Although a website can have many different goals, for most people, it is a lead generation tool. New leads can come to your website in three ways: referrals from other websites, direct clicks from social postings or emails, and organic traffic, which comes from people clicking on a link in Google’s search results.
To increase your organic traffic and show up in Google’s search results, there are certain tactics you can implement on the back-end of your website. In order for your website to rank high in Google search results—ideally show up on page one or two—Google has to understand the purpose of your site and the content of your pages.
If you want your site to appear in Google search results, you need to incorporate appropriate keywords into your website structure and content. This takes a little research, but it is not difficult. Tools such as Google’s keyword planner let you type in search terms and see their average monthly search volume. This can help you find and choose the right keywords based on your content.
To use Google keyword planner, type in all of the possible search terms you can think of—as separate words or as phrases—and see what their search volume is. For example, if you offer proposal management services, you will want to search keyword volume for phrases such as proposal management, outsourcing proposal management, proposal experts, how to find a proposal management expert, etc.
Tip: When choosing keywords, it’s a good idea to work from very general to very specific, longer phrases. If the general phrases you find have more than 10,000 searches per month, it may be difficult to compete with bigger websites and show up on the first few pages of a Google search. Instead, target keywords that have between 1,000 and 10,000 searches, and even create some content for more specific keywords with just 100 searches. If the keywords you are targeting have a maximum of 1,000 searches per month, that means you are in a niche market and can most likely compete for those terms.
It’s always a good idea to see which keywords your competitors are using. Go to their websites and look for words they use in their page titles and content. You can also type search terms into Google and see which websites show up. When you see companies offering similar services, look at the phrases they use.
Generally, you will want to use similar keywords in page titles, page URLs, the first paragraph of your content, SEO titles and meta descriptions (more on this below), major page headings, image names, and image descriptions.
Once you have your list of keywords, the next step is to create content that answers your target audience’s search queries. By optimizing your content for those specific keywords, your website will rank on Google search when someone types in that keyword phrase. For example, if you know your target clientele is asking “can a proposal management writer help me win a bid,” consider writing an article or blog post on that topic.
No matter which platform you use for your website, there is always a way to create SEO titles—the titles that appear in search results (typically the blue links on Google). The SEO title should be short (less than 50 to 60 characters or it will be truncated), incorporate keywords, and be enticing.
Keep in mind that SEO titles are different than page titles. Page titles appear at the top of a website page. For example, one of your page titles may be “Proposal Management Services” and your SEO title may be “Looking for a proposal negotiator or strategist?”
While a great SEO title can go a long way, an enticing meta description is equally important. A meta description is a short summary of your page’s content (typically the grey text below the SEO title on Google). Your meta description should use keywords, but be no longer than 160 characters. Get to the point and write what people need to know in order to click your link.
As with any goal, you will want to track your results. Many website platforms offer their own analytics tool or you can use Google Analytics. For detailed information on how to set up and use Google Analytics, check out our website guide. Be patient… SEO takes time, but your results should surface within three months or less and with a little practice and fine-tuning your organic traffic will begin to increase.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is our November 21, 2016 edition.
Follow these five steps to set yourself up for a successful career as an independent contractor.