Your clients are searching online – can they find you? A key component of any small business’ marketing strategy is to effectively position its brand in search engine results. There are simple and effective ways to boost visibility for your business in search results. Your website is your most important and valuable online asset, so ensuring that it is properly optimised to appear high within search results is key.
Search Engine Optimisation Basics
Search engine optimisation is central to any online marketing plan. It is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine including Google, Bing, Yahoo. The higher a website naturally ranks in organic results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. However, the term SEO can seem overwhelming to many a small business owner.
Tip 1 – Track your website statistics
Statistics are the roadmap to your website and can give you great insight into your user’s behaviour and their path through your website. Understanding how to access and make sense of the statistics on your website is incredibly important to know if your marketing efforts are working.
Organic Search vs. Paid Search
When a search engine returns its search results, it gives you two types: organic and paid. Organic search results are the Web page listings that most closely match the user’s search query based on relevance. Also called “natural” search results, ranking high in the organic results is what SEO is all about.
Paid results are basically advertisements — the Web site owners have paid to have their Web pages display for certain keywords, so these listings show up when someone runs a search query containing those keywords.
Done correctly, both can get you on the front page of the search engines for targeted terms and in front of your desired audience.
On-page optimisation refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimisation include the page title, actual HTML code, meta description, keyword placement and keyword density.
A title tag is the main text that describes an online document. They are often used on search engine results pages to display preview snippets for a given page, and are important both for SEO and social sharing.
Tip 2 – Optimise your page title
- Use keywords in tags, headings, descriptions, URL’s, meta descriptions and image tags
- Place important key words close to the start of the title
- Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results
- Try to keep the page title between 50-60 characters – any longer and it may be cut off by some search engines
Tip 3 – Use the free Adwords Keyword Planner to gather options
Keywords are part of the SEO world. Before getting too involved in what to do with the keywords on your page, you need to first find out what ones are best to use.Before you can start implementing keywords into your copy, you have to know what keywords people are searching for in relation to your product or service. One way to do this is through Google AdWords. Use the Keyword Planner to see what people are searching for. These words need to form pages and posts on your website. Whenever you write an article, create text for a page make sure it is something that is worth reading, not just stuffed with these keywords.
Off-page optimisation refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page. Examples of off-page optimisation include things such as link popularity and page rank.
Tip 4 – Connect with social media
Social media helps to build and engage with your community. With engagement comes added awareness which supports the development of brand integrity and authority. People won’t link to your content unless they see it.
Tip 5 – Reach out with link building
Link building from natural editorial links (sites and pages that want to link to your content or company), manual outreach links (submitting sites to directories, paying for listing), self-created (blog comments, forums, user profiles)
Tip 6 – Create link bait
Content on your website that other sites link to because they want to, not because you ask them to. The goal is to engage your audience so much so that they can’t help but tell everyone about what they’ve just seen. (Images and infographics, white papers and ebooks, video content, contests) Marketing your link bait is essential to its success,
For example- build a company blog; make it a valuable, informative, and entertaining resource. Blogs have the unique ability to contribute fresh material on a consistent basis, participate in conversations across the web, and earn listings and links from other blogs. Creating content on a consistent basis not only builds links internally (by linking out from your posts), but also gives you the ability to naturally attract links to your content.
Tip 7 – Research the competition
Competitor analysis is an integral step in any link building campaign. Running a backlink analysis on a competitor:
- Teaches you about the industry
- Gives you a list of obtainable links
- Gives you a sense of which sites within the vertical are providing links
- Helps you understand your competitors, including:
- Their link profile, and why they’re ranking
- Their strategies used to acquire links
- Their resources that didn’t acquire many links
Competitor backlink analysis is great – you get the initial research into the industry done, it helps you understand the competition, and it gives you a tidy list of high opportunity links.
Tip 8 – Make it easy to link to you
If you want people to link to you, make it easy for them. For example, include a “Link to Us” page at the end of each article or post.
Tip 9 – Interlink the content on your pages with one another
You have pages and posts on your website, so make the most of them. Internal links are huge for link building because you can control everything about them, from the location on the page to the anchor text. The main goal of interlinking your pages and posts is to have search engines be able to easily crawl and index all of your pages, as well as see the structure of your site. A clean structure makes it so all of your pages get indexed, which means it can match them to search queries. Internal links make it easier for your readers to navigate through your site and find more content.
Tip 10 – Create an RSS feed
If your blog is run on any of the popular Content Management Systems, you’ll already have an RSS feed. Sites such as Feedburner.com enable you to get statistics on your subscribers.
Over to you
This is just a glimpse into some of the low-cost SEO methods you can boost site traffic. Don’t expect quick results. SEO is never an overnight strategy. Which of these SEO tips have you put into place already? Do you have any other great Search Engine Optimisation tips to share? Please comment below.