At this point in the modern world, if your website isn’t in mint condition like DeNiro’s coins from “Casino” and you’re not selling yourself like crazy online, you’re behind – far behind.

Not only is having a website a crucial part of building credibility and proving you’re a trusted brand to your audience, but it’s an opportunity to add major value to your business by introducing a wider range of consumers to your products or services.

When the internet first became the hottest thing around and businesses learned to create sites, everything looked and felt the same. Every menu bar on the left was in Comic Sans, pixelation was apparent and unfortunate, and you were lucky if your dial up loaded in under 20 minutes. The internet was as vintage as Fleetwood Mac on vinyl.

Today, a website is a crucial part of marketing your business to consumers. But marketing alone doesn’t get the job done.

One of the most important stakeholders for being found online, driving traffic to your site, and keeping users for lengthy site sessions is SEO. SEO – or search engine optimization – is the practice of optimizing your website to suit both user’s needs and search engine’s requirements. There are tons of factors (and unfortunately, they’re everchanging) when it comes to optimizing your website to rank high up in the SERPs (search engine results pages) in order to be clicked on.

1. How should I optimize my site for speed?

In order to capture the attention of a user, your website needs to load in under three seconds – yes, three seconds; longer than it takes to snooze that alarm on a Monday morning but shorter than the blink of an eye.

To best understand how your site speed performance is, you’ll need to perform tests. You can do so using Google’s free tool PageSpeed Insights. Here, you’ll find a deep dive into your CWV (core web vitals) which is an analysis of your site’s speed and the factors making your pages load slowly.

Once you uncover what elements of your site are bogging it down, you’ll need to fix it. You’ll likely need to look into hiring a technical SEO as some of the reasons for slow speeds include not making use of caching techniques and Javascript issues. You’ll also sometimes find your images need shrinking and your videos are seriously heavy. If your rich media is bulky, your site will load slowly. Say “sayonara, senorita” to users on your site.

2. How can I create a unique and responsive user experience for my audience?

#TBT to when the only user experience was for desktop users and we’d have to scroll for sometimes several minutes left and right to read even a short article. Nobody (literally nobody) was on board with this. Cue responsive web design.

It is absolutely imperative your website is responsive. This means you need to use a site design that is programmed for phones, tablets, and desktops. Most themes offered by CMS softwares are responsive but before choosing one, piecing together the perfect site, and launching it, make certain your site is responsive. If it’s unresponsive, readers will run!

3. How can I create interesting content that sets me apart from competitors?

Back to that first point about users maintaining three seconds of patience before leaving your “slow” loading site – you only have 15 seconds to capture a user’s attention and actually keep it. Ya, we know. People plus patience equals none.

Not only does your website need to be fast, attractive, and offer the user experience that people are expecting from you, but it also needs to include lengthy, informative content that a reader can enjoy, learn from, and trust. Let’s face it, there is only so much original content on the World Wide Web. Set yourself apart from the competition by writing unique content that includes authoritativeness and color. Basically, if you’re not an expert in exercise, GTFO with your fitness advice.

Users want to search for and find content that will assist them in their user journey. Search types include navigational, informational, and transactional. You need to be able to classify a searcher’s intent before putting together a page on your site. If a user searches for “How much is Beyonce worth?” they’re searching informationally and looking for a number – not 1,000 words on Beyonce’s career. Understand the search intent and create content for it. It’s also a must to refresh content regularly, especially if there’s a chance it is evergreen. Unless you’re writing content specifically for the Top Stories section of Google, you should be cycling through content and adding new information to existing URLs as it’s available.

Maintaining interactivity with polls, quizzes, videos, slideshows users can click through, etc. you have a greater chance at keeping a person on site and clicking through. You’ll also want to link internally to other relevant content from your own site that offers related information to users. If a reader is done with one page and there is nothing else to click on, they’ll leave as fast as Nick Cannon has babies.

4. How can I leverage SEO tools and softwares?

SEO tools are a great way to get started with new content, updating current content, strategizing website changes like a site migration, and more. There are a variety of SEO tools you can look into. Some digital marketers even combine a few for maximum success. Google also offers free tools like Google Optimize, PageSpeed Insights, Google Analytics, and more if you’re on a super tight budget.

Some of the A-list features of SEO tools include on-page recommendations for specific URLs, competitive analysis of your top competitors and their strategies, and keyword position tracking for the most important keywords related to your brand. 

With on-page recommendations, you’ll receive a list of big and small changes to make to your content in order to give it a boost in SERPs and provide an overall better user experience. You’ll be given guidance on how to better optimize your meta titles, meta tags, meta descriptions (all the damn metas), image alt text, image file names, and more. SEO tools also provide recommended keywords to use in copy by reading other content on your page. It’s a step-by-step guide to bettering your content so if you completed 3rd grade, you should be good to go.

When performing a competitive analysis, you can understand what your competitors are doing to their sites that drive so much traffic and lengthy site sessions. Diving into keyword position tracking will show you how you rank vs competitors. Here, you can figure out what types of content users are looking for for specific keywords and alter your content to fit those wants.

5. How should I monitor the broken parts of my site?

The most important thing in the entire world in order to be successful online and drive site sessions is to have a website that works. I know – f*cking duh! But you’d be surprised how often sites are broken and nobody but the users know.

You need to understand that big things can break and little things can break and no matter what’s broken, if something is you’re probs SOL. Broken links appear when search engine robots crawl your site. If you have broken links, search engines won’t rank your content, you won’t drive traffic, and you sure as sh*t won’t drive site sessions. Be sure to regularly perform site audits and fix the broken links.