Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about SEO, but you may not know exactly what it is, or why it’s important. Search engine optimization is a broad term for strategies used to attract more visitors to a website. You can hire a Northern Virginia SEO professional or decide to do it yourself.
When done effectively, search engine optimization will result in your website appearing on the first page of Google and other search engines. SEO strategies are designed to appeal to the way search engines evaluate a website and the factors they consider important. This is as true of Northern Virginia SEO as it is for anywhere else in the world.
Since these aspects are generally known, websites can be ‘optimized’ to score well on search engine assessments, and thus be ranked highly. Websites which appear on the first page of results returned by Google are more likely to be visited than other websites.
So what is it exactly that needs to be done in order to get your website on that first page of results? Here’s what Google Dublin’s Andrey Lippatsev said in a Hangout on March 23, 2016, when asked what the two most important ranking factors are:
Optimize Your Existing Content for Northern Virginia SEO
Part of optimizing your content involves an understanding of HTML tags and how they are scanned by search engines. If this part sounds like Greek to you, it’s best to consult with a Northern Virginia SEO professional to make sure it’s done right. Your website simply must have page titles, descriptions, and keywords which are an accurate reflection of website content. Some of this is embedded in HTML Meta tags which are not visible to surfers, but can be evaluated by search engine crawlers.
One of those HTML Meta tags is the ‘ROBOT’ tag, and it can be used to tell search engine robots not to evaluate certain pages, perhaps because you want them kept private. Another use of the ROBOT Meta tag would be to disallow Google scanning of website sections which receive little or no organic traffic, and are therefore pretty much dead weight. Use of the ROBOT Meta tag is equivalent to making the same specifications in a robot.txt file, but you should be very careful with this, because you can accidentally instruct Google to ignore your site entirely.
You can’t afford to overlook mobile device traffic to your website, since at least 56% of all traffic to major sites is being driven there by mobile devices. As reported by Similar Web, the top 10,000 American websites receive well over half their current traffic from cell phones and other mobile devices. This makes it important that one aspect of your site optimization strategy includes being mobile-friendly.
As of 2015, Google began factoring in mobile-friendliness of a website into their complex algorithms for rankings, since users today are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. This is Internet traffic that you have to attract; otherwise you might be ignoring half your potential audience. Consultants who specialize in Northern Virginia SEO are well aware of this powerful trend, and make sure to incorporate it into their design strategies.
Increase Inbound Links
Google is always evaluating your website links for quality and quantity, and that covers inbound, outbound, and internal links, which are links to pages on your own website. Of the three, inbound links carry the most weight, because they represent a ‘stamp of approval’ from someone who has visited your site. These can be priceless if they come from authorities within your field or industry.
It takes a little bit of effort to achieve those ‘endorsements’, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Here are some ways you can increase the number and quality of your inbound links:
- Exchange links – exchange links with other business owners in your industry.
- customer links – have your customers link to your site, and offer incentives for doing so Directory websites – submit your site to a ‘directory’ site
- social media campaigns – conduct social media campaigns to increase awareness of your website and to provide links
- Link-building opportunities – use tools like Moz Pro to research backlinks and increase opportunities for building inbound links to your site.
None of this is rocket science, but it can still seem a little complicated if you’re not particularly web-savvy. If that sounds like you, bring these inbound link ideas to a highly skilled company which specializes in Northern Virginia SEO and web design in Northern Virginia.
Update Regularly with Quality Content
It’s important to update your site regularly with useful, high-quality content, to show users that you are an active, committed force within your industry. Stagnant sites by contrast, send a message of disinterest and low involvement. Content should be relevant for users, and should motivate them to visit your website.
Video and graphics are easily the most popular forms of content, so you should be sure to include lots of these on your web pages. This kind of content makes your pages ‘stickier’, i.e. web pages which hold user interest, rather than having them jump after a second or two.
By providing a quality overall experience to users, you will retain more traffic for a longer period of time on your site – which gives you a better chance of converting a sale. Make sure your content is well-organized, easy to read, and effectively communicates the message you are trying to convey.
To check how well you’re doing in your efforts to optimize your website, try using Google Search Console to track your progress. It will show you what your new site ranking is after implementing optimization changes. We are a Northern Virginia web design company, and we specialize in all aspects of Northern Virginia SEO, including many of the tips discussed above.
If you want to jump-start your SEO, we can help. We offer a monthly SEO package which includes optimizing your content, building links for you every month, and making it easy for Google crawlers to evaluate your site. With our help, your website can be ranked among the top sites in your field.
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