When you’re hustling to get that next customer or client to get your side business ramped up, thinking about SEO for your website probably falls with a loud thud to the bottom of your impossibly long to-do list. But spending a little time on your SEO can actually help drive more traffic to your website so that you can reach that next customer or client, so it’s worth your attention.
First, what is SEO? SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It is a method that organically improves your website’s ranking by Google (and other search engines) by using relevant keywords within your site in specific ways.
Basically, your ultimate goal is to optimize your site’s ranking to be on the first page of a Google search (when a person searches for your business’s particular keywords). Why? Because few people ever search past the first two pages of Google, so you want to make sure you’re business website is on one of those pages (once again, preferably the 1st page!). This will drive a lot more traffic to your website than if you’re on page 3, 4 or 5 (where you’ll rarely ever be found).
Google has extremely complex algorithms for ranking sites (that are constantly being changed and updated), so hiring an SEO expert is probably the best way to improve your website’s SEO. At the same time, if you don’t have the funds to hire someone right now, there are a few simple ways to get Google to notice your site.
Before you get started with SEO, you have to figure out what exact keywords that you want your website to be ranked for. Don’t skip this step or this won’t be worth your time!
To find your ideal keywords for your business, go to Google’s keyword tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Type in a few of the keywords that you think are relevant to your business. For example, if I own a doggie daycare, I might search the phrase “pet daycare”. When I do, I noticed that “pet daycare” has 18,100 Global Monthly Searches and 12,100 Local Monthly Searches and “Medium” competition. Then you can scroll through all the other keyword results below.
Your goal is to choose relevant keywords for your business that have a high search rate and low competition.
High search rate
A high search rate means that there are a lot of people searching for those particular keywords on Google. A “high search rate” is relative and depends on your business and niche market, but I always try to choose keywords that have at least 2000 Monthly Searches. I completely made that up for myself, so you can choose what works best for you. If your business is local and you will only benefit from people in your area finding you (i.e. you have a brick and mortar business, locally-based service, etc), then focus on “Local Monthly Searches”, otherwise, focus on “Global Monthly Searches.” Also, if you’re searching locally, it might help to put your city name in your keyword search to see what comes up.
Low competition means that there aren’t many other websites competing to be found with those particular keywords, so you have a better chance of being on page 1 of Google. What I like to do is sort the search results by competition level, putting “low” competition keywords at the top. Then I scroll through and choose keywords based on the relevancy and search rate. With the pet daycare example, I might choose these keywords:
Pet spa (low competition, 33,100 local monthly searches)
Pet resort (low competition, 110,000 local monthly searches)
Try to choose about 5 keywords that are going to be your business’s targeted keywords. Now that you have your keywords, you want to use them to increase your organic SEO traffic. Here are a few simple ways to get started…
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Technique #1: Add Meta Tags to your website
As you can probably guess, I am not an SEO expert, but I have been experimenting with Meta Tags lately and I’ve learned that (1) meta tags are still important for search results, (2) meta tags are not built into WordPress, so you have to add a plugin, and (3) adding meta tags to your site is a simple and effective way to increase your website ranking.
If you’re on WordPress, you can add the plugin that I use, which is called “Add Meta Tags”. In the settings of this plugin, add your relevant keywords and your full-length meta tags. Here are a few great websites that discuss meta tags further…
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Technique #2: Change your website page’s slugs to include keywords
A slug is the name of one of your website pages or posts as it appears in your website’s URL. For example, the slug for your website’s “About Me” page is probably something like “www.yourdomain.com/about”. In this case, the slug “about” does nothing for your SEO ranking because it doesn’t include any of your chosen keywords.
To improve your SEO, change your slug names to include your keywords and your business name. For example, a better slug for your doggie daycare business might be “about-pet-spa-nashville-tn”, which would change your URL to ““www.yourdomain.com/about-suzys-pet-spa-nashville-tn”. Changing your slug names does not change the names of your pages, just the URL links.
Please note that if your website is already set up, changing your slugs might take a little more effort to make sure none of your links get broken. But if you’re starting your website from scratch, having keyword-rich slug names is a must.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Technique #3: Add your relevant keywords to your website’s static pages
Take the 5 or more keywords that you chose and naturally sprinkle them throughout the copy on your website. You don’t want to make it really obvious that you’re throwing keywords in there (because your audience might pick up on the fact that it seems “artificial”), so you might want to take some time to re-write some of your website copy around your new keywords. And don’t try to densely pack your keywords in there. According for Forbes, your keyword density ratio should be about 3%.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Technique #4: Use keywords in the title, description and alt tag of all your images
Adding images to your website gives you another chance to maximize the relevant keywords on your site. Every time you add an image, fill in the title, description and especially the alt tag with your keywords or other appropriate words.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Technique #5: Start a blog
It’s extremely beneficial to start a blog on your business website. Although this might not be characterized as “simple” like I promised, it’s really going to help your Google ranking. Google gives preference to active websites with new and relevant content. If your website is just a few static pages, you can’t capitalize on this. ALSO, when you blog, you are naturally increasing the relevant keywords on your site, so you will end up being ranked higher.
If you want to learn all about how to start a blog, enter your name and email address to the right to get a free copy of my ebook “Quit Your Job Jumpstart” which takes you step-by-step through the process.