Your website deserves a good user experience (website design) and search engine experience (website optimization or development), and when combined, they bring you more website visitors.
"The first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92% in recent years." Forbes.com article, The Value of Search Results Rankings.
There are more than a hundred factors in Google's search engine algorithm that assigns web pages to searches, and their algorithm is constantly changing. The search engines continually update their algorithms to provide a better search experience to meet the search intent. What does it take to get on page one of a search? It depends on the competition in the market. This page has some key SEO factors.
This can be an effective DIY website optimization tactic that is relatively easy to implement. Basically decide on a keyword (really a key phrase) that your ideal customers search for online and put that keyword in your website Title Tag, Meta Description, Header Tags, and naturally sprinkle it in the content. To better rank for local SEO consider adding the name of your city in the Title Tag, Meta Description, and footer.
You can find affordable and premium keyword strategy services on the Digital Mktg Solutions page. There is also a great video on keyword research near the bottom of the Resources page. Free.
Many SEO experts claim "content is king" since it bridges the search intent to the site. The content has a direct affect on the website bounce rate, average number of pages visited, and average duration of sessions. The majority of online searches are intended to learn more about a topic. The search engines try to match websites with content they think will be relevant to the search intent.
Using keyword research will help you understand what content people are interested in the most, and what content your competitors are paying the most for advertising.
These can be 'follow' and 'no follow' links. The follow links provide more value to your website as they are basically loaning your website some of their domain authority. The best way to gain backlinks is to create good content that other sites want to link to. Another way is to look for articles or blogs online that your website would provide value to and reach out to them requesting a backlink. A third way is to be a guest on a blog or podcast, as most will allow you to link to your site. There are some organizations that you can hire to create or purchase backlinks, but this is not recommended as search engines are getting better at understanding which ones are bought.
This is a critical user experience issue that also affects bounce rate. As the number of mobile users surfing the web increases, mobile responsiveness of websites becomes more important. If visitors have to scroll back and forth on their phone to view your website, they are more likely to 'bounce.' This has become a common or standard optimization for most web designs.
Website speed is important because it has a direct effect on 'bounce' rate. Different studies show if a page takes longer than 5 seconds to load, about 20-38% of visitors will bounce. This jumps up 5% for 6 seconds and 10% for 7 seconds. The average number of pages visited has also been connected to the speed of page loads. The faster pages load the more pages visitors will check. Optimization for speed can be one of the more complicated factors. This can include adjusting the html or css on the backside of the website.
Most website designs offer SSL - secure socket layer, or TLS - transport layer security. This means your site URL will start with https:// not http:// and visitors and search engines will be thankful.
* Include an xml Sitemap - This helps search engines record the site data faster and more efficiently.
* Include a Robots.txt - This tells search engines how to crawl the website. What pages the websites are allowed to crawl and what pages not to crawl.
* Include Alt Tags or Attributes with images - This helps search engines understanding your intent for the website.
* Implement an internal link strategy - This gives search engines a better idea of what pages are most valuable.
* Connect Google Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager - This not only provides a treasure trove of free information about how people react to the website, it also gives the webmaster insight on how Google indexes their pages.
Free Google Analytics and their Search Console are great free services to monitor your website performance. Free Google Tag Manager allows you to measure your advertising return on investment. These products offer dozens of metrics to see how visitors are responding to your site. Some key metrics you might be interested include the total number of users (visitors) each day, how many are new users, the number of sessions they have on your site, the pages they frequent the most, and how long they stay on each page. This helps you measure your marketing efforts.
You can't manage what you don't measure - Peter Drucker.
There is one key factor for local SEO that I would add to the 6 key website optimization factors, local listing. There are dozens of online listing agencies for businesses to make sure they are maximizing their visibility. Some of the big ones include Google.com, Bing.com, Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, Yelp.com, YellowPages.com, Yellowbook.com, AngiesList.com, BBB.org, Superpages.com, Mapquest.com, Foursquare.com, Local.com, EZlocal.com, CitySearch.com, CitySlick.net, USdirectory.com, BizJournals.com, Manta.com, InfoUSA.com, and USCity.net.
You could keep these updated yourself or use an automated service like the one on our Business Resources page.
Google has a great page for DIY SEO, their SEO starter guide.
If you are looking for a great resources to do your own in depth research and search engine optimization consider the research and digtal marketing option on the Business Resources page. It is a premium and comprehensive solution with many capabilities, including SEO, keywords, backlinks, content help, rank tracking, social media, listing management, paid ads, and competitor analysis of all the above.