A: SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a practice used by website designers and website maintenance experts that aims to bring a website to the top of the screen when a search platform (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) is used. There are many ways to optimize your website for higher ranking in organic search results but the following are still considered best practice:
• Easy to use
• Mobile-device friendly
• Contact information on every page
• Appropriate page titles
• Blog, news or portfolio page
A strong website can be your highest-ranking salesperson and earn your largest return on investment against your other marketing platforms, if built correctly. Let’s take a deeper look into our top five SEO essentials for your company’s website.
1. Site map
A site map is a design feature within your website where you can create an organized list of the web pages in your site in order for Google and other search engines to easily find what content is on your site and how it is organized. You may have heard of Googlebots, the crawlers that go out when someone types “Grand Junction vet” into Google. A site map allows the bots to quickly identify if your website is a suitable match for what the searcher may be looking for.
2. NAP listings
NAP stands for name, address and phone listings in directories such as Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, etc. These directories store valuable information about your business, including a link to your website and operating hours. The more information you provide to someone who is doing a local search, the more likely they are to choose you. That’s not to say that presentation (branding) and quality don’t make the ultimate impression, but providing the most basic information to the directory and searchers is a key first step. The NAP in these directories needs to match the NAP information on your website for optimal SEO results.
3. Blog/news web page(s)
When a person types a phrase or question into a search engine, such as Google, the crawlers go out and search for corresponding information on websites. The sites which have relevant information (and are updated regularly) are often placed higher up in the results given to the searcher. A good way to boost relevant content on your website is to have a blog and/or news page. You can write the content for your blogs, have a digital expert manage your blog, hire a freelance writer, or have guest writers. A news feed is a great addition because you can post articles or videos that have been created about your business from established news outlets. These give the web crawlers rich information to decide if your website is relevant to a search and offer your web viewers a sense of trust in your company’s expertise.
4. Links/social media shares
We could spend days discussing the value and methods of building your internal and external links but we’ll keep this short and to the point. The more links you have to and from your website, the higher a search engine tends to place you in search results. A good way to do this is by sharing your blog post’s URL with other experts in correlating fields to yours and/or online news outlets. If they find your information useful, they may create a link in one of their blog or article posts to site your information and website. An easy way to get this going is to share your blog/news posts on social media. This method will also boost the amount of traffic to your website which is another factor that plays into your organic search rankings.
5. Responsive/mobile-friendly design
You may have seen this in our last column, but we cannot overstate the importance of having a website that is responsive. This means that it has been designed internally to respond to the screen size of the person viewing it. Google recently announced that its search results index is essentially switching to prioritize mobile-friendly sites. If you’re not 100 percent positive that your website has been designed with mobile in mind, we highly recommend getting an answer sooner rather than later if high search rankings are an important part of your marketing and local-presence plan.
Done correctly, your website has the potential to be your highest earning salesperson. It will save you time so that you can focus on what you do best within your company. If you’re curious to see your website’s SEO report and ranking, we would be happy to run your score and walk you through your results step by step. You can call us at 970-256-4387 or send an email to email@example.com to request your complimentary website analysis today.
From your digital brand experts at Sentinel Digital Agency, happy optimizing!
Julie Norman and Mollie Shepardson are digital brand specialists with Sentinel Digital Agency, a sister company of The Daily Sentinel that provides marketing services to businesses across the Grand Valley. To submit a question for our digital brand experts to answer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 970-256-4387. Need help with your website? We do that, too.