If you're like most companies, it's tough to invest the time and resources to make sure your business website is optimized for search engines. This practice, known in the tech world as SEO, is a mix of technical fixes, keyword research, writing, marketing and analytics, science and art.
SEO is not a one-and-done task. SEO experts often say that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It's an ongoing process that needs care and feeding.
But you’ve got a ton of other things to do, right? I've been there -- it's hard to keep website content updated, let alone worry about things like search engine optimization.
But if your CEO is asking why your website isn't showing up on an internet search, it's time to make time for SEO. Here's a strategy to maintain SEO on your schedule.
SEO Maintenance on Your Schedule
- Check for broken links. Broken links are among the lowest-hanging fruit to improve your SEO.
- Check mobile-friendliness.
- Check for HTTPS – Do you see a small padlock in the URL bar? Do you see “HTTPS” before your website address? If you see “Not Secure” then you need to get secured, ASAP! Ask me how.
- Check PageSpeed. If it's a low score, make a note of what issues need to be addressed and schedule a meeting with your developer.
Did you pass everything? If so, outstanding! Move to the lunch hour tasks. If you need some remediations, contact your web developer armed with your evidence.
Lunch Hour Tasks
Working through lunch? These smaller tasks can be broken up and done over your lunch hour:
Page titles are an important element for SEO. This is sometimes a page's H1 (an equally important element for search engines). Make sure your page title includes a keyword to illustrate what the page is about.
Organize content into headers
Tough truth: People skim rather than thoroughly read web pages. No one wants to read a long block of text. Start with H1 - which is like the headline of your page. It also might be the title of your page. If you don't already have an H1, be sure to add one. Then break up the content into sections using headers and format those in order as H2, H3 or H4. (Read this blog post for an explanation of headers). It really helps people and search engines understand your page, and improves user experience.
Rewrite your link text
Any place it says “Click Here” or “Learn More”– change it. Challenge yourself to come up with more descriptive text to encourage conversions, such as "Let's Do This!" Since people scan most web pages, a descriptive button will let people know exactly what will happen when they click the button, such as “Download the 2020 Annual Report.”
If you have Google Analytics recording actions on your website, take a few minutes to look at the Overview sections of the platform to see generally what content is popular, who your visitors are, what pages are getting lower views, bounce rate, etc. This information can help you know what changes to make on the site. If you don’t have GA installed, it’s pretty easy to install on your site. Setting up reports takes a bit more finesse, but there are plenty of “how-to” guides on the web. If you'd rather stand in line at the DMV than review your analytics, we can help!
Working on your website is a good Friday task if you have fewer meetings and more focused time. These tasks will take a little more time but are worth the effort.
Photos, graphics, and videos are an indispensable part of your website design. Don’t overlook the importance of making these as fast as possible. Large photos often slow down a website.
Check for large images that are slowing down your site. Add alt text for screen readers; Add new pictures, avoiding stock images. Can you add any authentic photographs to replace the stock photos? Stock photos are a necessary evil, but it’s usually better to use “real” photos, even if they aren’t the absolute best quality. But make sure they’re decent enough resolution to be attractive on larger screens. Read this post to learn how to optimize images for websites.
Freshen the Content
Read through your web pages. What content is outdated? Can you freshen up pages with new details or services? Expand on pages to make them more in-depth and valuable to your customers? Website content should be updated regularly. Especially make sure that your popular pages have the latest and greatest content.
Do some keyword research to find out what your site ranks for and think about what terms you’d like to rank for. Check metadata and optimize for keywords, including long-tail, and audience intent keywords.
Once or Twice a Year
Avoid a potential lawsuit by having your accessibility checked at least once a year by a professional team that can fix issues for you, too. You want to be sure that people with disabilities - whether permanent or temporary - can have a great experience on your site if they're using a screen reader.
Perform a website audit
Give your website an annual or semi-annual physical. Check issues such as page indexing, errors, 404 pages, and other issues to keep your site accurate and fast. How? There are lots of free tools from Google and Bing, but consider using a professional company to make sure this is thorough. And if they have staff on hand to fix them for you, well, that’s time in your pocket. Note any technical issues that need to be sent to your web developer.
Run a 6- or 12-month report on your website performance. Plan a strategy to make website improvements. That leads to…
Plan Website Improvements - and Your Wish List
Your business website should be ever-evolving. Don’t let it sit and get stale. Plan a 6-month, 12-month and 2-year strategy. When will your next big redesign be? Can you do some design tweaks in the next year to keep it looking fresh? What website elements would be helpful to track? Do you need a blog? Do you have a unique need that would add a “wow” factor to your site? Keep in touch with a website design firm so you have experts close at hand to answer questions, brainstorm ideas with you, and make a plan to move forward.
It is hard to make time for your business website, but this plan should help you carve out time on your calendar as a reminder. But if SEO still seems like as daunting a task as cleaning your basement (I know I should but I just don't want to), LRS Web Solutions is here to help. Contact us for a free consultation. Go SEO!