Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be a key component of any web strategy; if no one can find your site then everything else is redundant. But it’s such a complex and specialist field, how do you know where to begin? We’ve put together some SEO tips to help demystify the subject, and give a basic introduction to some of the key areas to focus on.
1. Play the long game
It takes time to implement an effective SEO strategy, and it’s also important to remember that your SEO activities will need to be monitored and tweaked as necessary. So think about SEO as a long-term, ongoing investment, and plan accordingly.
2. Publish unique content
Gone are the days when people posted any old content stuffed with repeated keywords to try and boost their search engine rankings. Today we know that Google rates sites with high quality, unique, relevant, fresh content. The best approach is to always write for your audience, not for search engines, and update your site regularly.
3. Use social media
There are strong links between social media and SEO, so if you’re not already using social media then you should certainly consider starting.
It’s all about verifying and reinforcing your authenticity – not just by driving traffic to your site but also by showing that you are present (and followed) on multiple platforms.
4. Make strong links
This SEO tip has stood the test of time; sites that have strong inbound links from other high quality (and relevant) sites rank higher on Google than those that don’t. There are several ways in which you can approach this, including reciprocal arrangements with partners, guest blogging and social media campaigns. Be imaginative and strategic.
5. Review your keywords
The proper use of keywords on web pages is a vital component of SEO. Examine your web stats to see which search terms bring visitors to your site, taking particular note of the ‘long-tail’ keywords (these are the longer, more specific phrases used by fewer visitors, but visitors worth targeting). Don’t forget to use keywords in images as well as text.
6. Review your metadata
There are various categories of metadata – all important in different ways – but here let’s focus on your page titles and descriptions, which are the text elements that appear on search results pages. Check that all of your web pages have unique and relevant titles and descriptions.
7. Check your speed
Understandably, search engines aren’t keen on websites that take ages to load. Make sure your site is running at its optimal speed; one way to guarantee this is by choosing reliable hosting. Read more about why you need Speed for search engine rankings
8. Think locally
Local SEO is all about tapping into the potential of location-based search, for example by using location-based keywords and local link building. It’s obviously a vital marketing tool for businesses that are reliant on local customers (eg restaurants,tradespeople), and we’ll be looking at it in more detail in another article.