The first thing that my clients usually ask me about is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Quite often enough I hear the moans that they had paid a 'SEO Specialist' for them to increase their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking.
Thing is, these 'specialists' sell the dream that you'll become the peak of a competitive mountain. Or even they'll get you there within a month...
Here is a secret for you! It is all lies!
However, I am going to walk you through how you can increase your chances to reach the top of a search engine. Without any ad spend for FREE.
Nevertheless, when I say without any ad spend, I do encourage marketing campaigns with an ad spend as SEO takes time to be successful.
Therefore, I shall be answering some FAQs that I am often asked. Which will be followed by by advice in how to slowly boost your SEO prospects without paying for the bullshit!
What exactly is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
SEO is a discipline from digital marketing that has the sole role in growing a brand's visibility in organic SERPs.
In order to increase rankings, SEO techniques encompasses both a variety of technical and creative elements.
Within the concept of SEO, it is crucial to understand that there is many aspects. SEO can be increased through the keywords that appear in your content to the way that other pages and websites link to you and many others.
All in all, SEO is pretty much ensuring that your website is structured in a manner that is comprehensible to search engines.
Why does my web page need a SEO structure?
I can guarantee you that the majority of your websites' traffic will be driven through a search engine. Such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Nevertheless, this is not the only way that traffic can be driven to your website. With the others being social and direct traffic.
However, the power of traffic from search engines should not be underestimated. Search engines are the primary method of navigation for many of internet users.
The reason behind why I claim that search engine traffic is so powerful is down to the fact that it bestows targeted traffic.
Thousands and millions of people will be searching for your products or services on a daily basis. However, if you are not making yourself known to them, how can you expect conversions?
Therefore, if the aforementioned main search engines cannot locate your website or include your content within their databases. Then you are missing out exciting opportunities to generate and drive traffic to your business.
Backlinks are equally as important for SEO campaigns, click here to read more about backlinks.
So why can't sophisticated search engines decipher my website without SEO?
However sophisticated a search engine may be, they still need some aid in finding content. Google, Yahoo and Bing are constantly innovating contemporary technologies to enhance their algorithms for websites to be found.
Search engines in the simplistic form utilises spiders that crawl through the millions and billions websites that are active.
Search engines crawl through web pages when users submit a query. The industry terminology for this are known as 'Search queries'.
Search queries are the inputted word or string of words into a search engine by the users.
Can I implement a SEO campaign for my business?
Search engine optimisation is a complex concept but the basics are easily comprehensible to many people.
The most fundamental of knowledge around search engine optimisation can be beneficial for your website.
However, if you are still stuck on how to implement a SEO campaign for your business. There are many free education websites available just like this blog.
By utilising such tips and advice with a little practice then you are on the way to becoming the SEO oracle. Then I shall be coming to you for the advice.
However, depending on time restraints, willingness to learn and the difficulties of your website, an expert may be an option for you.
Some agencies solely focus on search engine optimisation whereas others offer it as an ad hoc service.
However, like I said at the start of this blog, many people are mis-sold dreams by agencies that they can witness instant results.
That is why I am always honest with my clients about how SEO is a timely project to be effective.
With this being said, lets divulge into your FREE lesson...
1. How to develop a search engine attentive website?
I have placed the first bit of advice as no. 1 as it is metaphorically my no. 1 advice to having a successful business online.
A search engine friendly website can have a big impact on your positioning within SERPs.
You may have already self-built your website or outsourced it to a web developer, that is great. However, you may need to make some tweaks.
When a new client approaches me for digital marketing services, the first thing that I undertake is a website audit.
Because in many instances they do need some tweaks to their websites.
In some cases, the most common issues that I find are as follows;
- Not mobile optimised
- Zero social media links
- No visually enhancing call-to-actions
- Slow loading speeds
- Quick contact forms do not appear 'above the fold'
... I could mention more but lets carry on...
Getting your domain names right
When thinking about purchasing and registering a domain name with any provider you will be inundated with offers to acquire .co or .blog extensions.
I recommend that you fight the temptation for a bargain and purchase either a .co.uk or a .com domain name. If they are available that is.
Research has shown that .co.uk and .com domain names have the most powerful influence on search engines.
Therefore, circumvent from all other domain name extensions.
Getting the design of your website correct
If you already have an existing website and you're reading this blog because you're experiencing minimal success through your online operations. Then it is likely that your website is not search engine friendly.
If you have an existing website then you can visit here to get a report on your website. If you have scored less than 80 then there is certainly room for improvement.
If you have scored less than 80/100 then do not worry, I shall guide you to achieve a 100/100 score.
Mobile friendly and responsive
You need to ensure that your website is fully optimised and responsive for mobile and tablet devices. I mean everybody has at least one of these devices.
In fact, over 2 billion consumers will shop via a mobile or a tablet device in some form.
Search engines prefer sites that are mobile and tablet friendly. Their latest algorithm updates are punishing websites that aren't!
So what exactly makes a mobile friendly and responsive website?
Well many business owners and web develops are under some illusion that have a mobile friendly website means the same as a responsive website, This is incorrect.
1. Depending on the purpose of your website, it is advised that you keep call to actions above the fold of the website. Therefore, the user can view them without scrolling down.
2. Keeping menus concise and short will always help with this. Mobile users lack the patience to scroll through a long list of options in order to find what they desire.
3. You need to ensure that you make the navigation journey of your website easy as possible. Consequently, mobile users have a sense of expectancy that clicking the logo will return them to the homepage. If this is not available or not working then this can infuriate them.
4. Your mobile friendly site should load as fast as possible. If the loading speed exceeds 3 seconds then changes are needed.
5. If you are an eCommerce website then you should give the user the option to checkout as a guest. Research has shown that customers prefer the option to check as a guest. This is because they view it as convenient, simple, easy and quick.
2. Getting your onsite SEO right
When I undergo a digital marketing campaign for a client, I always put forward measures to develop their onsite and offsite SEO.
Onsite SEO is as important as offsite SEO. In my opinion both search engine optimisation strategies need to be full optimised before investment is undertaken within search engine marketing.
In this section, I shall be discussing actions that you should take to improve your onsite search engine optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation friendly URLs
URLs should be concise and short. URLs should also implement keywords.
URLs should be restricted to 3-5 words as these are the most value to search engine algorithms.
I have highlighted some examples of good and bad URLs and explain why.
This is a good URL as it has a devoted landing page for the particular service 'Digital Marketing Solutions' that Marcon Consulting are offering. It is not long or spammy and contains keywords that will be beneficial for SEO purposes.
This is an example of a poor URL. This is down to the fact that the landing page has not given a search engine enough information. This particular URL will not show up when a customer inputs Digital Marketing Solutions within their search query.
Optimising page titles and descriptions
Once your website is ready to be indexed by search engines, their algorithms check for numerous aspects. Such as: the page titles, page descriptions and the headings within the pages.
A page title is imperative to a web page. Not only is it there to tell the user what the page is about, it is also crucial for search engines to understand what your web page is all about.
Page descriptions are what the searcher will read within their search results. The description needs to be compelling as it will give the searcher a sense of what is on the page. Which would consequently entice them to click through to your page.
You have 150 characters to input keywords and sell your page.
Headings and formatting
When creating a new web page, you should endeavour to format it correctly.
Take a trip down memory lane, imagine you are back in school or university. You have to write reports and use headings (H1) and subheadings (H2+).
This principle is the same for web pages. You need to ensure that the important aspects are bold, underlined or in italics.
Content should not be inputted within your web pages just for the sake of it. Be strategic - utilise keywords.
Utilising short tail and long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are becoming increasingly important for SMEs and start ups when undergoing search engine optimisation.
So what are the differences between short tail and long tail keywords?
Well it is pretty much what it says on the tin...
- Short tail keywords are short search queries or keywords - short tail keywords contain a high search volume and provides a lot of competition
- Long tail keywords are longer but have less competition and search volume. Consequently, this means that they are easier to rank for. Making them increasingly lucrative
Get in the habit of doing keyword research
Keyword research is when marketers and business owners use keywords to find and research actual search terms. These search terms are what their prospective customers enter into search engines.
Through obtaining a robust knowledge about the actual search terms that your customers use can aid and reinforce content strategy or your marketing strategy overall.
Google ads has a great tool for keyword research. The tool is known as keyword planner.
This tool is provided FREE by Google so you should be using it!
Keyword planner can be utilised as you can search for alternative keywords to use. Also within this tool it can give you an understanding of competitive bids and budgets to use for your marketing campaigns.
Implementation of sitemaps
Sitemaps are a great concept that acts as a way to communicate with search engines directly.
By having a sitemap implemented within your website you can update search engines swiftly. This ensures that the latest content can be indexed on search engines.
3. Getting your offsite SEO right
Once you are satisfied with your onsite SEO operations you can move onto your offsite SEO operations.
Nevertheless, it is imperative that you continually check up on your onsite SEO through Google Analytics.
Offsite search engine optimisation is the methodology of advertising your website across the internet.
The objectives of offsite search engine optimisation is to improve rankings in search engines, build a sense of brand awareness and convert customers from third-party websites.
Checkup of your offsite SEO
Prior to me discussing what offsite SEO variables need to be revised or implemented. I feel it is imperative for you to understand what relationship your site may possess with search engines already.
Firstly, back links to your domain need to be checked.
Some say that the more inbound links to your website has, the higher you will rank on SERPs. You would think so wouldn't you.
However, this is not the case...
Search engines reward quality over quantity.
I have personally witnessed business owners that attempt to find a loophole in this and to 'cheat' in obtaining higher ranking. Cheating is done through purchasing a vast quantity of back links for minimal cost. Search engines will detect this and penalise your website as a result.