How to Use SEO More Effectively
SEO, short for “search engine optimization”, refers to the practice of improving the amount of website traffic to your website. As you can expect, it’s one of the most effective ways to increase the number of people who visit your website.
However, there are some other tips and tricks that you can use to improve your SEO and to grow your website.
- Understand SEO
The first step to using any tool effectively is to make sure that you have at least a basic understanding of how it works. So, what is SEO? And how does SEO drive traffic to your site?
In short, SEO improves the visibility of your website and creates a higher ranking on a search engine. When a user (person) searches for something, like a new coat, they’ll typically type something like “blue coat for sale” in a search engine. The most commonly used search engine in the USA is Google, but other countries may vary.
When they type in that word or phrase, which is called a “keyword”, the search engine will display the results that it considers useful to the user. The top results will be a combination of websites that have paid adverts and websites that have been deemed most relevant.
The user will typically go to a website on the first page of the search engine. If your website is consigned to the last pages or not displayed at all, that user won’t visit your website and become a potential customer. True, there are other ways to attract someone to your website, but SEO plays a massive role in it. This is how many people shop for products and services.
Search engines find these relevant pages by using bots to crawl pages on the web. These bots, otherwise known as “spiders” or “crawlers”, collect information about these web pages and put them all in a massive index. Algorithms then analyze all of the pages in this index to figure out what order that your pages should appear.
You essentially want to use SEO to attract these bots and to encourage the algorithms to give your web pages a high rating. These bots and algorithms are smart as well, which means that “black hat” practices, designed to exploit this algorithm at the cost of your users, can negatively impact your website and may even get your site banned from search engines.
Common black hat tactics to avoid include:
- Content automation
- Hidden text or links
- Keyword stuffing
- Link schemes
- Article spinning
- Duplicate Content
- Malicious behavior on pages
- High-Quality Content
Content is king. You’ve likely heard it before, but it’s true nonetheless. Content is what guides search engine bots to your site so that they can gather more information about your site and determine how relevant it is. While content is necessary for SEO, don’t be tempted to only write content for bots.
Your content should be for people first and foremost. Interesting and engaging content that people enjoy reading will encourage them to stay on your page for longer, something known as “dwell time”. This dwell time also improves your ranking. If your content is particularly useful or enjoyable, users may share it with others as well, attracting even more people to your site.
There are many different kinds of content that you can create. Most websites use blog posts and informative articles which people read to find out more about your product or industry. For example, a website that sells tools may have articles about home improvement. The content should be geared toward your target audience.
You can also use video content to boost your SEO, as some search engines also rank sites according to user experience and visual content. People enjoy watching videos, and visual content is very versatile and keeps people on your website.
- Keywords & Internal Linking
While the focus of your content is to be enjoyable and useful to your audience, you can also use your content to add more keywords and links. But first, a word of caution. Don’t stuff your content with keywords and internal or external links. This can make your content difficult to read and the links can be distracting to the reader, but it may also cause your site to be penalized by search engines.
Keywords are, as stated earlier, the words or phrases that a user will use to find what they’re looking for. You can use a keyword finder to find the most common keywords that would apply to your web pages so that you can integrate them into your content, titles, and webpage URLs. This helps the search engine bot to find your website.
Another way to help the bot along is by including links to your web pages. These provide new roads for the bot to find different pages, which makes those pages more likely to be highly rated. Use optimized anchor text to help both bots and users to understand what the target pages are about.
- User Experience
Remember the dwell time mentioned earlier? You can also improve your dwell time by making sure that your website is designed well so that people can have an overall better experience on your site.
A poorly designed website that is unattractive or unresponsive might frustrate users, so they’re more likely to leave your website for a better-designed one. Include plenty of images and make your most relevant pages easy to navigate. Make sure that your website is fast and that it’s easy to buy your products, so you don’t end up with abandoned shopping carts. Even the little things can matter a lot.
- Get Outside Help
All of these practices will help your website to attract more visitors and to improve its ranking, allowing you to grow your customer base. However, the best way to get the most out of SEO is to hire a professional. A dedicated SEO Marketing Agency can provide a targeted service that’s designed for your industry and your target audience. Some agencies can also manage Google Ads to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your advertising.
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