Whether you’ve just started accepting online orders or are hoping to lure more people to an established eStore, getting website traffic is one of the toughest nuts to crack. Understanding a few SEO basics is crucial to increasing the number of people who visit your site.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of steps you can take to ensure that your website appears in search results.
The good news is that most SEO strategies cost nothing if you are willing to put in the work.
Start with these 4 SEO basics
Search engine optimization is a deep, deep rabbit hole; you can find more articles about how to do it here. But these are the basic steps:
- Build your website on a solid foundation.
- Choose the right keywords.
- Practice on-page SEO.
- Finish with two easy off-page SEO techniques.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Build your website on a solid foundation
Search engines like Google use several factors to decide which pages to show whenever someone types in a search query. Many of these factors depend on your website structure, such as:
- Whether your website is mobile-friendly
- How quickly your pages load
- If your site is secure from data theft
- How easy it is to find information on it
If your website is built on a poor foundation, your web pages may not be listed by search engines. Below are two important steps you should take.
Use a reputable site builder
The best website builders come with features that improve SEO, such as:
- Mobile-friendly design, making it easy for visitors to use your website on small screens
- An SSL Certificate to encrypt data exchanged with your site
- Automatic sitemap generation; a sitemap helps search engines ‘read’ your web pages
A website builder from a reputable company often comes preloaded with these features.
Choose a good web host
Page speed is crucial to SEO, as people have little patience for slow websites. In fact, most people will abandon your website if it takes more than two seconds to load!
A good web host will ensure your website loads fast and has little to no downtimes; that is, your website stays online 99.9% of the time.
Note: With web builders such as GoDaddy’s Online Starter Bundle and Websites + Marketing, this type of high-reliability hosting is built right in.
2. Choose the right keywords
Keywords are at the heart of search engine optimization. They are the phrases and words people use when searching for products, services or information on the internet. If you weave specific keywords throughout your website, then it is more likely to show up in search results for those keywords.
How do you achieve this?
Keep user intent in mind when choosing keywords
Never choose keywords at random. Always consider if you can provide the answers or solutions the searcher is looking for. This is because websites with relevant content outperform those with poor content.
For example, let us say you sell silk sarees. You would want to use these words in the headlines, subheads and descriptive text on your web pages (more on this later). This will tell Google what your website is about, making it more likely the search engine will present your site when a person types in “silk sarees.”
Learn about long-tail keywords
These are keywords that contain three or more specific words. Research has shown that you stand a higher chance of getting attention with these keywords.
Choose keywords that receive a high number of monthly searches (1k-10k) and have low to medium competition. A higher number of searches means more potential site visitors for you, while lower competition means it will be easier to rank for the keywords.
3. Practice on-page SEO
Once you have chosen the right keywords, you should add them to your web pages. On-page SEO refers to a series of actions you can take to improve the chance individual web pages will be displayed in search results.
Create highly relevant content
Remember the point about solving searchers’ problems? Here’s where it comes in handy.
Content is the currency of the web, and search engines reward websites that provide the most useful information to searchers. If you need more website traffic, then you should create useful and relevant articles, infographics and videos around your target keywords.
If one of your target key phrases is “silk sarees,” you could write blogs about the different types of sarees, where they originate and how to choose the proper saree for every occasion.
Use keywords in titles, headings and meta descriptions
Each web page you create should have a different target keyword as well as supporting keywords. You’ll want to include the keyword:
- In the page title
- In at least one subhead
- Naturally throughout page text
- In the meta description
Maintain a healthy keyword density
Keyword density refers to how often your keywords appear on a web page, compared to the total number of words on the page. Your target keyword(s) should appear at least once in the first 150 words on any web page and evenly throughout the rest of the page.
If your site is built on WordPress, a tool like Yoast SEO can calculate the keyword density for you automatically, so you can easily adjust until it’s optimal.
Keep URLs short and descriptive
Always include the keyword in your page URL because it gives search engines a clue as to what the page is about. Remember that URLs longer than 75 characters will be shortened in search results. This is why it’s important to include the keywords at the beginning of the URL.
Label photos and video files
Since search engines cannot read images, they rely on image descriptions. Providing detailed descriptions for your photos will help search engines better understand the relevance of those images. Plus, images will show up in image search results, thus improving your website’s visibility.
Include internal and external links
Ensure that each web page you create links to one or more of your own web pages and to a reputable external website. Search engines ‘discover’ web pages through links. Linking to your own pages helps search engines discover more of your website.
Linking to other websites is good practice that helps search engines understand the type of content on your page. If you run a health store, for instance, linking to a reputable website like WebMD tells search engines that your web page contains related content.
4. Finish with two easy off-page SEO techniques
Off-page SEO is any action you can take outside your website to improve its visibility. Many of these activities are aimed at improving the number of quality links that point to your website. Search engines use this measure to gauge your website’s reputation.
Get a Google My Business listing
If your business has a physical location, then make sure it’s listed on Google My Business. The listing is free and includes your business’ contact information, hours, website address, product photos and more.
Searchers can visit your website straight from Google My Business result listings, which are usually top-level results.
Include your website link on all your social media accounts
Most social media websites allow you to link to your website for free. This not only increases your website’s visibility, but it also adds another level of authenticity.
Using these search engine optimization basics can help you attract more site visitors. The more people visit your website, the more people discover and learn about your business.
Start by building your website on a solid foundation, as this is critical for SEO success. Use a reputable site builder with in-built features for mobile-friendliness, site security and automatic sitemap generation.
Choose keywords that serve your business goals and follow on-page SEO best practices. Don’t forget to use free off-page SEO techniques such as:
- Listing your business on Google My Business
- Linking to your website from all your social media pages
Always remember that increasing website traffic is about pleasing both humans and search engines. Aim for that sweet spot.
Editor’s note: No time or interest in doing SEO yourself? Leave it to the professionals at GoDaddy.