When you design a web page, it’s because you want to be seen, because you have something to convey to your readers. What you have to say is important, we know that, but the hard part is being heard in the vastness that is cyberspace where there are literally billions of web pages each trying to connect with consumers. While getting your message out is increasingly difficult, the good news is that you can improve the chance of being seen by perfecting your SEO practices.
SEO: Not Just Another Buzzword
You likely have heard the term SEO thrown around a bunch in the past few years, especially if you happen to be in the presence of millennial professionals. The term is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the means by which you can make your website more visible to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Each engine functions according to specific algorithms that grade your site and content.
Google, specifically, uses an algorithm that pieces together relevant content in a site and connects them to searched keywords. Although the algorithm is MUCH more complicated than that, and is constantly changing, this is a sufficient distilled definition for us to start elaborating. Pages built upon strong SEO practices will end up trending higher in search engine rankings. These sites ultimately get more visitors to look at their information, products, or services.
Why Good SEO Matters
Let’s say you own an independent bookstore in downtown Denver. There are many people who presumably like to read books in and around the city, but they may not know the name of your particular bookstore or are looking for a list of bookstores in the area. They’d most likely search something with the terms “Denver Colorado bookstores,” “Denver bookstores,” or something similar. When the search hits Google, Yahoo, or Bing, the most relevant results according to the search’s algorithm are returned.
That’s all well and good, but how does that relate to your business? Well, according to a study by online advertising group, Chitika, 32.5% of those who searched for that term will likely click the top ranked page. 17.6% will choose the second result, 11.4% will choose the third, 8.1% the fourth, and 6.1% the fifth. Percentages get even lower as the rank drops. Sites with good SEO are likely to get more traffic; combined with quality content and products they will likely reach a wider audience. If your site’s SEO isn’t up to snuff, you won’t get the traffic you need to help your business thrive.
Good SEO Practices
While there may be a lot of competition for readers there is light at the end of the tunnel; SEO practices are not hard to implement. Each page you create, and every post you make, should follow a SEO friendly blueprint (Google even has a guide for newbies). If you don’t have the time to read through the guide, we’ve provided some bullet points for key SEO practices.
Good SEO practices include:
- Quality Content – When you’re designing content for your website you should first and foremost focus on quality content. Quality content brings back readers and allows search engines to scan, index, and rank your page accurately. DO NOT CRANK OUT JUNK.
- Using Headers – Split up content using proper headers, which let readers know when a pertinent new section is coming. It also looks nice, as you don’t have a bunch of text just running together.
- Responsive Mobile Site – Websites should be responsive and mobile compatible. Google’s search algorithm (among others) actually docks some of the websites on specific terms because they don’t have a proper mobile page. Statista reports that almost half (49.74 %) of all internet traffic is viewed on a mobile device.
- Build your backlinks organically – Linking your content to another site with large amounts of traffic can help your standing with search engines. It’s important to make sure that you go about this naturally though, as gaming the system by buying links from sites is considered a major no-no by Google.
- Make URLs have a hierarchy – Make sections of your web page have a hierarchy to categorize what they’re about. If you don’t do this properly, there’s a good chance your page could get misconstrued as being in a different category, hindering search ranking in the process.
- Keep up to date on new trends – With the landscape of changes always coming with search engines to refine quality results, it’s important to know what’s changed. They say knowledge is power, and in the world of web design, if you don’t know what the newest trend is, you’re doomed.
Stay Away from Black Hat Tactics
When you build your site, you may be tempted by something called black hat SEO. Black hat SEO is an aggressive way to cheat engines into ranking you higher. Google will drop the hammer on sites that are found trying to manipulate their search algorithms. They might react by large knocking your site much further down in search results than it was in the beginning. Don’t be tempted to go with short term results over long term success; Good SEO practices will take time to build up traffic organically.
So, What Now?
We strongly encourage users to implement strong SEO practices and to keep up on the latest techniques. Avoid black hat tactics that will do more harm than good in the long run.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming to you, please reach out. If you have any questions or would like for us to consult with you about a possible project, contact us!