So you decided on the layout and design for your website, but the question is, how will your potential customers see your new website? How certain websites make it to the first page in Google, and others don’t? Web designers use what is called SEO, search engine optimization. Experts use SEO to help rank you in the Google search engine and index your website. Think of the index as a catalog, a Google catalog. Google crawls the internet every day, looking for relative content to place in its catalog. Yet, indexing your site requires key components. Below are a few steps in this very complex process.
The keyword content is part of the many processes of SEO and one that is essential. Google and other search engines have algorithms they use when crawling the internet, trying to match the content you are searching for. Understanding those algorithms and analyzing keywords, strategically knowing the placement for that content, and tying it together to create the correct content necessary to meet those algorithms’ needs is part of web development. An SEO expert will also understand that not all websites work the same. What works for one website might not for another.
Knowing how to adapt to a variety of web designs, ideas, and companies is key.
An example of keyword content would look like this. Say you own a clothing business, each page should be dedicated to its product. If selling jeans, one page should be solely about jeans with keywords such as: denim, pants, dress pants, jeans, etc. Relevancy is important to each dedicated webpage, and keyword research is a must. Know exactly what keywords are being used in searches to optimize keywords best. Understanding keyword content will help optimize your website to rank top in Google.
Another big factor for SEO is video content. Video content is in high demand for consumers. According to Neil Patel, co-founder of NP Digital, it is projected that “80% of online traffic will be video content in 2021, with 43% of people saying they want even more video content.” It makes sense because we live in an instant gratification world with less patience. More people would watch a quick snippet of your video content than to read your blog posts. Most importantly, having the video content on your page will drive more consumers to your page, ultimately increasing your SEO.
Images are an essential part of Google’s algorithm when crawling the web to rank sites. Images can be appealing to people and catch their attention resulting in an influx of traffic to your page. Seeing pictures can help people better understand what it is you are promoting. For example, although pictures aren’t tangible, they help consumers decide when purchasing something from your website or understand your content. It is imperative to understand what images to use and how to use them. Be careful when uploading photos to your page. You want to make sure the image is scaled to size. We mean that if you are using a photo size of 1920×1080 pixels and the size of the photo on the site will be only 400×200 pixels, this will cause your photo to load slowly and the website’s speed as well. You also need to make sure your file size is optimized as well. If not, this too could also delay the load speeds. Another important factor for image SEO is the file names you use for your images. Just as the example before about jeans, if your image is a pair of jeans, your file name should match that. It should look like this, denim-jeans.jpg. Your file name should be able to explain what the picture is without even seeing it. This will help Google connect the keyword content with the image.
Quick Load Speeds
Google loves websites with quick load speeds. Having quick load speeds is one of the determining factors Google looks for when ranking websites. This feature is huge and should be taken seriously. Not only is it important for SEO factors, but for your consumers as well. Even a ONE-second delay could cost you potential customers and revenue. Over 70% of those potential customers will not return. If your page loads slowly, customers will not find your site to be trustworthy.
Blog posts are probably one of the most important factors of SEO. Creating blog posts will help rank you quicker on Google. Why? Google wants to present you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. You cant change your homepage every day to provide fresh content, but you can provide said content with blog posts. Most start off thinking they can use short keyword content in their blogs to promote SEO. In reality, you can trigger long-tail keywords in blog posts, which gives you a better advantage of being on page one than fighting your competition for the number one spot on a vague keyword. For example, in the ‘clothing business’ we mentioned earlier, if we want to use the keyword “clothing” as our goal, we will never see page one on Google. It’s just too vague and too much competition. If we were to discuss specific clothing styles in our blog such as, “best jeans for fall?” or “what are the most comfortable jeans to wear?” this long-tail keywording could put us on page one for searches as such.
Google largely takes into consideration backlinking. In simple terms, think of social media and the ability to tag people in posts or photos. This is similar to backlinking, except a website has a link to your site on their page. The more links on other webpages, the more Google takes notice and will rank you higher. The more backlinks you have, the more credible your site will be and pertains to useful content Google has sought out. Keep in mind that backlinks aren’t as simple as just throwing your domain around. Google will consider the site that backlinked you, whether they are credible and/or a reliable source. It is significantly better to have a backlink to a big source such as JPM Chase or Princeton University than it is to have a friend’s webpage link you. Having a known company or big franchise backlink once versus 100 backlinks of unknown webpages ranks significantly more. That goes for the amount as well; if a company does backlink you and continues to do so a 2nd time and a 3rd and so on, it will not change any results. The first backlink is where the results will come from, not the next 20 times on that same webpage. Focus on backlinks to different websites versus listing many on just one.
What are Meta Tags? These are the little snippets you see as a quick description under your website title on a google search. Although Google says meta tags arent part of the SEO algorithm process it uses, these are still useful. You want to stand out with your meta tag, as it is your company’s first description of what you offer. It can be the determining factor as to whether or not they click on your site. This tag could be key to bring in more traffic. Although it may not factor into SEO, it is just as relevant to get right. You want to grab the attention of potential clients. It would be best if you used keywords in your description. The keywords that will be searched will also be bolded in the meta tag. Never use quotation marks in your meta tag description, as Google will cut off the information you are trying to say.
These small six steps should help to get you started on your journey to SEO. Remember the following we covered:
- Keyword Content & Placement
- Video Content
- Image Optimization
- Quick Load Speeds
- Blog Posts
- Meta Tags
If implemented correctly, as we mentioned, you will start to see the changes over time. You will not be on Google’s first page overnight. However, when done correctly, you will start to notice the work you put in take effect over the course of a few weeks. Google’s SEO is forever changing; adapting to the constant changes is crucial. SEO takes patience, learning, and understanding. Knowing these few basic guidelines will help lead you in the right direction.