Updated: Aug 24
If you're considering a new website for your business, or want to know how to make your site rank higher in search engines, this article is for you.
SEO is simply too important to ignore. Both web designers and their clients need to have an understanding of how SEO works. More than that, a healthy realization of its pitfalls is also necessary.
It’s easy to develop the wrong expectations for SEO and the required effort it takes. And the market is littered with dubious claims – making it difficult to determine sound advice from hyperbole.
In an effort to provide some clarity, here are a few SEO FAQs answered.
What’s the most common SEO myth or misunderstanding that you see from users?
People tend to forget that SEO is a lot of work. There is no "magic bullet," it's a process. While advances in technology have made it a lot easier to build a website, it hasn’t become much easier to rank a site well in search engines. So, you really need to put some effort into it.
True, your web developer should design your site SEO in mind. This includes inserting descriptive text into each page, inserting meta data (the html that search engines look at), into each page of the site, then submitting the site to Google for indexing.
Unfortunately, your developer can only do so much. They can’t write that epic piece of content for you. They can give you hints on what to improve, but they can’t set out a strategy for you. You need to put in the work.
Some people seem to think that you’re done with SEO once you enter title tags, some keywords, and submit a site for indexing. While those steps are essential, it’s only the beginning.
Should every piece of content on a website be optimized, or should the focus be on the most important content?
Ideally, you should have thought about every piece of content on your website. Every article or every page should have a goal.
Of course, that’s hardly how it works in practice. You might have a site with hundreds or thousands of pages added over many years. That is the reality for many sites.
In cases like this, you have to go through all that content and make hard choices — do I really need this? Do these pieces of content fit my goals? Do they bring traffic? Do they help my brand?
You can start going over everything and improve the pieces of content you want to keep while deleting and redirecting the ones you don’t need. In addition, you can also choose to merge a couple of low-value pages or content into a single really good one.
And then, there’s cornerstone content. These are the epic, all-encompassing pages of content that show your expertise and that you want to rank well on search results. These should be your main focus. Cornerstone content should be updated and improved regularly. Linking your supporting, relevant articles to the cornerstone helps boost their importance.
For a small, local business on a tight budget, what would be the best area to allocate their SEO resources? Is there one investment that stands above the rest?
Many SEO experts say you have to build an awesome business first. Make something that customers need to have or experience.
From there, get reviews and tend to them. Build a full Google My Business profile, including up-to-date information and great photos.
In addition, make sure that your site is properly optimized for local results and write high-quality, local-oriented content that can get you local links and citations.
If one had to choose between quality content and keyword repetition, what’s the better option? Do search engines really know the difference?
Content quality should be your number one priority. (Meaning, the text in each page of your website should be authentic and as descriptive as possible.) It’s one of the things that Google keeps hammering on about: improve your content. Search engines are smart enough to look beyond keywords, so it is better to find ways of improving your content instead of trying to fit in more keywords.
Of course, things like keyword density have taken on a different meaning as it is no longer about fitting in a certain percentage of keywords based on the length of the text. Today, metrics like this are more like a guide that helps you keep everything in check and warns you when you are overdoing it.
How often should SEO for existing content be reviewed and tweaked?
It depends. Some content does really well, even without touching it for years. Other pieces of content need constant tweaking to get results.
The main thing to remember is that you have to keep an eye on your content. You need to know what particular content needs to do and regularly check in Google Analytics if it does what you set out to do.
If it doesn’t work, you need to fine-tune it or replace it with something else. Of course, there’s a lot of room to experiment — and sometimes you get the best results accidentally. And keep at it — SEO is not about quick results.
Summary: The Keys to Effective SEO
SEO requires a good bit of work to find success. But even then, there’s no guarantee that the likes of Google will reward you with high rankings. To be sure, there will be some trial-and-error in the process.
In addition, we learned that content should have specific goals. If you want search engines to prioritize your content, it has to be both high-quality and focused.
Above all, SEO is something that both designers and clients need to stick with for the long haul. The game is always changing. Thus, it requires regular analysis and adjustments to stay on top.
Contact Gwen for new website design!
Need assistance with design of your new business website? I can help! I design websites with SEO in mind, from the ground up, utilizing many of the points covered in this article. Contact me at email@example.com. To see my work, visit www.creativeinstinct.biz/portfolio.
Article was edited by Creative Instinct. Original article by Eric Karkovack—Speckboy.com