What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s a process where you tweak minor things on your website in order to increase your visibility when people search for your sector. Essentially, the higher you rank on a search engine, the better your business appears to your customers.
If you appear on the first page of Google for example, you are far more likely to get visited, and therefore more likely to turn that visitor into a client. If your business is the first up on Google for a given search query, that means you are indisputably credible, reliable, and ready to help that customer with whatever problem they have.
This establishes you as a leading brand, putting you literally above the rest, giving you the best possible platform to spread your messages from.
SEO is something you can work on in small chunks regularly, and will improve how you appear online. But it takes time. If you want a quick fix, this isn’t it.
That being said, there are a handful of relatively simple ways you can improve your ranking in search engines just by changing how your website appears to the bots (pieces of code that trawl the web every time a search is made) that can have a big impact.
However, it is important to remember that this system should not abused – search engine companies are fully aware of how people attempt to manipulate SEO systems beyond what is necessary: if you spam their bots with unnecessary or untruthful content, they will penalise or even drop you from the engine entirely. There are right ways and wrong ways to go about this process. The most important thing to remember is that the bots want to help the customers connect to you. Their job is to find what the customers want –what you provide- and show it to them. If you make that process easier or faster, the system rewards you. If you play the game without cheating, you can win, and win big.
SEO takes a long time to come into effect. Don’t expect results overnight. You should set some measurable goals in a reasonable, achievable time frame. Do you want to increase your traffic? Your leads? Your conversions? Of course, ideally, you’ll get all of these. But depending on where you are with your business, different things may be better for you than others, and you need to prioritise the things that will benefit you the most.
If you’re just starting out, you need to start getting paying clients, so you may want to have generated six clients in six months through your website. If you’re established, you need to maintain brand awareness, so you might want to double your site visits in a year. So put yourself on a time line, set specific, measurable goals, and get on it. If you don’t have analytics set up on your pages, that’s step one.
Google analytics is a service that tracks how many visits your site gets, and can be configured to show you where those visits come from, so is a must for any business.
Once you’ve got analytics set up, it’s crucial to use it. If you aren’t understanding how and why what you’re doing is working, you aren’t really succeeding. You’re just being lucky. So watch where your leads come from, and how many you convert from visitor to customer. Once you understand what works and what doesn’t, you can double down on the things that are getting you business, and change the things that aren’t.
Your goals need to push you, but make sure they’re realistic. Adapt them over time, tweaking them as the needs of your business change.
What To Do:
First, look at the title of your website. Does it have your company name? Does it have a brief description of what you do? And does it appear when you hover over your browser tab? What you want is a little box to appear when you point your mouse on the top of your internet window with that information in, that is what the bots scan to find out what you website is about. It’s called a meta-title. You can set it in the page settings of your web-building platform.
If you include things irrelevant to your customers or your business, you won’t rank as highly. Likewise, if you include dozens and dozens of works that are technically relevant but don’t make sense, you’ll be bumped down the list.
The main thing to keep in mind is that while you’re trying to appease pieces of code, those same robots are designed around helping to create a smoother experience for its users. So if you focus on making your visitors happy, you’ll make the bots happy, and they’ll move you up the search list. That’s a win-win-win.
The next most important thing to focus on is the actual content on your pages. The bots will scan every word on your site, so it’s important to maintain a consistent amount of key word mentions for whatever you want to be found for. Again, it’s crucial to strike a balance between a good level of what you’re aiming for, and not overloading the bots to such a degree that your page becomes a minefield of repetitions.
To do that, imagine you’re a customer who has just found your page. Write it for your ideal customer, someone who has the exact problem you solve. What are their complaints, their frustrations? How can you help?
It’s important to consider who actually goes on your site, and who you’re trying to attract. There are many different type of content you can put up, all of which will help present you as a credible business, while engaging the visitors. Blogs, videos, infographics and pictures, and FAQS can all be informative or entertaining, can all be shareable, and can all be useful to you no matter what business you’re in. Tailor your content to who you want to target. They’ll appreciate you far more, and will be more likely to use you.
You should also use links to establish credibility, and make your site more versatile and accessible.
One: It might help your customers better understand your topic, providing them with some key information. Anything you think might help your customers is a good thing to provide them.
Two: It boosts your SEO. Links to and from your site all increases your validity in the eyes of search engines, so include some in relevant places for valid reasons, and you’ll be climbing the ladder without having to do any work, and helping your customers at the same time. If you’re lucky (or if you ask nicely), some of the sites you link to might even link to YOU on their sites, so get networking.
It's more important than ever to make sure your business is seen first. SEO can help you appear in front of a massive audience, and will immediately give you credibility before you've even been clicked on.