Beginning SEO

Steps you can take to improve your website's search position in Google, Bing and other search engines

Many unique factors feed search engines' search algorithm. Though search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo don't disclose all ranking factors, there are some known things you can do to increase your website's rank in search results. All it takes is a little time and effort, someone to edit your website or, if you use a CMS like WordPress, learning how to use the installed SEO plugins or other tools your web platform offers.

  • Website Content: Make sure there is plenty of good quality content and sufficient keyword distribution on your web pages. Make sure to include instances of concepts and keywords you're optimizing for. Copy should be somewhat keyword dense but not so dense it looks like "keyword stuffing", Google doesn't like that. Rule of thumb – write copy for humans first, then add a few more well-placed target keywords/phrases, people will tolerate a bit of redundancy and it helps Google hone in on what you're offering.

  • Websites Linking to your Website: Consider the authority of "inbound links" pointing to your site. Is a link to your site coming from a quote on footwear fashion trends or is is coming from Google likes the first kind better.

  • Technical Stuff: Quality of code, human-readable URLs, social media markup, mobile responsiveness, image optimization, how fast pages load, etc.

  • Social Activity: Tweets, Facebook shares, mentions, likes, your own social content and others' content about you, engagement and overall authority of your social media accounts.

  • Domain Name: How long ago you did you register your domain name and for how long did you register it (have you reserved it for 1 year or 15 years? Goes to show intent - "we're in it for the long haul" vs "we fly by night".) Is your domain name a .com? a .TV? something else? Does the keyword you’re looking to rank for exist in your domain name?

  • Reviews: User reviews across all legitimate review sites (Google, Yelp, etc.) How many reviews are there, are they real from real customers?

  • Metatags: Make sure your selected keywords are in the Title and Description tags and also in page headers (H1, H2, H3). This is stuff that exists in your website code. To see it in action on Windows right-click a page on your website and choose "view page source" to see if there's something like this in there: META NAME="description" CONTENT="something very relevant to your company including keywords here."

  • Contact Page, Privacy, Legal Stuff: Existence of a contact page with address, contact details, phone, email, social media methods if any; also a Terms of Service, a Privacy Page and options for users to opt out of certian cookies and tracking are key.

  • Quality and Frequency of Content Updates: Recency, frequency and quantity of compelling original content containing sufficient references to your keywords.

  • Local Listings: Make sure your business profile is complete and up to date in Bing Places for Business, Google Business Profile, Yelp, and any other local listing sites specific to your industry.

This short list is a good starting point to focus your SEO efforts. No need to cram your site with keywords you want to get listed for, making keywords invisible by coding them using the same color as the background or hiding them below the fold. Google already knows these tricks. Just focus on a clear phrase that accurately describes your business like "(MyCompanyName) sells (what you sell) in (your area here)". Then get to work communicating this message consistently to Google, Bing, Yahoo! through SEO. Keep sowing seeds across the internet with your clear message in website content, articles on other websites, local listings anywhere you might be able to pitch your brand. With a little time and consistency your efforts will pay off.

SEO BLOG POST AUTHOR: Doreen Fleming is Founder and Digital Marketing Strategist at One Web Source, a Newtown CT web design agency. Doreen has been a digital marketing consultant for more than 20 years. She follows changes in marketing technologies, emergence of new marketing communications tools and current trends in user behavior to help clients reach and engage with customers.

Last update: 16 January 2023