By: Christina Nguyen
When you do a Google search of literally anything, what results are you clicking on first? Chances are that it’s the first few results without giving a thought to the second or third pages of results.
It isn’t random which pages appear higher on the list. To earn those coveted spots, websites must go through consistent search engine optimization (SEO). This requires a bit of a budget to hire an SEO specialist with a little more for the tools they’ll need. However, not having that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your SEO yourself.
Here are a few things you or your marketing strategists can do for SEO on a limited budget:
1. Add more long-tail keywords to your website.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’re more likely to succeed using more lengthy, specific keywords. Long-tail keywords refer to longer, more descriptive search terms, such as “red faux leather stilettos” as opposed to “shoes” or “red shoes”. These specific terms don’t have as many people searching for them, lowering the amount of competition you have.
Find your ideal long-tail keywords by describing your products or services through the eyes of your customers. What are they thinking of when they’re searching for a business like yours? How do they write out these searches?
Here’s a list of free keyword generators to help you figure out the best fit.
2. Optimize your site for mobile.
More than half of all Google searches are happening on a mobile device, so your website needs an easy-to-use mobile version. A usable mobile version keeps mobile visitors around longer, which Google takes into account when determining your rank. This doesn’t always require a team of software developers. If you’re using WordPress, there’s quite a few plugins that’ll make your site mobile-friendly. You can also choose a mobile-responsive theme.
To test how mobile-friendly Google thinks you are, plug your site into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
3. Shrink your images without compromising quality.
Large image files can slow down a page, and slow loading times negatively affect your ranking. Look for any photos that are larger than necessary and shrink them. For example, if an image only takes up half a page, it isn’t necessary for it to be 8000 x 7000 px at full size. Try to keep the image sizes under 100Kb if possible.
Here’s a list of image compression platforms to help guide you through compressing your photos while keeping them clear. If you’d like to take this compression to a more technical, granular level, check out this guide.
4. Build your local presence.
If you’re a business with in-person customer traffic, such as a restaurant or retailer, focus on your local SEO. This means optimizing your business for local searches, such as “healthy Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles”. Local SEO includes using your city name as part of your keywords and having an updated, filled-out Google My Business page. Don’t forget to make sure your Yelp page is looking good.
5. Write an engaging meta description.
The meta description is the text underneath the website title on the search results. It serves as a preview to the part of your website’s content that features the keyword the user searched for. Include these keywords at least once in the meta description and in your URL.