It's the last post in the SEO Basics Mini Series, and if you've made it this far, congrats! You're one giant step ahead of the competition. Today we are going to wrap the series up with some final steps you'll want to take to complete the SEO basics on your website.
INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR SITE
Live I've mentioned before, you want your site to be as valuable as possible. The more valuable your site is, the more traffic you earn. The more traffic you receive to your site, the better! Google knows whether your site is a getting high or low traffic volume, and whether your bounce rate is high or low (which can indicate a possibly low-value website).
So how do you increase the value of your site? We've talked about adding a blog as a great way to do this. You can also reevaluate how you're presenting your information to better engage your audience. If you're noticing that your bounce rate is unusually high on a certain page, take a look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Try to discover how you can create a better experience for the user. Perhaps adding an 'about' page that is interesting and helps your audience get to know you better. Or maybe add in a 'how it works' or 'process' page to captivate attention and educate your customer.
LOWER YOUR BOUNCE RATE
What's a bounce rate?
A bounce rate is the rate at which people visit and then immediately leave your site. You want your bounce rate to be as low as possible. If you have a bounce rate that is 100%, it means that people are visiting your website, seeing one page, and then immediately leaving. No clicks, no browsing, nothing. Make your site more engaging, and you'll definitely see visitors staying for longer.
A few reasons people might be leaving your site:
- If your site is too difficult or complicated to figure out how to navigate, the user will most likely give up and leave.
- Another reason your bounce rate is high could be because your site simply wasn't what the user was looking for. If you think this might be happening on your site, take a look at what keywords you're optimizing each of the pages for. If you find that Google searches are bringing in traffic that isn't what the user is looking for, it might be time to reevaluate your keywords to better suite your content.
- If you do feel like you have the right keywords, but still notice a high bounce rate, you could look at how clearly your page is representing what you're offering. Make it more clear to your audience exactly how their keyword search is relevant to your page.
- It's worth mentioning as well that if you have a pop-up banner that asks for an email address, or blasts your latest deal in the viewer's face, many people will just leave. Popups are notorious for freezing a page, increasing load time, and frustrating a site's users. We've all been there- sometimes dealing with an annoying pop up isn't worth staying on a site! Avoid pop-ups on your pages, and your audience will thank you.
For additional information, Hubspot has a great article and infographic on how to decrease the bounce rate on your site. There is so much psychology that goes into why readers will leave your site, so make sure to check out this article if you want to improve this important part of your SEO strategy.
CREATE A SITEMAP
So what is a sitemap? Basically, a sitemap is a list of pages that are on your website. A sitemap's job is to present the pages on your site so they are accessible to search engine crawlers. They are crucial in SEO because they allow Google to find and read every page of your site.
Squarespace >> The beauty and simplicity of Squarespace is that you don't even need to worry about this step! Every theme on the Squarespace platform has a sitemap created on the back end for SEO reasons, so you're covered.
Wordpress >> Wordpress users need to be sure to create a sitemap so Google can properly crawl the site. One easy way to do this is to download the plugin I've talked about before, Yoast SEO. Navigate to the 'XML Sitemaps' button inside the plugin, and make sure the box that says 'Check this box to enable XML sitemap functionality.' is checked. Done!
Thanks so much for following along in this four-part mini series! You've made it through the basics of SEO strategy for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Follow all these tips we've talked about in the last four posts, and you'll be 100+ steps ahead of your competition. If you missed any of the previous posts, you can check them out below: