One of the most important aspects of website management today is search engine optimization (SEO).
‘What is that?’ you may ask. Well, SEO is exactly what it sounds like – optimizing a website for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Websites with a great SEO rating are more likely to appear higher in search results using these search engines. This, in turn, leads to more people visiting those sites and learning about their services.
To demonstrate just how important a ranking is on a search engine, according to a recent study1, the number of people who click the first Google search result is around 31%. The number of people who click the second link is about 14%. Anything below second achieves a single digit click-through percentage, with the number of people navigating to the second page of a Google search standing at around 4%.
So how do you make your website SEO-friendly? Here are our top tips.
Create good, strong content
The most important aspect of any website is its content. It’s no use having a site with great SEO if the content on it isn’t valuable.
The key for any site is to produce content that pulls people in and keeps them returning. This is referred to as ‘Corner Stone’ or ‘Evergreen’ content.
It can take some time to build a loyal audience, but it does pay off in the long run as it increases your site’s ‘domain authority’. To a search engine, domain authority directly reflects a site’s value. Those sites with a high domain authority rank higher on a search, which is crucial to ensure people see a site in the first place.
Use powerful keywords
Each piece of content created on your site should relate to a specific keyword or keyword phrase.
For example, a good keyword term for a cardiology story could be ‘heart health’. This keyword should be mentioned in a variety of places like the page title, the weblink (URL) and in the main body of the text a few times.
If someone then searches for that exact term, the content you’ve created is more likely to feature higher in a search.
That might sound simple, but keyword terms need to be well researched prior to use.
For example, a patient advocacy group that creates a piece entitled ’cancer support groups’ should not use the keyword term ‘cancer’. Why? Because the chances are that a lot of well-established, domain-authority-rich websites are already using ‘cancer’ as a keyword term. Therefore it’s unlikely that your content will rank in the top 10 of search results.
However, if the keyword term is ‘cancer support groups’, for example, fewer people will have used that phrase, so it has a greater chance of a higher ranking.
The best keywords are longer phrases that are less commonly used. This means there will be less competition with your content and your piece should rank higher.
Get a strong domain name
Your URL should include a term that relates exactly to what you do and, preferably, will include a keyword term that is unique to your organization. This will immediately indicate to people what your site is about, increasing the chance of them visiting the site.
For example, if someone was looking for sites to do with heart health, a website with the URL www.hearthealth.com will do a lot better than www.jelly.com in terms of visitors.
Use an SEO-friendly system
Many websites are now created using content management systems, like WordPress and Drupal. The reason they are so popular is because they are not only easy to use, but they have SEO-friendly features built in.
That means people with very little experience in web development or SEO can create websites backed by a solid SEO base to help them rank better in search engines.
Get an SSL certificate
Once you have your site the way you want it to look, the final piece of the puzzle is to get an SSL certificate.
These certificates tell search engines that your site is secure for people to browse safely. This is one of Google’s main ranking factors and will affect where your site appears in a relevant Google search.
Anyone looking to craft a website that gets a lot of attention needs to consider the SEO strategy seriously. For patient advocacy groups, in particular, getting their message out into the public domain, and having people spread their message, is vital to their efforts.
With all of the above tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a solid, SEO-friendly site that will help you achieve your organization’s objectives.
- Google Organic Click-Through Rates in 2014. Moz. Accessed August 9, 2017. Available at: https://moz.com/blog/google-organic-click-through-rates-in-2014