3 Ways to Get Discovered in Google Using SEO
On average, the first search result receives 32.5% of the organic traffic on any given Google search. Because of this, businesses are eager to get those coveted page one, position one rankings.
The process of getting your website to show up on the coveted first page of search results is called search engine optimization, or SEO. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can do once for your entire online presence — you have to optimize every single webpage for Google in order to have your whole site perform well. It’s also an ongoing process that never really ends.
Most resources that discuss SEO are about optimizing for Google specifically, but following these steps will be just as effective for getting noticed in Bing or Yahoo. That being said, Google is where you’ll find the serious traffic.
1. Define Your Target Keywords
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what people will be searching when they need to find the information your website offers. This may sound daunting, but it’s usually as simple as putting yourself into your ideal customer’s shoes, and then asking: “What search phrase would I use to find the information on my website?”
The search phrase or query that a user enters is referred to as a keyword. So the phrases you come up with that people should use to find your site will be your target keywords.
Examples of target keywords include: plumbers chattanooga tn, personal injury lawyers iowa, and roofers near me.
In addition, you may want to consider long-tail keywords. These keywords are generally longer and often come in the form of a question.
- “how to calm down my dog before going to the vet”
- “how to talk to my crush”
- “contractors in Wisconsin”
- “how to analyze web traffic”
- “coffee shop near Rapid City”
Virtually anything can be a keyword. It just needs to be something real people are likely to be using Google to look for, and which your online presence addresses. If you don’t know where to start, look for an SEO or website design company that can help you identify high-volume keywords in your area.
2. Tell Google What Your Target Keywords Are
The way Google works is by automatically crawling known websites, then categorizing (or indexing) the webpages it finds using information from those pages. So when a Google user performs a search, Google scans through the webpages indexed in its database — it doesn’t actually search the entire web.
Obviously, if Google doesn’t know your site exists, it won’t know to index it. So part of SEO involves setting up your site to be discoverable, with the right information embedded in each page to help Google categorize it accurately.
You do this by putting your target keywords into places on your site that Google notices for indexing. The following are the most important:
- Title tags: Every page and blog post on your site has a title. It should contain keywords that are accurate and relevant to real users’ search queries.
- Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are the short blurbs that appear underneath website titles in search results. It not only tells Google what your website is all about, helping it properly index it, but it also quickly informs the user what to expect before they click.
- URLs: The URL is your site’s web address. Your homepage’s URL will begin with “http” and end with “.com,” “.org,” or some other extension. Other webpages on your site will have endings with slashes—for example, a blog post on dog grooming might have the URL, “dogresource.com/blog/how-to-groom-your-dog.” This would be a high-quality URL, because the formatting is easy to read (both for humans and for Google), and the relevant keywords are front-and-center.
- Alt tags: Alt tags are textual information designated to images on your website. Google can’t “see” images, so it relies on alt tags to know what an image shows. Using relevant and accurate alt tags helps Google categorize your site, and it also makes your website images ready to be discovered in images search.
Finally, you want to place your keywords in web copy throughout your website, both in blog posts and on your most important landing pages.
3. Write for Real People
One good thing about Google is that it emphasizes quality content over large quantities of it. So it’s not important to have the longest blog posts or the most webpages — at least, not as important as it is to have well-written ones.
Many businesses and web developers employ shady techniques, like “keyword stuffing,” to force their online presence to show up for specific Google searches. This used to work to an extent, but Google’s algorithms have advanced to a point that makes tricking the system almost impossible.
If you get caught trying to game the system in this way, Google will actually penalize your site, making it even harder for you to appear in search results later. Instead, it’s best to write (or have written) relevant, thorough, and high-quality articles and copy for your site.