Quick DIY Website Optimization Tips
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of optimizing the content of a website to better reflect the services and locations of a business. There are many factors that Search Engines (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo) take into account to provide the best possible search results when you look for something online. In order to rank high in the search results, you want to make sure all elements such as Page Titles, Heading Tags (i.e. H1, H2, H3, etc), Images, and page content (paragraph text) have the target keyword combinations for that specific page to rank. There are also many other on-site elements and off-site elements (business directories, review sites, news articles, etc).
Overall, all these factors help Search Engines deliver the most accurate and relevant information to the users when searching for a particular product, service, or whatever else they may be looking for. SEO is important in establishing a solid foundation for your website to grow. The name of the game is increasing your search results and rankings to gain Organic search traffic (Free traffic). After the solid foundation has been laid, you can then move onto other online marketing ventures such as online ads (Google Ad Words, Facebook ads), Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, etc.
In order to calculate ROI correctly, it's important to differentiate short term and long term metrics:
- If the site is in it’s infancy stage, the focus should be on increasing website traffic and overall awareness; mainly Organic and local traffic sources.
- Once the site is acquiring and maintaining a high volume of traffic, next comes improving lead conversions that include: contact forms, phone calls, and requests for directions (Google), etc.
- Now that you’re site is maintaining relatively high conversion rates (determined based on industry), we’ll focus on the quality of leads and begin measuring the amount of new customers acquired each month.
Short Term Value can be measured by various increases in traffic metrics and leads.
Long Term Value can be measured by the acquisition and retention of new and existing customers.
Business citations are all the places, other than your website, where your business is listed online. These may include major Search Engine Profiles (Google My Business, Bing Profile, Yahoo Profile), Business Directories & Industry Directories (Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, etc), Review sites (Yelp, Kudzu, City Search), Social Sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) and many other smaller niche sites.
'NAPs' stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. Your "NAP" must be consistent across all sources, otherwise Search Engines and Visitors looking for your business can become confused or directed to incorrect contact information. It's always a good idea to check your listings. At Site Hospital, we constantly check and republish business listing information twice a month to make sure your business is reflected correctly online!
Backlinks are any "link" from another website that connects to a specific page on your website. Backlinks are very important in ranking factors within the search engines! The more links you have coming to your site, the more useful Search Engines perceive you to be to potential searchers. However, it is important to note, that more is not always better! When having backlinks direct to your site, quality is always better than quantity! If you have lots of backlinks coming to your site, but none of those sites are relevant to whatever service, industry, or location your serve, then Search Engines will recognize this as spam and will penalize your site - meaning lower rankings!
Backlinks can be any link that points a user to your site. This means Business Directories, Review sites, Social sites, Other websites and news articles. Also, don't forget to link back to other relevant site as well. You can think of backlinks as networking - you want to help visitors/users find what they are looking for; the more you useful you are, the more visitors and search engines will find you effective (thus higher rankings!).
There are many tools out there to check the status of current links and prospect new links. Here are two simple, and free, tools for you to check what sites are linking to your site, and if any previous links are broken:
It is quick and easy to start tracking visitors to your website. We recommend using Google Analytics. This is a free, and very powerful, tool offered by Google that can help you better understand the types of traffic coming to your site (Organic, Direct, Referral, Social, etc), the demographics of visitors (age, gender, location, etc), the time and day when people are most active on your site, the device used to visit (desktop computer, tablet, mobile), and many other factors.
To get started with Google Analytics, all you need is a Google email (Gmail) account. Then you fill in the necessary information on Google Analytics, and you will receive a tracking code, that you can implement on your site and start tracking visitors to your site! If you need help setting up Google Analytics, there is a step-by-step guide offered by Google.
Another free tool that we recommend, that can offer even greater insights into your site's traffic and overall web health is Google Search Console - previously called Webmaster Tools. This tool can help provide important health metrics such as crawl errors, broken links, site security issues, as well as, clicks, impressions, keyword rankings, search terms, and more!