SEO is an important part of your digital marketing strategy, but it’s vital to tie down the specifics. SEO is not just one thing, but a number of processes that work together to boost the traffic to your website and therefore your company’s success.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) will help drive your website up the rankings on search engine results pages, because after all, most people don’t find what they’re looking for on page five of Google.
The thing to remember about SEO is that this is the non-paid element of your digital strategy. It’s all about providing the best experience for your customers so they come to you. These fundamentals should be backed up with high-quality content that answers the questions posed in search queries.
To gain a better understanding of what potential customers are asking it’s worth conducting keyword research, so you can establish which phrases to rank for and connect your content to them accordingly.
On-page optimisation is the practice of using your keyword research to inform the way you write your web pages so they can be found by search engines and then by extension, your customers too. Crafting them carefully in a way that meets the intent of search queries and answers the questions being posed will put your brand in an enviable position compared to your competitors.
Among the best practice techniques you can adopt are putting keywords in your title tag and within the first 150 words of your content. Avoid keyword stuffing – where the terms you want to rank for are used so often it becomes unnatural – and find the right frequency to attract traffic and offer a positive experience once it arrives on your page.
As well as an attention to detail on the subject of keywords, there are other ways to optimise your on-page content. Always be sure to use H1 tags for titles and H2 tags for subheadings, as these simple pieces of HTML act as signposts to search engines to guide them through your content and show them it is well-structured and relevant.
Optimise your URLs, so they are organised properly within your domain and readable for both search engines and users. Be sure to add relevant links to your content that direct visitors to useful pages within your own website and on other sites. Setting these to open up in a new tab will not send traffic away from your content.
Other websites, publishers and internet users can also have an impact on the success of your site in search engine rankings. This is mainly through backlinks, which prove to search engines that your content is trustworthy and authoritative. While you cannot control what other people do, you can influence their actions and this process is known as off-page optimisation in your marketing strategy.
Backlinks can be earned naturally through the posting of high-quality content over time, establishing your authority and enticing users to link to it. While this is a sustainable long-term approach, you may wish to offer your site a helping hand in terms of backlinks by actively seeking out opportunities. This can be done through social media and influencer marketing or guest blogs.
Before approaching a site to write a guest blog or an influencer to help establish backlinks, there are some important things to consider. The trustworthiness of the linking site will have an impact on your SEO results, as well as its relevance to the page it’s directing traffic to. It’s also vital that the anchor text used for the URL is not misleading as this can detract from the overall user experience.
After all that work with on-page and off-page optimisation, don’t let yourself down on the technicalities. Be sure your website is well set up for websites to be able to crawl it and determine your reliability. Technical SEO is the final piece of the SEO puzzle and should not be overlooked.
First up, make sure you’ve got a robots.txt file and a solid internal linking strategy in place to allow search engines to crawl and index your website easily. Then take a look at your site speed and optimise it accordingly, as slow page loading times can put users off and increase your bounce rate, which negatively impacts your SEO.
Regularly check for dead links on your site and remove them as 404 errors detract from the user experience. Track down any duplicate content and work out the best pages to keep it on, as search engines penalise copy that is not seen as unique. This process will also help to keep your site clean and well-organised, cutting down on any frustrations for visitors.
In order to have faith in your website, search engines, users and those offering quality backlinks will want reassurance that it’s secure. Following the HTTPS protocol is an effective way to achieve this and an immediate indicator that your site is trustworthy. While these elements seem small, overlooking them can undermine your entire SEO strategy.