Working on SEO can seem intimidating, and asking your web developer to “improve SEO” can be difficult to quantify results for in the short term. So, we compiled the top 5 things you can do today without knowing the first thing about computer code.
1 // Dominate with your Domain
Summary: Use your business name and what your business does as simply and briefly as possible in your domain.
With so much competition on the internet, standing out and coming up at the top of search results is all about specialization. And that starts with your domain. When choosing an SEO-ideal domain (which you can search and purchase yourself on GoDaddy or any domain provider), keep in mind the following: domain length and domain specificity.
Google weighs the words in your domain heavily when ranking your website. If the digital address of your domain is the exact word that people are searching for - especially if the exact word is the first word of your domain - that’s a good indication to Google that you’re a relevant website to feature for that search. Now, you may be thinking, just buy a domain that has every possible word in it someone may search for, but Google is smarter than that - they know no one is going to remember or search for a domain with 20 keywords stuffed into it, so we also have to keep it brief. Choose one word or phrase that best represents what you do, add your company name to it, and purchase that domain - if it’s available. Your developer can connect your domain in 2 minutes if you send it to them - if they try and charge you an exorbitant amount or claim it will take days to connect, you need a better developer, and we can help.
Domains are digital real estate. There is only one domain for every letter combination in the world, and all the English one-word .com domains are already taken. However, hopefully your company name + key word or phrase of what you do is available, or else you may have some trademark issues. If your services are geographically focused, you can also consider an abbreviation for your city on the end of the domain - but we want to be memorable, which generally means the shorter the better. Note that we want words that are easy to spell so people who audibly hear about your website can search and find it. If you’re already committed to a difficult-to-spell brand name, ask 20 strangers how to spell your company name and buy all the spelling variations they tell you that are available. Also avoid numbers in your domain or homophones (words that sound the same but have different spellings - such as pair and pear) as these can be confusing when your website name is heard and not seen.
Most domain purchasing websites will give you the option to purchase different extensions for your domain (such as .net, .org, .com). If you’re in a competitive field where you wouldn’t put it past your competition to purchase a similar domain, outwork you on SEO, and then rank above you when people search for you, it’s a good idea to purchase every variant of your website’s name.
2 // Content Creation
Summary: Take an hour to write a blog post a month related to what you do.
We all recognize that the world is moving faster than ever and relevance is measured in hours and minutes, so Google is continually searching your site for updated content to know that you are staying current on your area of expertise. Plus, additional content gives you a greater opportunity to get specific on explaining the product or service that you provide, increasing the chances that your site will have the exact keywords that someone is searching for. If you’re not sure what to write about, think about the common questions that your customers ask, or ask them about the questions that they have, and then write on those topics. Google’s algorithm is ever-evolving to recognize if you stuff your keywords throughout your blogs as much as possible in an unnatural, non-conversational manner and can decrease your ranking for doing so.
Google’s goal is to give their users results that are the most accurate, specific responses to their searches, so make that your goal as well in writing blog posts. While there may be 10,000,000 people searching for a realtor in your region, there may only be 10,000 people searching for a realtor for a specific neighborhood or for people in a certain stage of life. It’s easier and more effective to brand yourself through your content creation to focus on and win the 10,000 than it is to try and compete with every other realtor to win the 10,000,000.
Depending on the platform your site is built on, it may be difficult to publish the blog post yourself, but if you just send your web developer your blog in an email or document, they should be able to post it in a jiffy - and if not - let’s start a conversation.
3 // Create Backlinks
Summary: Get other websites to put your website link on their website.
We are often defined by who we associate with and who associates with us, and it’s no different online. If other websites on the internet who have good SEO think highly enough of your website to put your link on their site, then Google sees your site as more credible. So how do you get featured on other sites? One of the most common options is to have one of your blogs featured on someone else’s blog. If you’re following our above suggestion and already writing a monthly blog, it never hurts to submit the article to your relevant industry’s major news publication - such as Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, etc. News organizations are constantly looking for content to produce, and your content could be what they’re looking for.
Podcasts are increasing in popularity as well, so if you can submit a request to be featured on someone else’s podcast and have your website put in your bio on the post, that will expand your site’s credibility. You can set up strategic partnerships with other companies and agree to each feature each other on your websites, mutually building each other’s site authority. Applying for awards for your business that have a digital repository of past winners can help increase your presence as well. Of course, there are also sites that you can pay to have a profile created and they promise it will improve your SEO, and their effectiveness can be debated - but like we said before - Google’s algorithm is innovating daily with the goal of creating search results that are the best fit to answer their users searches, so we’re always a fan of back linking efforts that involve actually building quality content that people will find valuable.
4 // Ask for Reviews
Summary: Ask for satisfied customers to write you Google reviews.
In the age of Amazon, we all know the power of reviews. They build credibility with customers considering whether or not to work with you, but they also build credibility with Google. Especially when you ask customers to leave you a review on Google Maps (naturally Google prefers their own review platform), they take into account the number of recent reviews and their rating of your organization. If you don’t have Google reviews set up (if you do, your business should pop up on the right of search results with your address, hours of operation, and website), you can set it up yourself at Google My Business. No code required, you just request a postcard to be sent to you from Google with a confirmation code on it. Once you receive your confirmation code, enter it on your Google My Business account and you’re ready to start accepting reviews!
For more information on how to ask for and curate customer reviews that convert, we wrote a whole blog on that which you can read HERE. The overview is that you want reviews to be short, specific, and sincere.
5 // Get Social
Summary: Link your social media accounts on your website and post the content you created from Step 2.
Social media counts as backlinks (as we discussed in step 3), further expanding your web of connectedness online, and if you’re already creating content from step 2, why not post it on your social media as well? There are several great resources out there to schedule your social media posts across platforms - our favorite is Hyperchat Social - so whenever you write up the blog post, you can schedule it to be sent out on social media at the ideal times for maximum engagement. To know when is the ideal time for your industry, we love this article from Sprout Social which breaks down data on post engagement times per platform and industry.
As Google’s algorithm develops daily, getting to the top of page 1 results is about providing specific answers to specific questions in a genuine, human way. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, as other SEO factors include the length of time that you have owned your domain, and there’s no shortcutting time. So don’t get disappointed if you don’t see immediate results, and even if your site doesn’t move up in search rankings immediately, your network will be reminded of what you do as you post content, and they will begin to view you as an authority on the subject as you continue to provide free, valuable information. If you would like to see where your site stands on SEO currently, Neilpatel.com has a great SEO analyzer tool which can help you identify some of the more technical factors impacting your SEO. If you’re not happy with your SEO score or want help curating the right content, we’re here to help.
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