Want to get your website to appear in search engine results — without paying for ads?
If so, it's time to learn a bit about "search engine optimization" (SEO)!
We recommend you start by watching this video below. It explains how SEO works, what Jottful does for you automatically, and what you — as the business owner — can do to improve your website's visibility in search engine results.
To make your website findable in search results, there are both TECHNICAL and MARKETING things to address.
On the TECHNICAL side, you don't need to do anything. Jottful takes care of this.
All Jottful websites are “SEO-ready” — meaning they are built in a way that makes it easy for search engines to understand them. This is the first step in having a website that is optimized for search engines.
On the MARKETING side, you (or a professional you hire) will need to do some optimization.
Specifically, this is what needs to be done on your website:
- Conduct a keyword analysis. Keywords (which can actually be multiple words, in a phrase, such as "easy website" or "motorcycle repair near me") are what you expect people to use when they search for businesses like yours. You need to start your SEO by coming up with a list of keywords.
You could do your own keyword analysis by thinking about what your customers might type into a search engine in order to find the service you offer. You can find some tools to assist with this analysis in our blog post, 5 free resources for the budding SEO professional in you.
Alternatively, you could hire an SEO professional to conduct a keyword analysis. We can recommend an SEO professional in Jottful Community who provides services specifically for Jottful customers.
- Update your website’s content. Once you've decided what your keywords are, think about what the focus keywords should be for each page of your website. For example, if you have a Locations page with all the locations you serve, you might choose to focus on keywords such as "Yountville business lawyer" or "Napa Valley corporate attorney" that include those locations.
Then, for each page, make sure your focus keywords are included in page titles, descriptions, and throughout the headlines, text, and image descriptions ("alt text") on your website. You can make all these changes right in the Jottful Editor, as shown in the video above. If you hire an SEO professional through Jottful Community, they may be able to make these updates for you (note: SEO professionals often refer to page titles and descriptions as "metadata or meta tags").
- Add advanced tracking tools to your website. You will receive a monthly email from Jottful that includes some basic information about the number of people who have visited your website, what they are viewing, and where they are coming from. To get more detailed information, however, you'll likely want to set up accounts for both Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You may also want to add tracking pixels for marketing channels that are important to you, such as Facebook, Pinterest, etc. When you (or the SEO professional you hire) needs to add tracking code to your website, you can just create a support ticket through the Jottful Editor or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll add the tracking code or pixel and let you know when it's live.
- Add fresh, optimized content. It is recommended that you continue to add new, fresh content that is optimized for search engines. The best way to do this is by blogging. To add a blog to your Jottful website, just send an email to email@example.com and we'll get it set up for you. To learn more about blogging, we recommend reading these posts from our own blog:
- 5 reasons to consider blogging
- 5 steps to get started blogging
- 5 most important factors for blogging success
- Blog content writing: the art of the longform post
The actions we've described above are often referred to as "on-page SEO." Once this is completed, you'll want to do some "off-page SEO" (or hire an SEO professional to do it for you). This includes:
- Set up your Google Business Profile. This is hugely important. Do not skip this step! For instructions on how to do this, as well as for strategic marketing advice, watch our video:
- Get added to important directories. Identify the directories (such as Yelp) that are important for your industry and get added to them. Be sure to link back to your website.
- Get "backlinks" from other websites. One way search engines determine which websites have valuable content is by tracking how many other websites link to them. So look for ways to get other websites to link back to your website.
Where to go for more help
If you need help with SEO and content writing, we recommend exploring some of the SEO professionals in our Jottful Community.
However you decide to optimize your website for search engines, please keep in mind that:
- It can take a long time (some months) before you really see the benefit of your efforts. Patience is required.
- While a one-time SEO setup or cleanup is important, good SEO is an ongoing effort, led by the frequent publishing of new content, typically blog posts.