Your digital content is created to show up on search engines, bring in inbound leads, and deliver a return on investment. If you haven’t got your SEO basics checked off, it’s going to be difficult to rank or be seen online.
What’s more, poor SEO means your content is invisible, making the time and money you spend developing it a waste. In order to avoid wasted resources, you need to pay attention to your SEO from the start.
Below, we’ll outline some of the major SEO basics that we see clients missing. Far from being a complete list, think of this as a starting point for your SEO audit.
Have you done all of this but still aren’t seeing results? Reach out to us and our expert team of SEO specialists will help you improve your digital authority.
1. List your business online
Backlinks are only becoming more important in the world of SEO, as competition for online search results increases. A lack of backlinks could be a reason your website isn’t generating leads and it can be detrimental to your overall site health.
Backlinks refer to a link from one site to another. These links show search engines that your content is reputable and trustworthy.
In essence, the more people that link back to your content and support your claims, the more trustworthy search engines see your content and the more likely they are to rank them above other, less trustworthy sites.
That being said, building backlinks is no walk in the park. It can be difficult to wait for organic backlinks to appear, and creating partnerships with other trustworthy sites takes time and resources.
One easy way to get backlinks is by listing your business on online listing sites.
Where you list your business will depend on where you live and what local listings are available to you. For example, Brandcamp is listed on UpCity, Marketplace BC, and Clutch.co, among others. These listings are local to Vancouver, BC, but be sure to find relevant listings in your area.
Below are a few global listings that you can leverage.
Places to list your business online (global)
2. Add images and alt text
Too often, we see clients without images on their websites. Or, if they do have images, they aren’t using appropriate alt text within them.
Images offer added ways for search engines to interact with your site. By including alt text, you can create more ranking opportunities through keywords and descriptions.
Alt-text is the text that shows up if your image is unavailable or can’t be loaded. It is important for the accessibility of your site and for users that are visually impaired. It is also what search engine crawlers use to index your images and determine what kind of content is on your website.
Here is an example of how a search engine will index an image.
Let’s say, for example, you are a massage therapy clinic, and you sell massage services and packages on your website. You may upload photos of your therapists at work or clients relaxing on massage tables. In order for search engine bots to understand what your images are (remember, they don’t have eyes) you’ll need descriptive alt text to guide them. If your alt text reads “IMG8938649.jpg” then you’re missing a huge opportunity to guide the bot through your content.
How to write strong alt text
High-performing alt text should describe the image in a way that someone who can’t see it will understand.
In the above image, I’ve used alt text that reads: “woman lying on table with leg up receives hip opening massage from another woman”.
Adding in keywords is good if possible, but always choose accessibility over keyword stuffing.
Other points to remember when writing alt text:
- Keep it short and simple
- Describe the image in as much detail as possible
- Don’t include “image of” or “picture of” in your alt text
- Don’t keyword stuff
3. Optimize for mobile
Mobile web traffic has gone up 222% in the last 7 years and this trend is only increasing. In addition, 52% of online search traffic is done on mobile devices. This shows us that desktop surfing is on the decline and mobile optimization is more important than ever.
Chances are, most of your customers will look at your content on their mobile devices. This means that all of your content, whether that be on your website, social media, or email marketing campaigns, needs to be optimized for mobile.
If you’re unsure if your content is mobile-optimized, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see where you stand. Once you run the test, Google will tell you exactly where you’re going wrong. From there, make any necessary improvements.
In some cases, you may need a website overhaul. While this may seem drastic, it is often necessary. Reach out to our web development team if you have any questions or want to get a quote.
4. Audit your meta descriptions and titles
Your headline and meta description is the first thing a user will see when they see your site ranking. This copy helps people determine whether to clink on your site or not.
Search engines rank your content based on how many people click your link. This is called a click-through-rate (CTR).
If your headline and meta description copy is confusing, cut-off, or irrelevant to the page it links to, users won’t click. This can damage your SEO rankings significantly.
Your headline should also contain your focus keyword. For us, the keyword we are focusing on here is digital marketing.
Your meta description should also contain keywords you want to rank for. In this case, we’re focusing on content creation and SEO.
You can use a keyword research tool, like Moz, to find out what keywords you want your business to rank for. Be sure to choose specific keywords for each page of your website. For example, we won’t be ranking for content writing on our social media marketing service page.
Remember: Every page on your site needs a custom headline and meta description.
If you aren’t sure how your headlines and meta descriptions are showing up, do a quick search of your website and see how they look in the search results.
5. Build long-form content
Every page on your website, and every piece of content, gives you a chance to rank with search engines. This is the backbone of content marketing and the reason that blogging can improve your inbound traffic-- the more content you have, the more chances you have to rank.
The secret to high-performing blogs is to use a mix of short-form and long-form content. Short-form content often refers to content under 1,000 words while long-form content is often 2,000 words or more.
Think about it this way: If you want to use a keyword 20 times, you can either write 5 short-form blogs that use your keyword 4 times in each piece or, you can create 2 long-form blogs that use your keyword 10 times in each piece.
Long-form content can include more than just blogs. Your website pages, case studies, and social media can all include different types of long-form content. How you implement this tactic is up to you, but be sure to diversify your content as much as you can.