In today’s world it’s hard to get your website noticed. This is because there are so many other websites competing for your audience’s attention. If you’re the owner of a website, you have to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. And while there are many ways you can do this, one of the most effective is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)

Business owner strategizing for SEO

What Is SEO?

One of the primary ways people discover new websites is through search engines. Whenever they have a question, they type it into a search engine and click on one of the top results. No matter what kind of website you’re running, you want to appear at the top of those search results for any related questions.

Search Engine Optimization helps you do that. Every search engine has their own formula for how they determine where to rank websites. By adapting your website and only marketing strategies to fit their requirements, you can move up in the rankings and get more visitors.

Why SEO Is Important

The amount of internet searches is increasing every year. In 2018 48.9% of the global population accessed the internet, and this number is expected to grow past 51% in just a few years. On top of that, Google (the most popular search engine), receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. Clearly, if you want your website to get noticed online, it needs to appear in search engines.

But it’s not enough to simply have a search engine list you. There’s a big difference between appearing on the first page of results over the second, or even the first result rather than the second. This chart from Ignite Visibility demonstrates just how important it is to rank as highly as possible:

Image Source: https://ignitevisibility.com/ctr-google-2017/

By using SEO practices, you can boost your website up through the rankings. And in a world where moving up even one spot can make a big difference, you need to use every tool at your disposal.

SEO specialist doing search analytics

5 Keys for Search Engine Optimization

To optimize your website, there are 5 main things that you should do. They are:

1. Keyword Research

For starters, you need to conduct some keyword research. Keywords are the phrases you’ll use to describe your website, or certain pages within it. Your goal when selecting keywords is to choose ones that fit your page well, have a high search volume, and reasonable competition. For example, if you’re a bakery in New York City, you might want your keyword to be “NYC bakery.” However, this keyword is likely to have a lot of competition, so you may want to opt for something more specific like “local baker in the Bronx.”

There’s a lot that goes into keyword research, but it’s important that you get it right, as it will impact the rest of your SEO strategies. To learn more about keyword research, you can check out this guide.

2. Page Optimization

Next, you’ll want to focus on optimizing the pages of your website. You can do this in several ways. To start, make sure your keywords appear in the title tags of that page, within H1 and H2 tags, and a few times throughout the content. You want search engines to see that those keywords are important to that page.

Another place you can put the keywords is in your image alt tags. Make sure all your images are optimized for the web (small file size) and have your keywords attached to them. This will help your website rank better, and you may even get the images themselves to rank in search engine image searches.

3. Site Structure

After that, look at your site structure. There should be a clear structure to how your website is organized and everything links together. If you have a lot of content, make sure you’re using categories and subcategories to group similar pieces. You should also look at your internal links and make sure that your most important pages have the most links pointing towards them. Once you have your site structure clear, create a sitemap and submit it to Google.

4. Inbound Links

An important part of any SEO strategy is inbound links. Inbound links are the links from other websites that point back to your own. The more you have, and the higher quality websites they come from, the better your site will rank.

There are a few ways to start getting inbound links. You can offer to write guest posts on other blogs and link back to your site in the author bio section. Another option is to share your content on social media and hope that others spread it around and link back to it. Or you could submit your site to business directories, like Google My Business. Inbound links are one of the most important aspects of SEO, if not the most important, so make sure you’re spending plenty of time promoting your site and getting those links.

5. Improve Site Speed

Finally, you should focus on improving the speed of your website. Search engines like Google will penalize sites that load too slowly, so you want to be sure yours is fast. There are a few ways to accomplish that.

To start, you’ll want your website run through a good hosting provider. Take some time to explore your options by reading hosting provider reviews, then find one that suits your budget while still providing plenty of speed.

After that, work on improving the size of your site. This means shrinking down your images, reducing the number of resource heavy elements on your pages (like video), and getting rid of any unnecessary plugins. The smaller you can make your pages, the faster it will load.

SEO noob guy

Make SEO a Priority in 2019

Optimizing your website for search engines is one of the best things you can do in 2019. Search engines will only grow more popular, and you’ll have to constantly maintain your SEO practices if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

If this sounds like a lot, don’t stress. There are plenty of free SEO tools that can help you out, and you don’t have to do it all at once. Take your time to plan out a strategy, study up on the best techniques, then put things into action one step at a time. Good SEO practices are a marathon, not a sprint. Build up good habits now, and eventually you’ll start to see your website climbing the ranks.