SEO – or search engine optimisation – is the name for a range of digital marketing techniques which can be used to improve your business website’s rankings on Google. Here at Bluehoop we often use SEO as part of our client’s wider online marketing strategy simply because SEO nearly always delivers the greatest long-term return on investment.
Google is continually moving the goalposts by refining the algorithms they use to determine which business should be at the top. So optimising your business website needs careful planning to get to page one in Google and then an on-going strategy to it there.
Remember that it’s Google’s job to find high-quality content in response to a search term in any given situation and so the focus of your efforts should on fulfilling the needs of the people that you want to visit your website . With this in mind, it’s always worth asking yourself whether what you’re writing will be interesting and useful to anyone reading it.
Remember to write using the words that people are actually searching for. For example, it’s pretty pointless having a page on your website about ‘cellular phones’ when everyone is searching for ‘mobile phones.’ The best way to avoid this is to carry out detailed keyword research to help you pinpoint the best search terms to use on your pages.
Once you’ve identified those all-important search terms, you need to work these words into the content on your website’s pages. It can be tempting to use relevant search terms as often as possible but ‘keyword-stuffing’ as it’s known in the trade should be avoided at all costs. As a general rule of thumb, target search terms should be used in the page heading, a couple of subheadings and, if possible, when you link between pages.
A decent title and a helpful meta description can prove very useful because these elements are normally included the search results which appear on Google. A good title and description will encourage people to click and because Google also shows the user’s search term highlighted in bold, don’t forget to include your target search term. Google is very good at picking out which websites do this the best so don’t let anything distract you from giving your users the information they are looking for.
When Google decides how it’s going to rank your website it takes a look a multitude of factors but one of the most important remains the quality and relevance of any websites which link to yours. Creating lots of low quality links to your website can do more harm than good so good quality link building needs to be part of your online marketing strategy. For example, why not thinking about using your blog to host a Q&A session or a ‘white-paper’ article to provide insights into your industry? Demonstrating your expertise in this way this can help you obtain links from important sites.
The way in which we use Google has changed beyond all recognition over recent years and with the majority of searches are soon set to come from mobile devices. This change in searching habits has led to predictions from some experts that Google might start to give priority to sites which can be viewed easily on a small screen. Why? The answer is that Google knows what type of device you’re searching from and if your website is one of those that need to be re-sized when viewed on a mobile phone, you could be penalised. There are ways to make your website more mobile friendly and you could consider moving to a responsive website design.
The sharp rise in mobile searches has also encouraged an increase in local searches as people search for businesses whilst they’re on the move. To help with this Google now shows a map which pinpoints the search results if it thinks the searcher is looking for a local business. Because this map of the search results appears at the top of the page, it’s very important that your business is listed in the lucrative spot right beneath the map. This can be achieved by creating listing your business on Google My Business and learning as much as you can about local search terms.
Google is becoming increasingly clever at interpreting questions. This has, in part, been driven by an increase in the number of voice searches are made and people now often type questions into Google such as ‘how much is my car worth?’. Google has responded to this by finding ways to give more accurate, helpful answers.
Voice searches should be kept in mind when you create pages for your website. Help articles, for example can work well, such as a list of frequently asked questions and their answers – because you’re including questions on one of your pages, this will help Google recognise that you’re providing answers.
All too often people mistake SEO as a quick-fix solution to their Google woes. SEO is a definitely an ongoing job and is not something which can rushed although. For a small business spending hour or so once a week can be sufficient but to get your website seen by more potential customers. For larger businesses that offer a wider range of services or products the return on investment of good SEO can be huge, therefore consideration should be made developing a SEO strategy with a digital marketing agency or making SEO an embedded part of your marketing teams day-to-day activity.
Gareth is an experienced website and digital project manager who has a wealth of experience working on both large and small technical and web projects.
By combining his technical skills with an strong understanding of Bluehoop's clients needs he applies a systems approach to the development of websites and digital marketing that is both responsive to the needs of customers and works!