5 Easy (But Major) SEO Changes For Your Brand’s Website - Do This STAT!
With 2020 officially here and most of us bundled up avoiding the cold, there’s no better time to think about the long-term direction of your company.
You know, those non-urgent but very important projects you’ve put aside for a rainy day, gathering dust and cobwebs. Projects like - you guessed it - optimizing your website’s SEO!
The very mention of the term ‘SEO’ may have caused a collective shudder (we apologize), but there’s no denying the power of search engine optimization for your business, especially if you’re a sustainable and ethical lifestyle brand.
Research shows that more and more consumers are looking for socially responsible alternatives and want to feel part of a meaningful community, especially amongst Generation Z shoppers.
So if more and more consumers are looking for brands like yours, the question becomes - are they able to find you?
Enter an optimized, discoverable website that’s tailored for your audience and the things they’re already looking for. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds!
So without further ado, here are five easy (but game-changing) SEO adjustments to make to your sustainable brand’s website - stat!
Step 1. Identify Your Keywords & Use Them Strategically.
The first step in SEO is to choose the right keywords for your website. But how do you know which keywords to focus on?
Hubspot has a great guide on this, which we highly recommend you check out - after you finish your cup of tea and our Peace Flag article, of course!
The long story short is to think about your customers. Who are they? What are they looking for? What would they be typing into a search engine?
Try to think of concrete examples and questions you’ve received from your community.
What are they asking about? What are their pain points? Don’t be afraid to get uber specific here. We’re talking about catering to your most passionate community, not the mass market. The goal is to think more niche than broad.
As you go through this exercise, create a list of potential topics your community is interested in learning about, and then brainstorm a list of keyword phrases.
For example, you might find that your community is interested in zero waste living. Related keyword phrases within that topic might be:
What is zero waste?
How to live a zero waste lifestyle
Benefits of zero waste
Zero waste home
DIY zero waste
Zero waste tips
Eco friendly home
Search the term on Google and see what recommended searches pop up. You can learn a lot about what your audience is looking for!
Do this for all the topics you’ve laid out. By the end of this exercise, you’ll have a list of several potential keywords (which can also double as blog topics - but more on that in a bit).
Step 2. Strategically Place Keywords On Your Website.
Now that you’ve got some keywords in mind, go through your website’s main pages and place them strategically.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have each page of your website optimized for one keyword/keyword phrase. That doesn’t mean having only one keyword on each page, but it means being selective and intentional.
If customers were going to search for a specific term in Google that would bring them to your page, what would it be?
Your main keyword should be in your H1 tag (each page should only have one H1 tag), your meta descriptions (more on that below), your webpage URL, and within the first 100 words of your page.
What’s the deal with H1 tags, you ask?
H1 tags signal to search engines what your web page is about and how to optimize for it when someone searches for a specific keyword. Stick to only one H1 tag and the rest should be H2 or lower.
It’s also important to note the word strategic in there. Don’t just insert keywords willy nilly! This is called keyword stuffing, and you could actually get penalized for that. The last thing you want is for Google to think your website is spam.
Using this blog post as an example, we prioritized the keywords ‘SEO for sustainable brands’.
Notice how we worked those words into the blog post title? We also used the same terms within the first few lines of the blog post, but we bet you barely noticed it, huh?
The key is to always write for people first. Make it feel natural and part of the main story. You’ll get much better results that way than stuffing your site with search terms.
Step 3. Optimize Your Product Descriptions.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - don’t skimp out on your website’s product descriptions!
We know it may be tempting to put a product online, slap together a few points (may be copied and pasted from one of your other products), and move on to the next task on your mounting to-do list. But this would be a BIG mistake.
Not only are product pages key to educating your community about your business and what makes your products unique - you’ll also be missing out on a goldmine of SEO opportunities.
Here’s an example of a product description I wrote for my business Cambio & Co.
Cambio & Co. is an ethical accessories company that aims to preserve traditional Filipino craftsmanship, so our website is optimized for keywords like Philippines and Filipino jewelry.
For this specific product page, we wanted to emphasize the keyword phrase ‘minimalist Filipino jewelry’ and the form of craftsmanship itself called gold filigree.
You might be asking how long your product description should be.
The length of your description depends on your audience. How much do they know already about your product and/or story? If your answer is very little, then your description should provide key information to educate your customers.
In the specific example of the AMAMI necklace above, very few people know about gold filigree and this form of craftsmanship, so we spent extra time crafting a description that was full of useful information and relevant keywords. Now the AMAMI collection has become one of our bestsellers, with a significant portion of it coming from customers who find us online.
Don’t forget to also add alt text to all of your images, particularly your product photos! You don’t need to spend hours on this, but optimizing your images for search engines can also do wonders and increases the likelihood of someone discovering you.
Step 4. Re-Think Your Blog Posts And Their Titles.
This is related to Step 1 on keywords, but it’s such an important point that I’m going to rehash it again here.
When it comes to small businesses in the sustainable lifestyle space, we’ll often come across two things: website blogs that lack a clear content strategy, or websites without a blog at all!
Both can be detrimental for your brand and costing you potential sales and uber passionate customers.
When it comes to your website’s blog, ask yourself what your community is looking for. What’s valuable to them? What are they struggling with? If they were to hop onto Google to find answers to some of their problems, what kind of blog posts or articles would help them?
In this case, it’s important to think about the intent behind your audience’s Google search. It’s possible they may be typing ‘sustainable shoes in Canada’ with the intent to purchase (this is called a transactional search and it’s always ideal). But more often than not, they’re hopping onto Google to find information.
It might be nice for example, to write a blog post about the inspiration behind your latest collection or what you’re currently reading. But is it written in a way that encourages discovery? Is it something that people would genuinely be searching for online?
Don’t fall into the trap of writing a blog post because someone said you should. Think of it in terms of value and discoverability.
For example, there’s a difference between a blog post called, ‘My Top Book Recommendations’ and ‘2019 Best Books To Help You Transition To A Sustainable Lifestyle.’
Which one do you think would be more likely to show up in a Google search? We thought so.
Don’t be afraid to go back and update your old blog post titles. Start with your top-performing posts and see how you can improve their titles.
Step 5. Craft Compelling Meta Descriptions That Make Users Want To Click.
We know, we know. This sounds super dry, right? I thought the same thing when I first began learning about SEO. My eyes would glaze over whenever these words appeared on my screen.
But then I realized a different way to look at meta tags and descriptions, which changed my perspective forever and made it a lot more fun to write.
But first, what are meta tags and meta descriptions? And why are they important?
Meta tags are the behind-the-scenes text that tells a search engine what your page is all about, and therefore helps it decide where and when your web page will show up when a user types in a search.
Meta titles and descriptions are types of meta tags. They often (but not always) show up on Google searches, telling users what your website is about.
Below is an example of what shows up on Google when you search for Peace Flag House.
Writing meta descriptions can be a dry process, but a key thing to remember is that you should always write for a person, not for a bot.
Below is an example of an optimized meta description we wrote for one of our clients.
Did you notice something? It hits all the main keywords - comfortable walking sandals, handcrafted leather, and the company’s name in the meta title. The meta description itself also shares the story of the brand, while compelling users to learn more and shop.
If you were to come across this, wouldn’t you want to click?
To craft your meta descriptions, we suggest cozying up in your favourite cafe, a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate in hand, and music that inspires you. Go through your old blog posts and product descriptions, and dream up some fun titles and descriptions to add a bit of zing to your current web pages.
One of our favourite tools to help us visualize how these will look in a search engine is metatags.io. Remember that you’re writing for a person, and your main goal is to craft a piece of writing that will make people want to learn more.
So there you have it - five easy, but majorly game-changing SEO updates you can make today to your sustainable brand’s website.
We know it can be a daunting process, so if you need help optimizing your website’s SEO, drop us a line. You can also book a free consultation with our team. Let’s make 2020 a year (and a decade) to remember!