Being found online is a dream of every small business and a start-up owner. There is no arguing that an organic search can generate a huge amount of leads and sales for your business without you paying even a cent. Anyway, trying to rank first nowadays is like playing the game of thrones. It’s hard to win and there are lots of players out there fighting for the first position! The good thing is, ladies, there are rules here (hardly known rules)… but still there are rules.
One thing I found out is that people who are not acquainted with the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) think that ranking on the first page on Google is a matter of a few hours job. To shatter a myth here, I would like to say that having good results means an on-going work and a need to constantly improve your website.
There is no person who can guarantee you number one positioning on Google and you are not obligated to purchase any search engine optimization service. Some companies claim they can rank you first, but they can cause more harm to your website than improve your ranking. Make sure you always use legitimate consulting services and work on your website content, usability and website structure.
To help you better understand SEO, I’ll be listing some of the key factors that you need to start with. Be aware that most of the web design companies will charge for basic on-site optimization. Depending on your target keywords and how strong your competitors are, you can achieve good results doing it yourself by improving your content, keyword density and using meta tags.
Most CMS platforms provide SEO tools that do the job
Using CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Webly, etc. provide you with built-in functionality for on-site SEO. For most advanced SEO you can also look for different plug-ins and apps. They are especially created for people like you and once you know the SEO basics, you don’t need to write a single line of code to do it yourself.
Do your keyword research
Your target keywords are the words you are trying to rank better in the search engine results. Choose your target keywords, based on your competition, relevancy and your locality. This is one of the most important first steps, so choose them wisely.
You can use a number of keyword tools out there, but the one I recommend is the Google Keyword Planner. It’s basically made for Adwords and optimizing your paid campaigns, but using it you can gain a valuable information for the monthly search volume of a certain keyword/phrase and your competitors. Using the Keyword Planner will help you find new keywords and phrases relevant to your product and service.
The Keyword Planner will show you the average monthly searches and will measure the level of the competition for the certain keyword and phrase. Pick the keywords that have more searches and less competition if possible.
Make sure you use your target keywords in your text and meta tags
Once you pick your target keywords/phrases, make sure you use them on your website often. Do not stuff your text with them but use them naturally.
Also add them to your meta tags, this will increase the keyword density of your page. The meta tags are snippets that help search engines define what the web page is about. The meta tags do not appear on the page itself but they are read by search engines and help your ranking. Further down are explained the different meta tags you need to add to your page.
Meta Title: Back in the days this was one of the factors that could have given you a huge ranking boost. Nowadays, the Google algorithm is a bit more complicated, but a good and meta title is still worth a lot. The page title may appears on the search engine results page, and good and compelling title can win you a click and that’s what you want.
Meta Description: The meta description is a summary to your page. Whether the page title is limited to less than 80 symbols, a meta description is might be a few sentences or a paragraph. Similar to the meta title, the description also might be used as a snippet on the search engine results page in order to give users more information what the page is about.
URL structure: Have descriptive URLs and include your target keywords in it. Some CMS platform use default dates and numbers for the URLs. Make sure you customize your URLs and use descriptive directories and titles.
Most of the CMS platforms, like WordPress offer a way for you to add your own custom URLs.
Image Tags: Google search engines cannot read images. The only way for them to know what the image is about is, if a descriptive image tag is used. The image tag also describes the image if for some reason the image is not displayed. Make sure you use your target keywords in the image tags, as well.
Make sure others link to your website
Your website popularity is a very important factor of how your website ranks on the search engine results. Make sure other website links to yours, but note that links can be as good as they can be bad. Done wrong this can cause harm to your website and send it to the Google black list, and once you are penalized, it’s very hard to white-listed it again.
Your position depends on a lot more
Your position depends on competition, age of your domain, popularity, chosen keywords, area and there is no magic formula that will give you instant results. Work on your website usability, provide unique and relevant content, and think about your readers and clients first.
About the Author
Desi Angelova is a digital marketing specialist and WordPress expert with more than 7 years experience in digital marketing area.
She has been working for international software companies – planning and executing digital marketing campaigns, on-site and off-site optimization, content marketing and social media.
For more SEO advises get in touch at desislava (at) mail.com or ask your question in the comments below.
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