One of the most commonly asked questions we get following the launch of a website is ‘how can I get my website to rank on Google? Shortly followed by, what is SEO?
With any business, it’s vital to get your company name out there. SEO plays a significant role in this, and you need to be thinking about this as soon as possible.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the quality and increasing the number of users visiting your website. SEO refers directly to organic traffic – anyone using search engines to find a website opposed to direct traffic or paid traffic.
To determine your rank, search engines such as Google use bots to crawl your website’s content looking at the copy, the quality of code, the use of pictures, links and redirects.
The first step is to determine which key terms, phrases or keywords you want to rank for. To do this you’ll need to think about your offering and list all the phrases you think someone might search to find you, plus the ones you want them to find you with – remember not all keywords will be easy to rank for so consider long-tail keywords too, i.e. instead of just ‘sofa’ think ‘black leather corner sofa’.
You’ll also want to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for so have a look and see if they rank for any you’ve listed. You can also use an SEO tool such as SEMrush to get more keyword data and suggestions or speak to professional like Sleeping Giant Media. Once you’ve created a solid list of keywords you’ll want to consider how you can update/ create content to focus on these phrases – remember to write for your audience and not just stuff your copy with keywords, Google doesn’t like this!
Armed with your keyword list you can start refining your website content – we recommend introducing a blog at the earliest possible stage. Search engines like to see lots of useful, informative copy, and they also want to see websites updated regularly. Good content isn’t just about ranking in Google, you need to produce blogs that are relevant to your audience if you want to drive traffic to your site and enhance your ranking. Keep the reader in mind when you’re writing and be sure to break things down in a way that they’ll understand.
The more quality content you create the higher you’ll rank for your selected key terms and this will help you to enhance your brand reach, grow your traffic and (hopefully) deliver quality conversions. Content is a slow burner though so don’t expect instant results, patience is key.
Whenever you write a piece of content for your website or blog, you should always think about how you might link it. If you’re producing a piece of content explaining how to do something you might reference several blogs on your website that go into specific areas in more detail.
Another thing to note about links is that it’s always best to use relevant anchor text. For example, if you want the user to read another blog, don’t just use anchor text like ‘here.’ Instead, make sure the call-to-action incorporates a relevant keyword like ‘find out more about our WordPress development services.’
A strong backlink strategy can also be really helpful in getting your site to rank higher in search engines. If you see someone sharing a piece of content you think could link well to a blog you’ve produced then reach out and ask them if they wouldn’t mind adding your link to their copy, you could even return the favour. We don’t recommend paying for backlinks as this is often picked-up and penalised by Google.
During a site migration or a website restructure, you might be looking to change the naming of your URL’s, which can have significant SEO benefits. However, you should consult an expert first to ensure you won’t be losing any valuable SEO value and to ensure that correct redirects are in place. You don’t want to send lots of traffic to 404 error pages, as this can have a detrimental impact on both rankings and user experience.
An image speaks a thousand words and a website without them is pretty dull. Try choosing inspiring images and using ALT tags that are relevant as this can have an impact on your website’s rank too.
There are lots of tools on the market that can give you an SEO audit/health check. We recommend Chrome’s Sitechecker or SEOptimer, both of which will generate page and site reports for you to share with your marketing team or agency.
Another way to keep an eye on your website’s performance is with Google Analytics. However, you’ll need to be able to navigate the dashboard to check out how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from. For this, we’d suggest Google’s free Analytics training for beginners.
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