I’ve found it hard to find many simple, clear guides for website owners to his is a quick guide to how you can save some $$ and improve your websites SEO rankings yourself. You might ask why I would give this information away for free when I offer SEO services myself – but I believe that the more you give the more you get back in return, also SEO is a time consuming (and much of the time BORING) process that many people would rather pay a professional to do and spending their own time on what they specialise in. Of course I am also hoping that by adding this page I will be improving my own sites SEO
The following is not a super advanced guide but for most small / medium businesses if you do these things consistently then you should see results after a few months.
Improving your Googles organic rankings does take some serious time and energy but the long term return for your business can be huge.
1. Optimise your website to be as SEO friendly as possible : This is a good place to start (though it should be an ongoing process). Firstly give your website at least of bit (to start) of original content and make sure all the relevant info about your business is around the website. Then what is really helpful if you are using a CMS is to install a plugin that will help help with SEO and also make suggestions. SEO Yoast is a good one for wordpress that is simple to use yet gets the job done. It can give you suggestions to follow to make each page as search engine friendly as possible. Some of these things to do are :
- Make sure your meta titles and descriptions are appropriate for each page. These are displayed on your Google listings and should clearly let people know what the particular page is about in a few sentences.
- Have your relevant keywords around the page and hopefully on the page title but do not go overboard with this. If it doesn’t seem natural then it’s likely Google see this as well and it will not help and Google may even penalize the page.
- Add “alt” descriptions to your images that should be a text description of what the image relevant to the images and the page/post they are on.
- Make sure your URLs are SEO friendly, for example, if your business is a hotel on the Gold Coast and you have a page relating to your facilities then an appropriate URL might be myhotel.com/facilities , and not something like myhotel.com/pages?pageid=24
- Ensure your URLS are “canonical” and www.mysite.com/about is redirecting to mysite.com/about , otherwise Google will think that these are separate pages and it may negatively affect your rankings.
Don’t forget to make sure you have your ‘Google My Business’ account setup .
2. Get inbound links (or “backlinks”) to your website : This is the part that most people know about and although Google seems to care about it less than it did years ago it still carries a lot of weight. The easiest ways to get links is by signing up to local business directory websites and filling in the information about your business and of course, the website URL. If you sign up to one or two per week that would put you well in the right direction. Quality over quantity is the general rule so more localised / specialised directories that suit your business type would be best.
Directory listings are a great start but to get the highest value inbound links that will really put your business ahead of the competition you need to get creative and reach out to other website owners to get a link from a niche/high value site in your field. An example of this might be a Limousine business getting mentioned on a wedding blog post if they have recently done a wedding service.
3. Keyword research : This tool : https://adwords.google.com.au/KeywordPlanner is really for finding keywords to target for PPC / Google adword campaigns, though it can also be used to find what people are searching for. It is a great way to pick out search terms that you can target and maybe create a new page or blog post to specifically target that search term. A lot of the time other people don’t search for things in the same fashion that you might be. If you are running an adwords campaign you can also use the data along with conversion tracking to get an idea of what search terms are bringing in the leads / sales and focus more on these with your SEO.
Google is increasingly using social media signals to determine rankings.
4. Using Social media : Google seems to be increasingly using social media signals in their ranking algorithms and basically the more likes / shares / engagement your social media posts and pages are getting then they will boost your rankings accordingly. So at a minimum make sure you have a Facebook and Google + account and if you can post something half interesting / informative / funny even once a week or month on there and do this consistently then you should see not only some extra traffic from social media clicks but also a boost in Google rankings.
5. Post new content : Adding new pages or blog postings semi regularly is a great idea to help get you on the first page. This can be used in conjunction with social media so that once you have written the blog post, you share this on your Facebook page and make sure there is a link back. Just make sure it is at least somewhat interesting / funny / informative (this is the hard part) , and definitely make sure it is originally written and not copied straight from another site (Google knows all … ) .
6. Ensure there technical issues are minimised which might negatively affect SEO : While this may be a bit out of your depth and may not be of huge importance, there are a few things to keep in mind :
- If you are using a theme for the site, try and stick with high rated ones and these are more likely to be relatively SEO friendly.
- Don’t go overboard with fancy things / design on the site, keeping things clean and simple yet professional. This will keep load times down and be a positive for SEO.
- You can use an image optimisation plugin to try and get your images to the smallest size possible (while still maintaining high enough quality).
If you regularly do the points listed you should be able to see some real results with higher rankings and more visitors to your website. However this can be very time consuming (especially if you have not done much of it) and to be honest a lot of it is quite boring. Also there are more things you can do beyond this but I’ve focused on the most important things here. If you are a Gold Coast or Australian business interested in having an affordable professional help out with your SEO and internet marketing then contact me for a chat.