In late 2013, Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers asked “Is SEO Dead?” The answer is no. Although it is true that the world of search engine optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving, SEO is far from irrelevant. With more than 3 billion searches completed on Google alone each day, search engines are the primary way people around the globe locate and access information and search engine optimization remains a critical component to every organization’s branding and marketing strategy.
The higher your website ranks in any search engine, the more visible it will be to potential members and customers. McKinley Advisors has put together our four favorite tips for ensuring your website not only rises to the top of relevant searches, but also generates valuable traffic to your site once it’s in the top spot!
- Content, content, content. We can’t say this enough: Is your website written in clear language, using terms that people will use to search for your organization? This means using the word “engineer” if you are an engineering organization and spelling check “cheque” if most of your website traffic comes from outside of the United States. Review every page of your website to ensure it contains carefully crafted, keyword-rich copy – relevant videos, links to news or blogs, and images help as well!
- Don’t forget: The days of simply loading a page with countless keywords are over. Keywords must be seamlessly integrated into your content – search engine bots have gotten smarter and you need to, too! Be judicious and consistent, and use a keyword tool to discover how people are searching for your organization and similar groups.
- Getting from A to B to C. So, you’ve filled your site with engaging, relevant, and keyword-rich content. Now the really hard part. Can visitors find what they are looking for? Is your site’s navigation intuitive? Remember, before a human visitor needs to navigate to the membership application, a bot sent out from Google, Bing, or Yahoo needs to be able to understand the hierarchy of your site. If a mathematical algorithm can’t locate the information, chances are your typical visitor will also be frustrated!
- Fairy Tale Tactic: While they didn’t work so well for Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbs will make life easier for both search engines and your visitors. They should appear in a horizontal bar near the top of your page, and will help visitors keep their bearings. A typical breadcrumb might read Home>Member Benefits>Join.
- Title Tag. Although it won’t help your page ranking, the title tag is the first thing displayed in search results, making it a critical component of SEO conversion. This brief phrase communicates what your page is all about. Avoid generic terms like “Home” or “Welcome.” Instead, try spelling out your organization’s complete name or use your acronym and tagline. Even a descriptive phrase like “Career Training Programs,” if it is relevant to your site’s content, will help encourage clicks.
- Watch for: Don’t get too wordy. Search engines will only display the first 70 characters (that includes letters, punctuation and spaces!) of a title tag. Keep it short and sweet.
- Meta Description. Once you’ve caught the searcher’s eyes with an accurate and catchy title tag, do you hold their attention? The meta description appears in search engine results to preview your site by providing a concise explanation of your page’s content. Best practice is to keep this phrase to less than 155 characters, and to include the most popular keywords along with a compelling description to encourage searchers to click their way through.
- Pro tip: The meta description is another important tactic that won’t actually boost your page ranking, but it will help secure quality web traffic once your page displays in relevant searches.
Have you already tried these or other tactics to increase your website traffic from organic search? What has worked for you, and what has felt like a flop? Let us know in the comments, and reach out if you think McKinley Advisors can help your site rise to the top!