SEO: Where to begin?

As the industry’s best digital marketers gathered at BrightonSEO last week – the biggest SEO conference in Europe – it seems only right that we turn our attention to all things SEO.

 

The world of Search Engine Optimisation can seem overwhelming, so here we give you our top 10 tips to get your website to the top of those search results – and above your competitors!

 

The basics of SEO…

SEO is ultimately all about helping your customers find your business from among thousands of other companies online. SEO ensures that when a potential customer googles a term that relates to your business and/or region that your company appears before them!

 

So, what affects your SEO?

Pretty much everything on your website will affect your ranking with search engines from the content all the way to font colour! Here are some of the basics of SEO and things you can easily do to help your website get seen.

  • Know what your customers search

A great place to start is with some keyword research. Identify words your potential customers could be searching for and you can then build the content on your site around these keywords. By having these key phrases and words in headers, subtitles and the text, makes them easily found by search engine crawlers and so increasing your chances of showing up in relevant searches.

  • Have a sitemap

A sitemap on your website is a list of all the pages and other content on your website, usually organised into a hierarchy. It provides a quick way to see how your site is laid out and what it includes. While these sitemaps were once designed to help users navigate websites, their primary purpose now is to communicate information to search engine crawlers.

  • Use headings

While a sitemap is useful for helping search engine crawlers see how your site is organised, it doesn’t help them make sense of the individual content. For that, you’ll need to use heading tags. These are formatting options you can apply to section headings within pages and posts. It helps the reader to identify the main information on the page without reading the whole thing.

  • Theme

If you are developing your website in WordPress you can pick a range of different themes to decide the layout and look. Your choice of theme can also affect the sites speed and SEO. This is because clean code gives a website the best chance in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

  • Speed of site

Another way to increase the speed of your site is by downloading these plugins; Jetpack and WPtouch from WordPress Plugins. These enhance the speed, image optimisation and other mobile friendly features. These are external features and need to be updated independently.

  • SEO Plugins

A plugin is small add-on software to install onto your website which will add new functions. Yoast SEO is a great plugin that adds a whole suite of optimisation-focused features to your site. It has a traffic light system with red, amber and green to show you how your SEO is on that page, giving you tips on how to change this. Once you have completed it, it will turn green and even compliment you – you can’t ask for more than that!

  • Links

Google looks at how your website is connected, both internally but also with external links to other sites. It is really helpful for your ranking to have your website linked on other sites (called a backlink) as it tells google that your site is credible and full of important information – pushing it up those all-important rankings!

  • Add fresh content

When new content is uploaded to a website, the search engine web crawler will identify and index any new pages that could be included in search results. This in turn can lead to the ranking of the website to improve as new content makes your site more likely to attract new visitors. More content also gives opportunities to publish keywords in blogs and articles, increasing the SEO.

Aside from this, adding valuable, fresh content to your website is always a good thing! It keeps your audience updated and keeps you relevant in your industry.

  • Be mobile-friendly

Having a website that is responsive (responds and displays correctly depending on screen size) not only makes your website easier to read but is fundamental to a positive user experience. Search engines such as Google reward those websites that are user-friendly with a higher ranking.

  • Choose your host provider carefully

You may not think so but which company you choose to host your website with does influence where your website ranks with the search engines. Hosting factors such as uptime/downtime, speed and location all have an effect on SEO.  Make sure you check all these factors with potential host providers and regularly check on how it is performing as speed and uptime/downtime can fluctuate from month to month.

 

With competition as fierce as ever, making sure your website is optimised to get as high as possible in your potential customers search results may just give you that edge. If you haven’t already, take some time to ensure that SEO is part of your marketing strategy moving forward.