Digital Marketing

SEO – what you need to know

By Mark Ainsworth

SEO – search engine optimisation. For many business owners, it’s a puzzle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. SEO is the science of getting your business’s website to appear among the very first results when a user searches for a term or terms relevant to your business. Read on if you would like to improve your rankings.

At one time, targeting keywords was the quickest and most effective way of improving organic rankings with search engines. This no longer works but keywords are still essential and they still have a part to play. With so many SEO techniques, it’s become almost impossible to decide which ones to use and which ones you can safely ignore.

I have put together the 10 most important SEO tips that you need to know right now.

Page speed is a critical factor in SEO

You need to remove anything from your site that slows it down. Data from Strange Loop shows that a one second delay in page load time can yield is 7% loss in conversions. Page speed is vital both for users and search engines. In the minds of potential buyers, a slow site is an untrustworthy site.

According to E-consultancy, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. This is nothing new – on 9th April 2010 Google included site speed as one of the all-important ranking factors. If you think your website takes too long to load then visit these source pages below for more information:

How to Make Your Site Insanely Fast
15 Easy Ways to Speed up Your Word Press Site

Link to other websites with relevant content

Brian Clarke, founder of Copy Blogger Media, suggests that linking to other blogs is critical to growth. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, believes that link building remains a fundamental part of smart search engine optimisation strategy.

Encourage other trustworthy sites to link to you

To a large extent, inbound links are still the lifeblood of search engine rankings. When you combine do- follow and no-follow links, you get an actual link profile that even Google will reward.

Be mindful of the object of the exercise

Whilst it might be pleasing to use keywords to drive search results, don’t forget about the real qualities of using engaging, valuable content. There is little point in directing people to your website if they do not stay long enough to read the content and more importantly make purchase. Good copy on your website is crucial to encouraging more visitors and customers.

Monitor the results of your improvements

After defining your search engine optimisation goals clearly, you need software to track what’s working and what’s not, otherwise you have no idea whether or not your solutions having the desired effect.

Software solutions such as Google Analytical, Google Search Console, and others can help you track your success. Tools like Crazy Egg also show you where your site visitors are clicking and how they navigate away from your site.

Meta descriptions can make or break you

A well-crafted “meta description” is the first thing people see when Google serves up your page to search users. Once someone searching sees your website listed in the results they’re shown, the next step is to encourage them to click.

This is one of the most important SEO tips but the most neglected by most people. Avoid using duplicate meta descriptions. Use a unique meta description for each different page of your website. For example, a description for your sales page may be different from that for your repairs and servicing page.

Generally, Google’s search engine doesn’t like duplicate content and duplicate meta descriptions could lower your ranking. Even if you’re not penalised, it still doesn’t make for an effective user experience.

Keep the description or headline to between 5 and 9 words long. Remember this is your headline and it needs to capture the user’s attention.

Create readable and meaningful URLs only

Make sure that your URL is easy to understand for both users and search engines. Remember search engines follow search users. Try to use between two and four words in any URL this makes it memorable to the user, search-engine-friendly and easy to type.

Don’t overlook the importance of social signals

SEO ranking factors for Google in the USA indicated that social signals do impact on search engine rankings and there is a correlation between social signals and better rankings. Make sure you are making the most of social shares, likes, tweets and pins.

Use appropriate keywords in your images

Google has dedicated an entire section of its search results to images. This indicates that the search giant is very concerned with the importance of the use of pictures. Make sure your images carry the important keywords that are relevant to the image but don’t overdo it with repetition.

Keep things fresh

Create and publish unique content consistently to improve your rankings. Whether you’re servicing a B2B or B2C market, you need to be organised and disciplined when it comes to content creation.

This is more important than you think; unique content is one of the factors that affect the freshness score and consequently the search engine rankings for that specific page. The easiest way to optimise your freshness score is to be continually creating content which is unique and helpful.

I hope these tips have been useful for you and that you will now look at your search engine optimisation strategy with fresh eyes. Keeping on top of your online marketing is a vital part of any business as competition is tough to reach the top three rankings as everyone wants to be at the top.

If you need help in adding a blog to your existing website, contact the Maxweb team. We can help you implement a blog and show you how to measure how well you’re doing. For more information, call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.

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