this to specify which robots can access your site. I have listed a few examples below.

  • To exclude all robots from accessing your site
User-agent: *
Disallow: /
  • To allow *all* robots access to your site
User-agent: *Disallow:
  • To prevent robots from accessing certain directories on your site.
User-agent: *Disallow: /bin/Disallow: /scripts/
  • To prevent a specific robot from accessing your site.
User-agent: RogueBotDisallow: /
  • To allow a specific robot to access your site. For example, you would always want to allow Google’s bots to access your site.
User-agent: GoogleDisallow: User-agent: *Disallow: /

 

Check your page load speed

You should run your website though a speed test tool to check how fast your pages are loading. If the pages are loading to slowly is may deter visitors or cause them to abandon their visit (and ultimately visit a competing site).

The link below goes into more depth about what may be causing your pages to load more slowly and how to go about optimizing them for speed. It also gives a list of Website Speed Test Tools that you can use to determine which pages on your site are running slowly.

https://www.keycdn.com/blog/website-speed-test-tools/

Create a monthly record to track certain metrics

Google analytics is by far the most popular tool used to track these metrics and provides an easy interface to allow to analyze these metrics.

Some examples of data that you might want to track are

  • Total unique visitors to your site
  • Visitor to lead conversion rate (%)
  • Lead to customer conversion rate (%)

Documenting these is critical as this is the only way you will be able to ascertain whether your SEO tactics are working. These metrics will enable to make informed decisions about which ones to keep up and which ones to abandon.

Develop Keywords

Here are some ways you can develop relevant keywords to help drive valuable traffic to your site.

Think about who is your target customer/visitor. Analyze what content might attract them. Once you have done the research into who your target market is, you can search for keywords and use the related search terms below as a helpful tool to find other potential keywords that you can use on your site.

Google also has a tool named Keyword Planner. This also enables you to get ideas for other relevant keywords. In addition to this it can also search historical data to allow you to see how a group of keywords might perform.

https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

Consider using a Keyword Competition Tool

After you have compiled a list of keywords you can use one of the available competition tools. The purpose of these is to help you weed out any irrelevant keywords and any that are so overused that they are simply too competitive to be useful in setting you apart from your competition. They will also suggest ways to structure your website with the inclusion of your keyword content. Some examples of these are Market Samurai and SEO PowerSuite.

Develop your content, using your newly found keyword list

Be sure to use you finalized keywords and keyword phrases as the center pieces of your quality content on your website. Use them where appropriate, but do not force or pad out content with the intention of using more keywords. This tend to be off-putting to users and may hinder your efforts. You may also get penalized by Google for this. They should also feature in replies to bulletin board questions and FAQ pages, where appropriate.

Add title tags and meta descriptions consisting of unique combinations of your keywords and key phrases. Title tags should be limited to 60 characters and meta descriptions should be limited to 155 characters to avoid penalization by some search engines.

Include the keywords in the urls of your pages and use Heading tags (H1, H2, h3) with an alt tag containing a keyword phrase. You should do the same for any images you include. There should be at least one image on each page as these may come up in Google’s “images search” and drive traffic to your site that way.

Use internal linking to send users to other relevant content on your site.

Drive traffic to your website from other sites

There are various tools to analyze where your competitors are getting their back links from, such as Moz.

https://moz.com/products

You can use these as a base to reach out to the other sites that are linking to your competitor sites and ask them if they would also consider linking to yours. Analyze these backlinks to make sure they are linking to up to date content and. If not, reach out to the site owner to ask them to update these links. Take part in discussion related to your industry and mention your site as part of the discussions.


Category: SEO Tags: Advertising, Web Applications