SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is about improving your website to increase traffic from search engines such as Google. SEO can be a confusing world even for those who have been doing it for years.
We sat with our SEO Manger, Rich Brown, to discuss tips and tricks to better understand SEO. We thought we’d put together 7 SEO action items you can do today. Whether you’re just starting out or if you’re well on your SEO journey, our hope is that you will find value in this article, apply it to your business, and see your business succeed.
This article is based on our recent podcast – Digital Marketing That Puts People First
1. Make Your Home Page Crystal Clear
Your home page is the first thing a potential client or customer will see when they look at your website. This means it is important that all information is clear and easy to understand. You want people to land on your home page and know what you are about. Your home page should be a statement that summarises your business very clearly. You want the client to see your page and immediately know who you are and what you do.
After a potential client knows who you are and what you do, the next step is making sure they know how to contact you. A quick and easy way to do this is to put your phone number in the top right corner of the home page. It’s common for a website to have its number in the top right corner, so people have come to expect it. You also want to include a call to action, such as a button to book a meeting or link to your important services, on the front page of your website. This can guide the client to the next step of interacting with your business. Testimonials from clients or customers are also an important thing to include on your home page. It gives new clients more of a reason to trust you and your business.
It can be tempting to fill your home page with a big flashy image but that isn’t always the best way to get new clients. Utilising this space to get essential information directly in front of your clients can help ensure new business.
2. Optimise Meta Titles
Meta titles and meta descriptions are not as complicated as they may seem. Put simply, a meta title is the title of a webpage, and a meta description is the short description of a webpage. Google uses both your meta titles and descriptions to better understand your website. You can see Google using meta titles and descriptions when you search for anything in Google. The blue clickable text is the meta title and the text under that is the meta description. When Google searches for something, it goes through meta titles and descriptions finding useful information, so it’s important that you optimise your meta titles on your website. Using relevant keywords and clear descriptions can help Google find your website when someone searches for your company or a related topic. Meta titles and descriptions also act as the first information a client sees about your business after you come up on a Google search. Adding meta titles to your website is easy. Most website hosts have a section where you can simply add in meta titles and descriptions.
If you’re still struggling with meta titles and need somewhere to start, then try Googling your relevant keywords and seeing what the first few websites have as their meta title and description. Is it clear what the business does? Does it draw you in? This can give you an idea of where to start when writing your own meta titles and descriptions. They need to be short, attention grabbing and clear. You can think of them as little ads. Meta titles and descriptions have a pixel count to make sure it fits on Google. This roughly works out to be less than 60 letters for meta titles and between 150-160 letters for meta descriptions.
3. Make Your Website Load Faster
Making a website load quickly is not as easy as it seems but it is important. If you’ve ever experienced a slow website, then you know how frustrating it can be. The goal is to remove as many frustrations for the client as possible, making their experience of working with your business go smoothly. Google also take into consideration your website’s load speeds when it is measuring user experience. Luckily, there are some things we can do to improve the speed of your website.
It’s important to take into consideration how much memory your website host gives you. Low memory equals low load speeds. Sometimes upgrading your plan or changing your site’s host can significantly upgrade your load speeds. Website hosts, such as WordPress, have plugins that can increase your load times.
Another way to optimise your website and increase your load speed is to make sure the images and videos on your site aren’t too big. Often photos taken from a phone or a camera are a lot bigger they need to be and this can cause your site to load more slowly. We recommend your photos being below 1920 pixels wide and no bigger than 500 kilobytes. Resizing images is very easy. We recommend using a website called Squoosh.app
If you’re still struggling to raise your load speeds, then you can use programs such as Google Lighthouse, a Chrome extension, that will score your website on its load speeds and give you tips on how to increase.
4. What Does Google Think of Your Website
Google has a great feature where it allows you to see which pages on your site Google has indexed and which ones are most important. If you type into Google site followed by a colon (“site:”) and your website (for example site:theonlineco.net) Google will show you all the pages that are in the index, and in order of what it considers most important.
This gives you insight into how Google interreacts with your site. Firstly, you can see if your website is in the index. It also allows you to make sure that the pages Google considers important are indeed important to your business. Often, we see businesses that thought an old, out-dated blog page that they believe was removed is still showing up on Google. Or, that Google sees their ‘Meet the Team’ Page as the most important page on their website, when it should be their home page. This information is important and can help you make small changes that can help your website be better represented on Google.
6. Write Articles That Answer the Customers Questions
Answering the questions your potential client or customer has is a great way of getting new business. The old way of doing this was to have a FAQs page. You’ve got a list of 15 questions, you answered the question in one line, move on to the next one. There is a more effective way on doing this, that can attract new business to your site. Expand on the answers, do a little research, and see if you can get even more specific or find a better question that maybe more people are asking. Then create a detailed article, summarising the answer in the first paragraph, and then going into detail in the article.
This doesn’t diminish the importance of the FAQs but can go alongside of it to serve the client. You can create a FAQ page and rather than answer the whole thing right there, you provide a summary. Then you have a little link to your article where they can read the full answer. Then your FAQ page becomes a little more interesting and interactive and connects well to the rest of your website.
Finding the right question that your clients are asking can be difficult. Answer The Public is a great tool that can help you find the questions people are searching in Google. You put a relevant keyword into the tool, and it gives you a bunch of different questions people are asking based on the keyword. It also gives you a whole range of related questions and different ways of phrasing the questions.
7. Keyword Research is The Most Important Part of SEO
Keywords are a fundamental part of SEO so it’s important that you have done your research and chosen the right ones. What you want to do as a business is start off with a list of 10 keywords that you think people will be typing into Google to find your company. A great way to see if you are on the right track is to use a Chrome extension tool called Keyword Surfer. This tool shows you location specific data based on your Google searches. The most important piece of data is the number in the search bar. This is the average monthly search volume, meaning how many times that term was searched in your location. This is how you can determine the value of a keyword. It’s important to know that the higher the average monthly search volume is, the broader a keyword is, and the more competition you’ll have. So, it’s important to find a balance and to find keywords that are valuable to you. Keyword surfer also gives you suggestions on other related keywords. Maybe a slightly different wording of the same keyword will perform better on Google.
A good way to find keywords that are useful is to use longtail keywords. These are longer search terms. For example, ‘plumber’ is a shorttail keyword but, ‘stopping a leaky shower’ is a longtail keyword. Longtail keywords are more specific and more specific keywords can help you find quality clients.
Creating a keyword map can be a helpful tool. This can be done by creating an Excel sheet and creating groups of keywords. Not just one long line of keywords but categorised into related topics. As a business you will have many different groups of keywords, for different services, different markets, or different products. To have them clearly mapped out will be extremely beneficial as your business and website grow.
If you want to learn more about creating keyword maps have a look at our article – Five Steps to Creating a Keyword Map – SEO