So the focus for this site is on teaching Google AdWords right now, but it turns out I “do SEO” on a daily basis and I believe in any form of online marketing that works.
I recently was asked the question:
“How do I optimize my website for maximum organic reach?”
While this is a common question, the answer is not so simple…
Let’s start by clearing up a common misconception:
Every page that you want to rank for should target a specific topic (not necessarily one specific keyword, although you will want to target and use related keywords in your content).
For example, let’s say I own a plumbing business in Denver, CO.
My home page would likely target the more broad and general topic of plumbing and plumbing services. You would want to use those terms and other information a searcher (potential customer) would want to see, such as:
It would make sense to use “Plumber In Denver, CO” as the title or heading.
Remember, what is good for the user, is good for Google, and ultimately your rankings.
But that topic is competitive and may take a long time (years) to rank on the first page. There are probably hundreds of other plumbing related services I could create pages for:
I’m not trying to do research on the plumbing industry right now, so we’ll leave it at that…
You would want to create separate pages for each of these services and include content (written, imagery, video, etc.) specifically for that topic.
Then I would be in a much better position to rank for “fix leaky faucet denver” or “denver drain cleaning” on those respective pages.
Google usually knows your location, so even if someone doesn’t use a location in their search, they will still show local results.
Another aspect you should consider is the type of search someone is doing. There are 3 types of searches:
Google’s quality rater guidelines calls these Do, Know, Go.
Yes, actual humans look at search results and pages to determine if the result is a good fit.
When you are targeting a topic or set of keywords, you need to consider which of these intents the searcher wants. Give them what they want!
So back to our plumber example, if someone searches “denver plumber” they likely fall into both transactional and informational searches:
Be sure to show your potential customer that you fulfill their intent.
Back to the original question: you don’t.
You optimize pages. You create new pages. You make those pages easy to find.
Look at each page individually, check Google Search Console for what that page is ranking for, check Google Analytics for on-site metrics (bounce rate, exit %, time on site, etc.) and make sure you don’t have pages competing for the same keywords (sometimes that’s OK, but that’s a more advanced topic and much more nuanced).
Make sure you have title tags and H1’s, and that they clearly say what you want to rank for. There are tools that help to create better headlines, but don’t get too fancy, especially if you’re not already on the first page.
I’ve recently seen massive jumps in rankings that lead to $1,000,000+ / year increases in traffic and leads just from rewriting title tags and H1’s for sites I’m working on.
Use synonyms and semantically similar terms to make it clear to Google’s bots that the page is actually about that topic. Also use related and supporting terms that would make sense on a page about that topic.
Make sure your pages have enough content. I like to shoot for 800 words at a minimum, but your goal should be to create the best page anywhere on the internet for that topic.
Doing an audit of your site can take a lot of time and I recommend you get someone to do it that has experience and the proper tools. Get in touch if you want IMP Advertising to do it (pricing starts at $2k for a full website audit).
Didn’t I just say you don’t? Why do you keep asking that?!
OK, you win.
There are many things you can do as a whole that tend to improve rankings for your entire website. Many of these fall under ‘technical SEO’ – which I consider to be a subset of onsite SEO:
A lot of how to optimize your site from a technical SEO standpoint depends on how the site is created, what CMS is used, how were past site migrations or redesigns handled, what coding language was used and a ton more.
All of this is just relates to the “on-site” portion of SEO. I highly recommend starting with on-site and technical SEO before you move on to the off-site aspect of SEO, which focuses mostly on link acquisition. That will be a topic for another day.