In this weeks edition of Things I Wish I Knew, Joleena Louis shares three SEO techniques she used to improve her firm’s website rank, as well as how she uses local and paid SEO.
When I started my practice I just threw up a GoDaddy website template and didn’t think twice about SEO. While I knew I needed a website, I didn’t realize that it will take more than just having a site in order to be found by potential clients on search engines.
At the end of 2015 I finally updated my site and switched to WordPress. After lots of research and input from members of several blogging and entrepreneur groups, I finally have SEO figured out.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It’s basically the strategies used to improve your site’s ranking on search engines like Google. When doing a Google search only 8.5% of website searchers go past the first page page of search results, so SEO is important for generating organic traffic.
A few years ago, using certain keywords within your website would get your site to get top search results, but now the search algorithms are constantly improving. Today, in addition to scanning for the right keywords, search algorithms are now looking at for website for relevant and quality content.
I’m no expert at SEO and my site certainly has areas that can be better optimized. But I have learned a few things that have improved my SEO since starting my practice.
3 Main Ways I’ve Improved my SEO
1. Relevant Backlinks
Backlinks are still very important when it comes to Google ranking. Backlinks are links to your site from other high ranking relevant sites. The trick is to get links from sites with authority, not spammy that don’t have quality or relevant content.
I’ve improved my SEO by getting quality backlinks through guest posting and writing for other websites. My bio in this blog and other publications I’ve been quoted in all link back to my website.
I am also a member of several Facebook groups where I share my relevant blog posts with other bloggers, with hopes that they will link back to me in their posts.
Every page should focus on one keyword or keyphrase. A keyword is the word or phrase someone types into a search engine, and then search results show websites with matching keywords.
When I first started my website, I would write without a keyword in mind. But by focusing on a specific keyword you can make ensure your content is SEO optimized, focused and relevant to the reader who searched for that keyword.
In my field it’s difficult to get to page one because there are so many divorce attorneys. So when it comes to my blog I focus on long tail keywords that are less competitive. Long tail keywords are three or four word keywords that are very specific.
For example, if I wrote an article on mental illness and divorce, instead of using a general keyword like “divorce”, I may use, “divorce mental illness” or specifically “divorce schizophrenia.”
Since these longer keywords are searched less often, it’s easier to get a higher search ranking. Meaning you will reach a smaller, but more targeted and qualified audience.
This simple change has made a huge difference in the amount organic traffic my blog posts receive.
3. Mobile Friendly Site
My original site displayed well on mobile, but it was painfully slow. While I’m sure some visitors left because of the page speed, having a mobile friendly site helped to rank my firm’s site even higher.
Most people now search on a mobile device versus on a desktop, so it’s more important than ever that your site is mobile friendly. Also, recent Google algorithm updates give rank priority to mobile friendly sites and penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile.
The two things to look for when determining mobile friendliness is speed and how well the site displays. If you have a WordPress site like me, there are several plugins that can make your site is mobile friendly and check page speed.
I also improved my Local SEO by having my ensuring that my NAP + W (name, address, phone number and website) was consistent across all online directories. I learned from several entrepreneur groups that being listed on directories with consistent information validates the existence of your local business to the search engines, and therefore will rank your site higher is local search results.
On my actual website I have my NAP on every page in addition to a map in the sidebar. The presence of the map again validates your business to Google and can boost SEO.
DIY or Paid SEO
At this time I do all my SEO on my own. I personally find it interesting so I don’t mind taking the time to research and ask questions about it.
My blog is part of my website and I use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress to make sure every page is fully optimized. In the future I may hire someone to improve my SEO even more, but for now I am planning to continue on doing it myself.
SEO is not a one time thing, it’s an ongoing process. I continuously update my site and make changes that will improve SEO as I learn more about it. The algorithms are always changing so be sure to follow new trends as they unfold.