These days a lot of businesses use the internet as their main means to reach customers. If you don’t have a strong presence online, the chances of your business growing and becoming super successful are limited. There will always be a need for offline and low key businesses, but if you want to be online, you definitely need to think of how to get noticed. One of the main things you’ll need to think about here, to make sure your business is found online, is search engine optimization (SEO).
Unfortunately online marketing isn’t as simple as having a beautiful and well thought out website – there is quite a lot of work that needs to go into making it the most efficient website too. In basic terms, SEO is when you work to improve the quality and quantity of traffic to your website from different search engines, like Google or Bing for example. By optimising your website for search engines to better find and show your site, you can increase your visibility and attract more potential customers.
In this blog post we’ll get into the world of SEO and share some tools to help get better optimise your website. This will include everything from keyword research to on-page optimisation, to link building. Let’s get started!
What is SEO?
As we briefly touched on in the introduction to this blog post, SEO, or search engine optimization, is optimising your website to get it higher up on the search engine results pages (also known as SERPs). There are a number of ways to do this, which we’ll get into later, but some techniques include keyword research, on-page optimisation, and link building.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is important because it can increase your website's visibility and attract potential customers. If you own a plumbing company, you’ll want your company’s website to come up on top when someone is desperately looking for an emergency plumber to fix their burst pipe! The closer up to the top of the page that your website appears, the more chance there is of it being seen, and then of it being clicked on. And you will still need these clicks to result in a new customer. So here you can see the importance of increasing your chances of visibility and how that ultimately increases your chances of new customers.
When we talk about keyword research, we’re referring to the process of finding out the possible keywords and phrases that your future customers might use to find you. By optimising your website for these keywords (i.e. having a certain percentage of the copy on your blog include these keywords), you can increase your visibility in the search results.
There are different tools you can use for keyword research, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. These tools will allow you to see the search volume and competition for different keywords and help you choose the best ones to target.
On-page optimization refers to the changes you make to your website to optimise it for search engines. This includes things like optimising your meta titles and descriptions, using header tags and optimising your images.
Meta titles and descriptions are the snippets of text that show up in the search results. By optimising these for your target keywords, you can improve your click-through rate and increase the chances of someone clicking on your website.
Header tags, such as H1, H2, and H3, help to organise your content and make it more readable for both users and search engines. By including your target keywords in your header tags, you can signal to search engines what your page is about.
Optimising your images involves compressing your images for faster loading times and using descriptive file names and alt text.
Off-page optimization refers to the external factors that can impact your website's ranking in the search results. This includes things like backlinks, social media shares, and online reviews.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. When there are links to your website from other sites, it lets search engines know that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. Building high-quality backlinks is a crucial part of off-page optimization.
Social media shares can also impact your website's visibility in search results. When people reshare your posts or content on social media platforms, you’re likely to get more visitors to your website, and this can lead to more backlinks.
Online reviews can also impact the perceived quality and trustworthiness of your website. Naturally good or positive reviews will increase the chances of future customers and help boost or maintain the reputation of your business. And of course negative reviews can have the opposite effect, but it’s important to still engage with these reviews professionally and empathetically.
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks to your website from other high-quality websites. This can be done through outreach, guest posting, or creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to.
A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites can be more valuable than many low-quality backlinks, so remember again that quality beats quantity here.
Local SEO is the practice of optimising your website for local search queries. This includes optimising your Google My Business listing, including local keywords in your content, and getting listed in local directories.
For businesses with a physical location, local SEO is crucial for attracting local customers. When you make sure that your searches are related to your local context, you can increase visibility to people nearby who are searching for your services or products. This is particularly relevant to services or products that might only be available offline, like if you’re running a plumbing business for example.
Most of us search the internet while we’re on the go these days, by looking up whatever we need on our smartphones or tablets. It’s therefore really important that your website is optimised for these devices. You should make sure your website has responsive design that adapts to a mobile format, it should be easy and simple to navigate and also load quickly.
Analytics and reporting
To have a clear understanding of how your website is running, you will need to look at good, solid statistics. This will help you to identify problem areas and see what is really working. A good tool for this is Google Analytics, which allows you to to track the performance of your webpage and will ultimately help you get the best SEO results.
You can’t just do this once off, you’ll need to monitor your analytics every few weeks or months and then adapt your SEO strategy according to the results you find. This will help to keep improving the visibility of your website and attract more customers.
SEO tools to consider
You don’t have to be left figuring out how to get better SEO results on your own - there are a lot of tools available that can help you with this! The list below is in no way comprehensive as there are new tools being developed and released all the time, but here are some popular SEO tools that are used by professionals and amateurs.
We touched on this earlier, as it’s a good tool to use to track your website’s traffic and where your website visitors are based, what they’re interacting with and how long they’re visiting your site for. It is a free tool offered by Google and you can easily link your website to it.
Google Search Console
Search Console is also a free tool offered by Google. It will give you insights into your website’s search performance, including which keywords are sending traffic to your website, as well as what pages of your website are ranking the highest in terms of SEO.
SEMrush offers a number of features including keyword research, competitor analysis, and site auditing. This is a pretty comprehensive tool to use for SEO.
Ahrefs is another all-in-one SEO tool that provides keyword research, backlink analysis, and site auditing.
Moz Pro is a suite of SEO tools that includes features such as keyword research, site auditing, and backlink analysis.
Yoast is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites that provides on-page optimization features, such as meta title and description optimization, content analysis, and XML sitemap generation.
This SEO spider tool allows you to crawl your website and identify technical issues affecting your search engine rankings, such as broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta descriptions.
Majestic is a backlink analysis tool that can help you identify high-quality backlink opportunities and monitor your competitors' link-building efforts.
Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that provides keyword suggestions, search volume data, and content ideas.
Serpstat is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers features such as keyword research, site auditing, and competitor analysis. You can also monitor your website’s search engine rankings over time using Serpstat.
As with anything business related, the best option for you will depend a lot on the specific needs of your business, as well as your available budget. Using one or more of the tools we’ve shared in this blog post should help you to better understand your website’s performance and be able to improve it.
You should now have a better understanding how how to increase your website’s SEO score, and hopefully some of the tools we’ve shared will be useful to you.
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