For those that are not familiar with the term – let’s answer the question, “What is SEO?”
It’s not another business jargon acronym, but “Search Engine Optimisation” (SEO) is one of the most important tasks you’ll need to consider if you want your site to be easy for new customers to find.
Search engine optimisation is essentially trying to improve a website’s position in search engine rankings.
Content optimisation goes a step further, since there is no point optimising content solely for a computer to index. One should not compromise on the quality of the content. Optimisation is also about providing relevant and meaningful content to your users.
In search results, Google displays links to pages it considers relevant and authoritative. These are measured by the search engines crawling the internet to gather information about all the content they can find in relation to the search query. The search engine then runs the results through algorithms that try to match all that data with your query.
There are many theories and factors that go into these algorithms, too many to list here in fact, but in simple terms, your web pages have the potential to rank in search engines such as Google as long as the content satisfies the requirements of these algorithms.
The algorithms are written to identify content that the search engine considers useful and valuable to the readers needs – understanding this principle and optimising your site in a way that makes it easy for the search engine to do its job is the process of optimising your site.
There are two key areas where search engine optimisation can help get your site get the visitors it deserves. On and off-page. Read on to see our recommended techniques you’ll need to consider if you want to bring in more site visitors and potential business leads.
Content creation, be it blog articles, news updates about your company, infographics and product brochure downloads are an essential step you should take to achieve a good SEO strategy. However, some content creators fail to check and understand how relevant their content is to their target audience.
Take this example, I have a website promoting the web agency I work for. I start writing blog posts about my favourite part, a cycling holiday I took in spring or the best local shops in my area. These posts don’t relate to web development or any services we offer as a business. Content like this confuses Google and other search engines as they try to figure out where to index your site. As a result, the sites search ranking drops, making it harder for potential customers to find the site.
The solution is to find out what your customers are searching for online, in our case it could be ‘web agency Exeter’. Then your content should include these keywords and others closely related to them.
Rather than always focusing on latest news posts or short-lived promotions, which will fade in relevance and interests. You create content which remains as relevant next year as the day you published it.
Content which stays ‘evergreen’ over many months could be descriptions of your products and services your business offers. Or maybe frequently answered questions that you’ll know people will continue to ask in the future. This invaluable strategy brings you visitors both now and later.
As you might expect, this is the opposite of on-page SEO. Off-page SEO is, in short, building brand awareness that will drive traffic back to your website. The main thing to focus on is ensuring that traffic is relevant and containing to visitors that could be your next customer.
Common methods include guest-posts on other relevant websites, social media promotion, and paid advertising. There are many different approaches to off-page SEO. The following are techniques we find to be effective, but we often find every site is different.
The process of back-linking is easy in concept, but challenging in execution. Backlinks are links on other websites that direct back to your sites. How this helps your website ranking is that search engines refer to back-links to map the web. For example, if someone starts a new website about plumbing, they want links from other established plumbing and trade websites. That way search engines will associate your new website with other more established sites. That’s why it is important to have backlinks which are relevant to your business.
Promoting your brand on social media is one of the best ways to grow your audience. It’s an easy way to connect find followers and acts as a platform to promote your content or products at the same time. One key to using social media is to optimise your posts for each specific platform. Twitter loves hashtags, so have a look for popular hashtags related to your business; they will likely match your search keywords! Instagram favours high-quality photos, and Facebook users love to see events and promotions. Our advice is to do your research first before you start firing out posts.
Guest posting is a great way to grow your business and your network! The concept is simple. You invite a guest to write a blog post on your website, and in trade, you put their info in the post on your website. By reaching out to a guest writer you get more content for your website and they get more exposure. Great news! Here are a few things to consider:
Although it’s probably the most expensive on this list, that’s not to say it’s not worth it. Most search engines and social media platforms rely on revenue from paid advertising. It’s in their own best interest to make your content appealing and clickable. A good platform to work with is Google Ads – they offer free training and you can get your ads up in no time, but prepare to have a budget available each month and consider if the results are worth the investment.
There are many websites where customers can leave a review of your company, such as Google, Facebook, or Yelp. It might also be worth searching for review sites specific to your industry and make sure you appear on each one. Again, an association is very good for your brand!
Janitorial work is not fun, but it is 100% necessary. Keep your website and content updated! Not only will you rank higher, but your site will appear more pleasant for visitors. Things can change fast, and your customers want the most accurate, updated information. In addition, updating often can protect you from the latest bugs, hacks, and glitches.
Tip: Routinely check and update your content to make sure it’s still relevant. Google likes websites that keep their content fresh!
After all that hard work writing blog posts, building a social profile, sorting out backlinks you would be pretty frustrated if your site is running slow. It’s not just a visitors experience that is affected here but also that all-important site ranking in search results. As part of the site crawling activity, Google and the other search engines conduct, slow loading sites are down-graded over a faster loading alternative. So check your site is loading quickly, and reduce any large sized images and media shown on the site. Plus ensure any plugins are up to date too.
Growing any business takes patience, and growing a business online is no different. In fact, Google can take months to even start indexing your website, so don’t get discouraged. The best thing you can do is persevere and keep checking the results of your activity through analytics tools such as Google Analytics
We’ve been building websites for over 20 years now and have seen many trends come and go. When it comes to optimising a site for search, one thing that stands above all others and that’s honesty. Search engines are designed to offer the user the closest search match to what they’re looking for, so applying tricks and short-cut tactics like duplicate pages, descriptions and tags will get found out.
The search engines spend a lot of time and investment in ensuring the web is safe and spam free for its users, so any deceptive activity could result in a downgrading of your site. In our experience, the best approach is to build a site that offers your visitors something they can engage with, be genuine, and be honest. The hard work pays off in the long run!
At Web Engineer, we include all of the above SEO services as part of our monthly digital marketing support service. As part of this package, we not only host and maintain the security and functionality of your site. We make sure it’s performing the best it can be for building your brand online through engaging content, social media and of course optimising it for search to get you more visitors and leads.
Thanks for reading
For content ideas, why not check our our codex article on content strategy beyond SEO.