By Mark Campanale, NPA Digital Marketing Manager
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the algorithm used by search engines to find quality web sites that are relevant to what is typed in the search bar. However, it is ALWAYS changing. But this is a good thing. The more the engines are fine-tuned, the better the results. They are constantly tweaking their code to follow search behavior. For example, people used to simply put one word in a search engine. Now, there are several different ways to search, the most popular being asking a question. So how do you get started in a way that is easy to understand, and moreover, undertake?
HERE ARE 4 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SEO
1. Content is King: Search engines love to crawl rich, relevant content. Subject matter that is created specifically for your targeted audience is one sure-fire way to increase your website’s crawlability. Adding quality keywords that your customers are searching for tells the search engines that you are an authority and improves your page relevance.
Using Keywords: Think about what your customers might search for. You hear keywords from your audience on a daily basis just from their time in your store. The key is to be specific.
Who buys _____ near me? (Yes – this is a keyword. People search by asking full questions.)
Sell your (pick specific item for a targeted landing page or promotion.)
What can I get for _____?
How much can I get for ____?
You can also use what are called “negative keywords,” which target searches for competitor sites. For example:
Personal loan, Antique store
Keyword Placement: Now that you’ve chosen your keywords, you need to place them within your page content. Search engines CRAWL web pages, meaning they start from the top of your page and work down, applying relevance to each keyword.
If “sell your jewelry” are your keywords, you need to place them in your URL, your heading and subheadings, and throughout your page. Using a combination of the words a few times in the first paragraph and a few more times throughout the page tells the search engines that your page is a match for what your customers are searching for. To highlight these keywords, use bold and italics tags, especially in the heading.
2. Fresh Content Gets New Crawls: Pages can get stale. If content is not updated regularly, search engines get bored and will tend to ignore the page during crawl. If you haven’t updated content, the search engine considers your page irrelevant to the search.
Once a month, take an audit of your landing pages. Edit each one by switching up the keywords, editing a paragraph, and adding/changing pictures.
3. Links are Paramount to Search Engine Relevance! When you search for content, do you ever search for the words, “click here?” Neither does anybody else, and thus, search engines ignore these words. Instead of just writing, “click here”, try writing out the entire keyword phrase, for example, “Click here to learn more about how to sell us your jewelry.” Search engines add that keyword to the crawl and quality rankings.
4. Using Images or Video? TAG THEM! You know that image you uploaded with the name, “IMG234354?” That is actually hurting your search engine crawlability. First, give that image an actual name; better yet, give it a keyword! After inserting it into your page, use ALT tags to reference the keyword. For example: <img src=”sellingyourjewelry.jpg” ALT=”Sell your jewelry at (storename)”>. Do not simply put “jewelry” for the tag; it does nothing for the search relevance. You can see that a combination of the keyword has been used for both the image name as well as the ALT tag. The same goes for video. That URL for the embedded video tells the search engines NOTHING. Simply add the ALT tag after the link.
While there are several more ways to increase your website’s SEO, these 4 tips are the most important when getting started. They are the framework that will set you up for success. Use this formula for every page, and the search engines will literally love your site.
Mark Campanale is the NPA Digital Media Manager and has spent 28 years championing the customer experience in both the financial and entertainment industries, including Disney.