Of course you do. But if your target customers can’t find you when they turn to Google and other search engines to research your products or services, from a sales and marketing standpoint you’re invisible.
That’s why search engine optimization (SEO), the process of increasing your website’s visibility in organic search results, is so important to marketers today. According to HubSpot, 66 percent of marketers say that improving SEO and growing organic presence is a top inbound marketing priority. It should be yours, too.
If you’re considering a website redesign or refresh, move SEO to the top of your to-do list. In fact, SEO is something you should be working on year-round, especially in the summer when the market slows down while educators enjoy summer break.
There are three core SEO ranking factors that are critical to work on and monitor on your company website: content creation, link building and technical SEO. Here are simple things you and your SEO team can do to optimize your website for search in these categories.
Content Creation for SEOGoogle wants to find and deliver the most informative web pages possible, so create the most informative content possible. Your website content should include main web page copy as well as new content that’s uploaded on a consistent basis to a blog or resources page. This content can include timely blog posts, informative articles, in-depth white papers or efficacy studies, customer success stories, videos, and more. The important thing is that the content is readable. If it’s not indexed or if it’s hidden behind a paywall, Google won’t be able to crawl it or count it toward search.
Be aware that there are circumstances when your site content can have a negative impact on SEO. If your site is full of out-of-date content that’s no longer relevant, that can hurt SEO. If you spend more time churning out daily posts than focusing on creating well-researched, high-quality content every week or even month, that can hurt SEO efforts, too. Quality, not quantity, is key. The same can be said for content that isn’t relevant to your brand or your audience’s needs and interests.
Keywords are essential to content’s SEO success because they help Google judge relevancy. Before you begin creating a piece of content, first sit down and identify which keywords are relevant to the content and your audience — tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can get you started. Once you know which keywords to incorporate into the piece, use them sparingly. If Google sees keyword-stuffed content, it might consider it spam. Keep keyword mentions natural, and aim for keywords to make up about two percent of the content.
Link Building for SEOIf you take the time to create quality content, chances are someone will notice it and share it on their own site. Google considers inbound links to be votes of confidence from one site to another. The more “votes” your site has, the more likely you are to achieve a higher rank in Google search results.
Some links in your link profile are considered more credible than others. For example, a link to your website from a site with a high domain authority (high traffic volume and high search ranking) carries more weight than a link from a website with fewer visitors.
How do you get other sites (preferably high-traffic, well-known sites) to link to your content? Do what you do best, and market it. With a little work, you can earn inbound links:
- Amplify your site’s reach by promoting content on your social platforms and in email newsletters.
- Browse your LinkedIn connections, and share content directly with education influencers. If it’s relevant to them and relevant to their audience, they may share it with their loyal followers.
- Engage in conversations with educators and education influencers online, taking time to share their great content. They might return the favor.
- Offer to write a guest post or submit a guest contribution to a well-known education resource. Link to your website in the post, and embed links to your site in the content.
- Become a sponsor at education conferences, or sponsor a brand-relevant white paper or webinar. Sponsorships are often promoted with links to your site.
Technical SEOSEO should be top-of-mind at all times, whether you’re building a new website, redesigning an outdated one or maintaining your existing website. SEO can be incorporated into your site design. Keywords should be prominent in site content such as H1, H2 and other headlines; URL structures; metadescriptions; and rich snippets.
Mobile optimization and page speed also are important to SEO. As more educators turn to mobile for search, Google is rewarding sites that load quickly and correctly on these devices. Google even offers a tool that makes testing page speed simple: Google PageSpeed Insights. Test your site speed by entering your webpage URL. In seconds, Google will analyze the site to determine what you’re doing right and what you need to fix to improve site speed.
All three of these elements, content, linking, and technical SEO, play a role in improving your website’s organic search results. Make sure Google — and educators — know who you are and what you have to offer by optimizing your website for search in these categories.