Get found online, increase traffic, and engage your audience with these SEO tactics
SEO in 2014 is all about building an audience for your website and keeping in touch with them on all of their devices. If you’re a small business, you can use this website SEO checklist to get a headstart on your yearly marketing plan.
A lot has changed in the past year or so with regards to how people search the web and use the internet. Tablets and smartphones are now used more than desktop computers to search the web and research products online. So, having a website that is effective on mobile devices is increasingly important.
We’ve also changed how we search for information. We use voice commands, visual cues, and more intuitive search results. In 2013, Google revamped it search algorithm with the release of Google Hummingbird. This semantic search algorithm supports the new ways we are searching for information and provides the basis for future intuitive search features. You can read more about semantic search in my previous blog post: Semantic Search Myths Debunked.
Website SEO Checklist
Here are some items to consider with regards to your website search engine optimization and internet marketing. By tackling these items, your web presence and online audience will be in great shape in 2014. If you don’t have the resources to do everything, then do what you can. Every little bit you can do helps!
Audit your website for obvious errors
You only have a few seconds to get people’s attention once they get to your website. So, eliminating errors is important. Here are some things to work on:
- Test all internal and external website links
- Check for misspelled words
- Remove Flash and other older technologies not supported by mobile devices
- Check information like pricing, special offers, and company information for correctness
Fix any issues as soon as you can.
Add images and videos to your website
Your web pages and blog posts should have a good mix of text and images on them. Media like YouTube videos also helps capture people’s attention. Many small business websites are very text oriented, especially B2B websites. If this is the case for you, then consider adding a relevant image or two to every page.
You can use images that you own or purchase stock images online. For stock images, check out Fotolia or iStockPhoto as two possible options. You may be violating copyright laws if you use images you find on other websites. So, this is not recommended.
Basic videos can be made with a good microphone and a smartphone or tablet. Professional looking videos can be produced by a videographer. For SEO, it’s a good practice to post videos on YouTube.com first and then embed them into your website.
Update your website to responsive design to support mobile devices
If your current website design does not work well on a smartphone or tablet, then you may be losing valuable website traffic and mobile rankings. Responsive design was created in 2011, endorsed by Google in 2012, and became widely used in 2013. So, if your website is based on older technology, you can benefit from a redesign using responsive website layouts.
What is responsive design? The goal is to have one website layout that can change automatically as screen width changes from desktop computers to tablets to mobile phones. Here’s an article on the benefits of responsive web design and here is another about The Importance Of Responsive Web Design For B2B Sites
Getting this new technology can be pricey as it often requires rewriting much of the underlying website code to support the new responsive format. So, it is often best to implement it when doing an website redesign project.
An alternative to responsive is to create a separate mobile website, However, mobile websites have some drawbacks with regards to user experience and SEO.
Another alternative is to use a content management system like WordPress which supports responsive design. In fact, if you choose WordPress for your website, then you’ll also have an integrated blogging platform right on your website.
Add a blog to your website
Business blogs are becoming more and more important with the new focus on content building for SEO. You may have heard of WordPress as it is a very popular blogging platform and website content management system (CMS).
There are several factors to consider before jumping into blogging:
- Remember that blogging is about sharing information, not about direct selling.
- Some technical set up is needed to install a blog on your website.
- You will need to post articles to your blog regularly. If you don’t have time, then consider hiring a blogger or content writer.
- Your blog should look like your website and have similar navigation options for visitors.
- Your blog should be optimized for search engines using the proper SEO plug-ins and be included in your website traffic data (Google Analytics).
- If you are ready for a website redesign, consider using WordPress to integrate your website and blog into one design.
Here are a few blog-related articles from the SEO Tips and Strategies archives:
- Improve Website Traffic and Your Online Reputation with a Small Business Blog
- Tips to Improve Website & Blog Content Visibility
Get social by sharing website content to your audience
Sharing links to your website content and allowing people to share your content easily helps build your online audience. This audience becomes a pool of people you can tap as prospective customers or just as people that help spread the word about your products and services.
Sharing website content not only includes using Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter to communicate with your audience, but also includes things like email marketing.
You don’t need to be on all social networks, but your business should be on Google+ and another that makes sense for your target audience. If you sell to other businesses, consider using LinkedIn. If you sell directly to consumers, then consider using Facebook.
Here are a few social media tips for websites from SEO Tips and Strategies:
- Improve your Website’s Effectiveness with Social Media Sharing Integration
- Blog Content Link Building Ideas
Optimize your website for search engines
My main focus with clients is evaluating their websites and recommending changes to optimize them for search engines so they get the right traffic and convert that traffic into prospects and customers.
By browsing these articles, maybe you’ll pick up a few more items for to add to your website SEO checklist.