Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of promoting and improving a website in order to increase the number of visitors it receives via search engines. SEO allows online marketers to attract and target more of their best customers to their websites.
Failure to optimise a website means the site owner risks losing potential clients to competitors whose sites rank higher in search engine results. When it comes to SEO for new sites, some businesses can be overwhelmed by the huge amounts of information out there. If they don’t have access to an experienced SEO consultant, they will often do nothing.
Here’s our SEO guide to get you started:
1. Don’t Overdo It
One thing that a site owner needs to learn is the golden rule of SEO, which is not to overdo it. An online entrepreneur may be tempted to stuff a lot of keywords onto their website’s pages, but this is not how it should be done. Search engines like Google have set up an over-optimisation penalty targeting sites with too many keywords stuffed on a single page.
When going about keyword optimisation, it is advisable for the site owner to keep it simple. This can involve coming up with up to five keywords for every page on the site and optimising for those. If you’re unsure where to start, enter some preliminary ideas on the AdWords Keyword Tool by Google. This will give you a list of suggestions.
2. Understanding Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
On pages of a website, the title tag informs search engines what the page is all about. It should:
- Contain the owner’s brand or business name
- Contain keywords relating to that specific page only
- Be no more than 70 characters long
It is usually placed between the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags found near the top of the page’s HTML code.
The meta description on a site’s page tells the search engine what that page is all about. It is still being debated whether meta descriptions can assist with keyword rankings. First and foremost, a site owner should write their meta description with a human audience in mind. The meta description should also include the webpage’s main keywords, as this helps it show up in search engine results.
For those who use WordPress on their own domain, then they are in luck. With the use of plugins, it is easier to add meta descriptions and title tags to webpages. It is also possible to get SEO suggestions with the use of premium plugins.
3. Content is Key
Content development and marketing is great for both search engines and website visitors. The more content a site owner has, the more likely visitors will stick around on the site. Furthermore, good content increases the likelihood that search engines will put more of the site’s pages in the search index. The key to keeping both site visitors and search engines happy is having high-quality, relevant, trustworthy content on your website.
Quality content is inclusive of:
- Blog posts
- “How To” Guides
- Industry articles
While the creation of quality content can be a big investment, it’s worth it. If visitors like your content, they’re more likely to share it on social media, resulting in even more visitors. Search engines will love it too!
A website owner can begin by simply creating blog posts. These should be uploaded regularly to show search engines and your audience that you’re active and have a reputable voice. As the number of visitors increases, you can expand the content inventory to additional media types.
4. Develop a Link Building Strategy
Link building, also referred to as off-site optimisation or backlinking, is among the most discussed SEO tasks. The basic goal is to get other sites to link back to yours. If higher search engine rankings are a popularity contest, then links can be perceived as “votes” stating that your site deserves high rankings.
Build links with your preferred keywords in the anchor text. This helps you rank specifically for the keyword phrases that are built into the link.
There are many ways of building links. Generally, there are three types of links and techniques for link building:
- Organic links are links that the site owner does not have to ask for. These are usually the best kind, demonstrating that you are a reputable voice in your industry and people know about you. This is particularly useful if you can get them on sites with high domain authority, such as top news outlets and well-recognised sites.
- Whitehat techniques basically stand for excellent and high-quality linking that a site owner should strive for. This involves getting links from pages that are reputable and relevant to your website.
- Blackhat techniques are low-quality, spammy link building strategies that should be avoided at all costs. These techniques can damage your search engine ranking, and won’t serve your audience.
Link Building through Guest Blogs
Most sites have a difficult time generating sufficient leads to improve their search engine rankings. This underlines the importance of link building. The good news is that there are ways of getting started on building quality links. One of them involves submitting guest blog posts to popular blog sites in the site owner’s industry. Generally, this will get you a link back to your site in an author box found at the bottom or top of the post’s content.
Another way is to reach out to similar (but not competing) businesses to find out if they will link back to your site. An ideal way of going about this is to see if such businesses have link pages on their websites for vendors, partners or suppliers.
Link Building through Social Media & Business Directories
Creating social media profiles or local search profiles is also a recommended way of building links. Such links may not always count towards search engine rankings; however, they can attract clicks capable of generating more incoming traffic to your website.
The site owner can submit their site to applicable industry directories or just purchase some advertising. Caution should be exercised when doing this. Low-quality directories that have nothing to do with your website should be avoided. Other directories to bypass include those linking to shady sites in the pharmaceutical, pornographic or online casino industries.
5. Next Steps
Search Engine Optimisation is essential if you’re looking to grow your business. Through implementing these simple steps from our SEO guide you will be able to make a difference in how both search engines and your audience view your site.
Remember, Search Engine Optimisation is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results overnight. The best way to take care of your website and your business is to steadily work at these techniques over time. This will ensure you’re building a sturdy, trustworthy and relevant site that is always there for your audience.
If you need help implementing your SEO plan, get in touch with our Digital Marketing Experts at TheOnlineCo. and we’ll be happy to help out!