Ever search for a product or solution to a problem and come up with everything but what you were looking for?
It happens far too often. And is completely preventable with a little work on your end.
The good news is, most of your competitors are still ignoring or skipping SEO entirely ... which is a HUGE opportunity for you!
The Difference Between Page 1 and Page 61
The bottom line is, you can't sell anything to anybody if nobody can find you. If you're ranking in the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) for your keywords is not on page 1 or 2, the chances of anyone finding you are quite small.
While there are many moving parts to effective search engine optimization, a modest initial investment with regular enhancements can pay off big for your website.
While search engine optimization may sound daunting at first, it really involves a fairly straight-forward set of techniques that have a big impact on how well your site performs in organic* search results.
* "Organic" means you didn't pay for the click through a PPC or other type of campaign to get the user to click. Good SEO gets you the click for FREE!
Finding the Right Keywords for Your Site
Use Google's keyword research tool (or your keyword research tool of choice) to look for keywords that get high search volumes, are reasonably competitive, and that are used by your prospect to buy your product or service.
Doing good keyword research can really help your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) performance as well.
Try keyword phrases like "buy golf shoes in North Dallas" or "golf course downtown Dallas".
Write Your Copy Using the Keywords People Are Using to Search for Your Product or Service
Be sure to put the product name and search term close to the beginning of your on-page title as well as the first paragraph. Search bots ignore "the", "and" and other throw-away words so you should be able to write very readable, informative copy and still maintain good SEO copywriting best practices.
Be sure to include these keywords in the page title, page description, Facebook open graph tags, and navigation titles for other pages as well.
DO NOT use keywords everywhere! That's known as "keyword stuffing" and Google will punish you for it. Just write good, helpful copy about your product or service and you'll be fine.
Help the Search Engines Find You with Schema.org Tags
Schema.org is a search engine tag system designed to help the search bots properly categorize and rank your content.
For instance, a local business might have this copy in the masthead of their website:
Slicers Golf Supplies
The finest collection of golf clubs, golf balls, and golf apparel in Mytown.
1234 Highway 1
Use Schema tags to optimize that for search like this:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
<h1><span itemprop="name">Slicers Golf Supplies</span></h1>
<span itemprop="description">The finest collection of golf clubs, golf balls, and golf apparel in Mytown.</span>
<div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
<span itemprop="streetAddress">1234 Highway 1</span>
<span itemprop="addressLocality">Mytown</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">Mystate</span>
Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">555-555-5555</span>
While this may look like a lot of markup, your webmaster should be able to help you properly tag the elements on your pages. Do the same for articles, blog posts, video, images, products, services, events and anything else you want the search bot to know about.
The rewards can be huge as Google will provide rich snippets in the SERPs (search engine results pages) if you help the bot identify and categorize your copy, images and video.
Additional Local Search SEO
Optimizing Images - Special Considerations
Be sure to use descriptive file names containing your specific keywords.
* Accessible code allows your website to be accessed by a wider range of devices (hand-helds, screen readers, text browsers, search engines) and is a requirement for Federal and State Government sites.
Images and Search Engine Ranking
One of the most successful advertisers of all time, David Ogilvy, commissioned a study on the use of images in advertising. What he found was, images can actually distract your prospect and cost you the sale!
One relevant image per topic is plenty to attract the eye as long as the headline is positioned properly.
Ogilvy's study found people tended to scan the image, then read the headline, then move through the body copy. If the image distracted them they rarely made it through the headline.
Another extremely important consideration is page weight. Images are by far the biggest culprit in making your website load slowly because they usually "weigh" the most (it's actually the file size and the bandwidth and time it takes to download the image that's the problem).
The search engines use page load speeds as one of the algorithms to rank your pages. Some SEO experts think it's one of the critical search ranking factors for mobile.
So if your site loads slowly they will demote your website in the organic search returns. Keeping the number of images to a minimum will help your SEO, not to mention your user experience, especially for mobil users.
Create a Robots.txt file and XML Sitemap for Search Engines
Use Google's support page to create your Robots.txt file.
Go to XML-Sitemaps.com to build a sitemap for Googlebot to properly crawl and index your website. Use Google Webmaster Tools to register the sitemap (and video sitemap if you self-host video). Then tell Google to re-crawl your website.
While there are a million other things you can do to optimize your website for search engines, these are a few that have worked well for my clients.
Effective SEO ... SEO that works with Google instead of against it ... that withstands algorithm updates and marketing fads ... is what ties all your marketing, customer service, sales, PR, branding, and web development together.