SEO – what’s it all about?
Lots of clients ask me about Search Engine Optimisation. I can’t claim to be any expert, but I have read quite a bit of advice about SEO and it seems that the goalposts have shifted quite a few times over the years, but some disreputable SEO companies are still aiming at the old goalposts.
Google has systematically closed loopholes and refined its algorithms to make sure that searching does get you the best results, not just the best façade. Years ago SEO used to mean loading your site up with keywords wherever you could squeeze them in – hidden in backgrounds, in image tags, in repetitive text – but that no longer works, and may even get your site banned by Google.
These days it is about good quality content (whether it is exactly that keyword phrase or a synonym), accurate representation and popularity.
How do you choose where you shop? If you walk into a shop with a glitzy exterior and flashing signs only to find poor quality or scant products inside, you will walk right out and not return. Similarly Google tracks how long people spend in your site. Lots of pop-in pop-out visits means you are misrepresenting what your site offers, or your site is poor quality (unappealing design, hard to navigate, slow to load or has coding errors). If the content is entertaining or informative and not just a hard-sell, people will stop and read.
That is where a good blog comes in. It is also a good way to keep new content being added to your website – regular fresh content = better rankings.
I must admit guilt – I created a blog with 3 posts and then didn’t write anything new for years – something I am trying to remedy. What can you find to write about? Well, what are your potential customers asking you about these days? Is there a new trend in your market? Do you have an opinion about it? If you are someone who hates writing but loves to talk, what about a video blog? That is especially useful if you have particular skills to demonstrate or want to show how a new product actually works. If you don’t like to write or talk, the best option is to find a writer who can translate what you want to get across into blog posts.
While you are writing/talking about what you do, make the most of that information, and put it out there on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+. It might seem like a lot of work, but there are some handy time-saving widgets that will automatically send your new blog post to Facebook and Twitter for example. These are the most popular two networks.
The more Friends, Likes, Followers, Retweets, Shares and Repins you get on social networks, the better for your Google rankings, because it means people are talking about you. How about Google Reviews? Can you ask some of your happy customers to write good Google Reviews about you?
Another important factor is Backlinks (links from other websites to yours). The only way to generate backlinks is to just go and ask politely for them. Backlinks from reputable and well-ranked sites that are in some way related to your business sector are the best.
There are many other important factors that affect your search engine ranking, (including mobile templates, use of headings, page URLS, domain name, xml sitemaps) but I have tried to cover some of the general ones.
SEO Starter Pack
I can provide these SEO services, as a very basic start for your website. I can check these important factors:
- coding errors / broken links
- navigation issues / usability
- causes of slow website load time
- Title and Description tags on all pages
- duplicate content
- best use of link text
- images or animations that might not be searchable
- display on mobile devices
- check site on Google Webmaster Tools
- canonical URL / keywords in URL
- above-the-fold content
- image tags
Contact me if you would like me to do a basic SEO review of your website and quote for work required.
I choose not to provide more complex SEO at this stage, because I simply don’t have the skills yet to thoroughly analyse your website traffic and hone the keywords, but if you do decide to employ an SEO expert, at least you will have some basic steps completed if you can tick off the items on the above list.