Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to every single business out there, large or small: Solo developers need it just as much as any large 300+ employee business.
The thing is, SEO makes it possible for you to show up in more searches online. Anytime someone types in the name of your video game, or anything else related specifically to your studio, you want to show up first, not on the 5th page. The ability to make it easy for people to find you is essential in this day and age, where everyone seeks immediate information because their too busy with their own tasks to devote too much time to looking for a needle in a haystack. SEO can make the difference between a loss sale, or an extra $20 in your pocket!
So, what are some ways you can improve your searches starting now?
1) Invest in Your Own Domain
Think about what having your own domain name conveys: trust, higher clickthrough rates, increased branding, and more attention in search results pages. While having your own domain had more of an impact back in the day (2012), it’s still essential for a business to have its own domain. In other words, you’ll take a hit to credibility if all you have show up in searches is a social media community page or two.
Having a domain that incorporates your business name, the name of a product (game), and a keyword of your choice helps your quality score. It makes Google realize that you’re what needs to pop into the top-end of searches whenever someone types a specific combination of words.
2) Blog Every Week
Think about the structure of most websites. A contact page, a home page and a store where everyone can find your games. All of these pages have a purpose, and generally don’t require new content being published regularly.
This can slow your stats to a halt. Suddenly your website gets no activity, because, well, there isn’t much to do on it! Most people buy games on Steam, the PSN store, and the Xbox store. Even if you make sales through your store, it’s not enough activity to make your website popular.
Cue the blog. This is where you announce the latest game and studio news, talk about the development process, answer questions, remind people about your upcoming Reddit AMA, and more. Use this blog every week, even if it is only once per week, to add content that can improve SEO.
3) Use Copy, Images & Video
Multimedia content, such as images, videos, and audio tracks (podcasts) on your website help improve SEO. While copy is integral to get information out, while simultaneously increasing the number of keywords used on your website, having a variation of multimedia aids the process.
This is in large part because people don’t read everything online. Time is precious, there’s always something else they could be doing, so they tend to scan. That’s why valuable posts always feature spaces and headers to convey information clearly.
Images and videos help to condense everything into smaller, essential bits of information that they can chew on.
4) Add Backlinks
Better known as incoming links, or inbound links, search engines pick up on it when your website connects to another. This is why there’s several people out there that snatch up handfuls of domains at a time and use them to improve SEO.
Picture it like this: website A links to site B, but site B also links back to site A. That link to site B that site A is featuring is a backlink.
And how does it help? Backlinks are votes of confidence. Someone out there likes your website enough to want to cite it, use it as a source, lead their readers to it, etc. Google likes to rank you higher in searches if other people can “vouch” for you.
This is why so many people reach out to other blogs to see if they can guest post. It’s a nice way to swap one favor for another. You supply information their site needs in exchange for a link to your website, and maybe they do the same for you.
5) Select Smart Keywords
Here’s something else: using obvious, generic keywords won’t rank you higher. So if you use “video game developer,” you might as well not have keywords.
There’s just too much competition for that search. Think about how many other studios, members of the press, and products are trying to compete for that. Everyone is trying to show up for that search!
Instead, try something with less competition that shines a spotlight on you. Many people try using their specific video game names as keywords, mainly their bestselling titles. Other keywords include studio names, because that’s pretty obvious brand building.
Need to plan out your keywords? Use Google AdWords and start using the keyword planner for free.
6) Consider Architecture
Websites that are no more than 3 links to the deepest level rank higher in searches on Google. This means if your website is clunky and features menus with sub-menus, and more sub-menus, then you might have a problem.
Try to keep things simple and direct, so a contact page, a home page, a blog and a store. An about page never hurt anyone. If you absolutely need a blog menu, use the WordPress categories option, where instead of linking to your blog from the menu, it pulls out a drop-down menu where readers can select which blog category they want to read.
7) Improve Page Load Speeds
A sure-fire way to make conversion go downhill is to have a slow, annoying website. Again, people like to get their information fast, without dealing with hassle. So, if you want someone to follow your blog, join your mailing list, buy a game from your website, etc., you need to make sure your website is sped up.
A 1-second delay means roughly 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions, according to the Aberdeen Group, a marketing firm specializing in SEO and brand strategy.
Some things you can do to improve load speeds include:
- minimizing HTTP requests
- reducing server response time
- enabling compression
- enabling browser caching
- optimizing images
- and optimizing CSS delivery
SEO can be a tricky business. After all, that’s why there are specialists who focus solely on it! But the basics are easy to learn and give you a huge boost in visibility.
Good luck out there!
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