SEO — Search Engine Optimization — is the number one strategy for drawing customers to your website. Billions of people search the web every day looking for products and services. Optimizing your website for search helps all those potential new customers find your business.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of making your website visible to search engines and helping your website rank at the top of Google’s organic search results through a certain set of practices. Let’s say you sell widgets in Alanson. If a customer living in Petoskey searches for “widgets near me,” and your website is SEO friendly, your business should be at the top of the search results page.

Why does your website need to be SEO friendly?

Imagine opening night at a new restaurant. The tables are set, the host is at the door, hot food is in the kitchen, but no one knows about it. That’s what your website is like if it isn’t SEO friendly. 

Just as there are billions of web searches done every day, there are billions of websites competing for clicks. Just posting a few photos and a blurb about your business isn’t enough. Good SEO practices help ensure the right people find your website at the right time.

Is SEO complicated?

SEO is complicated, and it’s not at the same time. SEO best practices often change because the internet constantly evolves with new technology. The good news is that SEO basics are pretty simple even for beginners. Let’s look at some basic ways you can make your website more SEO friendly.

  • Simple tips to make your website more SEO friendly

Make sure your web address at the top of the browser starts with https. That means you have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate tells Google you have a secure site. Secure websites rank higher in search results. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, your hosting provider should be able to set one up.

  • Add social media links to your website

One of the ways Google ranks a website is by determining its credibility. Social media links make your page look more legitimate to Google. Add links to your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. If you have a WordPress site, there are plugins you can use to do this.

  • Make a Contact Page for your website

Inviting customers to interact with you through your contact page is another way to show Google that your website is credible. A simple form that allows customers to send you an email will meet the requirements. WordPress has plugins to help you create forms as well.

  • Optimize photos for web

Decreasing the file size of your photos by optimizing them for the web helps your pages load faster. A website with a fast page speed ranks higher on Google. There are free image optimization tools available. If you have a WordPress site you can install the Smush plugin, and it will automatically optimize your photos when you upload them.

  • Make your website mobile friendly

63 percent of Google’s organic search traffic in the US originates from mobile devices. Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile often don’t load right on a cell phone screen. Not only is the screen smaller, but the aspect ratio is different. Buttons may also be too small to function properly and words could be too small to read. Google ranks your website higher if it’s mobile-friendly. It’s easy to check if your site is mobile-friendly by just taking a look at it on your phone. If it needs improvement, a web designer can help you.

  • Use keywords in your content

Keywords are words Google knows people use to search for your type of product or service. When you incorporate keywords into your content, you need to do it organically by using them with related keywords in an informative, relevant way, such as in a blog post. If you don’t already have a list of keywords, there are several tools to help you determine them including Google Keyword Planner and Google Correlate.

  • Create internal links on your website

By linking one page on your website to another, you’re helping Google understand what your website is about and how each page is relevant and related to your main keywords. The better Google understands what your website is about, the more likely it is to rank you high for that topic in the search results.

Tools to help you with SEO

A couple of tools can help SEO beginners by walking you through the process and doing a lot of the leg work for you.

  • Google Search Console

The first and most important thing you’ll do in Google Search Console is add your website and verify it. This is you telling Google your website exists. Once you do this, Google will index your site and add it to its search results. Google Search Console has many other functions that can help your SEO if you want to dive deeper and learn more.

  • Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast SEO is a plugin that helps you optimize your WordPress site. It walks you through putting in titles and meta descriptions for your site and pages. It also helps you optimize each individual post with keywords, a meta description, and a description for the Google search preview. You can even optimize titles and descriptions of photos using Yoast. It’s a simple way to manage your site’s SEO without having to overthink it.

Investing a little time incorporating these simple SEO tactics on your business website will pay off exponentially by helping more potential customers find you online.

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