SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation, is the process in which a search engine (such as Google) ranks your website. Ideally, you want to rank at the very top of a search engine’s page. This is because people often click the first result that appears on Google. So, if you can smash your SEO and get your website ranked at number one, you will likely see your website traffic increase, gain more website enquires, hot leads and even improve sales on your product(s)/service(s).
How does SEO work?
Both Google and Bing use bots to crawl different web pages. These bots collect the information there and place them into an index. From there, algorithms then search the index and take hundreds of ranking factors into account to determine what website appears where on a search engine. These ranking factors are often aspects that enhance a user’s experience. So, for example, images, clear paragraphs, and headers are all considered vital in SEO.
Content and SEO
Keeping your website up to date with content is a great way to show Google (or any other search engine) thatyou and your website are active and provides you with more opportunities to SEO your web pages. A great way to create content for your website is through posting blogs and case studies (with images, of course!). However, you cannot just write anything – your content must be in line with your website and must be educational, relevant, shareable, and factual. Misinformation is a huge problem on the internet, so it is vital you fact check what you are saying for Google to trust your website and therefore, rank it higher.
There are many types of SEO. Off-page SEO just being one type of example. However, it is ideal to try to do all of them to rank higher on your desired search engine (which we would recommend as Google. From June 2021, 92% of all search volume globally is from Google!). Off-Page SEO is external optimisation that happens on other people’s websites rather than your own. This is where shareability comes into play, as you want your content to be shared by others. The more backlinks you get from other credible websites, the more Google’s bots will come to trust your website and therefore rank it higher. One popular way to build backlinks to your content is to contact bloggers and strike a deal with them to weave URL’s into their content that links to your website and your own content. Not only will this improve SEO, but people who read their blogs may be enticed by your content and click on the URL’s the blogger provided, which improves your website traffic at the same time!
60% of all searches are now performed on a mobile device and since the pandemic, the support of local businesses has become paramount. More and more people are searching with local intent. A perfect example to use would be a restaurant, as you want local people to be able to discover your website easily, to look at your menu or book a table. You can do this by using local keywords and creating doorway pages. A doorway page is a site or pages created to rank for specific, similar search queries. Good examples of doorway pages would be a Google My Business and a Google Maps account which both will feature your business location and website address on.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to paid marketing optimisation, which includes Google Ads, Google AdWords, social media paid ads (such as LinkedIn and Facebook), pay-per-click (PPC), and more. Because these are paid methods of SEO, they may not be ideal or cost-effective for your business especially if you are a Start-Up.
Yoast SEO is a search engine optimisation plug-in for websites designed in WordPress. With five million active installations and a download rate of over 350 million, it is apparent Yoast is the best free plug-in for SEO-ing your website and its content. Although there is also a paid version of Yoast, we will only be covering the free-to-use version.
Yoast uses an easy-to-understand traffic light system to show you what specifically needs fixing.
To start with, think of a ‘key phrase’ for your content/webpage. Try to think “what will somebody type into the Google search bar?” It is always good to choose a location-based key phrase, especially if you are a small or local business. For example, if you are a baker and selling cakes in a town in Oxfordshire, you could use ‘Bakery in Oxfordshire’, or ‘Bakers in Oxfordshire’ or event ‘Oxfordshire Bakery’. Try to think what someone would type into the Google search bar that would yield your website as a result. This also works great for case studies, as they usually would include a location.
Once you have your key phrase, you will see a set of bullet points to do. Go through them one by one and try to get the smiley face above your key phrase from red to green and ensure the green is eminent across all posts and pages on your WordPress website.
- Outbound links: Include some hyperlinks within your text that take you out of your website. This is to build the whole ‘world-wide-web’, like a spider. Although we would not recommend linking directly away from your site if you have any social media accounts for your business, try to link those in when you can, or online consultations such as Calendly. This way you are still directing your audience to your business, and not away from it.
- Internal links: Add some links that link other places to your website. For example, are you selling cakes and have a gallery of all the cakes you have made on your website? Hyperlink some relevant words on your content to the page with the gallery
- Keyphrase length: Make sure your key phrase isn’t too short or too long!
- Key phrase density: Get creative and try to weave in your key phrase as many times as Yoast tells you depending on your text length. This is vital for Google to index your content.
- Single title: Google likes your content to be easy on the eyes to encourage people to read it. Make sure you use headings and subheadings within your content.
- Images: Include images in your content! Good free-to-use image website is Pexels and Unsplash.
- Text length: Ensure your content is not too short. Usually, 500 words are the minimum.
- SEO title width: Make sure your content’s title isn’t too long! Yoast will tell you if it is.
- Image key phrase: Copy your SEO key phrase and paste it into the image’s Alt Text description
- Meta Description: The meta description is what Google users see on the search engine page. Make sure it contains the key phrase and ensure it is not too long or too short. This can be indicated by Yoast’s traffic light system which appears as a bar under the meta description.
To conclude, it is vital you integrate SEO into your website on its main pages, such as the home and contact page, as well as its content pages like blogs and case studies. Answering pain points people may type into Google but keeping it relevant to your business is ideal for climbing higher on Google’s ranking. It is also important to remember that this is not an overnight process and can take months for Google’s bots to gather enough data on your website to begin to rank it higher. You may need to trial and error different SEO key phrases, before finally seeing a result, so please don’t be discouraged.