I love to help people. I've been doing it since before I was a teenager, writing about what's going well and what could be better at my high school newspaper. When I graduated college, I went into IT support, where I mostly worked with businesses. Over time, I branched out into online marketing, helping small business owners find traffic to their websites. 

I still have a lot of clients who come to me when they're starting out or struggling with their online presence. This is great because they need to know what works. The problem is that there are so many strategies out there -- and some of those strategies don't work! That's why I'm sharing these best SEO tips today. 

Let's get started by reviewing how your website should look and feel. First impressions matter, and you can make them count with good design. If your site looks like something from 2008, then I'm guessing you're not getting much traffic through it. You'll also want to check on Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to see if you're getting anywhere near acceptable speed. If not, you may want to consider hiring a designer. It doesn't have to cost a fortune, but it will take more than just a few tweaks to get your site up to speed. 

As for how your site should appear in search results, you're going to want to focus on making sure that users' experiences are pleasant. Search engines pay attention to the user experience on your site. They're looking for things like page load times, ease of use, and whether it feels intuitive and easy to navigate. There are lots of ways you can improve your UX, including: 

- Using semantic markup on every page of your site. 

- Making navigation simple and intuitive. 

- Optimizing for mobile devices. 

- Reducing your page size using responsive web design. 

If you run an ecommerce site, make sure that checkout process is fast, straightforward, and has clear instructions. And make sure you aren't adding unnecessary steps to the checkout process. For example, if you offer an express shipping option, make sure that option isn't buried deep within the checkout flow. Instead, make it accessible from the top level menu bar or the cart itself. 

Speaking of cart flows, a quick note about the shopping cart: Make sure that cart abandonment is as low as possible. If someone adds an item to their cart, they shouldn't leave without completing the purchase. To do this, make sure that you offer options to customers who add items to the cart. Add buttons on each page to either continue adding items to the cart or go back to the previous page. Also, be sure to offer an "empty cart" button that lets visitors remove everything in their cart without having to create another account. 

One of the most important things you can do to improve your customer experience is to keep track of where your traffic comes from so you know what keywords are working. Here's how to do that: 

- Find the keyword report in Google Analytics. 

- In the traffic source dropdown, choose organic. 

- Look over your list of keywords and see which ones are driving traffic to your site. 

You can also use tools such as Ahrefs and SEMRush to measure traffic coming from different sources to your site. Both of these tools give you insights into the keywords that are bringing traffic to your site and which pages on your site are ranking higher. 

After you finish optimizing your site, you'll need to set up your social media profiles and accounts. If you haven't done that already, now's the time to start. Your social media accounts can really help boost your rankings, so spend some time setting those up today. 

And don't forget about link building. As we saw last week, links are still one of the biggest factors in determining where your site ranks in search engine results. The best way to build links is to connect with other sites and bloggers in your industry. You can do this in several ways, including commenting on blog posts, answering questions in forums, and participating in Q&A sites. To get these kinds of connections, it helps to join groups related to your industry (e.g., Facebook Groups &; LinkedIn Groups). 

Once you have your site set up and optimized, it's time to start focusing on your content. Content is king, plain and simple. People visit your site to read articles. That means your content needs to be helpful and relevant. You can achieve this by finding topics that are trending and writing about them. 

To help you figure out what topics are popular, try using Buzzsumo, a free tool that shows you what content is being shared across social media channels and blogs. This data gives you insight into what topics are resonating with readers and writers. 

While you're brainstorming ideas, remember that you don't always have to write longform content. Short form and microcontent formats are becoming increasingly popular. These types of content are often called "snippets." A snippet is a short piece of text that appears somewhere on the web - typically on a search result page. Examples include snippets from Wikipedia and summaries from news sites. Most people won't click on a snippet unless it's interesting enough to pique their curiosity, so the goal is to write content that is compelling enough for people to click on without requiring too much effort. 

Snippet content is particularly useful for ecommerce sites. When someone searches for a product, they usually expect to see a full review or detailed description of the product. But if you only offer a quick overview, that information might be missed. With snippets, however, you can provide just enough information to entice someone to click through. Plus, snippets can help you rank for terms associated with your products. For example, if you sell dog food, you may want to optimize your site for the term "dog." If a person does a search for dog food, you'd like to show up in the search results. By creating snippets for the term "dog," you can ensure that you do. 

It's important to note that although snippets are becoming popular, you don't necessarily need to use them. If it makes sense for your brand, you can always write longer-form content instead. Just remember to put your keywords in prominent positions. 

Finally, let's talk about removing anything from your site that isn't necessary. Some things are hard to unearth, but here are a few examples: 

- Flash videos. 

- PDF files. 

- Images. 

- Unnecessary plugins. 

- Scripts. 

- Anything that slows down your site. 

There are plenty of other things that you can remove. Remember, you don't need a whole bunch of clutter on your site. Keep things minimal and clean. If you're not sure if something is slowing down your site, you can test it out yourself. Go to Pingdom and enter your domain name. Then scroll down to the Performance section and click Test. 

Remember, you also want to make sure that your site loads quickly. If it takes too long to load, users will leave. 


So, what did we learn? Well, there are tons of ways to get your site ranked higher in search results. It starts with good design, followed by optimized content, and finished with a focus on the user experience. Finally, remember to make sure that you remove anything from your site that isn't necessary. 

In the next post, I'm going to share some SEO tips specific to ecommerce sites.