For today’s business owners a search engine optimized website and active social media channels are essential for attracting new prospects and turning current customers into brand advocates. Your online presence, especially your website, is how customers know your brand and learn about your services. Your website is at the center of your online reputation and, if your customers can’t find you online, it doesn’t matter how great your products or services are.

Understanding the nuances of search engine optimization, or SEO, and how best to apply that knowledge can seem overwhelming at times. There’s tons of information available about SEO, but knowing what’s good information, what’s outdated data and how to apply that information to your website, can present quite a challenge. That’s why we at The Oklahoman Media Company put together a list of 6 SEO essentials you should consider before you build.

Is Your Content Rankable AND Readable?

In addition to the technical components and the design/layout, quality content is an essential element to a superior website. With old tactics like keyword stuffing and generic content becoming detrimental to your website’s ranking, making sure the content you’re providing adequately represents your business, and is fresh, informative, and updated regularly is a key to getting found.

Now that we’ve established keyword stuffing as a big “no no,” let’s look at the element of choosing the right keywords. Keywords help shape and focus your website’s content, making sure “how people are searching for your products or services” matches “how you are communicating about your products and services.”

Using keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help you understand which keywords are driving the most traffic to your competitor’s websites. Then you can pick the best keywords that describe your business and incorporate them in your website content in a relevant and strategic manner.

Don’t Forget to Build a Blog Page

Blogs are also a great way to keep your site fresh, while engaging and educating your customers. They’re also a place to strategically “fold-in” keywords into your content. You can create video blogs, or vlogs, for an additional SEO bump or utilize more traditional lists, customer service advice and tips.

HubSpot tells us, “companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” So for SEO boosting power and inbound marketing leads, start blogging now!

Your social media channels are a another great place to promote your website or blog. You can share engaging content with your customers through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and more. Your customers in turn “like”, comment and share your content, which causes Google and other search engines to rank your website higher.

How’s Your Website’s Layout and Navigation?

How your services or products are listed throughout the site also impacts your online visibility. If you have a service or product that has its own service line, then the product or service should have its own dedicated page. That’s how search engines decide what’s relevant and what’s not. For example, if you own a heating & air conditioning business, then making sure both your heating and your air conditioning services each have a dedicated page with detailed, relevant information specific to the service is imperative to ranking.

Do You Own Your Site and URL?

If you’re not a DIYer, or if your business requires a more complex site, hiring a professional web designer/developer may be the way to go. However, remember to question them about the domain name, the site’s ownership, and the content management system’s complexity. If you don’t own the URL, or the site, and you can’t make any changes without knowing HTML code, then you’ll have to reach out to your designer for any little change or update. Plus, if you and the web designer part ways down the road, the website and your domain name need to belong to you, not the developer or a third party.

When It Comes to Websites, Robots Matter Too

While your making sure your website is readable by humans is a top priority, don’t forget to optimize your content for the robots too. Is your content tagged properly? How’s your Metadata? Have you added too much text to your pictures so Google can’t index them correctly? Using Google Search Console is a great source to help you maintain a Google-friendly website.

…And Don’t Forget About RankBrain

Then there’s also Google’s RankBrain to consider. RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system, “that helps process search results and provide more relevant search results for users.” In a recent interview, Google commented that RankBrain is “the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm along with links and content.”

In short, RankBrain monitors how people like and share information. Say you’re a plumber in Ohio and you specialize in septic tank servicing. When customers need services like yours they might type into Google Search “Septic Tank Plumber in Ohio”. Google produces the results of your customer’s search, including your page, and if the customer visits your page, then stops his or her search, Google notices and moves your site up in the rankings for “Septic tank plumber in Ohio.”

Want To Know More? Then Join Us

We know there’s a lot to learn and understand about SEO, especially when we get into the nuts and bolts of Google’s RankBrain, but that’s why we at The Oklahoman Media Company have put together a Free Business Builder VIP Event to share more tips and our roadmap to SEO success. Please join us on Thursday, August 25th to hear what our experts have to say about SEO, SEM, keywords, site relevance and more. Plus every business that attends is qualified for a free evaluation of their online presence from the experts at BigWing Interactive, Oklahoma’s undisputed leader in digital marketing services.

Your website is at the center of your online presence, but if your customers can’t find you, it doesn’t matter how great your website is. Get Found Today. Let The Oklahoman Media Company show you how.

The Oklahoman Media Company’s VIP Business Builder Event
Thursday, August 25th
11:30am – 1:30pm

CHK | Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73129
Complimentary Lunch Provided

RSVP Today!