I recently had the experience of reading about a marketing company I liked, and then spending close to an hour just trying to find their website on Google. I finally found them by aimlessly typing in different combinations of their company’s name into the search bar. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an aspect of website maintenance that some users tend to overlook, and it can have crippling results.
Appearing as a top result on a Google search is also an effective marketing tool that some people aren’t taking advantage of. As someone who both sees the effects of bad SEO, and wants to increase blog traffic, I looked into maintaining SEO hygiene. To help anyone who reads this blog, as well as myself I did some labor on The Google, and here’s what I came up with:
#1 – Use Keywords
In college, one of my classmates explained how she used to work for companies writing articles about certain topics to improve their ranking on Google. She said it could be on mundane topics from mattresses to lamps, but each article had to have a certain number of keywords in order to appear on a search.
Write things the way you expect people to type them into a search. Use them several times on a page and try to limit each page to a single topic for a more refined result. Make sure it flows well with your content, or visitors will arrive at your page realizing they wasted their time navigating to a page of disjointed keywords.
When you post a video or picture, especially when using an html editor, you’re given the option to place tags on the item so they appear in a Google image search. Use the tags. Bear in mind that when you click on an image in Google, it gives you the option to “Visit Page.”
#2 – Create Outbound Hyperlinks and Backlinks To Your Pages
I was reading about methods for increasing readership to a blog and one of the first things it said was to create backlinks to your articles. The first thing I thought of was Cracked.com. I love reading their lists, and the editors backlink their articles all the time if they’re part of a series.
When I get visitors to my wordpress, they typically visit my homepage once before clicking around on my other articles. Backlinking is a smooth way for people to drift around your site in the same way you might get lost in the bowels of Wikipedia.
The more you have people mucking about between articles in your website, the more traffic it accrues. Google also processes your text links to determine where to PageRank your site based on its relevancy.
#3 – Take Advantage of Social Media
This should really have been number one, because my Wordpress analytics indicate that my hits on this blog are coming mostly from social media links. Every time I publish an article, I link it to my social media outlets so people who follow my posts can easily click onto it. I also have a twitter feed on my wordpress and my portfolio site so when people see the tweets, they might follow the links.
Add buttons so people can tweet your site and link their followers into it. Include Google +1 buttons because they not only boost your page’s chance of showing up as relevant in a search, but they improve your PageRank. Though Google+ hasn’t exactly replaced Facebook; +1 buttons still affect your search results.
#4 – Put Time and Effort Into Your Blog
After doing some reading on how to improve website SEO settings, I stumbled across a blog with 21 tactics to increase blog traffic. The last tactic was to “Be consistent and don’t give up.”
Readers tend to like when businesses have blogs that they update often because it puts a helpful, human face on an otherwise corporate entity. It makes people trust the company more, and it gives more reason for their parent site to have traffic.
Employers like when employees and candidates for vacancies blog, because it demonstrates technical knowledge and a willingness to improve on certain skills. (I’m not making this up. I got it from one of my classes in college.) As a graphic artist, you can post some work to your portfolio but it doesn’t always show the process behind it. If you blog about a project while you’re working on it, you can talk about technical problems you ran into, how you solved them, what you think worked well, and where you plan on improving.
In other words, if you don’t have a blog, you probably should. Marketing and PR companies, as well as independent designers have plenty to talk about because they’re in a field where marketing strategies and design trends change on a day to day basis. I should know because I read the blogs that companies and designers write each day.
If you already have a blog, don’t let the posts build up cobwebs. I hate stumbling on a forgotten Wordpress and being greeted by an overwhelming sense of desolation when its upkeep has been ignored for more than a year. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often because the posts tend to get washed away in Google’s maelstrom of changing PageRankings.
Eventually, a good quality blog is guaranteed to develop a readership that makes putting effort into the posts worth it. Regularly updating a blog with meaningful content increases the frequency at which readers re-visit the site or blog, increases the amount of keywords and links within the site, and increases the odds of the site being spread by visitors via links, forwards, shares, tweets or word of mouth.
#5 – Track Your Progress
I was going to avoid suggesting the use of analytics, but I already referenced them several times in this article. My portfolio site doesn’t have analytics installed, so I’m going to feel like a hypocrite for saying this:
Install an analytics program and use it to track where your traffic is coming from. If you’ve ever answered a survey for a company that tells them how you found out about their goods or services, you know where the importance of analytics stems from. Identifying your primary sources of traffic can tell you where your traffic is coming from and what areas need improvement.
You won’t know if your website’s SEO is effective if you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re even receiving traffic. That being said, I’m going to go ahead and install Google Analytics to my portfolio site.
Let me know what you think about SEO settings, and tell me if I was wrong about anything in this article by leaving a reply in the comments below.
Read more about this topic by going to my sources: