How to Optimize Your Content for Search Engines

This is the fifth post in a series covering our main marketing topic for 2020: Content Marketing. You can catch up on our previous posts using the following links:

Let’s skip the fluff and jump right into the heart of the matter. Optimizing your content is critical. This isn’t the movie Fields of Dreams- if you built it, they won’t come unless they can find you. So we have to make sure we’re showing up because:
1. 93% if online purchases begin with search
2. 91% of searchers never click past the first page of results
3. 53% of website visits are driven by organic traffic

Joke time: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Page 2 of Google Search Results.

Pulp Fiction

Why do we care about this? The average searcher spends 7 seconds scanning before clicking on search results. They’re looking for which search result most closely answers the question they asked. Make sure you optimize for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and Clicks.

What is a SERP?

A SERP is an industry term for a search engine results page. Google does a lot with their SERPs, I’m sure you’ve noticed. In addition to search results, there are ads, the ‘local 3 pack’ or location information, people also asked boxes, and so much more squeezes onto that page.
Read Wikipedia to learn more

Here’s what Google looks like when you search for the Texoma Bride Guide:

Texoma Bride Guide on Google

Sexy right? You want your business to be on the first page. At the top of the page preferably for a ‘branded search’ (someone is searching for your business name specifically). And once you establish domain authority and begin to create content, build internal links and backlinks, you too can have those additional site links listed below your main result link.

Here are a few best practices to help you get on the first page of a search engine results page (no guarantees and it’s not an overnight fix!):

1. On-page best practices

  • URLs: your URL string needs to match how the content in the hierarchy of your site is set up, this helps Google understand where your pages are, where your content resides and the authority behind it
  • Page tags: H1 and H2s inform Google what your content is all about
  • Content: write naturally, answer questions, don’t try to keyword spam
  • Title tags and meta descriptions: these are the words that show up on the search engine results page

2. Duplicate content

This is a big no-no in the content marketing and search engine optimization world. It really boils down to if you’ve got two things that are the same on your website, Google does not know which things to rank first so it doesn’t rank either and dings your site rankings.

3. Page load speed

  • 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load
  • Page load speed also impacts your ability to be on the first page of search results

Here are some tools to test your own page load speed:

4. An SSL Certificate

Security and privacy are huge issues, especially if someone is transacting on your website (even if its just an email address). It is necessary to have a secure site. This went into effect in July of 2018- Chrome and Google started notifying users when sites are not secure. Securing your site is another checkmark towards getting on that first page.

Setting up your SSL certificate and securing your site is relatively easy, but it considered a site migration and requires setting up 301 redirects so your old pages point to the correct new pages so your customers can find what they’re looking for!

5. Backlink Development

Pay attention because this is an important one:

Backlinks (links from other sites pointing to your website) are just as important as internal links. This is one of the ways your membership with the Texoma Bride Guide helps your website. You get to mooch off our domain authority. The more times we can link to you and built internal and backlinks to your business, the better Google looks at you. Why do we think we push so hard for you to share our content and contribute articles to our site? We’re trying to help YOUR business.

6. Mobile-first

Just kidding, these are all important! But this one might be the most important.

No matter what kind of traffic trends your website is seeing, having a mobile-first experience still matters in order to rank on Google. They care that their users are getting the best experience when they’re browsing on a mobile device. So go responsive, use structured data, and closely monitor analytics to understand your traffic and page load speed.

Nearly 8 out of 10 customers will stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their devices

There is a trend that Google cares about the natural authority and expertise of content and websites. You need to make sure you optimize your content and your website. Even though things are always changing with the search engine algorithms, if you’re doing your best to optimize you should be good in the long run.

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