Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through search (the likes of Google and Bing).
The ultimate goal of SEO is for your business to generate traffic organically, with searchers clicking through to your site from search engine results page (SERPs). There’s no point investing your vital time and funds into a fantastic-looking website, if potential customers can’t find it!
Keywords are very important in SEO, as these are the words that your customers are likely to use when looking for your products or services online.
We’d recommend making a list of 20-30 keywords to start with to use on each of your website pages to help them rank higher on SERPs.
Be careful not to overload your site with keywords, as pages need to be primarily for user experience, not for the benefit of search engines. If you’re adding in as many keywords as you possibly can, you’re at a risk of distorting what you’re trying to say and irritating readers.
Making the text clear and simple is the most important thing, utilising those keywords wherever it makes sense to do so.
It’s also worth adding in the keywords into the URL (the address that appears at the top of the browser) whenever you can. Include them in the titles of the pages too, plus in the meta descriptions (the brief description telling the search engine what the page entails).
It’s vital to build up links to your website at every opportunity. The more sites that have links to yours, the higher you’re likely to rank on search pages. The higher up you are, the more likely you’ll get noticed by searchers looking to buy your products and services.
One way to do this is by forming relationships with other businesses that may relate to you in some way and asking them to carry a link to your site on theirs, in exchange for adding their link to yours. As long as they’re not direct competitors, this will only positively impact your findability.
PR is a great way to build backlinks too. Many small businesses work with PR agencies to distribute press releases to publications to publish the story. These publications will often include all of the site links too, which is where valuable backlinks will come from.
You should focus on the quality of the links you’re trying to build - a singular link directing to your site from a Chamber of Commerce or well-known industry forums will help you much more than ten links from obscure blogs.
Having a clear, easy-to-navigate website is essential. There’s no point spending all of your effort on SEO if people are leaving your website instantly because it’s too complex.
Make sure that it’s immediately clear to the reader exactly what you’re offering within the first few seconds of them arriving on the page.
Use headings and subheadings to break up content and improve readability, utilising your list of keywords whenever possible.
Site speed is also important - if things are taking too long to load, people may simply give up. Make sure that the website is optimised for smart phone use too, as you will be penalised for this on search engines if not.
It’s crucial to measure the results that come from the changes that you’re making to your website so that you know what is working and what needs improvement. There are many different low-cost tools available, such as Moz, AHRefs, and Google Analytics.
These sites will allow you to complete audits to identify the technical issues that need to be addressed, as well as report on how your pages are performing each week. This includes reports on search engine rankings - highlighting where your pages are currently ranking on sites like Google. As you continue to improve your site, these rankings should rise.
These tools will also report on your visitors - how they found your site (search engine, referring website, social media), their location and how long they stayed on each page - all very useful data when reviewing your SEO strategy.