Every marketing agency hears it every day from clients: How can my business rank on the first page of Google results? How can we achieve the online presence that we need to succeed?
It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. Search engines such as Google rank websites using an opaque, ever-shifting algorithm that orders search results according to organic traffic, keywords, content freshness, metadata, and many other factors. There is no secret formula for achieving first-page search rankings, because the exact formula used to rank Web pages is not made public. Even the best online marketing agencies in Houston can only guess at exactly what Google wants to see.
Fortunately, Studio Brand Collective has gotten very good at making these educated guesses. We work with small to medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs in the Houston, Texas, area every day to improve their search rankings using a process known as search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is not a single technique, but a series of tasks and updates that must be continually monitored and updated in order to improve and maintain a site’s search ranking for various search terms. It can be a frustrating and exhausting process at times, but for a business that relies on online traffic to succeed, it must be done, and done consistently.
Here’s where we start:
1. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Perhaps the most critical aspect of on-page SEO is to ensure that every page of your website has a unique and descriptive title tag and meta description. This is the information that Google and other search engines display when your site appears in the rankings. If it’s missing or confusing, search engines will skip right over you.
Google+ is Google’s social network. It’s not used very often to connect with friends and contacts the way Facebook is because Google was late to the game and didn’t offer much unique value. A Google+ presence is still critical for businesses, however, because creating a Google+ profile is an important way to let Google know that your website exists. Add info such as your address, contact info, and photos. This data is often displayed when your business is searched.
3. Frequent Content Updates and Additions
Websites that aren’t updated frequently don’t rank as highly as those who do. You don’t have to update your site with fresh content every day, but adding a new and relevant blog post to your site a couple of times per week goes a long way. Remember to always include relevant content that your customers will search for and find useful.
4. Backlinks from Trusted Sources
Links to your website are the best way to attract search engines’ attention and prove that your site has value to others. The greater the variety of links to your website, the more likely it is a quality site and valuable to its audience. Create a strategy to get links to your site posted on all of the most important websites in your industry.
5. Internal Links
Links from one page on your site to another aren’t as critical as backlinks from other websites, but they do help. Link pages and pieces of content on your site to other pages and pieces of content that are relevant. Make it easy for users to find content useful to them. The more pages on your site they visit, the more search engines are impressed.
6. Keyword Maintenance
Keywords are words on your website that match the words users type into search engines. They are an important way search engines judge whether your website is relevant to what users are looking for. Create a list of about 30 words you’re confident people looking for your product or service are searching for online and make sure they appear all over your website. Don’t overdo it, though—if you annoy visitors and they leave, search engines can tell.
7. Photo Labels
Accurately label all of the images on your website to take advantage of image-based search traffic as well as regular search traffic. That includes filenames and alt text that tell search engines (which have no eyes, after all) what your images look like. Make sure people can tell what your images depict simply by reading.
8. Emphasis on Quality
The content on your site can’t just be a jumble of keywords. It has to actually provide value to users in order for them to stay on your site. Google, Bing, and other search engines measure the amount of time users spend on your pages. The better-quality your content, the longer they’ll want to stay.
9. Influencer Engagement
Influencers are the tastemakers in your industry. These can be journalists, reviewers, or simply people with a lot of friends. A link or good review from an influencer can boost your online profile significantly—with customers and with search engines, too.
10. Value Proposition
The best way to rank highly in search engines is to have a lot of traffic to your site, and the best way to boost traffic is to provide a lot of value to users. Are you offering strong reasons and incentives for users to visit your site instead of some other website? It’s important that you do.
Maintaining and improving your website’s SEO score requires patience and consistency. It’s not an easy or overnight process, which is why it’s one of the most-requested digital marketing and branding services offered by Studio Brand Collective. If you’d like to receive a free SEO audit for your Houston-area business, contact SBC today at (713) 863-1141. We’ll provide recommendations on how to improve your search rankings at no cost or obligation to you.