So you have spent thousands on your website and you have just realised that your website isn’t generating that much traffic from search engines, so the chances are that your website needs an SEO overhaul.
[Reading time 4 minutes]
The best place to start is with an SEO audit that will highlight areas that can be improved upon so that your website climbs Google’s rankings.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is the process of making a website or website pages appear higher up in search engines such as Google. The higher up they appear the more likely that users will click on these search engine’s links to your website.
The 7 key stages of SEO are:
The great thing about digital marketing is that there aren’t many grey areas regarding how successful any type of campaign is and search engine optimisation is a typical example of this because everything is measurable.
The purpose of a website audit is to identify as many issues affecting organic search performance as possible such as:
- Technical SEO problems
- Website structure problems
- On-page SEO problems
- Current website domain authority
- User experience problems
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Website loading speed
So in addition to spotting current website issues, the audit also serves as a starting point where initial statistics can be compared to the statistic in the coming months or years to follow that will show how effective the search engine optimisation campaign has been.
One of the first things that we do before we even design or build a website is keyword research.
Keywords are terms or phrases that are typed into search engines which should be strategically placed in the website multiple times so that the website appears higher up in the search engine results pages. But please note that if this is overdone, which is known as keyword stuffing, Google will penalise your website for this as it sees this as spam and an underhanded way of trying to beat the algorithm.
Using the right keywords is one of the most important components of search engine optimisation.
Now that we know what your target market is searching for on search engines, it’s time to dive into on-page SEO which is the practice of creating web pages that answer searcher’s questions.
Once we have the keywords or keyword phrases that search engine users are using we can amend the website accordingly to make it “Google-friendly.” We do this by updating strategically placing the keywords into the website such as amended content or text, updating page titles, changing the titles and alt tags of images; to name a few.
Now that we have created valuable content based on our keyword research, it’s important to make sure it’s not only readable by humans, but by search engines too.
So as the name suggests this is the technical part. If I can compare on-page and technical SEO in an analogy, the on-page would be how a car looks and the technical search engine optimisation is all about the engine.
I will keep this section brief but careful attention is needed in the following areas for search engines:
- Increase the loading time of a website & it’s individual pages
- Optimise images so that they load quicker
- Instruct search engines which website pages to index
- Inform Google what the pages are about using schema markup & the canonical tag
- Ensure the website is mobile-friendly
Blogging Using Keywords
This is admittedly similar to the on-page SEO that I mentioned earlier but blogging should be an ongoing part of your digital marketing & search engine optimisation strategies.
Blogging has 3 main advantages for SEO:
- It can increase your domain authority
- Google gives extra juice to websites that blog consistently
- Your blog posts can reach a wider audience if it is done properly
A great tip is to keep the important content above the fold for desktop users so that they are encouraged to read the article. Above the fold means in the top part of a page before scrolling down.
This is harder to do for mobile as you have fewer characters to play with so make sure that the first couple of sentences are interesting enough to keep your viewer’s attention.
Link Building & Establishing Domain Authority
So we have created content that potential new customers are searching for, that answers their questions and that search engines can understand, but those qualities alone don’t mean that your website or website pages will rank.
To appear high in the search engines results pages you have to establish authority. That can be accomplished by earning links from authoritative websites, building your brand and nurturing an audience who will help amplify your content by sharing it on their social media accounts and by commenting in the comments section of your blog posts.
Google confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for search engine optimisation. Authority websites tend to link to other trustworthy sites and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites.
Measuring & Tracking Results
If you can’t measure something how are you expected to improve it?
It’s no different in SEO. We track everything from rankings and conversions to domain authority scores to help prove the value of SEO. Measuring the impact of our work and ongoing refinement is critical to your business’s SEO success.
While it’s common to have several SEO goals, establishing one specific primary end goal is essential. Then we can work towards that.
Final Thoughts on SEO
SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy because it is a great way to generate the right traffic to your site. But don’t get hung up on the number of website visitors from search engines because quality traffic is much more important.
I tried not to get too technical in this blog post as some of the SEO jargon can take some explaining, but if you need any advice on improving your business’s SEO to grow, get in touch.
Gary is a website designer and has been building websites since 2010. He is a certified digital marketing strategist with the Digital Marketing Institute and he holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)