10 SEO Strategies for Your Website

You know the value of search ranking in search engines, but what factors do Google, Bing, and Yahoo use in their algorithms to rank these websites? Whether your website is a business or personal hobby, there are many tactics and strategies to achieve search engine optimization that require marketing and technological skills. Depending on your goals, an individual or multiple teams can implement these activities. But Even in a collaboration effort, it’s important to know the features search engines look for to rank your website. While the algorithms of search engines are constantly changing, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with them, the most important thing to keep in mind is the search engine’s goal is to provide users the precise information they’re looking for. As long as SEO teams keep the reader in mind when writing content and setting up their webpages, that’s the biggest step to achieving high ranking.

With that mindset, here’s 10 SEO activities to optimize your website organized in four areas: Technical Set Up, HTML Coding, Content, and Off-Websites Influences.

Technical Set Up


1. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Earlier this year, Google and Bing began labeling search results as “mobile-friendly” (see Figure 1). Websites built for a mobile experience are given a boost in mobile search results, but does not impact rankings on a desktop device. But know that content rules. So a clear winner in content will rank higher than just being mobile optimized. Still, a website not optimized for mobile will underperform.

Good tool to help you test if you’re mobile friendly: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

10 SEO website strategies 1

2.  Ensure your webpages have fast loading times

Search engines use this measurement in its algorithm for search ranking. A fast page loading time not only pleases the search engines but gives your visitor a much better experience too. There are a few measures you can take, including uploading images as close to the right size as needed so it doesn’t bog down your page. And careful of embedding too many YouTube videos. Other technical aspects, such as excess HTML coding, can slow it down too.

Google tool to help measure speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

3. Create clear URL structures

URL wording is very important. Having-a-clear-URL-structure-like-this clearly describes what your page is about as, well as giving you additional keyword credit when sharing this link on other webpages. Your webpage will have more credibility and trust to users when the clear and descriptive link.

Good: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/oven-baked-salmon-recipe.html
Bad: http://litoschickenrecipes.com/public/pages/b82385d4-1d6a-4362

4. Make sure there’s no errors in search engines crawling your website

Search engine crawlers scan everything about your webpages so they can index, or categorize, your website. The robots.txt file on your server will tell search engine crawlers (like the Googlebot) which pages can or cannot be crawled. Use tools like Google Webmaster to tell you if you’re there’s any errors in crawling or indexing your webpage.

Google Webmaster tool: https://www.google.com/intl/en/webmasters/

HTML Coding


5. Write page titles

One of the most important ingredients in SEO, this tells the search engines AND your audience what your page is all about. This will most likely be displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and be your audience’s FIRST impression of your website. Good writing strategies are to include primary and secondary keywords, and also your brand name.  See Figure 2.

6. Write meta descriptions

While meta descriptions do not factor into the search engine’s technical scanning of your website, they do influence your audience in a couple different ways. First, search engines bold any words in your description that are used in the search query. Secondly, once the user recognizes this and reads your description, this is your opportunity to convince them your page has what they’re looking for. Classic marketing. Best practices include writing a different description for each webpage.  See Figure 2.

10 SEO website strategies pic 2

Content


7. Use the Right Keywords and An Appropriate Amount

First, determine what your webpage is all about. What is the primary question it’s answering? Once you’ve addressed this, now you research terms for ideas on what words your audience uses on a topic. Google Keyword Planner is very helpful (see Figure 3). Remember, you’re writing this with the reader in mind, so make it readable and digestible for them. The better experience your readers have, the better you’ll rank.

Google Keyword Tool: Google Keyword Planner (must have login and an Adwords account)

Free tool if you’re not using Google Adwords: http://keywordtool.io/ and SEMrush. Grab semrush discount coupon here

10 SEO website strategies pic 3

8. Media Content: Images and videos

Media such as images and videos are important content types to engage your audience. For images, search engines scan these and appear in image search results. Google advises to use alt descriptions in your images and to help Google identify a quality image and site. For videos, one good technique is to use a good thumbnail for an appealing view to your audience as well as a compelling and descriptive title.

Off-Website Influences


9. Use social media as best you can

Create a social media plan and leverage these platforms. They have a dominating presence on search engines and can share links to your website. The more active and engaged you are on social media, and sharing your website content, the more traffic you’ll drive. There are many ways these platforms can help with SEO for your website.

10. Eliminate black hat SEO strategies

Gone are the days of putting your link everywhere you possibly can simple to drive traffic. Same with overstuffing your website with keywords just for SEO sake. Google can recognize this and will penalize you for it by dropping your website in search rankings. Any disingenuous traffic will be considered spam. Buy backlinks and All These are all referred to as black hat tactics. As mentioned before, think of your audience and you’ll be in good shape.

These strategies will position you for SEO success, but it’s critical to monitor your SEO performance, and adjust your activities accordingly. Always remember to keep your target audience in mind, and the more fresh and relevant your content can be using these tactics, the better your SEO performance will be.

 

Scott Green is a digital marketing specialist and co-owner of marketing consulting firm DS Marketing.  Scott works with clients on lead generation strategies through SEO, Email, and Social Media and has worked with the education, real estate, and health care industries.

The Up and Comers are Coming Up!

One of the major advantages membership in the Chicago AMA offers is the opportunity to meet, connect with and learn from people of all levels of experience who work in many different disciplines.  This benefit is particularly important for those who are just starting out in the business and have yet to build a significant professional network. (It’s also vital for the rest of us since this networking is always a major element of professional success whatever your job title or level of experience.)

Recognizing this need on the part of young professionals, the Chicago AMA created the Up and Comers program.  Up and Comers focuses on breaking down the barriers to learning and opening up discussion between recent and future members of the organization. On Wednesday, November 4, led by Michael Long, Chicago AMA CEO and Michelle Batten, President-elect, the Up and Comers met at an event hosted by Tom Jacobs, Chicago AMA President for a discussion on “Inflection Points That Shape Your Career.”  According to Michelle, “Our goal was to hear directly from young marketers about what they need to personally learn, grow and thrive in Chicago.”

The evening began with a conversation between Michelle and Dean Petrulakis, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Rider Dickerson on a topic of great interest to many seniors and recent grads – how do you get your first job.

Dean’s tale of how his determination, imagination and positive attitude led to his overcoming considerable competition to land his first position could have been the plot for a TV show on showbox. Later, these same qualities coupled with a talent for networking, helped him climb the ladder of success to his current role.

When asked to summarize his advice to fellow Chicago AMA members who are just starting out, Dean offered, “First, recognize that you can’t rise to the top without putting in the effort to get there. There are no shortcuts. If you get a shot at a job, don’t be afraid to make it your own shot. Go out there and grab it and then be willing to put in the work it takes to achieve a high level of success. It’s really up to you.”

The dialogue between Michelle and Dean quickly became a group discussion with other senior level members sharing their own experiences inspired by the questions and comments of the younger members of the group.

During the second half of the session, the group broke up into three teams charged with coming up with some practical suggestions on how our organization can attract and engage more young professionals. And according to Michelle, “these interactions led us to identify additional areas where we can continue the conversation and ignite the next generation of marketers within our community.” Over the next year, the Up and Comers community will invest in the mentorship and apprenticeship experiences, strategic skill building events and Collegiate and Higher Education partnerships that Chicago AMA members need in order to take their careers to the next level.

Shortly after the event, one of the attendees, Elina Yufa, President of the AMA – Lake Forest College Collegiate Chapter, was asked to share her view of the evening. Below is what she had to say:

Chicago AMA: What did you hope to get out of the event before you attended?

Elina: I’ve been in close contact with the president-elect for a long time now and she personally invited me to the event. It sounded like a great learning experience, not to mention a unique opportunity to get an “inside-look” of the Jacobs Agency and make some career connections to broaden my network.

Chicago AMA: What did you learn?

Elina: I learned that every chapter of AMA is struggling with the same issues. Member retention is a challenge and target audiences make a big difference. Professors are a gap that we should tap into more aggressively and we brainstormed some great ideas for this, which I can apply to my chapter as well.

Chicago AMA: How do you feel this benefited you – or not?

Elina: I believe this was invaluable to me because I built upon existing relationships and gained new ones. I felt like I had a voice and that was really gratifying. I’m always looking to learn and this was just another opportunity to do so.

Chicago AMA: Would you recommend the Up and Comers to others and if so, why?

Elina: I definitely would recommend the Up & Comers, and have! This group offers something unique – a place where young ambitious professionals have a voice. It also provides them with a lot of exposure and inspiration, with like-minded peers and worthy mentors.

For more information on the Up and Comers, click here.

Wendy Lalli consults on marketing projects through her own agency, Wendy Lalli Ltd. and is CD of Crux Creative, a marketing agency in Wisconsin.  She also mentors other marketing professionals in transition and wrote on job search for the Chicago Tribune and 25 newspapers in the Chicago Sun Times network.