We often get asked by our clients: what is SEO? And why does it matter?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a term that’s used a lot within the digital marketing world. Basically, it’s about making changes to your website to help the site get higher rankings in unpaid search results when people type phrases relevant to your business.
SEO is a process, and your website needs to be optimised constantly to get you to the top and ensure you stay there. We’re here to help! Below are a few changes that you can make on your website yourself to help you get results
1. Keyword strategy
Keywords are essential to get right as they form the very foundations of SEO. If you have the right words and phrases on your site, people are more likely to find it when they type something similar into a search engine.
If you don’t choose the right keywords to target with your SEO work, you’re wasting your time. If your keywords are too general, you’ll never rank highly and any traffic you do get is unlikely to be relevant. Too specific, and there might not be anyone searching for the terms you’ve chosen.
You can see what people are typing to find your site already using Google Search Console. However, that only really tells you what terms you rank for already, not the terms you want to rank for. Use a variety of methods to find and analyse potential keywords:
- Look at competitor websites
- Use Google Keyword Planner within AdWords to generate ideas and see how many searches are done each month for those terms
- Start typing words into Google and see what the suggested searches are
- Use keywords that are relevant to the page you want to add more keywords to
- Try to use niche keywords – if you sell trainers, what type of trainers are they? What brand are they? Just using the word ‘trainers’ isn’t specific enough and your website will be lost in the 733 million results are returned!
2. Meta tags
Meta tags don't display on your website, but they do show up in the search results and affect SEO. There are two main tags: the Title Tag (the clickable headline in a search result) and the Meta Description (the sentence underneath the title).
If you have a content management system (admin area) you should be able to find an area for SEO which allows you to amend the title and meta description tags.
Use meta tags to your advantage with these top tips:
- Watch the length
It’s important to remember that Google only allows for a certain length of title and description, and by not abiding to this, they could be cut short. The easiest way is to keep the title to 70 characters or less and the meta description to around 156 or less characters. However, at Clear, we measure in pixels for more accuracy – if you need help, get in touch!
- Use the right amount of keywords
Too many keywords, you look spammy – not enough, and the user may not understand what your web page is about.
- Ensure every page on your site has a unique title
This means the search engines can determine that the content on each page is relevant and valuable to the user.
- Remember to write with your customers in mind
User experience research has shown that many users scan as few as the first two words of a headline – so be sure to catch their attention early. Make sure you’re conveying the most accurate and positive message you can.
We recommend adding relevant keywords to the content of your website to help improve rankings. This lets Google and other search engines know your site is relevant to those terms. If you sell a particular brand of footwear, ensure the content on that page includes the brand’s name and what type of shoe it is. This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we see pages that have very little text or are poorly optimised.
Adding new pages so your site can get found for a wider variety of keywords is a good plan too.
Backlinks represent a "vote of confidence" from one site to another, so it’s important to have reputable and relevant sites linking to you.
To find out if a site is ‘reputable’, we use Moz Link Explorer to check the domain authority – the higher the score, the more valuable a link from that site would be.
The easiest way to get some initial backlinks is to ensure your website is featured on decent directories, such as Yell. You can also make sure suppliers and distributors link to you, and that press releases you send out have hyperlinks in the text.
5. Technical SEO
This is a bit trickier to do yourself, but there are some technical basics that should be in place to make sure Google and other search engines can explore your site easily. Check if these two files exist on your site – if they aren’t there, there’s a good chance your developer isn’t that clued up on SEO. You’ll need to replace [your domain] with your website address:
Note that sometimes, the sitemap might have a different URL, but for most small sites this is where it will be. Ask your developer if you’re not sure.
The speed of your site is also becoming an increasingly important ranking factor. You can check some technical aspects of speed by entering your domain name on Google Pagespeed Insights.
Similarly, your site needs to work well for mobile users. You can check that here.
There’s no escaping the fact that SEO relies on more than just these aspects alone, but if you get these basics right, we’re sure you’ll get off to a great start to improve your website’s SEO.
Want to know more? Get in touch :)