Updated: Mar 18
SEO – what is it?
In a nutshell, SEO is how you attract people to your website via search engines. There is a lot more to the term than this one sentence of course but it is important to realise that just building an amazing looking website will not mean that you will be found online. You need to have a solid SEO strategy behind your website for search engines to find you. By search engines, I mean Google. Google own the entire world so we might as well focus on them.
That said, there are plenty of ways to get your business noticed online without the need for a website and this is something that I will cover here and in other articles.
The thought of ‘SEO’ and even doing things online might scare some people. It may evoke thoughts of technical nerdery and an over-abundance of jargon but actually there are some pretty nifty tools out there that can help you to navigate this crucial part of online marketing that won’t cost you a one penny. All you need to dedicate is a bit of time.
I use Wix quite a lot. Wix is a website building platform that is incredibly user friendly and although I do not use any of their templates, I do use what they offer in their back-office management area quite a bit. If you want an easy to use platform to manage your website, I will strongly recommend Wix accordingly. I think you will find it very easy to use when it comes to enhancing your website SEO.
ON PAGE SEO
On page SEO refers to those things which can be done on your website to improve how it ranks in search engine results pages (SERPs). These include the written content on your site, how images are labelled, the type of text that is used as well as how pages are labelled behind the scenes(and other things too).
OFF PAGE SEO
Off page SEO refers to those things which can be done on the internet to improve the visibility of your website but without actually changing or adding anything to your website. Examples could be social media, directory listings, forum contributions, back links etc.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ON PAGE SEO
You want to ensure that every part of your website is focused on your business, what you do, what is topical and relevant in your industry and what you believe your customers want to hear about. Let’s take a look at each area in turn:
IMAGES – you can get images for free to add to your website from Pixabay, Pexels or Unsplash. Do not be tempted to simply use what you find on Google as images may be subject to copyright and you do not want to infringe copyright. You will end up with regular emails from the owning company demanding money for usage rights and they can be relentless.
ALT TEXT – This refers to how images are labelled. Remember, Google Images is also a search engine and we want to be listed here too. So when you upload an image to site, give it a name that is relevant to what people will look for. The words you use here should be related to the keywords that you are using for your site. More about keywords shortly.
WRITTEN CONTENT – The written content of your site is highly important to how it will be shown through google. Google cannot easily see images or videos. It likes to have words and codes to help in the task of ordering all those billions of web pages that exist. You see, what Google are striving for is to place high quality, written content in front of people who want to see it and they are very clever at how they do this too. Google work very hard on improving and refining their algorithms to ensure that they are the best search engine in the world.
There are some basic rules to which you should adhere to make sure that Google know that you are legitimate and that you are providing high quality and readable content. We will go ver these shortly but first let’s cover keywords.
KEYWORDS AND SEO
Keywords are those words that people put into Google in order to find websites on a certain topic. I group these into three types:
PRIMARY KEYWORDS – single words that form the root of a page or section. For example, website.
SECONDARY KEYWORDS – a group of two keywords (one of which is the primary keyword) for example, website designer
TERTIARY KEYWORDS – known as long-tailed keywords. These are a group of 3 or more keywords involving the primary keyword and further requirements. For example, website designer in Bedford
It is imperative that we consider the viewer’s intent when we look at keywords. If someone puts website into Google, we do not know what they want. It could be how to build a website, or it could be to ask how many websites exists. The same for the example above for secondary keywords. Searching for website designer may mean the person wants a website designer to help them to design a website for their business or it could mean they want to know how to become a website designer. The tertiary keyword in the example above give the best information to understand the viewer’s intention when they are searching.
It is for this reason that we should consider tertiary and long-tailed keywords when we are undertaking keyword research as well as the others:
Primary keywords – high search volume per month for more traffic
Tertiary keywords – lower search volume per month but more targeted and relevant to our website
HOW TO RESEARCH KEYWORDS
There are some free tools and techniques that are available that you can use to help you find popular keywords:
SEARCHVOLUME.IO – this website will allow you to search up to 800 keywords to find out how many people are using them per month in any country. 800 keywords are plenty for your website.
You will need to find keywords in which to check of course. Some ways in which you can find keywords:
GOOGLE – Have you noticed that if you start typing something into Google it will automatically try to finish your sentence? Google is trying to predict what you want based on the information that it already has from previous searches.
GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER – this is not what it used to be as Google now omits a lot of the useful stuff but if you set up a Google Ads account you will be able to use their keyword planner tool. This tool is great for looking up competitor websites and seeing what keywords they might use and then putting those keywords into your searchvolume.io site to get more information on search volumes.
INSTAGRAM – yes, Instagram! If you are into a bit of Insta-reality, then head over to your Instagram account and start hashtagging. Just like Google pre-populate, Instagram will try to predict your words based on what people are searching for on their platform. Let’s face it, Instagram is pretty popular, so we are taking data from a huge pool of people here. You can then check your keywords that you find in your Searchvolume.io site again.
GOOGLE TRENDS – Google trends is a great free tool that tells you what is hot and what is not right now. Search topics related to your business here, get ideas for keywords and then head over to Searchvolume.io for that finial check to validate popularity.
So assuming that you have done the above and found a list of relevant keywords you can now use them in all areas of your website. You should pay particular attention to the following:
Keep content fresh and up to date. Pay attention to:
META TITLE – I think the image below sums this up nicely! The met title is what shows up in the blue line in a google SERP. Keep this to the point and relevant.
META DESCRIPTION – the smaller text that shows up beneath the blue text. Place your keyword for this page as close to the front as possible.
SLUG – the slug is the bit of text that goes after your website domain name that is the name of the actual page. For example. www.[yourwebsitename].co.uk/SLUG-GOES-HERE. Make this short, relevant and contain your main keyword.
PAGE WORD COUNT – for those pages which contain paragraphs of text, you should try to make sure they have at least 250 words. This may not be possible on pages like CONTACT or HOME but will be on others.
KEYWORD PLACEMENT – try to place your main keyword in the first and last paragraph of the page content. Related keywords can be placed within the body of the content.
KEYWORD DENSITY – although there is no definitive keyword density, most theories stick to between 1-3%. So your keyword should be written at least once for every 100 words that you write. Do not be tempted to put your keywords in too often. In this instance, more does not mean better.
KEYWORDS AND INTENT – as mentioned above, ensure that you include related and long tailed keywords in your written content. Always consider the readers’ intent and write your text to answer their questions.
RELATED KEYWORDS – related keywords are those keywords which can back up and substantiate the main keywords. Google is very good at picking up on these and will give websites more credibility for using them. For example, the keyword website designer has related keywords like web designer (59% relevant), website design (55% relevant) website design companies near me (44% relevant). You get the idea? Good.
READABILITY – this is where stuffing your written content full of keywords will not help you. Ultimately your articles must be easy to read and not obviously stuffed full of keywords in order to get your page ranked in Google. Google isn’t stupid. It knows what you are doing. Don’t try to scam Google.
BLOG – a blog is an article that gives useful information to the reader. You should consider blogging regularly so that your website is continually updated with fresh content. You can include your keywords in your blogs using the techniques as outlined above and Google will index it for you accordingly. If you read back through this article you will see exactly how I have done this using keywords based on SEO and websites!
SCHEMA – a business schema is a piece of code that you can place behind your website that gives Google search bots (those little creepy crawlies that trawl the internet looking for information) more info about your website and help them to give it clarity and structure.
Technical SEO has several tools that you can use including a schema mark-up generator for this purpose. You can use it to input details about your business and then test it using Google’s Structured Data testing Tool (accessible form the same website) for any errors.
SITE MAP – A site map is another tool to help Googles search bots to rank your site. Wix websites automatically generate site maps but Technical SEO has a tool to generate a site map for other types of websites.
INTERNAL LINKS – Create buttons on your web pages that link to other pages on your website. These are internal links and should guide your viewer on a journey to ultimately get them to call you or send an email to you. Internal links are good for SEO as they give your site further structure.
This stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Some call it a site’s ‘security certificate’. Without one your site will have ‘http’ at the front. Adding the SSL puts ‘https’ at the front of your site and gives it more credibility. An SSL adds security to details entered by people on your site. If someone sends an email to you or makes a payment through your site, having an SSL says that their details are encrypted once they leave your site until they get to the destination. Wix websites automatically have SSL certificates applies. You can purchase an SSL through your domain name provider if required.
Your SEO strategy and how you research SEO and keywords is crucial to getting your website seen online and on search engines like Google. It is worth taking some time to go over the techniques and tools above to help your website and therefore your business to find new customers. All of the links and examples above are free to use and for that reason alone are worth exploring.
Don’t worry if you cannot do all the SEO strategy tips above. Each step that you take will help.