Your website is only useful if it is receiving visitors from people who are potential customers. And unless those customers already know about you (know either your business name or domain name), in order to receive visitors, it needs to be found via a search engine.
If you want people to be able to find you, even if they have never heard of you before, you need to optimise your website for search engines.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is extremely important to owning a successful website.
No matter what product or service your website is promoting, the only way your website will be seen by potential customers is if they search for your business name directly (which they will only do if they already know about you), or if your website appears in the search results somewhere where they will be found.
Websites on Page 1 of search results receive over 90% of the traffic. This means your chances of promoting your wares drastically reduces if your website is not on Page 1.
If your website appears on Page 2 or worse, you can pretty well guarantee it is not doing you any favours and is probably getting little to no traffic via search engines.
The practice of SEO is about improving your website’s visibility, so it lists as high as possible in the search results and helps the chances of it being found and viewed. Once this battle is won, it is up to your website to keep customers on-site and convince them you offer something of value.
What are some of the techniques used in SEO?
SEO is a broad discipline and there are a large number of on-page and off-page techniques.
On-page SEO is about making tweaks and improvements to your website’s content and structure.
Here are some of the things we can do to improve on-page SEO:
1) Use title tags properly, and include your keyword/s
2) Longtail keywords (including words like “best”, “guide”, “review”) are easier to rank for than short, common keywords
3) Use engaging images, diagrams and videos to increase the time visitors stay on your site and keep your bounce rate low
4) Use sub-headings and make sure they have a H2 tag
5) Use your keyword appropriately throughout the page content. There is such a thing as too little AND too much. Think of Goldilocks – the number of times your keyword should be used should be ‘just right’.
6) Make sure your site is responsive. This means it is mobile-friendly and looks good (note: I didn’t say “looks the same”!) whether it is viewed on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Google have been penalising mobile unfriendly sites since 2015 and recently introduced their Mobile First index which will see responsive sites pushed ahead in the results.
7) Keep your site running fast. Page speed is a ranking factor because Google knows if a page takes longer than 4 seconds to load, 75% of visitors won’t come back. Some ways to help are having good hosting, compressing images, and using a Content Delivery Network.
If a page takes longer than 4 seconds to load, 75% of visitors won’t come back
8) Make sure your images use Alt Text which includes your target keyword, and use the same keyword in the file name.
9) Engage visitors as soon as they land on your page. “Dwell time” is how Google determines whether your content is any good. If visitors are hitting their “back” button straight after landing on your page, Google will consider your site content to be of low quality and will bump your site down in the rankings.
10) Proper site structure is also super critical. By properly organising your page linking structure you help SEO ‘juice’ flow around your site via interconnected pages.
Off-page SEO refers to the external elements which are not part of the site’s content, structure or design. The main purpose is to enhance the reputation of your site and ensure others want to visit or learn more about it.
Some off-site SEO elements are:
1) Quality links pointing to your site from reputable partners. Google considers your website’s value by the number and quality of links going to it.
2) The number of different domains linked to your site and the authority of those linking domains.
3) The relevancy of pages linking to your site.
4) The diversity of link types. If your site has a large number of links of one type, they may indicate spammy links and impact on your ranking.
5) Connections from social media advertising (e.g. Facebook Ads) and social media sharing
So, here’s why you should optimise your website…
Both on-site and off-site SEO are important and should be used on your website to tell search engines your site is relevant and offers value to consumers.
By providing Google, and the other search engines, with proof that your site is valuable to consumers, your rankings will improve and your business will benefit from the increased visibility.
I offer all of the above SEO services and more, so if you’d like to find out how your website can be improved, request a free SEO audit.