The most important tool in your entrepreneurial growth is your website. All successful websites are optimized for search – also known as search engine optimization (SEO) – and this is the bedrock of attracting the best customers.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to market hard and sell well. Unless you can reach the right people and get them to buy, it’s very difficult to grow a business. Your website is where people decide to spend their money.
The more targeted traffic you get to your website, the better your chances of converting these prospects into customers and clients. And the most important driver in getting people to your website is strong SEO.
Search engine optimization is a huge and complicated subject. It’s estimated there are over 200 different factors Google (and other SERPs) considers when ranking a website. Some are vital, others are nice to have.
But how do you, as a busy entrepreneur or side hustle extraordinaire, know which is which?
Here are ten essential SEO factors you need for success:
- Search engine accessibility
A website with accessibility issues is a liability. If the search engines can’t find or crawl your site, it’s impossible to achieve the ranking results you need. It can be difficult for those who are non-technical to spot these issues.
Good quality DIY website building programs and professional web developers will usually include all the working elements you need to have a search accessible site, including a fully functioning robots.txt file, sitemap, on-page readability, and more.
- Keyword optimized
The very essence of SEO – it’s raison d’etre – is to match the best content with relevant search queries. When your perfect customers type a keyword or keyphrase into Google, it’s important your content appears on page one of the search results.
A big part of ensuring your pages are matched with user search queries is to make keyword research a big part of your content marketing strategy. Check what search terms people use, the frequency of these searches, and how difficult or easy it might be to rank for these terms, and then write your content accordingly.
- High-quality content
Writing articles and web pages based on good keywords is important but what’s even more vital is writing quality content. Merely writing for the sake of SEO is a losing strategy, especially if pages are keyword-stuffed.
Google looks for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) in a website and this all comes about by providing your target audience with great human-focused content written by people with knowledge of the subject. Be a thought leader, in other words.
- Meta titles and descriptions that encourage click-throughs
You can have the best webpage content and the most fantastic products or services but if no one clicks through from the search results to your website, they’ll remain invisible. You, therefore, need a good CTR (Click-through Rate). This is best achieved by writing great meta titles and descriptions.
Those are the little snippets of text you see on the search result pages. For example:
A good description is enticing, informative, and written in the active voice. This is where honing your copywriting skills can really help. While meta descriptions themselves are not a ranking factor, they do influence your CTR, which is.
- Content which satisfies user intent
Matching keywords and expert content all generally work to satisfy the search user, which is an important ranking factor. The longer someone spends on your webpage, the more likely it is they find the content satisfies their search intent.
Google wants to deliver the exact information someone is looking for and if you provide that content, your webpage will rank higher in the SERPs. That’s why simply writing average content quickly for the sake of extra keywords is self-defeating, as it will alienate searchers.
There’s no benefit for search engines to display multiple pages of content all saying the same thing. Google filters out duplicate content to deliver the highest quality result for the user. It’s important to write high-quality unique content that cannot be found anywhere else.
That’s not to say you need to discover completely new ideas and concepts, but rather to write about them in your own unique way, and in different formats. Original content with personal perspectives also goes a long way to strengthening your appeal as a trustworthy expert (see Point 3).
- Good web design and page layouts
A big factor in successful SEO strategies is ensuring the web design supports the user journey through the website. The layout of a page is a ranking factor in itself. A good clean design and structure helps visitors move around the site, find what they need, click through to sales pages, and make purchases.
Great web design supports the copy. It frames it in a way that leads to more sales conversions and more sharing. A strong website combines design and copy seamlessly, which benefits SEO and usability.
- Links, Links, Links!
Whether inbound links, outbound links, or internal links, the linking strategies you use play a big role in how well your webpages rank in Google and other search engines.
The quality of your inbound links help determine who is linking to your website and why. High-quality sites mentioning your great content or products are what you want. Low-quality links from irrelevant and low-quality domains, not so much.
Outbound links are where you send your website visitors away from your site for more information. Linking out to relevant, helpful, and authoritative sites is always good. Linking out to irrelevant or dodgy sites, again, not so good.
Your internal links are those that connect different pages and posts on your own website. You can transfer authority and page ranking by linking from page to page in a way that genuinely helps visitors find information or make a buying decision.
We’ve all landed on websites we really want to read but have been left frustrated with slow loading times. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between site speed and rankings. Google wants to improve user experience and so faster webpages are given precedence over slower ones.
There are a number of plugins and tools you can use to measure your page speeds. The faster you can get them to load, the better.
- Mobile optimization
A big ranking factor that has increased in importance over recent years is whether a website is mobile friendly – or mobile optimized. More than half of all searches are now conducted from mobile devices which makes it imperative your website can be viewed with ease on different screen sizes and devices.
In fact, Google actively boosts webpages that are mobile responsive, compared to their less mobile-friendly competitors, meaning if your site is behind the times, it will suffer.
Successful search engine optimization for entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, every little improvement counts. With a few sensible adjustments to how your website is setup, designed, written, and maintained, you can enjoy potentially numerous and sizeable SEO ranking boosts to your pages.
A successful website is a core tool in the growth of your business, in whichever industry you’re in. Use these ten factors to ensure your search engine optimization efforts are working in your favor.