If you are looking for new customers with your website, you cannot avoid being found easily on search engines such as Google, Ecosia, DuckDuckGo or Bing. However, small companies, associations and non-profit organizations often lack the money to hire an agency that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO).
This article provides 7 good “help for self-help” tips and presents free to inexpensive means to support optimization measures: online tools , blogs , forums , specialist books and training seminars.
Optimizing the website of a small business, sports club or charitable foundation for specific search queries in search engines has become much more difficult in recent years.
While search engine optimization and online marketing consisted for a long time mainly of creating keyword-dense texts and spreading (often less meaningful) links on the web, nowadays more traditional marketing methods are needed to achieve these goals. Things that take significantly more time – and a budget!
Reputable agencies that specialize in website optimization can therefore rarely help website operators with very small budgets. The necessary know-how multiplied by the multitude of optimization measures, the associated amount of time and an agency hourly rate calls for budget levels that micro-enterprises and largely voluntary institutions cannot handle.
But they also need visibility in search engines in order to get to customers, colleagues and supporters via this currently most common research method.
7 “Do-it-Yourself” tips to optimize your website
Search engine optimization and online marketing are not rocket science!
Anyone who is internet savvy and who is enthusiastic about the goals of their company, club or non-profit organization can achieve a great deal even without a specialized SEO agency.
The following seven tips are quite easy to implement and will have a noticeable effect!
1. Improve website navigation
Get straight to the point in the navigation of your website! Avoid completely general navigation terms such as “products”, “our goals” or “services”. Instead, use terms related to company or association:
“Our florist” – “Event floristry” – “Your florist team”
“Parish choir” – “Choir rehearsals” – “Book our choir”.
These clear descriptions help website visitors to navigate correctly at first glance … and so do the search engines that want to index your website. Take a look at the main navigation and the sub-navigation items on our website – we do the same!
2. Revise the content of the website texts
Every page of your website must be able to answer these five questions straight away for every website visitor :
- Who is writing here?
- What is he offering?
- Who is he offering it to?
- What drives them?
- Why should you choose him / support him / participate here?
Again, every page of the website has to answer these questions! This applies in particular to the home page, the pages with products, with service offers or club purposes and club goals as well as for the “About us” page.
In the end, every text has to contribute to the website visitor seeing the website operators as professionals (even better experts) who not only talk, but also act, do not waste anyone’s time.
3. Structure website content well
Reading all of these texts has to be fun for the website visitor – it has to be easy for him to get into the texts.
- Every page needs a specifically formulated heading.
- The text is divided into short, crisp paragraphs.
- Subheadings show the reader what to expect in the individual passages.
- Important text passages are printed in bold , facts are best presented in lists.
Always think about the essentials:
- What should be conveyed?
- Who should it be conveyed to?
- With what aim?
- Which arguments will convince / inspire / bind the reader to you?
Do you make it clear what benefits all of this has for the reader, future customer, client or supporter? Let satisfied customers or long-term club members have their say as “testimonial”. For example:
Please ask to contact us :
- “Just call now!”
- “Donate online now!”
- “Please request an offer!”
This is the only way for website visitors to find out what you expect from them as the next step – should they call, send a message, shop directly or donate something?
4. Optimize the metadata of the individual pages
If the content of a page of your website has been revised as described above, two things still need to be optimized “in the background”: the page title and the description (meta description) .
These two metadata can be maintained via the page properties in your website CMS (backend / editorial system). Ask your website programmer where this position can be found in the content management system.
Both elements will be displayed in search engines when this page of your website is served as a search result.
The page title becomes the heading of the search result (in the example: “Agency for Search Engine Optimization & Online Marketing in New York city”)
The page title and description must be formulated in an appealing way that the search engine user feels prompted to click.
Just by quickly skimming through the search result, he must become so curious that he has no choice but to click on the entry.
5. Integrate images optimally in the pages of the website
A picture is worth a thousand words! Heard it a thousand times and still only find very long texts on many websites – without additional images and videos. Like this blog post, texts live from appropriately selected images.
When uploading the pictures and videos, please pay attention to these three things:
- Give the picture or video a file name that matches the content of the page (e.g. florist-meier-buxtehude.jpg).
- Add an ALT text and …
- a picture description – also called picture title or tool tip – is added (e.g. “Our choir during the weekly choir rehearsals”).
6. Start user-oriented internal linking
The Internet lives from links – it is a decentralized network of content that can only be reached by linking to one another. This also applies to your website!
There is always a fixed level of links – the navigation bar (s). But if you are clever, you can offer readers and search engines alternative links to the content – preferably directly from the texts ! While reading, the user already focuses with all his attention on the body of the text.
If you offer him further links here, he will surely make use of it.
But only if you succeed in arousing the reader’s curiosity. Therefore, link “speaking”. Avoid links that simply read “here”, “more” or “read on”. Instead, set links directly to the text passage that appears, as here, for example, to a specialist article on internal linking that my colleagues from LinatAalam wrote.
7. Spice up the 404 error page
Now work regularly on your website:
- Add testimonials.
- Add more and more details to product pages.
- Let new, satisfied customers have their say.
- Write about successful projects.
- Report on internal and external activities of your company, your association, your institution.
If your website grows and flourishes over months and years, there will always be content that is out of date and can no longer be updated.
Deleting these makes sense.
However, this results in error messages: “404 – Page not found”.
Such error messages can be redirected to a specially created 404 error page. Please have the webmaster create such an error page in your CMS.
This 404 error page catches misdirected website visitors and search engine robots, welcomes them warmly and offers them the most important current content with direct links.
In spite of constant changes, no visitor is lost on the website!
If you haven’t built your website yet, please pay attention to the following:
Keep track of SEO with Google services and website tools from other providers
Where wood is chopped, splinters must fall! In the context of running a website, this wisdom means above all:
The more you work on and with your website, the more often small errors will occur.
That’s not bad at all – after all, nobody is perfect! Just don’t let these mistakes get out of hand. How do you keep track of things?
1. Use Google Search Console
The search engine market leader Google offers website operators the free Search Console to monitor their own website. In it, Google combines a whole range of webmaster tools that make mistakes recognizable and successes visible.
For example, if there are problems with the website that prevent Google from delivering pages from the website as search results, then Google will show these weaknesses in the Search Console !
2. Register at RYTE.com
So-called OnPage tools go a long way further. Not only are errors listed here, a reason and instructions are also provided.
OnPage tools are not limited to metadata errors – they also evaluate the correct use of headings, check gaps in internal links and offer a certain amount of help in creating good website texts.
We are happy to recommend RYTE.com from the large selection of on-page monitoring tools. The online tool impresses with its wide range of functions. Almost more important: the team behind RYTE is so enthusiastic and has so much expertise that you can put your website in their hands with complete peace of mind.
With a 100-point plan for better websites, the expert special for online shops, a mini-guide for mobile websites, the RYTE magazine and the large RYTE wiki, Markus Tandler and his team prove that they really have good websites to care about something.
Registration with RYTE is free of charge – and use remains the same for small websites – especially by SMEs, freelancers, self-employed people, associations and charitable organizations.
As long as a website does not contain more than 100 pages , it can be completely monitored with RYTE in the FREE account.
3. Gladly also test these OnPage tools alternatives
Anyone who has not yet dealt with OnPage tools at all, but would like to get their own impression, is given three more tools for their own tests. Take a look here:
The scope of services often differs only marginally. It is more the look and feel or the peculiarities of the user guidance that make some people use tool A and others use tool B.
We wish you the best of luck in choosing the perfect OnPage tool!
Learn and optimize even more with online marketing specialist books
If you want to find out more about optimizing your own website and enjoy reading books, we recommend the reference book “SEO – Strategy, Tactics and Technology” .
If you like it a little more “popular and scientific”, you might better turn to Julian Dziki and read “Search Engine Optimization for Dummies”.
Learn from the professionals at online marketing seminars
Online marketing activities in general and search engine optimization in particular are rapidly changing processes. What appeared to be state-of-the-art yesterday can already have a negative effect today.
Fresh knowledge is therefore regularly necessary if you have decided to “do it yourself”.
Seminars, advanced training and further education are an adequate means. Basic knowledge is available at adult education centers, chambers of industry and commerce and every now and then in the context of impulse lectures offered by business networks and trade fairs in speaker’s corners.
If you want to go beyond basic knowledge, often only a professionally oriented specialist seminar will help.
Numerous training providers and agencies specializing in advice regularly offer open online marketing seminars, the participation fees of which are quite affordable as a one-off investment.
There are also complete online marketing training offers over several months – but here it gets noticeably more expensive!
Conclusion: Yes, do-it-yourself search engine optimization is possible – with motivation and skill
Are you motivated? Do you like working on and with the web? All of what you have read so far piques your interest rather than frightening you?
You are sure to get a lot of things right – your website will have a much easier time in Google search results pages. Our team wishes you every success in all of your upcoming tasks.
Video: Website Optimization: Start to Finish in 10 Steps