As a business owner with an online presence, you naturally want to be found by potential customers. A search engine such as Google can help you do this. Every day, the search engine processes more than 8.5 billion searches! But how do you make sure you are better found in Google? The answer is “SEO. Read on to learn more about SEO, its importance and how you can improve your search engine rankings.
SEO: what exactly is it?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In Dutch, we call this search engine optimization. This optimization refers to the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines such as Google. When you have optimized your website it will lead to more website visits and conversion.
And why is it so important?
But why use SEO when you can also pay for ads to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website? The search results that come from SEO are a lot more credible to many search engine users and therefore receive more clicks than paid ads. In addition, a good SEO strategy ensures a continuous and growing conversion stream even at times when little is being done. This while continuing to pay for an ad to bring in traffic.
What can you do to be better found in Google?
Obvious, but how does SEO work in practice and how can you apply SEO techniques to drive more traffic to your site? In this blog, we will explain using an example from a cake baker in Amsterdam.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to be found by people interested in your expertise, services or products. When you, as a cake baker in Amsterdam, want to create content for your website that ranks well on Google, it is vital to first find out what your desired target audience is looking for. This is where keyword research plays a big role.
Ask yourself what keywords you want to be found on. As a cake baker in Amsterdam, you logically want to be found on terms such as “cake baker in Amsterdam,”“Amsterdam cake baker” and “cakes in Amsterdam.
Remember to distinguish between so-called short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords are search terms consisting of one or two generic words. One example is “Pies Amsterdam. These types of search terms are very broad and often have a high search volume. However, this also means that many competitors are using the same terms in their content, making it harder for you to rank high in Google. Therefore, choose not only these generic keywords, but also long tail keywords. These are search terms of three or more words that are a lot more specific. Consider, for example, “Order birthday cake Amsterdam Oost. This search term has a lower search volume and therefore there is less competition!
Take the time to compile a list of search terms that you can incorporate into your content in the next step. Can’t figure it out? Then use a tool such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush. These tools not only help you come up with appropriate search terms, but also give you insights into the competition!
Once you finish your list of search terms, you can begin to optimize or create content for on your website. Content can be anything! Think blogs, landing pages, case studies, guides, white papers and more. The content form you choose is entirely up to you, but keep in mind the basic rule that applies to any content strategy: one page = one topic = one focus search term. Using this rule, write texts that are relevant and current within your niche. These generally rank better in search results.
It is important to write texts that are intended for your site visitors. Yes, you want search engines to approve your content, but the idea is not to stuff a blog post with a particular search term you want to rank for. If you do, Google sees this as keyword-stuffing, a form of spam. So this is what you want to avoid! So don’t create for a search engine, but instead write for your target audience.
In summary, a good text is relevant, current and focused on the target audience. In addition, Google recommends publishing texts of about 1,000 to 2,000 words. These types of longer articles are rated better by the search engines. Such long texts can be tiring to read. Therefore, don’t forget to add visuals so that the text can be served to the reader in manageable chunks.
These visuals can also be optimized. Often people save the photos they put on their page under a name such as IMG639.jpg. This way, the image will never be found in a search engine. So always choose a search engine-friendly alt text that properly describes what the image shows.
Do you find it an intimidating idea to have to write long texts for your page? If so, try researching your competitors’ different types of content first. What do they write and how exactly do they do it? Still can’t figure it out or simply can’t make time for it? Then don’t hesitate to hire a copywriter !
Have you completed your text in terms of content? Then add some internal links to your content. These are links that point to another page on your website. For example, have you written a blog titled “Healthy alternatives to traditional pie recipes”? Then it’s a good idea to include a link in the text that leads visitors to another blog called “Surprising vegan cake recipes.”
These links contribute to the usability and structure of your site! Google values this and thus rewards you with a higher position in the search results.
For search engines, not only is it useful to place internal links, but the gathering of external links is also very important.
Google ranks your web page higher the moment it has high authority. You can amass this authority by posting strong quality content, but this alone is not enough. Search engines are constantly looking for confirmation that your page is relevant. To earn more authority points from Google, it is important that other websites link to your page.
The process of gathering these external links, also known as backlinks, is called link building. Do research on websites that write about topics you also write about. In the case of a cake baker from Amsterdam, it’s a good idea to look for blogs that write about sweet treats and the best bakeries in Amsterdam’s neighborhoods! Send them an email and kindly ask if they would like to link to your site on their blog.
Note, the idea here is not to email as many blogs as possible and ask for a link. This is because Google only rewards links from sites with high authority. So consider not only the quantity of links, but also their quality.
Search engines like user-friendly websites. But how do you ensure a pleasant user experience? First, it is of enormous importance that you have a responsive website. This means that your site automatically adapts to the size of each screen: from laptop to mobile and tablet to desktop. This adds to the satisfaction of page visitors!
A second factor that plays a big role in the usability of your Web pages is load time. If your website is fast, you will be rewarded for it! However, does it take several seconds for your website to load? Then this negatively affects your ranking in Google and similar search engines. Useful tools you can use to find out what your website’s load time is are GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed.
In case your website load time is low, there are a number of things you can do to improve your website:
- Reduce the file size of the images on your website. As a rule of thumb, you can use a maximum size of 100KB.
- Take advantage of “lazy load. Images at the bottom of the page become visible only when the visitor scrolls down.
- Remove plug-ins that are not necessary.
A third factor contributing to the usability of your site is its security. Search engines will always prioritize secure sites in search results. Is your website not yet secure? Then install an SSL certificate right away!
The process of search engine optimization will help you get found better in search engines such as Google. However, it is important to add that you should not expect SEO to produce results in as little as two weeks. On average, it can take four to 12 months before the first significant results are seen. Keep this in mind and so don’t give up!
So, that’s quite a lot! SEO is a time-consuming process that involves a lot of effort and patience. Therefore, it is also easy to imagine wanting to outsource these tasks.
At Gaia Digital, we are happy to help you optimize your site so you can be found better in Google. This requires a good and thought out process. At Gaia Digital, we follow the following roadmap:
- Acquaintance: As mentioned earlier, SEO is a process that only produces results within a few months. So it is very important that we both know who we are working with. In addition, we like to find out what your wishes and goals are. It is important to measure results, so at this stage we will also conduct an SEO audit.
- Keyword research: The SEO process starts with keyword research. First, it looks at what keywords you already rank for in Google. Now we know where improvement can be made. Based on your needs and goals, extensive research will be initiated to determine the best search terms to incorporate into your content.
- Content planning. Based on the keyword research, we will create a content plan. Of course, we are happy to receive feedback on this!
- Competitive analysis. To ensure that your content is distinguishable from the competition, a competitive analysis will be conducted. This serves as inspiration, but also gives us information about their methods, positions in Google and backlinks. It is vital to have this knowledge before starting the next step.
- Content creation. In this phase, the content is actually created. We will present these to you so that feedback can be given on these.
- Link building: In cases of blogs, articles, white papers and case studies, we will contact owners of other websites to ask for backlinks. As you read above, it contributes to your site’s authority.
- Interim Progress Report: Monthly results will be monitored. Based on this progress report, we can determine what needs to be tinkered with. We will, of course, share these results with you. At Gaia Digital, we are always transparent and honest!
SEO can take up a lot of your time, which is why we are happy to provide the extra help. Through close cooperation, we make sure you are better found in the search engines. We are looking forward to it! You too?