Putting it very simply, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the activity of optimising online content, such as page content, blogs and imagery to ensure your website can be found in search engines to boost website traffic and generate quality leads.
A search engine’s (Google, Bing) is to scan all websites for information that is most relevant to a search query, with the goal of providing the ‘searcher’ with the most useful resources.
To position yourself as a strong competitor within your industry and to increase the presence of your brand in front of your target audience, SEO is worth investing time and money into.
How can you ensure your website is in Google’s best books? What can you do to improve your website’s SEO right now?
Use header tags
It is very often said that “content is king” – and it is. But to be king, your content needs to have header tags. To put it very simply header tags are headings within your content. These headings and sub-headings exist in a hierarchy ranging from H1 to H6 and are used to break up content, making it easier for your user to read and it also helps search engines to crawl your website pages for information.
When using header tags correctly on your site, you help your site to rank for relevant keywords. Google prioritises searching for your header tags to check to see if the content is relevant enough to present to the searcher. This is why the content of your headers needs to clearly sum up what the following content is about, which is why headers are a great place for your relevant keywords.
Linking to different pages to other pages on your website is the foundation of how your website works. Linking pages to one another is how web crawlers go from one page to another to crawl sites and how your user can find different pieces of information.
A backlink is a link that goes from an external website to your website and if another website links to a page on your site, you receive a backlink. Link building can increase your website’s ranking as it helps Google identify you as a reliable resource.
Use page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles and meta descriptions are two of the most important pieces of content on your website page. You have most likely seen them both everytime you’ve used a search engine.
Title tags are the clickable headlines that appear. They give the user an insight into the content they will find if they are clicked on. Due to this, it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.
Meta descriptions are the brief summary of a page to help support the title in demonstrating what the page content will include, allowing the user to make the decision of whether that’s the best website for them to use to acquire the information they need. These don’t directly impact search rankings, but they do strongly affect CTR (click-through rates).
Understand that page speed is important
We all experienced visiting a site and the frustration of it being so slow that in the end, you decide the only option is to leave and find another. Page speed is very important to consider because faster pages are more user friendly. According to Google, the bounce rate increases by 32% as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.
A speedy site can increase page views, increase conversations and lower bounce rate, but how can you improve your page speed? There are a some website best practices you can implement to improve it:
Reduce the number of redirects on your website, only have a necessary amount
Optimise all images across the site and make sure that they are no larger than needed, are in the correct format (PNGs are better with graphics of less than 16 colours, JPEGs are better for photographs) and that they are compressed.
Ensure you’re mobile friendly
It is now common knowledge that most people prefer to search on their mobiles instead of desktop. Whether you know that your website users mainly use desktop, ensuring that your website is responsive to mobile and still works a treat is incredibly important.
If your website users have had a good experience with using your website, they’re more likely to return, therefore have a mobile friendly website will keep them coming back for more, whichever device they decide to use. It’s very often the case that a user doesn’t turn into a lead or a customer right away, they may visit your site a couple of times before they take the leap and get in contact with you.
Google likes websites that are optimised for mobile too, not just your users. Back in November 2016, Google decides on mobile-first index for both desktop and mobile search which means that if your website isn’t mobile friendly then don’t expect it to be ranked highly in desktop results either.
Set up Google My Business
Google My Business is a great, free opportunity for your business to appear in search results. You’ve most likely seen it when you’ve searched for specific businesses or a type of business in your area. As search results are becoming more location-specific, it’s crucial for your business to have a Google My Business.
GMB provides you with the opportunity to display important information about your business on Google Maps and local search results such as opening times, contact information and a link to your website.
The goal of having a good GMB page is to include as much information as possible so that this important information is easily available to someone who is interested. Ensure to include:
A business description that realistically describes your business and includes your top keywords
Include images, preferably up to the full 10-photo limit
Collect reviews to give authentic experiences of your business and try to actively request them from your customers. Make sure you respond to all reviews so your potential customers know that you care about what they have to say.
There are some beneficial tools that can help you to identify any holes in your SEO best practices and to point you in the right direction of actions to take.
PageSpeed Insights analyses the content of any given webpage and provides suggestions of ways to make the page faster.
Google Analytics is a free tool that helps you analyse and monitor your website traffic. It will give you details on how long users are spending on your site, where they are coming from and what pages are most popular with your users.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console helps you to monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site’s presence on Google search results. It helps you to understand and improve how Google sees your website.
Google Trends is used to compare different search terms and to identify how frequently any given search term is entered into Google’s search engine. It’s great information to have for working on your keywords and content production.