If you're not familiar with website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and search marketing, then my quick start guide is aimed at giving you the fundamentals of SEO for your website. Including a few of my current SEO techniques (at time of writing). Having optimised many websites, in many sectors, for many years, I've gained valuable insight which I hope you find useful.
This guide will give you a short overview of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), just to get you up-and-running. SEO is a massive subject and not an easy subject to learn in one blog post or a few hours of research. The subject of SEO is a fluid, ever changing set of ideas and principles. However there are some basics, plus a good chunk common sense that can get you started.
What is website SEO?
Website SEO is all about optimising your website pages and their content so they can easily be found by the search engines, meaning your content has a better chance of appearing higher in the 'free' or 'organic' search results. Optimisation typically includes:
- Technical set up of your website and pages – the crawlability of your website by Google
- Content on your pages – well produced, useful and clear content for visitors
- Promotion of your content – driving traffic to you content, quality back links and endorsments
Why should I care about SEO?
71% of B2B searchers start their research with a generic search. (Source: Google)
When you've created or commissioned your website as a business promotional tool, if your audience just can't easily find you, you will find it harder to promote your business online. Your website is your 'bit' of the internet. Your online hub that you have full control over. Social media and other digital promotional spaces (hosted blogs etc) have their place, however they are likely to change their offering and services on a regular basis potentially impacting your reach.
The more traffic you drive to your website the more opportunities you have to sell your products and services. SEO is about getting seen on Googles organic listings for the right things, at the right time, by the right people. The online space is an extremely busy place and getting the maximum eyes on your website should be one of your key objectives.
Social and other marketing techniques will provide you with traffic, however search engines are still the biggest website traffic drivers. With Google providing on average over 3.5 billion searchers every day. See some stats here.
Eyes on your site - opting for paid or free listings?
Website Search Engine Optimisation gives your content a greater chance of being seen in the 'organic' or 'free' listings. It is not paid for advertising, it's an 'earned' listing (though obviously still has a cost associated with it). If you find you do need fast results then going for a paid advertising route will be your best option, however do consider...
- Paid search is increasing in cost each year, therefore this type of visibility is costing businesses more each year. And once your monthly budget is used, you disappear from your prominent place on the listings.
- It's estimated that over 70% of searchers don't click on a paid advert. So if you're only doing paid for search your missing out on potentially 70% of your audience.
These two factors are powerful reasons to implement Search Engine Optimisation on your website.
SEO and The Long Game
If you're looking for quick results, quick fixes and easy returns then Search Engine Optimisation isn't for you. Being high in organic search results takes time and strategy, and producing regular, targeted original, highly valuable content. This strategy will give you a longer return on your 'time' investment and is likely to deliver ongoing value. If your high on search long term, your more likely to stay there.
SEO and marginal gains
You've probably heard of marginal gains in sports performance (read this article by the Guardian: Cycling and Marginal Gains). The same theory can be applied to your SEO. When viewed individually the SEO tweaks, changes and refinements recommended may not seem like much, but combined with other aspects of web development such as UX and promotion, but these tweaks and changes have a noticeable and powerful impact on your website performance in organic search and website traffic.
Google currently has over 200 SEO factors that influence search results. To help demystify some of its requirements, Google released a Search Quality Guidelines document in 2015, a massive 160 pages long click here if you'd like to read it. The guidelines contain lots of interesting insight into how Google works, but also lots of caveats and edge-case scenarios.
Some factors have a higher weighting than others. You don't need to know all of the factors inside-out, just what they mean and why they matter to your website SEO.
SEO and content at the forefront of your website
Creating a website is likened to building a house; you need a good, solid, search friendly foundation. See my post here on 'What a Roman architect can teach you about web design'. From the start, keep in mind that your website needs to be usable by both your visitors and the search engines. Both technically and your content. Then your site and content will be findable and useful. Visitors will better understand what you do, the value you deliver and the problems you solve for them. Optimising your main (core) website pages from day one (both technical and content ) will give your pages the foundation they need to be found in search.
"We could not have been happier with the service from Arttia Creative. Throughout every step of our Search Engine Optimisation campaign Arttia Creative helped with hints, tips, advice and her presentations to us were brilliant"
Matt and Gayle / Children's Clothing Boutique
First things first – key on-page 'meta' SEO factors to get you started
The search results you see on a Googles Search Results Page (SERP's) are made up of three things;
- the page title (meta title)
- the URL
- the description (meta description).
These are the first things your audience sees on the search results page when they are searching for what you do, therefore you need these 3 things to be the best and most unique they can be for your website content.
Page title - The clickable link on a search result, it needs to clearly represent the page content (including your target keyword).
>> Moz guide to Page Title.
URL - Your web page address, typically a unique page URL , use words and not ID strings (numbers etc).
Description - The slightly grey paragraph under your URL which is either drawn from your page content or from a specific meta-description added to your page code. This is your 'free' advert copy so make it as snappy, useful and descriptive as possible, with a call-to-action if you can.
>>Moz guide to Page Description
These three things are 'behind the scenes' of your main website content. If you have a CMS (such as WordPress with Yoast Plugin) then you can fine tune these for every page quite easily. See my SEO for WordPress Training Services. If you have a stand-alone site then you'll need to guide your web developer on this specific content that they need to add.
The high priority on-page SEO factors you need to consider include;
- Content; this is everything when it comes to modern SEO
- Well written copy that includes your target keyword and a good range of variants. Not too many, you want to avoid keyword stuffing.
- Think about your readers first and make sure your copy makes sense and delivers value.
- Produce new content. If you're not producing new content then you've a harder mountain to climb.
- New content gives you something to promote and share, giving your content the opportunity to be passed on and linked to by those who find it interesting and valuable.
- Produce long content - more copy gives Google a greater understanding of the topic and your expertise
- Alt tags on your images, Google can't 'read' images (yet!) so if you need them to show on search, give them a detailed, relevant description.
How your website is built/coded.
The high priority website code SEO factors you need to consider include;
- Responsive web build (mobile friendly)
- Semantic HTML
- Structured data (where necessary)
- Site load speed and overall performance
Need help getting started with your website SEO?
Look no further, contact us to discuss your website SEO project
"Seriously useful Search Engine Optimisation presentation by Belinda [Arttia Creative, Content Marketing Conquered Workshop]".
Gerry King / I-nectco
Website Search Engine Optimisation doesn't have to be daunting or a scary process. Once you get to grips with the fundamentals and the principles behind why and how SEO works, you'll be able to 'quick start' your SEO strategy and have a greater chance of your content featuring well in search.
If you need help, guidance or implementation of your SEO strategy, then we are here to help, let's get started.