The year 2022 has arrived, and there’s no time like now to start optimizing your association’s website for search engines. While time is already ticking away, don’t worry! There’s plenty left for devising and executing a plan.
Having a strategy in place is vital. After all, you wouldn’t begin building a home without blueprints and the proper measurements, would you?
So, what are some elements for achieving success? Below we outline 13 tactics and ways to optimize your website for search engines in 2022.
13 Ways to Optimize your Website for Search Engines this Year
1.) Identify Keywords
Have you identified a list of relevant and unique keywords for your association? This can help to improve visibility and SEO rankings, which can drive an increase in organic traffic to your site.
Tip: Ensure all pages on your site are optimized for the appropriate keywords, including blog posts. Refrain from adding too many, as that is a practice sometimes referred to as “over-stuffing.”
2.) Create a Blog if you Don’t Already Have One
Blogs provide additional pages for search engines to index, as well as additional opportunities to include a variety of keywords. Create posts that will appeal to users with specific needs, which can widen your audience.
Be sure to link to other blog posts when possible and use anchor text containing your targeted keywords. Also, ensure your blog is visible to all visitors to your site, and that they can access the blog from site menus. Posts are included on your site map, and the site map is submitted to the Google Search Console. (How to build and submit a site map: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/sitemaps/build-sitemap)
Tip: Be creative and sincere when writing content. Use images, when possible, to spice it up and visually enhance the overall appearance. Additionally, evaluate the well-ranking keywords your competitors are using and look at their content length. Aim to make yours comparable.
3.) Continually Create Fresh Content
Fresh content keeps people coming back to your site. This can mean creating new blog posts, as mentioned above, or adding a new product or other pages to your site. You can also update or add to the content you’ve already created, with keyword optimization in mind.
Tip: Create a schedule and try your best to stick to it. Many organizations aim for around one to two new blog posts per week.
4.) Improve User Experience
A website user may be tempted to leave if your layout is confusing or if aspects of your site are difficult to use. Is it challenging to add products to your cart and checkout? Are the important details like price clearly visible?
Also, keep in mind that while having a strategy in place for keywords is important, it is MUCH more important to write engaging content that speaks to your target market or audience.
Tip: Go to your own site as a visitor and attempt to add products to the cart and checkout, or schedule a service, locate your hours, etc. Consider the essentials for any business, particularly yours, and make sure your site is up to par on these fronts.
5.) Optimize Images for the Web
Optimizing images for the web can improve the load time of pages and contribute to better SEO positioning.
Tip: Keep keywords in mind when naming image files, as they are crawled by search engines.
6.) Add Image Alt Attributes
There are different ways you can add alt image tags to a photo. If using WordPress, this option is typically available in the fields present when adding an image to a post.
Tip: Keep text short – around 120 characters or less.
7.) Optimize Titles
Titles of pages/title tags can have a significant impact on a website’s SEO health and are akin to an ad headline. Page titles appear in search engine results and can prompt someone to visit your site or choose another instead. Be sure to keep your title under approximately 55 characters. Otherwise, it may be truncated, which might discourage people from clicking.
Tip: Attempt to use your intended keyword phrase without sounding too awkward or nonsensical, while keeping it engaging and tempting to click.
8.) Have a Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles can help individuals to find your products or services on a local level. The profiles allow you to verify your business and create a custom profile.
Tip: Keep your profile up to date, include holiday hours, and respond to as many reviews as possible.
9.) Stay Up-to-Date with any Google Changes
Every so often, Google will announce a change to their algorithm or multiple changes. Unfortunately, this has been known to have a devastating impact on some sites.
A few recent Google core updates include:
-November 2021 Core Update: It has been said that this update had a seemingly minimal impact overall but did seem to make more of an emphasis on who or what is authoring content for a site. See more here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-november-2021-core-update-over/428850/#close
-Lighthouse 8.3.0 Update & Fraggle Rock: Lighthouse is a valuable tech tool behind both page speed insights and Chrome development tools. This update was announced in September 2021 and aims to improve user experience by decreasing page-load time with Project Fraggle Rock. Learn more here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/lighthouse-pagespeed-insights-update/418957/
-Mum & Lamda: MUM (Multitask and Lamda) updates rolled out in July of 2021. The intention behind MUM is to improve and refine search engine results to eliminate excess or unnecessary queries, and subsequently, the times a person has to search for something.
-Google Desktop Page Experience Update: Sources with Search Engine Land say Google announced this update will arrive in February 2022. This focuses on the desktop user experience and has the same “metric thresholds” as the user experience update for mobile, which includes measuring when the main image blocks of a page have completed loading, responsiveness (LCP), the stability of the layout (CLS), and input delay between a page user and their interaction with a page (FID). More information here: https://searchengineland.com/googles-page-experience-update-coming-to-desktop-next-month-378446
Tip: Stay informed so you can implement any necessary changes as early as possible.
10.) Know your Target Audience and Explore Plausible Opportunities
Your target audience will lead you to conversions most of the time but knowing where other opportunities might exist can help to broaden your site’s audience and plausibly increase traffic overall.
Tip: Knowing your current target audience and their interests can help you identify attributes that work to attract possible “lookalike” or related audiences. Also, remember to always write for your targeted audience. Defining who they are can help you to do just that.
11.) Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is becoming an increasingly popular way for individuals to locate the sites they want.
Tip: Use a tone of voice that’s natural/conversational and use long-tail keywords.
If your competitors have videos that rank well for search engines, consider embedding some within your own pages or posts.
Tip: Compare the video and content length (see #2) of your competitors who are performing well and take note of certain key elements.
13.) External Links
These are still noted to be a great way to improve SEO rankings. Look into using these throughout a variety of posts and pages. You want a good mix of both external and internal links but not too many.
Tip: Only link to sites that are hyper-relevant to the content listed on each page of your website.
Also, remember to state the obvious.
When visitors come to your site, they generally have an idea of what they want or what they’re looking for, so don’t mislead them or over-complicate matters. Keep your association’s site simple, and let people know exactly what it is you offer in a concise yet visually appealing and creative way.