Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a key component of any business’ digital marketing strategy. It is not enough to simply set a website live. If you’ve invested in a business website, then it’s important you don’t leave it to sit on the web and gather dust. You should be following best practice to help drive interested traffic to your site and help search engines, such as Google, to know your website exists. This in turn will help rank your business as high as possible in the results pages.
In the same way you’d take steps to attract customers into your shop to make a sale, you need to take action to bring customers to your website amongst a ‘digital high-street’ full of competitors.
Just a few simple key changes to how you optimise your website for search engines can help you to improve your brand’s online visibility and attract a greater number of engaged visitors to grow your audience.
Here’s 6 tips to start boosting your search engine ranking now:
Get strategic with your keywords
Keywords are an imperative part of SEO. If you don’t get your keywords right then your SEO activities are doomed. It’s important that you start your SEO campaign with a good understanding of the keywords and key phrases that are going to put your business in front of your target audience. Begin with some keyword research to consider the specific terms your audience are likely to type into a search engine as well as the phrases or terms that relate to your business and services.
Think like a consumer; what would you search for to find a business like yours? It is also important to think about how exactly keywords and phrases would be entered into a search engine. Different generations of people may use words differently. There are plenty of tools to help with your keyword research such as SEM Rush and Moz. With the free version you can usually research up to 10 search queries per month. These tools can also break down how your competitors appear in search engine results, as well as monthly search volumes of certain keywords.
So, for example, your competitor may be using keywords that don’t have a high search rate but are ranking high purely due to them having had a website live for many years. With a newer business just starting to implement SEO, you shouldn’t expect instant results, as search engines need time to crawl your site from a site crawl queue.
Share relevant content
A great way to boost your search engine ranking, develop your website, and retain customers is to share relevant, engaging content and keep this content consistent. Search engines aren’t fans of outdated content. Set up a blog to publish thought-led articles, news updates, or opinion pieces. Not only will this keep your website from becoming stale and static, but you can also help to develop your website’s relevancy and authority online. High quality content will also provide another great opportunity to use keywords and phrases to help search engines to understand your business and rank appropriately.
Keywords however should never be over-used in content. This is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and search engines can penalise you for this. Keywords are best placed in your headers and titles particularly when it comes to blog content. You can even utilise more advanced SEO techniques like Schema markup which highlights the different parts of your content to give search engines a better idea of what it is all about and how to serve it on search results. Blogs and images, etc., that show up on results as well as website links are known as rich results. Think about when you have had a returned result of a google map or perhaps a wiki breakdown of how to do something - these are rich results.
Don’t forget technical optimisation
To rank your business website, search engines will use software that crawls your website to read the text and code. When it comes to letting search engines know your website exists; you must first verify your site. This can be done quite easily through various website hosting platforms. Most even have guided instructions. Next you need to submit each of your pages for indexing via Google Search Console, and other consoles depending on search engine. Lastly you will need to submit a sitemap. A website that is technically optimised will help the crawler to read and understand all the content. Your technical optimisation should consider your URL structure, meta title, H1 and H2 heading tags, meta descriptions, and image alt tags.
Think unique with your content
It’s not just your blog content that needs to be unique and relevant. It’s important to note that the success of your SEO also depends on having a variety of unique content on every page. If you repeat too much of your content – such as copyright text or contact details on every page – search engines could penalise your website for duplicate content the same way as if you duplicate all your meta data on each page of your website. Titles and descriptions should always be unique to what the page is about. The content an audience sees should always add value to the customer journey.
Encourage reviews and testimonials
Ensure you’re encouraging feedback from your customers from numerous sources, this will not only enable you to make vital improvements to your business, but it is great for your SEO, particularly in local search rankings. Customers can leave reviews on your Google business page that will appear in search results, especially in local search results. Online reviews will help create signals for search engines about the relevancy and popularity of your website. The more authentic reviews you can include on your website with platforms such as Feefo and Trustpilot the better your visibility. Reviews also act as a digital ‘word of mouth’ and can help to drive traffic to your business over a competitors’ website.
Ensure your website is optimised for mobile
If your website isn’t optimised for mobile, then you’re already missing out on opportunities for better search engine ranking. Therefore, it is particularly important to submit an XML sitemap as well. As mobile device usage continues to grow, it’s only going to become more important for your business to have a website that’s user-friendly on a mobile.
This is not only vital for better rankings but will also give your mobile customers a better service and user-experience and eliminate the risk of bounce rates by them simply leaving. If a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load on mobile, you could potentially lose mobile visitors. A web page may be slow loading particularly if there are lots of images displaying at once. Make sure your image sizes are small on upload by uploading your images first to platforms such as TinyPNG. These reduce file size without impacting quality.