By: Sara Sliwinska
Have you ever wondered how to get your website to the top of Google’s results page? Improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is the best and most cost-effective way to achieve this goal.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is a process to improve the organic ranking of your website in search engine listings. There are two types of SEO – on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to what happens on your website, and includes the content you write, keywords you use and page speed. Off-page SEO is what is done on other websites to influence your ranking. In other words, how many other credible sources link to your pages.
Why SEO is important?
Credibility – When potential customers see you at the top of the results page, they know that you are a credible provider of the products or services they are looking for.
Traffic generation – The higher you rank, the more clicks and visits your website will generate. Most customers (according to Hubspot as much as 70%) are unlikely to go to the second page of the Google results search. Not investing in your SEO strategy means you lose out on potential business.
Cost-effectiveness – SEO is free (kind of). Although you will need to invest time and resources to improve your strategy and maintain it, Google doesn’t charge businesses for organic placing.
Best SEO practices for beginners
1) Make sure your content matches the search intent of your target customer – Imagine a user wants to promote an event and has two goals: first to find out about best strategies for event planning, the second to find the best tools to help them. To do that, they type those queries into Google. In the first instance, the user is looking for information about creating a strategy for their event and their intent is informational. In the latter scenario the user wants to find the best tools to plan their event and they are looking for a specific product, so their intent is commercial.
If your goal is to target the user when they are still looking for information (and are not yet ready to make decisions) serve them with informational content, such as an article about best strategies for event planning. In short, your content should match keywords that mirror the search intent of your target customer.
2) Tag your content – Add relevant keywords to the title and description of your page to signal that the content is relevant to the search query and intent of the user. There are many website management systems which highlight these fields for you.
a. Meta title – A headline of up to 60 characters that appears in search results and gives users insight on why the page is relevant to their query.
b. Meta description – A summary of your landing page shown below the title; a little bit like an elevator pitch for your website. Make sure you keep this below 160 characters!
c. Header tags – These tags help organize the content of your page and can be found in the HTML of your website and look like this: <h1>, <h2>, and so on. Imagine a document labelled with all the correct headings, you can navigate easily between different sub-headings and it’s much easier to read. Header tags have the same purpose.
3) Optimize images –
a. Site speed is important for ranking well in search results. A large image might result in slow loading time, forcing Google to penalize the website. The best practice is to keep image size to a minimum while preserving quality, a good guide is to be under 100kb. There are many image compression website that will do the work for you.
b. Alt text – some users need screen readers to access the information on your website. Adding alt-text means that you not only follow good guidelines for Google but that your content is accessible to everyone!
4) Backlinks – This refers to other websites linking to your page. for Google they act as votes of confidence for your website, signalling the legitimacy of your page. The links should come from authoritative sources, such as well-known news or review websites.
There are many more important factors to consider when creating your SEO strategy. If you would like to know more about how Managing Matters can help your association manage your search engine optimization strategy, contact our marketing experts!