If you operate online, SEO is extremely important to the success of your business. It’s something that has to be done, but most people don’t know where to start. If this describes you, you’ll want to read these nine simple tips to better optimize your site.  

1. Use Long Tail keywords

Unless you’re a large brand with a ton of money to spend on advertising, you’ll never rank for keywords like “dog beds”, or “yoga mats”. Instead, you should aim for longer tail keywords like “pink dog beds for German Shepherds”, or “yoga mats for children under 3 years old”. In fact, long tail keywords are more exact, and business owners find that they attract customers who are ready to make a purchase. In addition, you have less competition with long tail keywords, which means a better chance of ranking on Google’s first page.

2. Use Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Another great thing you can do to optimize your site is to use the Yoast SEO plugin. This tool allows you to see whether your page is 100% optimized and shows you what’s needed to improve the SEO score of the content. The plugin is used on the WordPress platform and free for everyone. It’s easy to use and highly popular among webmasters.

3. Use Internal Links

Internal links point search engines to pages that are related to one another. This is great for SEO, and you should do this often. For instance, if you’re talking about health and fitness on one page and you mention a specific product or a specific type of exercise that you’ve written about on another page, you should add a hyperlink to the second page.

4. Have a Responsive Website

Having a responsive (mobile friendly) website is very important for SEO. Responsive sites rank higher in search results. This is also a way to increase user activity, as visitors use different screen sizes and different types of devices. Responsiveness enables your visitors to view your material without the hassle of pages being cut off or having to zoom in to read text.

5. Use Title and Alt Tags

Search engines crawl every inch of your website, including your pictures and videos. But search engines can’t actually see your images or videos, so to help them understand what they are looking at, it’s important to make sure your pictures are highly optimized and include keywords that you want to target for your content. You can do this by renaming the image file with a keyword. Be sure to save the file with the dashes in the name, (kind-of-like-this). This format is easier for search engines to read. You should also include keywords in all your title tags. Every page on your site should have its own title tag with keywords included.

6. Use Keywords in Your Headings

Headings not only make the content on your site more visually enticing and easier to read, but search engines like them too. In code, they are described as H1, H2, H3, and so on, with H1 being the main page heading and the others being subheadings. Insert your keywords into your headings and subheadings to help the search engines better rank your site. 

7. Use Sitemaps

Just like a roadmap lays out the land you are about to explore, your sitemap can help search engines travel through your site. There are two different kinds of sitemaps and choosing the right one depends on your goal. If you want to help the both the search engines and your visitors navigate your site, an HTML sitemap is the way to go. An HTML sitemap is written in plain English. If you want to add a sitemap solely for the purpose of helping search engines rank you higher, you can use an XML sitemap which is written in code that search engines can understand.

8. Use Social Media

Social media is important in search engine optimization. Be sure to share each post and page online and use keywords in the descriptions. This is one way to get your material quickly indexed and to get a few links back to your website. If you don’t have many followers, you may want to try some paid promotional posts to give the content an extra boost.

9. Have a Quick Load Speed

Websites that load faster rank better and get better results with viewers in general. Check to make sure your site loads within 3-5 seconds, both on the computer and mobile devices. The faster your site loads the less likely you are to lose a visitor, and the more likely you are to be considered a safe and reputable site to the search engines.

Proper search engine optimization is essential for your website. It means making adjustments to ensure that your site can easily be crawled by search engines, and humans alike. It could take some time to get this right, but it’s a worthy investment of time, and one that will pay off in the end.