Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility your website or a web page in a search engine’s natural or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked) and more frequently your site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will garner.
SEO has become an integral part of today’s marketing strategies and web designs. SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords used and which search engines are preferred by your target audience. Optimizing your website may involve editing its content and associated coding to increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to search engines.
In his article, “10 SEO Tips to Improve Your Search Rankings – and Your Website“, Marty Reardon offers 10 tips that can improve your search results and also help turn a visit to your website into a better experience, thus helping your site to grow naturally in popularity.
Tip 1: Create incredible content
The most important aspect of your website—and the most important part of all your optimization efforts—is your content. If your content is of low quality, nobody is going to visit your website or share with the world what you’re offering. If your content is genuinely informative and written for the niche it’s serving, it will already have the keywords you need.
Tip 2: Pick a comfortable niche
Sticking to a specific niche limits your audience, but also limits your competition. The important thing is to research the keywords that are most searched for in your niche and use them wisely in your Web pages.
Tip 3: Carefully research keywords
Compile a well-researched list of the most commonly searched for keywords and phrases in your niche by using tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool. Once you’ve identified them, scatter them strategically throughout your content, your headlines, and your sub-headers. Just make sure you don’t overdo it by using them to the point that text flow seems unnatural.
Tip 4: Stick to SEO-friendly URLs
Ensure that every page of your website has a distinct and SEO-friendly URL that describes what the page is about in a few words. For example, if you have a page about cooking steak, instead of <www.myawesomesite.com/tips/item4?=45756>, convert your URL into something like <www.myawesomesite.com/tips/grilling-the-best-steak>. That is much more search engine friendly!
Tip 5: Use tags and Meta descriptions
You should create concisely informative meta descriptions of all your Web pages with the keywords for that page appearing in the description; you’ll have 150-160 characters to fill. These meta descriptions are likely not used by Google any more for ranking, but they’re useful in attracting attention from human readers in the search results page, so use them anyway. Also include title tags for every important page of your site. A title tag is the main text that describes an online document.
Tip 6: Don’t forget image attributes
You likely have content-relevant images on your website or blog; those images offer an excellent SEO boosting opportunity thanks to image search features on Google and other engines. Be sure to include brief descriptive text with the image to enhance SEO.
Tip 7: Build internal links
Internal link-building is an on-site SEO tactic that consists of creating a well-organized and thorough link structure among your own website’s pages. In other words, as many pages as possible should be connected to each other through text-based hyperlinks.
Tip 8: Build external links
External link building involves the creation of “backlinks” to your site from other websites; that is, links on other sites lead back to relevant content on your own website pages.
If you want to build external links successfully you’re going to have to dedicate a lot of time to posting links to social sites, finding guest post opportunities that allow you to publish links back to your website.
Tip 9: Enable Social Media Sharing
Enable as many social media sharing options on your website as you can. Install buttons for all the major social sites, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, on every important page of your website.
Tip 10: Avoid using Flash and images as text
The search engine spiders that index websites read only text on websites and are, for the most part, incapable of analyzing Flash or image files. So, in general, stay away from both as content mediums.
For senior living providers that do not have the internal resources for SEO, external marketing firms that specialize in senior living are a great option!