In an age where “Google” has become a verb as much as the name of a company, it’s accepted that traffic from search engines is really important to businesses, especially since they bring in leads and sales.

Beyond growing popularity of a brand, this traffic can be highly targeted bringing in people who will engage with your brand and potentially begin a long-term relationship with it. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to SEO metrics and make sure you’re doing things right.

1. Title:
Make sure you include your target keywords in the title since it is weighed highly among search engines. It is also something that will appear in the search engine listings so make sure you write the important keywords first. Also, make sure that the title does not run over 69 characters because it will automatically be truncated on search engine listings.

2. Use phrases rather than just keywords:
Search engines are getting smarter and are moving towards phrases rather than just keywords. Another tip here is to look as natural as possible and avoid keyword stuffing. Take a look at related keywords at the bottom of the search and you will usually find words that you can use in text. In this case, I searched for small business and found the following related search suggestions.
Related search

3. Meta description:
This is the description that appears below your title in the search engines. Remember to keep it 150-160 words in length and include important keywords and keyphrases in it. You have only a few sentences so make sure you give the readers a compelling reason to click to your site since even on page one there are nine other results besides yours.

4. Cross link to internal pages:
This is a good practice which will help increase time on site and reduce bounce rates. It will also get your pages indexed better and help in rankings. As a rule of thumb make sure the important pages are well linked within your site.
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5. Optimize images:
Take a little time to fill in the title, description, caption and the alt text. Also, remember to attribute the source of the image in the caption rather than the alt text since it can interfere with keyword density of your page (especially home and aggregation pages where there are multiple posts and multiple images.) It helps to save the image with the keyword name.

To summarize:
Image Title = Article Title
Image Alt = Description of Image
Image Caption = Photo Credit

6. Linking out:
This is another important factor in SEO which can be easily overlooked. When you are linking out to external websites, make sure they are reputable or authoritative sites. Putting in a link to shady websites can lead to your own website losing search rankings.

7. Social optimization:
Make it easier for your site visitors to share the page on social sites by putting social buttons in prominent pages. Besides that, make sure your social properties such as Facebook, Youtube Twitter, Google+, Pinterest pages have a link back to your website.

8. Reviews:
If you are selling products or services then make sure that you take a look at the reviews you are getting consistently since they seem to affect rankings too. Too many negative reviews can topple you off the search engine result pages (SERPs). A positive step to take here would be to ask satisfied customers to leave a good review for your products. Managing your reputation online is as important as managing it offline.

Image via www.themainstreetmedium.com
Image via www.themainstreetmedium.com

9. Analytics and webmasters:
Use free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to see what results your efforts are producing. These will help you analyze the trends and understand what keywords your site users are using to come across your website. You can also see which pages are performing well and which ones to improve.

10. Content:
We saved the most important aspect for the end. In 2015 you simply cannot ignore user metrics which is why they say content is king. So provide what you are promising and you will see a steady increase in traffic.

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