Updated: Jun 22
SEO is sooooooo much more than 3 letters.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a multi-layered, complex, and ever-changing topic. The big picture of SEO is how you get people to find your site on a search engine (like Google) and engage with it.
So how do you do that? Google ranks sites in its search engine based on an algorithm that considers many factors.
Here are 4 important factors that you can take action on today:
1. User Experience:
User experience is just that - the overall experience of someone on your website. Currently, user experience (UX) has one of the greatest impacts on a website's SEO rankings. So, if your website is not well designed, intuitively laid out, and well organized, the rest really doesn't matter.
People take an average of 10 seconds to decide whether they are going to stay on your website and see what you have to say, or bounce off in search of something else. Your user experience (UX) is critical to keeping people on your site so you have a chance to win their business.
When it comes to UX, Google looks for a positive user experience and prioritizes websites that:
Are fully responsive (both desktop and mobile)
Are intuitively organized with a well-thought-out design
Have a fast page load speed
Have a low bounce rate
Have content that is relevant to the business and easily readable by the average person
Keywords are an easy strategy to implement, and you are probably already using them in your content without even thinking about it.
Every keyword and phrase has an associated search volume. Some terms like "speech therapy" have very high search volumes, meaning a lot of people search that term on a regular basis. The higher the search volume for a term, the harder it can be to rank "organically" for that search term. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't use terms with higher search volumes, it just means you need to use those terms more frequently and its reasonable to expect competition around those terms.
We recommend selecting 3-4 keywords or phrases to focus on in your written content. As you write your content, keywords should be used in natural contexts. Believe it or not, Google actually penalizes sites that "stuff" keywords into their content, or try to hide them.
It is also a good idea to vary your keyword focus from page to page. For example, you may focus on "speech therapy for kids" on your home page and then focus on "pediatric speech therapist" on your services page.
3. Fresh Content:
Google likes sites that update their content regularly. Rewriting the content on your website is very time-consuming and doesn't work well for private practice sites. This is why blogging is so powerful. It allows you to add high-value and fresh content (with more keywords!) that Google and your clients will love. It also helps your site look like an authority on your topic which will help rankings too.
4. Image Alt Text:
A description that tells search engines what the content of an image on a website is. It is very important to enter alt text for every image on your site for SEO purposes. Alt text is not visible to the viewers unless they are using an accessibility program.
WHEN A NEW SITE LAUNCHES
A brand new website cannot immediately compete with websites that have been getting “SEO points” for years. If your site is optimized for SEO, with time it will begin ranking higher in Google search results.
IMPORTANT!!! When a new site launches, it can take a few weeks to be searchable by just the name and then another 3-9 months for it to start climbing the Google ranks. Even if you have indexed your site with Google, it will take time for Google to associate your business name or a search term typed into the search engine with your website.
WHAT WE DO FOR YOU
At Cued Creative, when we build custom sites, or show you how to create a website using one of our Squarespace templates, your site is optimized using SEO best practices (exceptional user experience, alt text for images, title tags, keyword content, meta descriptions, etc). If you don't have one of our custom sites or our templates, we have solutions like our SEO workbook and Blogging With Purpose course that will help you start investing in your SEO.
SO WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS AND GET MORE CLIENTS?
So what can you do? We're going to be totally honest here. Some sites we see just don't cut it when it comes to user experience (poor design, too much content with a lot of technical jargon, confusing layout, etc.). We are firm believers in getting it done right, which sometimes means starting fresh before you spend any more time rewriting content, optimizing your mobile site, adding alt text, etc. If you need a fresh website, you don't have to break the bank. Get started with one of our templates here.
Also, be sure you have a Google Business listing, so you show up in local search results (where you rank in these results is also going to take time). You can grab our guide to setting up your Google My Business. A Google Business listing with reviews will do much better, so be sure to also grab our freebie to help get Google reviews in our freebie library. And if you really want to invest in your SEO, we highly recommend blogging (grab our blogging mini-course here: https://www.bloggingminicourse.com/home). To hire an SEO company, it will cost thousands of dollars, and since they don’t understand our industry, you may end up rewriting content that doesn’t make sense or sounds terrible. Blogging adds fresh content to your site (which Google loves) and gives you a lot of opportunities to get in more keywords. Plus it positions you as an expert, adds value to your site, gets people to stay on your site for longer, and can easily be repurposed into social media content.
We also highly recommend investing in building relationships with referral sources rather than relying on people to find you on Google, especially early on. In our experience, when you get into the driver's seat of your marketing, your business grows faster, and you attract more ideal clients. Think of SEO as a marathon that requires time and effort or money. Yes time will help, but it also takes commitment to rank organically and build up your website's authority. So, first be patient - a new site needs 6 months to even begin ranking, and will still typically not rank on the first page. And then start investing in your SEO step-by-step so you don't sit on page 10 forever.