Last month we talked about what search engine optimization (SEO) is and why it matters in the grand scheme of things. If you missed that article, I would suggest you read it before continuing with this one.
Now, you know why SEO is important, and you are excited to get to work on your website! But wait. What exactly can you do to optimize your website for search engines? A lot of SEO strategies require manipulating the code behind a website . . . and I can sense some eyes glazing over as they read that statement. After all, website code is intimidating, and if you do not know any coding languages, you might feel ready to give up before you even begin.
Don’t worry! Here are some ways you can increase your rank in search engine results without even getting close to any code:
1. Create social media accounts and post quality content.
Search engines collect information from social websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ about how many people are interacting with or talking about the content posted. It uses that information to determine the popularity and relevance of the content and rank it in search results. The more interaction you can generate through your social media accounts, the better.
2. Publish great content.
High-quality content is free of grammar and spelling mistakes, and is very seldom repetitive. Most important, it provides the type and amount of content that the target audience wants. Usability is key.
You can improve upon your current website and social media content, or you can find a new way to get your content out there. Maybe you want to start a blog and publish posts on topics that are important to your company, industry, and customers. Or, maybe you want to start publishing different types of content on your social media profiles. If you are really ambitious, you may decide you want to publish e-books or infographics full of helpful content for your target audience. You are really only limited by your creativity. Just be sure that you are publishing the content in places where your target audience can find it easily.
3. Attach your social media accounts to your website.
Make it possible for people to share your content with their friends and followers on social media websites. You may notice that to the left and at the bottom of this article there are buttons and widgets that allow you to share it on five different social media websites. By making it easy for people to share your content, you will increase the likelihood of people interacting with it and improving your SEO.
4. Give your images descriptive names.
Search engines are able to see where an image is on a web page, but they cannot see what is in the image. To figure out how to categorize an image in its records, the search engine looks at the image name (among other things). If you have images on your website with names like “DSC10001.jpg” or “1297665.png,” the search engine will have no idea how to categorize that image. So, try to make your image names as descriptive as possible. A person who has never seen the image should be able to at least get a general idea of what the image looks like just by reading the name. This will allow search engines to accurately categorize your images and website in its records.
5. Link to other websites (and get them to link to you).
Simply stated, search engines take linking between websites into consideration when trying to decide how popular or relevant to a topic a website is. The quality and relevance of the links is very important, which means websites cannot just link to one another randomly to improve their SEO. If you are interested in learning more about this, here is a great article that explains linking and discusses SEO best practices for linking.
6. Sign up for Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
Registering your website with these programs is like an invitation for Google to take a look. Both of these programs are free, and as an added bonus, they provide you with a lot of useful information about your website. Just by signing up, you improve your SEO, and you can use the analytics data to further improve your SEO. It is a win-win situation.
7. Realize it will take time.
Improving your SEO does not happen overnight. In fact, it may not even happen within a week or two. Search engines are not constantly checking to see if you have made changes to your website, and you will not know whether or not the changes were effective until the search engines have registered those changes. I suggest waiting about a month after making changes before analyzing the results and planning further changes.
8. The best strategy of all:
The above strategies can improve your SEO substantially, but I have left the best method for improving your rank in search engine results for last. Are you ready? Here it is: Have a great website. Make sure information is useful to your target audience, easy to find, and well-organized as well as being of good quality. These are the things that really set one website apart from another. You can use every SEO strategy in the book, but if you do not have quality content that your target audience wants, it will not do you much good. Go into the SEO process with this attitude: “I am going to make my website as useful as a possible for my target audience, more useful than any of my competitors’ websites.”
There you have it: eight different strategies you can use to improve your SEO without approaching any website code. Try out some of these strategies, and then watch your website’s rank in search engine results increase over time.
What SEO strategies have you used on your website? Were these strategies successful or unsuccessful? Share about your experiences in the comments below.
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