Improving your website search engine ranking (think Google) is known as search engine optimisation or SEO for short. Where your business website ranks in an online search engine is more important than ever because users trust search engines. Having a presence in the top positions increases trust in your business. Results show that the majority of search engines users are more likely to click on one of the top five suggestions in the results pages and your business needs to take advantage of this.
So what exactly is SEO and how does it work?
If you’re a graphic designer based in Aylesbury, wouldn’t it be great to appear on the first page of a search engine if someone searched for ‘logo design Aylesbury’. However, you wouldn’t want to appear if that same person searched for ‘dog walking, Cornwall’.
By making improvements to the words on your website, so it appears in the most relevant search engine results for your business, is exactly what SEO is all about.
There are several ways you can improve your website’s SEO without paying an SEO agency. Here’s KJC’s top eight tips of things you can do right now that are proven to get tangible results.
A keyword is a word or phrase someone types into a search engine to find a website offering the product or service they are looking for. Keyword research is finding out what words or phrases your prospective consumer might use in order to find your sort of business.
Armed with these keywords, they can be used throughout your website, so search engines know to show your site on their results pages when someone types in those particular keywords. It’s about linking your website with the right search and making it easy for people to find you.
So how do you find these keywords? Luckily, there are some great free tools out there. Google Keyword Planner is the go-to keyword research tool, though you’ll need an active Google Ads campaign to get the most useful information. There are also several blogs with how to get the most out of this tool such as this one from AHREFS. There are also alternatives such as Übersuggest which include a free keyword tool and SEMrush (paid version). Start making a list of possible keywords.
It’s really useful to find out what keywords your competitors use on their site and, using another free tool, you can do just this. First search for the products and services you offer, and what websites rank well in the search results. Now for some true investigative work, download a free tool called Screaming Frog, enter your competitor’s website which lists the keywords used on the website. Now make a note of what words they have used in their page titles, what meta descriptions are they using and what H1 and H2 tags have they decided on. Add these to your list from above.
According to a study by comScore, by 2020 half of all searches will be done by voice. Keep ahead of your competition and make sure those voice searches find your business by incorporating likely voice search phrases into your website content - try to use natural conversational style wording and full sentences rather than single keywords. Armed with your list of keywords from points one and two above, ask your friends and relatives what they would say to search for these and make a note.
By now, you should have a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet with a list of keywords that your prospective customers might use to find you, but what do you actually do with them?
Start by looking at your website and see if any of these keywords are used on your site, especially in the page titles and header tags as these are given higher weighting by search engines than other paragraph tags. Don’t know what your page titles or Header tags are? Run your own website through Screaming Frog and have a look at the results. This will also give you a good idea of areas where you can add your newly found keywords.
If you are able to update your website yourself via a content management system like WordPress, then this is the time to do so. Your keywords need to appear in your page titles, H1 and H2 tags and also your image alt tags. Yoast is a free plugin that will help you amend your page titles and meta descriptions, and has a great guide to help you on your SEO way to success.
The ability to update your website is platform dependant and you may need to speak to your developers and designers, possibly outsourcing some of this process.
Search engines love websites that update their content on a regular basis and rank these sites more highly than others in their results. Therefore, updating your blog will make your site stand out in the eyes of Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo to name but a few.
Make sure your content is newsworthy and relevant to your audience, and think about giving something back, not just trying to sell your services. For example if you have an online homeware shop perhaps write about ‘homeware trends in 2019’, ‘meet the makers - interviews’ and ‘seasonal offers’. Also, here’s where you can include your keywords and, if location is important to you, then make sure you include the town(s) or area(s).
Your website should be mobile responsive, working equally well on smartphones and tablets, as well as PCs and laptops. According to Google, more than half of searches come from smartphones and Google now ranks all organic search results — for desktop and mobile devices — based on a website’s mobile experience.
Does your site work well on mobile? Find out how mobile friendly it is by visiting Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If it tests well, then great, however if not, then you need to look at a redesign - check out our Website Redesign Checklist article, which will give you idea of whether your site needs a redesign or not.
With Google using mobile page speed as a ranking factor, it’s a good idea to make sure your site loads as quickly as possible and not just for ranking, but also to provide a good user experience.
Need to check your site speed and where it can be improved? GTmetrix analyses your site’s speed and advises you on how to make it faster, by giving insight on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimise it.
If required, there are several ways to improve your site’s loading speed, from using a CDN like Cloudflare to help improve download to optimising images so they load faster. Email us if you have a query as we’re happy to look at a website for free and explain what needs to be done without the fancy language.
Google Analytics (GA) provides a report listing keywords people have typed in and then visited your site. It’s also free, so make sure you have a basic understanding of this very powerful software. To access this information, go to Google Analytics and look at the reports under Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. By clicking on “Organic Search,” you’ll be able to analyse performance for your SEO program.
New to GA? Then get yourself a coffee and start Google’s free Analytics Courses which will take you from beginner to expert.
**SEO takes time and you won’t see results overnight, however by doing the above you will have made a start in improving your rankings without spending a penny
We’re also here to help at KJC Creative, a digital marketing agency based in Aylesbury.**