SEO can be a mystifying and intimidating concept. You may have heard web developers talk about things like keywords, alt tags, rankings, or the Google algorithm. On top of that, there are a plethora of companies who would be more than happy to increase your search ranking – for a hefty fee. Is SEO really that complicated and mysterious?
What is SEO, anyway?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a collection of techniques and tactics used to improve a website’s display position on a search engine results page. In a nutshell, the goal of SEO is to get your website to come up as close to the top of the list as possible when someone searches for content that you’d like them to find on your site.
Why should economic developers care about SEO?
In this digital age, your website is – or should be – your primary marketing tool. Your website promotes your region 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. What other form of marketing can do that? But your website only benefits you if your target audience can find it (and then can find what they need, but that’s a topic for another blog). That’s where good SEO comes in.
The closer to the top your website appears in a search, the more visits it will receive. Consider how often you go to even the second page of results when you conduct an internet search. More visits from your target audience increase your region’s visibility and can drive engagement. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to find you. Competition for talent and business relocations is fierce. Good SEO can give you a leg up on the competition and keep your region top-of-mind.
5 DIY Techniques to Improve SEO
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Many techniques that can positively impact your site’s SEO are not complicated or expensive. You can do some of these things yourself, and if you have some basic familiarity with your website’s back-end, you can do all of them. Like most things, it requires a plan and some time and effort. Here are 5 DIY techniques to improve your SEO.
- Know what terms your target audience searches for and make sure those terms are included in the content on your site. Run some test searches on those terms (keywords). Does your site come up in the results? What about your competitors’ sites? Do you rank higher or lower than your competitors? If your site doesn’t come up on the first page of results for important keywords, review your content and determine how you could work them in.
- Just tag it. Here’s where the back-end stuff happens. Each page should have a meta title and description that focuses on the important content and keywords. They should be short and sweet and written in language your audience would use and understand.
- Don’t forget your photos! Photos should be named based on their content; e.g., logo_MyEDO.jpg instead of logo.jpg. Each photo should also have an alt tag that’s relevant to what it depicts. Not only does it help Google know what’s in the picture, it reinforces the value of the content on the page.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. More searches are now done on mobile devices than on desktops. In keeping with the trend towards mobile, Google’s search algorithm now factors in how mobile-friendly a site is when displaying results. Responsive (mobile-friendly) websites are now a must.
- Regularly freshen up your content. Your website’s copy should be written with readers in mind and should incorporate your keywords. That in itself is not enough, however. Google’s search algorithm also factors in how often your content is updated. Timely, relevant content is not only more useful to your target audience; it can help your site rank higher. Some ideas would be to update your success stories, regional news and other positive activities.
There are other behind-the-scenes items that your website developer can help you with; for example, making sure your robots.txt file is configured appropriately; adding breadcrumbs; adding backlinks; making sure header attributes are used properly; adding social media feeds; etc.
When you’re first getting started, it can be helpful to have a plan and set aside time regularly to work on your site’s SEO. It’s less about the mystery of SEO and more about making the time to implement some simple strategies. With some dedicated time and effort, you can positively impact your website’s SEO. And that’s good for your EDO and your entire region.
Want to improve your SEO but don’t have the time? Ady Advantage helps EDOs optimize their websites to improve SEO and user experience. We are expert in bringing the site selector’s perspective to bear on your website strategy. Our team can audit your site, provide assistance with copywriting and art direction, and provide regular content updates. And if you need a whole new website, we do that, too. Contact us for more information: 608-663-9218.