Does your business have what it takes to make it to the top? Understanding both customers and algorithms is at the heart of effective SEO.
SERP. The Search Engine Results Page. If you’re not on the top page, you’re history. We’ve all heard about SEO and how it’s the key to making it onto the top page, but surprisingly few business owners understand the details of Search Engine Optimisation and how to get it working for them.
SEO is not just one thing, but rather a catch-all term to describe a whole array of approaches that can be put to use to help a business score well in search results. Consumers are part of it, sure, but it’s important to remember that SEO is a balanced approach to appeal to both people and search engine algorithms. At its heart, a successful SEO strategy is dependent on our understanding of what both consumers and computer algorithms are looking for. The good news is that once you begin to get your head around it, the process is quite fascinating.
Computers are staggeringly powerful but when we think of Search Engines, it pays to consider them as a bit dim. They need lots of prompts and plenty of spoon-feeding to help them understand what a website is all about. This is no place for subtleties. So let’s get ready to serve up a smorgasbord of information that no Search Engine could possibly miss – and get your business on that top page.
A long-tail of success
You’ll hear the term ‘keyword’ mentioned often in conversations about SEO. Just as the name suggests, long-tail keywords are longer than the common keywords that are sometimes referred to as ‘head’ keywords. They’re also more focused and if you’re just starting down the SEO path with your website, they’re the ideal tool to use. Focus is important, after all. We’re not setting out to swamp your website with a tsunami of visits from random strangers, we’re only looking to encourage visits by the sort of people who are looking for what you are selling and could become your customers. So the genesis of your approach is to decide on which keywords potential customers will be typing into their Search Engines. Consider the products or services that your business is offering, decide on the keywords that are most likely linked to these and then also analyse similar words that potential customers might be using.
Successful websites and the need for speed
Slow websites turn off consumers and derail search engine optimisation, too. They’re bad for everything, retarding performance in search engine rankings, cutting down on page visits and eroding potential sales. ‘Load time’ is crucially important – that’s the amount of time it takes for a consumer to access a website. Consumers are impatient – don’t expect them to wait for your site to load. What’s more, search engines respond poorly to slow load times and rank slow sites lower.
There are plenty of factors that impact on the speed of websites. From the size of the pictures that you use to videos and any other bulky files, it can all combine to drag your website speed – and thus your SEO rankings – down. If you’re not sure where to get started in speeding up your websites, a good tool to start with is Google’s Web Speed Insights.
Stick to short, sweet URL’s
Speak clearly – even to search engines! They’re allergic to long sequences and complex arrangements of words. Stick to keeping your URL’s short and concise, containing the bare minimum of target keywords and nothing more.
Fresh, new and original content counts
There’s nothing to be gained by seldom changing your website – but much to be lost. Search engines give low rankings to ‘stale’ websites with unchanged content. Does your business have something to say? News to post? Offers, blogs, photos? User-friendly platforms such as WordPress make updating with fresh, original content easy and quick, so regularly refresh your content and you’ll reap the benefits, including longer times spent onsite by visitors, another factor that affects search engine rankings. If you’re always updating and have relevant, engaging content on your website, this ‘dwell time’ will work to your benefit.
Keep a keen eye on the competition!
It’s always worth remembering that your website doesn’t exist in isolation. There’s a whole universe of competitors out there and your potential customers have complete freedom of choice to go where they like. So it’s in your best interests to closely monitor your direct competition. Find out all you can about them – who they’re partnering with, the connections that they have, their networks and their allies. The discoveries you make will help guide your SEO strategy as you make informed choices and possibly even find opportunities to detour searchers from rival websites to yours.
The basics of improved SEO ranking are straightforward and simple to access by any business with an interest in improved search results. And if you feel the need to dig deeper, simply contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss the finer points of SEO optimisation for your business.