grow the right type of leads Organically with SEO.

The rules of SEO marketing are constantly evolving. As search engines become more intelligent and optimized for the semantic web, they’re able to understand the context of your website’s on-page content, and can then best match a search result to the searcher’s intent.

This means tactics once used to boost a website’s presence in the search results no longer necessarily work, and in some cases they can harm you. So, what website improvements should you focus on to improve your website’s search performance?

Step 1: Get a complete SEO analysis on your existing website.

When your car isn’t performing well, you have a mechanic look under the hood to run diagnostics. The same goes for your website. CC Communications offers FREE SEO diagnostics to see where your site excels, and where it’s lacking.

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‘I was solicited today by another SEO company. Once they started going through our site, our SEO/PPC plan, our search results, etc., he flat-out said, ‘I don’t say this often, but you don’t need our services. You’ve obviously found a very good SEO company. You’re very fortunate.’

-Lori S.

How to develop a keyword strategy for SEO

The higher your website ranks for relevant keyword terms, the better optimized your website has become, or is becoming. The end result, you can reasonably assume, is more organic website traffic and more potential clients exploring your products or services.

For every page of your website, choose one primary focus keyword and two to three secondary keywords to use throughout your page content. It’s important to not use the same keyword too many times, but strategically placing your target words in your website’s meta data (page title and page description), and in your body copy will help search engines fully understand the topic of your content. Use your keywords towards the top of your content, as search crawlers don’t always reach the bottom of the page.

Pro Tip: Leave Out the Meta Keywords

In the past several years, Google has publicly noted that they do not take keyword meta tags into consideration for an SEO campaign. Check out what Matt Cutts of Google had to say about this fact. In the past, search engines ‘read’ these keywords and used them to index search results. However, some websites began an unethical approach called ‘keyword stuffing’, where they would input dozens of keywords into their website meta data that they wished to rank for, whether it was relative to their to their business or not. So they ended the practice and will penalize you trying to game the system. Put your focus into optimizing your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions instead.

Name Your Website Images

When you save a document or image to your desktop or server, how are you labeling the image? Search engines do not read images as we do; they read images by the title. Take this for example. Your business is in the SEO marketing business, specializing in improving search results for Charlotte businesses. You add a new image to your website and you title it Pic1948459.jpg. How does that benefit your SEO? It certainly doesn’t.

Take the extra few seconds to change the title in a way that could provide a stronger benefit: Charlotte-Best-SEO-Marketing-Agency.jpg for example. Not only does the image include a target region it has the keywords you’re looking to target online. Much less, fully and correctly labeling your images will go a long way to ensuring that you’re able to stay organized, without flipping through hundreds of pictures.

Don’t Forget the ALT Tag

Similar to using a proper file name, ensure you also fill in the ALT tag associated with your images. An ALT tag is the text that is associated or alternative to viewing your image. You don’t need to write a novel about your image; instead, just a few words that describe what a picture entails. For example, if you have a puppy training business and you’re looking to create an ALT tag for a picture of puppy training, consider having the ALT tag ‘German Shepard Puppy Training Charlotte NC’ will work nicely.

A best practice for writing alt-tags is to describe the image as if you were describing it to someone who is blind. A search engine crawler cannot see an image, therefore it depends on the ALT tag to know the contents of the image.

How to increase the amount of time people spend on your website

More is more – take time to write comprehensive content

Beef up pages on your website with thin content – that is any page with less than 200 words on the page. Having additional text helps build trust with your customer, and provides search engines with better context about your website.

What’s the ideal amount of content for a web page?

The ideal amount of copy on a page would be over 200 words, but writing in-depth, comprehensive content with a minimum of 2,000 words will help you cover all the details your website visitor needs to know, and will help increase the time they spend on your page.

The longer a person spends on a particular webpage the better your “Time on Site” metric, or “dwell time” will improve. It means your site visitors are finding value in the content on your page. If enough people spend a lot of time on a particular page, then it will send an important ranking signal to search engines, and your page will be indexed higher in the results.

Keep content relevant

When you’re writing content keep your end user in mind. What were they searching for that led them to this page? Are you answering their questions? The days of keyword stuffing your content to fool the search engines are over. The bots are smarter than that and so you’re best bet to is to only write content that is relevant to your business and customers.

Tried and true techniques to reduce bounce rate

Create internal linking opportunities to reduce bounce rate

Link specific keywords in your content to other internal pages on your website. Internal link building provides an information trail through your website for users to easily navigate, and creates a hierarchy of information. Creating links from your more popular website pages to your sub-pages also gives you the opportunity to share your SEO ‘juice’ and increase the visibility of linked pages on your website.

Use strong call-to-actions button

Having a button with a strong message will help guide your website visitor to where you want them to go next. These can go anywhere on your site, but make sure they’re easy to find. The goal is to match up the message of your CTA to best fulfill the needs of your visitor at the specific point in their journey. Make them action-oriented with persuasive text and ensure the visuals are strong enough to stand out from the rest of the on-page content. If possible, use a sense of urgency to entice an action.

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Revise older content to improve your search ranking

Keep content fresh

Maintaining a steady stream of fresh content is important as all website content eventually becomes stale, and because of this your website’s SEO value in the algorithm will decay over time. You need to continuously publish new content to trigger search engine crawlers to re-crawl your site.

Create and maintain a blog

Another easy way to keep your site content fresh is to maintain a blog. Not only does it provide more links to be indexed by search engines, but it gives you material to share on social media and provides more backlink opportunities for your website.

Check your website data

Revisit your webpages that aren’t getting a lot of attention. You can use analytics “top pages” report to get an idea of where to start. Then revise these pages using the content optimizations featured earlier.

How to improve your website’s click-through rate (CTR)

Check your website data to see which pages need a boost

Beef up pages on your website with thin content – that is any page with less than 200 words on the page. Having additional text helps build trust with your customer, and provides search engines with better context about your website.

Optimize your meta data

The ideal amount of copy on a page would be over 200 words, but writing in-depth, comprehensive content with a minimum of 2,000 words will help you cover all the details your website visitor needs to know, and will help increase the time they spend on your page.

The longer a person spends on a particular webpage the better your “Time on Site” metric, or “dwell time” will improve. It means your site visitors are finding value in the content on your page. If enough people spend a lot of time on a particular page, then it will send an important ranking signal to search engines, and your page will be indexed higher in the results.

How do you write an effective page title?

  • Place your primary keyword phrase – the term that best describes the content of your landing page – towards to beginning of your page title.
  • If you want your company name in the page title, then it should always be placed after your target keywords.
  • Keep your page title below 60-65 characters.
  • Each page should have a unique page title with target keywords. Don’t duplicate them across pages!
  • Do an online search for your target keyword phrase and see which results appear on page one of the search results. This will give you insight into what is working for the competition.

Meta descriptions are more of a SEM (search engine marketing) tactic more so than SEO, but they are crucial to obtaining a higher CTR.

Tips for writing the best meta description

  • Always write your own meta description, or the search engines will generate one for you. You want to control the message.
  • Keep your customer top of mind by answering the question “why should someone click on this link.” Focus on their pain points and explain how you will solve their needs.
  • Write unique meta descriptions for each page
  • Keep all of your descriptions below 150 characters. Too much copy will be cut off from the search results.
  • Use target keyword phrases in your copy.

Ensure your URLs are relevant to your target keyword phrase

When creating URLs for each page, be descriptive about the contents of the page. People are wary when the URL doesn’t match up with their search intent, or the meta data appearing in search results.

Implement Schema Markup

Schema is a type of microdata, which helps provide the context of your website content to the search engines. Using a standardized format of coding a web developer can add special tags to your website content that clearly defines what your text means. You can use this common search engine vocabulary to markup your special events, staff, a business location, a type of business, product reviews, customer testimonials and more. The more context you provide to the search engines, the better they’ll work for your website.

Add Visuals Wherever Possible

Content with visuals like photos, infographics, or video have been show to improve click through rate in emails, and social media. When creating new landing page or blog content for your website include compelling visuals, and use those within your online marketing initiatives.

Focus on Featured Snippet

When optimizing content for higher rankings in Google search results, it’s important to keep featured snippets in mind. Designed to help users find answers to the queries quicker, featured snippets are selected search results that are shown on top of Google’s organic results below the ads in a box. There are three different types of featured snippets, including paragraph, list, and table snippets.

How do you Appear in a Featured Snippet

To have your content appear in a featured snippet, or “answer box”, your content must organically appear on the first page of search results. To make it into the top 10, you must focus on optimizing your content with keywords and keyword phrases. According to Moz, you have a better chance of appearing in a featured snippet if you use long-tail keywords.

As you research keywords for your content, keep in mind that featured snippets are designed to answer questions. Your keyword research should include question-type phrases, beginning with “what”, “why”, “how”, “who”, or “when.” Some keyword research tools allow you to see which keywords will trigger a featured snippet.

Out of the three types, paragraph snippets are the most common. According to Getstat, paragraph make up 82 percent of snippets. Nicknamed “snippet bait,” content should include an optimized section made up of 40 to 60 words that is designed to trigger a featured snippet. This content should include your keywords and be designed to answer a question.

If you are looking to appear in a list or table snippet, your content must be formatted correctly. For a list snippet, include subheadings. Google recognizes H2 and H3 subheaders and pulls them into a list in a featured snippet. To trigger a table snippet, your table must be clean and easy for Google to pull content from. Create charts in your content using table tags ( < table > )

Getting Results From Features Snippets

According to SEMRush, 11.3% of all search results now have a featured snippet. This means that sites ranking second or third in results are appearing before the first result. This presents quite an advantage for businesses and organizations looking to drive traffic to their website.

Data shows that the click-through rate on a featured page increased from two percent to eight percent once it appears in a featured snippet. An increase in website traffic from appearing in a featured snippet drives business upward, and extra costs downward.