SEO that suits your business
How do you get your business noticed? In the pre-internet age, the choices were relatively simple. You could run ads in local media, perhaps pay for a swanky display ad in Yellow Pages. With a decent marketing budget, you could even sponsor a high-profile sporting event or launch an ad campaign on national TV.
Enter the digital era, and the landscape has changed dramatically. With more and more of us finding the services and products we need online, ranking highly in search engine results has become all-important. In short, you cannot afford to ignore SEO.
SEO – what actually is it?
Perhaps you already know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but beyond that, your knowledge gets a little hazy. If this is the case, don't worry, you're not alone! Put simply, SEO encompasses a whole range of tricks, tweaks and fixes that, as a whole, will help your website to rank higher in Google searches.
Why is this important? We all know from experience that we're far more likely to click on a page one Google result than keep scrolling through the pages. In fact, research has shown that the click-through rate (CTR) is over 70% for a page one result, while pages two and three have a CTR of just 6%.
How do I improve my rankings?
SEO has become known as something of a dark art, because Google does not reveal exactly how its ranking algorithms work.
However, Google is transparent about the fact that its ultimate aim is to get the best content – the most relevant and useful results – for its readers (Google has its own reputation to uphold, after all). Poor quality or outdated info on a clunky website is a sure-fire way to sink down the rankings.
So, what are the main points to consider when improving your site for SEO? Here are our top four suggestions:
1. Update your keywords
Keywords are the phrases your potential customers will type into Google when looking for a product or service. It's important to include them both in the visible content of the site, and also in the behind-the-scenes 'meta' elements, for example the page titles used in the coding process.
Don't repeat the exact keyword multiple times, because Google will penalise 'keyword stuffing'. Be creative. For example, if you are a beauty salon in Brighton, you could use several variations, such as beauty salon Brighton, best Brighton beauty salon, beauticians in Brighton, beauty and nail salon in Brighton. With the rise in voice recognition technology, the trend is towards longer keyword phrases ('long-tail keywords') and more informal, speech-based search terms. So if you're speaking into your phone or Alexa, you might ask 'where's the best beauty salon in Brighton?' This could be reflected in your website with the conversational phrase If you're wondering where's the best beauty salon in Brighton, you've come to the right place.
2. Speed up your site
Slow sites are infuriating. If a page takes too long to load, our most likely response is to click away in frustration: a 2016 study revealed that over 20% of visitors leave immediately if there's as much as a three-second delay in page load time. Correspondingly, page speed is a factor in Google's ranking algorithm, so if your site is slow this needs to be addressed. The best sites load almost instantly, but any more than a few seconds and you need to find out what's slowing things down. Perhaps you have too many media elements, or your images need to be compressed. It may be a problem with your server, or even a link to a third-party site. Whatever the issue, get to the bottom of it, fast!
3. Beautify your blogs
Fresh, content-rich blogs continue to be a crucial tool in the SEO box. Google rewards original material that offers unique and relevant information to its users. Don't ignore your archive of blogs either. Aim to update them once a month or so with latest stats, product details or (suitably compressed) images. A few simple tweaks will refresh your content without having to start a new blog from scratch.
4. Stay social
Although your company's social media activity doesn't directly affect SEO (it's not included in Google's ranking 'signals'), embracing social media platforms definitely has a positive knock-on effect. A great post will be widely shared, and can lead to backlinks to your site, which are rewarded by Google. When you share your latest blog post on social media, and people then visit your site to read that blog from beginning to end, it'll work wonders for your time-on-site engagement – another Google ranking factor.
We hope we've gone some way towards de-mystifying the murky world of SEO, but if you'd like more information, don't hesitate to give us a call on 01403 783400 for a free, no-obligation consultation. See you on the dark side!