SEO. To some, it’s what makes them want to get up from their desk, walk outside and go jump in front of a bus, but for me, it’s one of my passions. What do those three letters mean to you though? Over the last few years, those three letters went from having no significance to me what so ever, to now seeming like those three letters are not nearly satisfying in order to efficiently describe what really goes on behind thoughtful and effective optimization work that can make or break your business.
For those who have no idea what SEO is, in simple terms, SEO is a bunch of thoughtful website practices intended to raise your websites visibility and discoverability.
With that being said, let's unpack what I believe to be three of the most important ideas and techniques behind SEO:
Top 3 Website Practices
First off, why is SEO important? Sometimes, it's easy to get so focused in on the details that we forget about the big picture. It’s a proven fact that 81% of a business’ potential prospects check out a professional services firm's website first before choosing what they believe is the best option for them.
Being found on search engines and making that initial first impression can mean the difference between new inbound leads and, well….sitting there with no leads at all. So it's important that your site be...
1. User-Friendly and Error-Free
At least as much as possible. Google and other search engines crawl your site on a regular basis, so the fewer errors found, the better. But you're not building your pages for the sake of Google's crawlers; you want them to be easy to navigate and useful for the users, without the frustration of having to search all around your website for content.
A good place to check for site errors is Google Webmaster Tools, under the Crawl section. This is where your site errors will appear. Depending on the error, every month or so you should find out why the errors are occurring and repair them—which may mean contacting your web developer if you can’t figure out the issue yourself.
I say "aware" mostly because, while keywords are important, you have to be careful not to overload a page or site with keywords. Doing so is not only frustrates users but it will have a negative impact in search engines such as Google or Bing.
Consider a keyword's difficulty and search volume when choosing specific keywords for your website. Use a keyword difficulty tool to gauge how competitive a keyword is. If the keyword is highly competitive and your website has drawn fairly low attention/ranking, consider choosing a less difficult keyword and input that keyword naturally into your website text.
3. Having A Structured Format
I’ve seen numerous people argue how they think SEO is all about "tricks “like keyword cramming or messing around with “special” code.
But true SEO work goes deep. You could even argue that it's a matter of structuring your information in a way that ensures the foundation of your site makes sense to crawlers. Pages on your site should be linked in an organized, hierarchical way, helping user to find related and relevant information as easy as possible. The result should be a clear, organized sitemap, which is an essential to both the search engines and to your users.
You've probably noticed a pattern by now: No matter which one of those techniques you look at, each of those is all about creating the best and most simple experience possible for the users.
Implementing these practices and periodically checking to make sure everything is running smoothly, can make a serious impact on search impressions, traffic, and rankings
Zachary T. Brown