It’s great your business has a site. A website can be used in multiple ways for your business. You can direct people there for information, for directions, to sign up for a service or sell your products. Now to get some traffic. SEO (search engine optimization) helps your site rank better in the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc). Ranking high matters because the top position receives over 30% of the traffic and the first 10 spots receive nearly all it. However, you also need to think about the design and content of your website.

Website design and SEO used to simpler. You targeted specific keywords and then emphasized those keywords on your website. If you wanted to rank high for the keyword “Hawaii Website Design”: You would create a site called “HawaiiWebsiteDesign.com”, title it the same and write that same keyword throughout your text. This caused a lot of spam sites to rank high and Google eventually picked up on it. Google is now much more sophisticated and is able to gauge not just keywords, but the quality of your content.

So how can you make your website stand out amidst all the others and rank in Google? Simply put, authentic quality content. A website that is easy to use and is helpful for your viewers. Below are a few tips to get you started.

Branding: Make sure that your website reflects your brand and your organization’s values. How does your website fit into your organization’s goals? How will it benefit your customers? Setting a clear goal for your website will make sure it serves its purpose.

Simplicity: Keep it simple. It should be easy to navigate and easy to understand. Content should be organized in a logical fashion and should be easy to read. The more pages and posts the better, but each should have a purpose. Sometimes less is more.

Get Social: It’s insufficient to deliver awesome content and trust that individuals will find it – you must be proactive. One approach is to increase traffic by utilizing online networking channels to promote your content. Twitter is perfect for short, smart (and enticing) links, while Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn allow for more robust posts with additional information. You like don’t have the resources to monitor them all, so it is important to choose where to spend your time. Figure out where your customers are and which networks they prefer.

Compose Irresistible Headlines: Choose headlines that are clear, but also enticing. If you have done keyword research, you know what your customers are searching for. Or you may know from speaking with them or by asking in a survey. Use those keywords in your titles.

Focus On-Page SEO: SEO isn’t dead. Website Optimization for your website is still important. Optimizing your pages allow you to take advantage of all of your content. Pages aren’t the only things that are searched. Each picture, video or icon can also be searched for and has the potential to bring a potential customer back to your website. Improving for on-page SEO can also help Google rank your site higher in its search engine. You can find some helpful information on improving SEO from the Michigan Tech here.

Target Long-Tail Keywords: First off, what are long-tailed keywords? In our example above, we may want to target “Hawaii website design” However, these may be popular keywords with high competition making it difficult for us to rank. A “long-tail keyword” is an extension of those keywords such as “Hawaii website design on the Big Island”. Generally, long-tail keywords will have lower traffic and also lower competition. The lower competition will allow you to start ranking. In addition, these long-tail keywords will help you rank for your main keywords as well.

Overall, increasing traffic to a site does take work and time. It requires creating a simple and easy to use design with quality content. It also requires that you promote that content and make sure that your website and content are well organized and labeled. However, creating your website and your content can be a very rewarding process and a fun way to help your customers.