Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, the chances are you will have heard the acronym “SEO.” You may not know what it is, or how it can help your business-to-business marketing. You may not even know what it stands for. This article will look to clear some of the confusion surrounding SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.
If your business has a website, you will want it to come up in search engine results for various search terms.
If you’re using WordPress for your CMS (that’s Content Management System), then adding a few plugins will make your life easier when it comes to navigating Search Engine Optimisation.
- Yoast SEO
This very popular WordPress plugin is a great way to manage all the various aspects of Search Engine Optimisation that you will start off using. There is a free version, which will work nicely for those dipping their toes into the water. Once you are a bit more familiar with how to optimise your website, consider a Premium version for very powerful additional tools.
- Google Analytics
In Australia, Google accounts for approximately 67% of all search engine traffic. It also offers some of the most powerful analytics available for website owners. On the surface, Google Analytics will allow you to track traffic into your website, how they interact with your content, what they are buying of the forms they are filling out. There are much more powerful capabilities, but for those starting out in SEO, these will provide valuable insights into the performance of your website.
- Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another of Google’s very powerful product offerings to website owners. Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, adding this to your SEO toolkit will allow you to see how your website is performing in search results, and how you can improve that performance.
- Google Keyword Planner
You will need a Google AdWords account to use this tool, but it’s invaluable when looking for additional keyword opportunities for your website. You can also use to look into search volume data and trends, which is invaluable if you’re investigating potential audience numbers. If you’re not sure where to start looking for keywords, or focus words, for the pages of your website, this tool will allow you to search for new keywords simply by using a phrase, category or a website.
The next steps
Once you have the basics linked up to your website and are tracking data into and through your website, you’re ready to investigate improving the aspects of your website that might be hindering higher rankings in search results.
Behind the Scenes
Checking the backend of each page can be time consuming, but it ensures that your website is starting with a clean bill of health.
- Is your primary keyword in your URL?
Does the address of your website contain your brand name or the main keyword you’re using on your website? If not, you might be missing out on additional SEO juice through to your website.
- Does the title tag of each page of your website contain a unique keyword?
Each page of your website should cover a main idea of your business. As such, you want to ensure that the title tag contains that keyword. Why should it be unique? Having a unique idea on each page of your website stops your pages from competing against one another in search results. Overall, the pages of your website should be complimentary, not conflicting.
- Are the meta descriptions on each of your pages around 160 characters, Including the page’s keyword?
Giving each page of your website a meta description will help search engines to understand what your page is about, and why people might want to see your content. Without it, the meaning of your content may get lost in translation, leading to unqualified leads heading to your website or worse, low rankings. Google is trialling meta descriptions greater than 160 characters, but it is still currently safer to build to this character limit.
- Does each page of your website have a single <h1> with a keyword at the top of the body section?
The <h1> tag on your website should address the main idea of your page in a single sentence. There should be only one of them, located at the top of the content on your page. Ideally, it should have the main keyword of the page in it. This will allow search engines to index your page quickly, get a firm idea of what the page offers audiences and serve your page well in search engine results.
- Do you have a sitemap? Have you submitted it to Google?
An xml sitemap will help search engines understand how your website is constructed, and which pages are for everyday visitors to your site. Submitting it to Google and other search engines will allow indexing of your website to happen faster and with less potential errors. Not sure how to get started on this? There are WordPress plugins to get this underway for you.
- Have you developed a robots.txt file and submitted it to Google?
Like an xml sitemap, a robots.txt tells indexing robots which pages to look at and which ones to ignore. You can choose to disallow certain pages from being indexed, which can be useful for pages like client portals.
Look to the Copy
Once the computer-facing side of your website has been checked, you can look to improve the audience-facing side of your pages, or the images and copy.
- Have you included at least 100 words of unique content on each page?
Each page of your website should not include less than 100 words. Ideally, you want more (around 500 words is a far better minimum to aim for). This includes pages serving forms, landing pages with video, blog posts, product pages, etc. The content on each page should be unique, as Google recognises duplicate content and lower your organic search rankings, or may even penalise your website with a Manual Penalty.
- Do all the images across your website have descriptive ALT attributes and filenames?
When uploading images to your website, make sure that the filename is descriptive of the content of the image itself. No one likes to see “IMG122017_35122.jpg” and it doesn’t help Google understand the content of the picture. These two factors will add to the SEO of each page of your website, if employed correctly.
- Does the copy on each page employ synonyms of your keywords in a natural way?
It’s a “black hat” SEO practice to just add keywords and their alternatives into the copy of a webpage. It’s called Keyword Stuffing and Google will decrease your rankings for employing it, if they don’t issue you with a Manual Penalty. Instead, look to use synonyms of the keywords you’re using on the page in a natural, person-friendly way that helps make the copy of your page easier to read.
- Have you employed internal linking across your website?
Linking from one page of your website to another can take visitors to your website on a journey through your content, keeping them on your site for longer, leading them towards a potential conversion point. It also adds valuable authority to deeper pages of your website, aiding higher search engine rankings. Don’t overdo it though, or this can turn visitors off, having them bounce from your website to a competitor’s.
Where to from here?
Search Engine Optimisation isn’t a set-and-forget tactic. You need regular maintenance to make the best of any work you perform.
The most important thing to remember about search engine optimisation is that, as search engines like Google get smarter about how people use the web, optimisation becomes more about making your entire digital footprint work together.
It’s not just about your website, although it is a huge part of the equation. There are a heap of other tools out there that will help you with different aspects of SEO. Remember, all aspects of your business’s digital footprint need to work together to provide a harmonious brand presence.
Still not sure where to start with SEO for your business digital presence? We can help with an Digital Audit Pack of your business footprint online.
If you would like to discuss further optimisation of your website, or if you need assistance implementing some of these tips, we would love to hear from you. Our dedicated search engine optimisation team can conduct an audit of your digital footprint and offer insights to provide additional search engine ranking opportunities.