If you’ve got a website, you need to be doing SEO. It’s as simple as that. Search engine optimisation can help your website to feature prominently on search engines like Google.
So if you have a flower shop in Wigan, it’s about optimising your website so that when someone types in “flower shop in Wigan” on Google, your website is at or near the top of the results list. Without SEO, you may not appear at all.
SEO is a fast-moving discipline and there’s a lot of competition for the pole positions online. So SEO is something that has to be done regularly and it pays to keep up with the latest SEO tools and techniques.
Search engine optimisation
It starts with optimising your website with keywords and phrases. You may already have a good idea which words people use to find your business but it’s important to keep an open mind and do your research. The results may surprise you. The Google Keyword tool can help you find the most popular words and phrases.
Best practice in SEO
Once you’ve got your keywords and phrases, you need to make sure they are used in your web content and in meta tags, page descriptions, image tags and so on. This job is all about discipline but it really helps Google to find you when people search for those words or phrases.
Google is incredibly sophisticated, however, and it can spot a cynical attempt to stuff a website full of keywords. It’s important to use your keywords within good quality authored content — including blogs, articles, web copy and social media. Post regularly to improve your search results even more.
Using SEO to improve local search results
The internet may be global, but most small firms are casting their net in their local area and their SEO strategy needs to reflect this.
How to hit top spot on Google in 2016
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of achieving good rankings for your website on Google. But because Google continually refines the algorithm that determines rankings, optimising your site is like trying to hit a moving target. The trick is to keep moving yourself
Read on to learn how to do search engine optimisation in 2015.
The basics of SEO for Google
Google’s job is to find the best content for an internet user in any given situation. So the first step to getting ranked on Google is to forget about Google and focus on that user.
“Ask yourself: would my customers find this interesting? Is it better than information elsewhere?”
That’s not to say that if you write it, people will come. You also need to consider these SEO basics:
- Write using words people search for. It’s no good having a page about ‘carbonated beverages’ if everyone searches for ‘fizzy drinks’. Keyword research helps you zero in on the best terms to use on your pages.
- Work those words into your page. Don’t go overboard, but make sure your target search terms appear in the page heading and some subheadings. Try and use them when you link between pages, too.
- Write a good title and description. These elements usually appear in Google’s search results, so they need to entice people to click. Google also shows the user’s search term in bold, so be sure to incorporate your target terms:
Don’t let anything put you off putting your users first. “It’s all about delivering the information that users are searching for,” reaffirms Denis. “Google is good at spotting which sites do that best.”
Build links gradually
When determining how to rank your website, Google examines which sites link to it. This ‘link juice’ is important.
“Link building needs to be a gradual, ongoing process,” Paying for hundreds of links from an unknown website won’t get you where you need to be.”
“You can find linking opportunities in every aspect of your PR and marketing,” she continues. “Try hosting Q&A sessions on your blog, or let journalists know they can contact you for quotes. That can get you links from important sites.”
Go mobile and think local
The rise of smart phones has changed how we use Google. The majority of searches could soon come from mobile devices, so some experts think the search giant may begin to prioritise sites that display properly on small screens.
“Google can detect what device you’re searching from,” “If your website causes errors on mobile devices, you might find you get penalised in results when people search from a smart phone.”
“Find a way to make your website mobile friendly, perhaps by moving to a responsive website design.”
This increase in mobile devices is also fuelling growth in local searches, as people hunt for businesses while they’re out and about. To help them, Google shows a map of results when it thinks you’re looking for a local business:
As this map appears near the top of the page, it’s vital your business is listed in this important space.
Start by creating your listing on Google My Business, then learn more about local search results.
Ever since its ‘Hummingbird’ update, Google has been getting better at interpreting questions.
“This is partly driven by the increase in voice searches made through services like Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant,” explains Denis. “People often type questions into Google too – like ‘how do I wire a plug?’ – so Google keeps looking for ways to provide better, more accurate answers.”
Keep this in mind when creating web pages. Certain types of content – like help articles – can work well as a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Because these include the questions on the page, they help Google recognise what answers you’re providing.
Use reviews and rich snippets
“Google sometimes shows extra information alongside results,”. “These ‘rich snippets’ include star ratings, which can really influence whether people click your listing.”
You might need to make technical changes to your website to enable this. Before doing so, keep in mind that Google shows a score aggregated from a variety of sources. All reviews are taken into account – both good and bad.
Get there first and keep doing it
SEO is an ongoing job, although it needn’t consume a vast amount of your time. “Set aside half an hour a week and plan how to use that time in advance,”
“You could spend 30 minutes scheduling posts on your social media accounts or writing a blog for your website. A little time spent seeking out new opportunities will have a positive impact on your search engine presence.”
Finally, remember that emerging topics offer good opportunities to get one over the competition.
“It’s easier to claim your spot on Google if you’re in there first,”. “Keeping your ears open and monitoring trends is something everyone can do – not just your SEO manager