When one conducts a “random” search for a product or service on the Internet, the results are anything but random. Rather, search engines like Google organize and display pages (lots of pages) of results… in what appears to be a well-choreographed dance. That resulting hierarchy is the search engine’s best attempt to find and deliver the information we’re seeking.
While SEO can appear complicated, we’re here to break it down for you — in an easy-to-digest overview.
Okay, so, first things first: Websites that receive more organic traffic automatically rank higher than those that receive fewer visits. As do websites that incorporate the words (and phrases) most frequently used in searches, also known as keywords. Websites with regularly refreshed content also fare better than their stagnant counterparts. As do websites that appear current and up-to-date.
Sounds reasonable enough, right? So, what are the best ways to make your building product brand’s website as easy as possible for search engines to “find”? And how can your site’s ranking be increased — and, ultimately, your ability to generate more leads?
According to the Algorithms
A host of criteria are used by search engines to determine the order in which websites are displayed. These criteria involve a great deal of complicated math and engineering… and are referred to as algorithms.
The ever evolving nature of algorithms and SEO practices is why web designers and agencies talk about these elements so much… and why – to be effective – SEO must be an ongoing process, instead of a “set it and forget it” event.
Make It Count
When your building products website — or marketing campaign landing page — is up-to-date and optimized for SEO… it will perform better. And generate more potential interest from your target audiences, by ranking higher in search results.
In contrast, websites that are not updated regularly, and have poorly executed SEO… will rank lower. In fact, your site might not show up for several pages in a search. Which will result in significantly lower brand awareness… and reduced sales. Just consider the fact that the first page of Google captures at least 71 percent of web traffic. While results on the second page of Google account for just six percent of traffic — and a click-through rate of less than one percent. That’s a lot of lost opportunity for those who fail to rise-to-the-top.
The Three Elements of an Effective SEO Strategy
Well-planned and executed SEO strategies can be broken down into three primary components:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
“On-page SEO” is the practice of optimizing individual web pages… so that they will rank higher and earn more organic traffic. For a site to be “seen” by search engines as delivering a superior audience experience, it must offer high quality, relevant content along with optimized headlines, HTML tags, images, etc. Search engine algorithms will reward a website that delivers a better user experience by scoring that site higher in expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness — resulting in the site appearing further up in search results.
Consider leveraging these strategies for successful on-page SEO:
- Consistently update your site with on-target, engaging content
- Use the right keywords — in the right places — while avoiding keyword “stuffing”
- Deliver content in an authentic, approachable tone… using an active voice
- Add relevant internal and external links
- Apply the correct coding for headlines and subheadings
- Optimize headings and title tags
- Develop click-worthy meta descriptions
- Incorporate keywords in image file names
- Ensure that all pages have short, descriptive URLs
- Add particularly relevant and engaging social media links
Because Google is constantly updating its algorithms to better understand searcher intent — and deliver search results that suit each user’s needs — it’s crucial that your brand’s website is regularly maintained, so that it “keeps up.”
“Off-page” refers to the SEO practices that take place outside of your own website. In most cases, this involves a marketing strategy known as link building.
Link building is the process of getting other, authoritative websites to link to pages on your website… which helps those pages rank higher in search results. Search engines also reward the inclusion of relevant links from your site on other sites. Especially, those with high rankings. In fact, links are one of Google’s top three ranking factors. That sounds easy… but be careful. To work well, links must make sense. And be authentic. As such, always aim for quality links… rather than offering a quantity of inferior links.
Following are some helpful tips for building off-page SEO:
- Develop consistent, relevant, high quality content
- Establish your brand as a thought leader through byline articles, interviews and other commentary in leading industry media outlets
- Create PR “news” as well as guest blog posts, and participate in podcasts
- Build strong social media engagement
- Connect with influencers
- Interact and comment on industry forums and blogs
- Include videos on your site and on landing pages
- Create high quality images… in particular, infographics
Simply put, “technical SEO” is the process of ensuring that your website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines. It covers those strategies that directly impact the indexing and “crawling” of your site by these search engines.
While all aspects of SEO are crucial to your site ranking, search engines will take notice of and prioritize a technically sound website… over one that offers a slower and “buggier” experience. And why not? Website visitors who don’t have a positive experience when visiting a website will click away… and in most cases, seldom return.
Here are some tips to help your website earn a higher ranking when it comes to technical SEO:
- Ensure that your website is “responsive”, i.e. — mobile-friendly
- Improve your site’s loading speed
- Optimize internal links
- Include main keywords in images as “alt text”
- Use secure, HTTPS encryption
- Leverage analytic tools to detect and correct crawl errors
- Find and repair all broken links
- Use search engine-friendly page structures
- Keep your URLs short and built around a keyword
- Integrate structured data
Improving Your Brand’s SEO
Most of this information is, admittedly, technical. And is often delegated to a strategic partner. But we think it’s always best to at least be familiar with the basics when your brand is considering aligning with professionals who have the knowledge and experience to optimize your SEO program.
K&A can help you improve your SEO, whether that involves refreshing your existing web experience or designing new campaign-specific landing sites. We can analyze and test the SEO that you have in place now and recommend new and better ways to improve your online presence… and generate more brand building opportunities. Send an email to Steve Kleber at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.