Chances are you’ve already heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but do you know the basics of how to get started for your business? Optimising your content for Search Engines with some core fundamentals means you don’t have to wait to finish a lengthy course to start reaping benefits.
Importance of SEO
More than half of all web traffic and up to 40% of total online revenue comes from organic search. Organic searches are the results displayed that aren’t paid ads. So, it’s important that your website can be found! It is especially important that your website’s pages occupy a prominent place in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The main thing to remember, despite all the talk of algorithm changes, is that search engines will attempt to provide users with the most useful and relevant content first, always.
Ideally, a result on the first page of search results is the aim. The click-through rate (amount of people clicking on a search result) on Google SERPs is in direct correlation to the positioning.
- 1st position (page 1) – 30% of the CTRs (click-through rate)
- 3rd position (page 1) – 10% of the CTRs
- Towards the bottom (page 1) – 2% of the CTRs
As you can see, the first few pages on SERPs are prime real estate, and the only way to get there organically is through consistent and quality SEO.
More Than Keywords
At one time SEO was mostly about the keywords – but search engines are smarter and more intuitive these days. Keyword stuffing will no longer reap results and will most likely end up hurting your pages rankings.
Within your content the keyword density (how often your specific keywords/phrases appear) should be around 2-5% or no more than 5 times in every 100 words.
But the best approach is – instead of focusing your writing around the keywords, write naturally, often and focus on user intent. Your aim should be to create quality content that answers questions, provides relevant and useful information – the keywords will fall into place.
Google My Business Profile
Setting up a Google My Business (GMB) profile will help your SEO efforts, especially if you are a local business. Online searches containing ‘near me’ have increased around 900% in only the last two years. As well as helping your SEO it adds authority to your business.
Google My Business profiles offer businesses with a channel for posting offers, content, images and also provide your clients a place to leave reviews.
When I’m out and about, my single most used search tool for local business is my Google Maps app on my phone. For instance, if I’m searching for shops in Albany, I’ll type that into the app and a list of shopping centres nearby will show up – and the very next thing I’ll look at are the amount of 5 star reviews they have.
If your business has a storefront and you don’t yet have a GMB profile set up – you need to tap into this channel for reaching more potential clients that would otherwise not know you exist.
Ask For Reviews
Leading on from having a Google My Business profile, you should implement a system to ask for and encourage reviews. 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses before they become customers. It increases your value in local pack search results and sends a positive message to Google that your business is legitimate, trusted and provides good customer service.
Don’t be afraid of the possibility of the odd negative (or not glowing) review – this won’t adversely hamper your SEO efforts – as long as you view it as a customer service opportunity and reply in a timely and helpful manner.
Backlinks are probably one of the most important elements of SEO for your website. What is it? It’s when a reputable website from another company links back to yours, adding to your domain’s authority. Link building or creating backlinks is an important factor in your off-site SEO strategy. Again, it goes towards showing your business as trustworthy and search result ranking worthy.
How do you create backlinks the legit way? Start an outreach program to connect with relevant businesses and organisations to develop reputable backlinks to your website and pages. Don’t get involved with just anyone – engage with those that have a high domain authority themselves as this will ensure a better backlink as far as Google is concerned.
Properly naming and optimising images is often overlooked but with the popularity of image searches increasing it needs to be treated as an important part of your SEO.
Sessions specifically driven from an image search are increasing so it’s definitely time to take another look at your imagery. There are five main areas you should consider:
File name – use keywords in the image file name. Rather than IMG-1234.jpg consider swan-river-paris.jpg (use your keywords separated by a hyphen)
Alt tag/attribute – ensure this reads coherently, rather than just keywords, as it will be played out loud by accessibility software and screen readers
Title attribute – ensure this reads coherently as this is what readers will see when they hover over the image
Compression – use compression software such as www.squoosh.app to ensure that your images are web appropriate and your website’s loading speed is not negatively impacted
Google owns YouTube – need I say more. For relevant online searches YouTube videos will be shown in SERPs so it’s worth considering integrating a YouTube into your SEO strategy.
If you do have a YouTube channel, make sure to utilise the space provided for a detailed description of your video, together with links and relevant hashtags.
A Quick Checklist
- Now that you’ve got through the basics above, a few more SEO friendly tasks to know off your checklist:
- Ensure you have a logical website structure – one that makes sense for the user to navigate
- Keep your website free from broken links and pages
- Make sure that every web page and blog post has strong and unique meta title and description
- With 53% of mobile users abandoning websites that take more than three seconds to load ensure your site speed is appropriate
- Add a schema mark-up
- Write high quality and relevant blogs on a regular basis
Specifically, in terms of your content:
- Ensure there is content on every single page. While there’s no hard and fast rule about how much copy you should have, 200-500 words is a good rule of thumb for service pages, and about 750 to 1500 words for blog articles.
- Use one H1 tag – typically this is the heading of the page or blog and is keyword optimised.
- Use H2 – H6 tags as appropriate – often these present as sub-headings.
- Sprinkle keywords/phrases throughout the copy, keeping the optimal density in mind.
- Use correct spelling and grammar. Errors here reduce the trust readers have in you and that can equate to poor user engagement to search engines.
Ready to get started with SEO for your business? Contact Ben at Zazen Designs.