Are you looking to rank your company’s website on page one of Google? While there’s no magic formula to search engine optimization success, there are fundamental practices to help maximize your website’s performance.
Bill Rowland, director of SEO at Trinity Insight in Philadelphia, is teaching UVM’s Advanced SEO course. The four-week, SEO digital marketing training covers everything from search engine ranking factors to keyword research to building SEO-friendly websites.
Participants in the online course will gain hands-on experience by setting up SEO on a live e-commerce website, conducting keyword research and optimizing with title tags, meta descriptions, alt-tags for images, and copy.
Fine-Tuning Your SEO is Time Well Spent
A consistent commitment to SEO over time is essential for any website to perform well in search rankings, Rowland says.
“The biggest issue over time is that you can lose focus and you’re probably not applying that methodical effort like you were when your site first launched,” he says. “But a lot of what SEO is all about is not so much the cutting-edge technology, but applying the basics methodically over time.”
A good rule of thumb is to revisit web pages every three to six months and reassess your page rankings since keyword research is never fully complete, he says.
Of course, every business wants to rank on page one on Google. But that’s not always possible, especially if you’re using high volume, general terms, Rowland says.
He adds that the more general keyword, the less likely a user will convert to complete a task—such as signing up for an email newsletter, requesting more information or making a purchase. A long-tail keyword, such as ‘size 11 men’s running shoes’ is less competitive but also specific enough to convert a visitor who lands on your site.
“An example is ranking for the term ‘shoes.’ It’s great if you rank for that, but who knows what someone is looking for—it could be a pair of pumps, flats or sneakers. You don’t even know if they’re even looking to make a purchase,” he says. “But if someone searches ‘size 11 men’s running shoes,’ they’re likely looking to buy. What’s nice about that is that if you’re a small guy, you can rank for highly targeted terms that will convert. You can do that easily rather than with general terms like ‘shoes.’”
The Foundations of SEO
A big part of SEO is keyword rankings and how search engines look at keywords. However, elements of SEO are a bit of a mystery, even to the experts.
“The problem is that Google doesn’t tell us what it uses to rank pages. Google reportedly uses 200 different factors, but Google has never committed to what those factors happen to be and the way they apply search to each of those factors,” Rowland says. “But there is a fundamental understanding of things that do work, and in this course, we cover the things we know we can do to help improve SEO.”
Because algorithms are always changing, Rowland points out that it’s impossible to stay up-to-date on every single update. However, there are foundational elements that typically do not change, including on-page optimization, optimization for mobile devices, page speed, external links, and structured data.
“Building a strong foundation is the place to start and you can worry about prospective changes later,” he says. “If you’re able to get to a point where you can consistently work to improve your site, then you’re doing better than 95 percent of the competition.”
Want to improve your Google ranking?
Register for UVM’s Advanced SEO Digital Marketing Training