If you want people to discover your website, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a must. The world of search engine optimisation is complex and constantly changing. But we’re here to help you easily understand the basics.
Having even a small amount of knowledge of SEO techniques can make a big difference to the success of your website. There is a whole sea of information out there but we’ve tried to condense it down into what we think are the 4 best techniques to drive traffic to your website.
And remember! Practice makes perfect, SEO isn’t a quick process but keep working at it to see the difference in your site’s performance.
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What is SEO?
Neil Patel defines SEO as “the process of taking steps to help a website or piece of content rank higher on Google.
The key difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic” ranking, which means you don’t pay to be in that space. To make it a bit simpler, search engine optimization means taking a piece of online content and optimising it so search engines like Google show it towards the top of the page when someone searches for something.”
SEO is a blanket term for the processes that websites use to boost their sites’ chances of ranking well in search engines, such as Google. It is important to optimise your site so that you can (hopefully!) appear on the first results page after someone searches a particular term into a search engine.
The following 4 SEO techniques are essential for helping search engines and therefore people, find your site.
1. Internal Linking
Unlike external backlinks, you have full control over your internal linking. Within the text on your web pages, you want to link related articles on your site to drive visitors around your site, encouraging them to invest further into your business. Generally, you want to link to anchor text, the words that visitors click to move from one page to another. For example, if your site has a post about window cleaning, and you want to link to it from a post about gutter cleaning, you could write a sentence like “window cleaning should be done after gutters are cleared” and link the words ‘window cleaning’ for additional SEO optimisation.
Links should be:
One of the highest-ranking things that can happen to your site is when other sites link to one (or more) of your pages. These are called backlinks. Your site gains search-engine ranking when other sites link to it. It’s even better if those external pages are seen as trustworthy and popular search engines. But, the truth is, you don’t have much control over them.
The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content and hope they come your way. Creating good content pays off; the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.
There is another tactic you can use to gain backlinks to your site and that is called digital PR. This would involve creating and promoting content to journalists and publishers that they’ll want to cover and link to from within their articles.
Digital PR brings benefits beyond just links, including:
3. Social media marketing
With 53% of the world’s population using social media, it’s essential for your business to create an effective social media strategy that taps into your audience.
If you are just starting out a strategy will give you the peace of mind that you are directing your marketing efforts into the right place. As a result you will watch your followers and brand awareness grow.
Social media marketing involves everything from the frequency of your posting, your brand message and also your paid media. “In a 2021 a HubSpot Blog poll of 1,000+ global marketing professionals, 79% of marketers report buying paid advertising on social media.” Boosting Instagram posts is an effective way to increase your brand awareness quickly. Combine that with a competition or giveaway using your product and you are onto a winner.
4. Content optimisation
Having an appropriate word count
Yoast SEO advises that “writing more than 300 words for regular posts or pages, while product descriptions should be over 200 words…You have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long, high-quality blog posts of 1000 words or more,” This is because the higher the word count is, the better search engines can understand what your text is about and you’ll be able to focus on your keyphrases. However, this doesn’t mean you should just be adding content for the sake of it. People don’t want to see long, badly-written pages that aren’t relevant to your business or audience.
Ensuring great readability:
Create paragraphs of 3-4 sentences long. You can also use one-sentence paragraphs, but use them sparingly or your post will look like a shopping list.
Using different length sentences will keep your text interesting and your readers wanting to read on.
The average person spends just 37 seconds reading a piece of online content. Subheadings make it easier for people to read quickly.
Break up large chunks of text with relevant, supporting media, including photos, videos, and graphs
Aim to use bullet points whenever you list three or more items. This makes it much easier for your audience to read your content.
Having optimal meta title and description tags
Since meta descriptions appear with your title and URL on the results pages of search engines, they have the power to help or hurt your results’ click through rates. Having your keywords/phrases in the body of the meta description is a relevancy signal for search engines that can help your rankings. It is also important to keep the length under 160 characters. It is also important to add a clear call to action or offer a specific benefit to visitors
Alt text is used to describe an image in your article. All pages with images will have alt text, but a lot of people don’t make the most of it. The point of alt text is for search engines to be able to verbally describe your images to people who are visually impaired.
You want your alt text to properly break down and describe what the image is. It will also be helpful to use your alt text to insert keywords.
Keyword research and selection
Keywords are the main words that lead people to your site. In order to properly utilise keywords, you need to think about the various elements on your website – articles, images, videos, podcasts – and summarise them in SEO-friendly terms. As we’ve previously mentioned, you will also want to use these keywords in your site’s URL, header tags, meta descriptions, and alt attributes.
You need to make sure your chosen words are optimised to match people’s searches. If your website offers window cleaning services, then “window” and “cleaning” would be your keywords. However, these keywords will pull up lots of other sites when someone performs a search. As a result, you need to also use long-tail keywords, which are more specific searches, to back up your keywords.
Your long-tail keywords could be ‘best window cleaning services in London.’ This is a more specific search that you can use to make your site stand out from the pack. Google has a tool, Keyword Planner, that helps you find potent keywords. You don’t want to get too obscure though, this is not going to get you enough searches.
Keyword research and SEO tools can help you come up with keyword ideas.
Some of the most popular ones include: