The aim of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is to bring targeted visitors to a website by being positioned highly in the search engine’s results pages.
It is a fact that once somebody has done a search in a search engine they will rarely go beyond the first or second pages of results. Therefore the higher up the rankings you can get, the more targeted traffic you will receive to your website.
Then hopefully you can convert those visitors into a sale…
SEO can be broken down into three parts
- Keyword Research
- On-page Optimisation
- Link Building
1. Keyword Research
This is the foundation work of SEO.
Keywords are phrases that people type into a search engine to find the services or products you provide.
For example, if I was a company providing different coloured and sized widgets, users would more than likely be searching for things like “blue widgets” , “red widgets”, “big blue widgets” etc.
Keyword phrases are either short tail (usually two or three phrases long) or long tail keywords which can be upto four or five keyword phrases long.
To help you decide which key phrases are right for you there are a number of FREE tools you can use such as Google’s keyword tool. Simply enter a word or words that describe your business and you will receive a list of related phrases along with a predicted number of searches you can expect to receive (tip: to get an accurate search volume make sure you click “exact search” in the tick box to the left).
2. On-page Optimisation
Once you have a list of keywords you feel you want to be found for, the key is then to optimise the website.
You need to know which keyword phrases belong to which page. It’s normally advisable to only optimise a maximum of three keyword phrases per page of your site, with the most complex on your homepage.
One of the biggest ranking factors is the title tag of your website. Here we see the title tag for the Sky.com website:
“sky.com – your home for the latest news, sport and entertainment”.
It’s important you make sure your main keywords are included in your title tag, and depending on the platform your site is built on will depend on how you access the title tag.
Do not overstuff the title tag. It should be no more than 64 characters long (any longer and Google will truncate this) and a keyword should be repeated no more than two times in the tag. In addition try separating keywords with a separator such as “,”, “|” or “-“.
Other factors to consider include:-
- Body Text – Make sure your keywords appear sparingly in the text. BUT remember your content is written for human readers to buy the products or services you provide, so think about the message you want to send. I would recommend a keyword should be mentioned no more than 2-3 times every 300 words.
- Header Tags – Use H1, H2 tags to break up your text and try and mention your keywords here too.
- Image Descriptions – Do not over stuff this. Remember this text could be read aloud for visually impaired readers. The text should accurately depict the images.
- Meta Description – This is the bit that will appear under the Google listing. Be descriptive here in the form of a paragraph or two. Do not exceed 160 characters. For example Sky.com is:
“Check out the most up to date editorial, pictures and video-breaking news, sport, showbiz, movies, TV and more. Plus search the web and check your Sky email”
3. Link Building
This is the process of building links from other websites back to yours.
There have been many different methods to create links over the years but the safest way has to be through “guest blog posting”. This is where you write an article and post it on someone else’s site (this article is an example of a guest post).
Engaging on social media and building trust is key to finding opportunities to guest blog. To get the best link value, you need to ensure you appear on relevant sites. Then get the anchor text of any links back to your site right. Consider using a variety of keywords as well as more generic words such “click here”, “view the website” etc.
In summary, the key to a successful SEO campaign can be broken into three areas:
So think about relationships…
And do not try and force results. If you do you’ll face penalisation and a lot of wasted effort.
Today’s Micro Action
Take some time to think about your SEO strategy today. Have you done your keyword research? What about your on-page optimisation? Perhaps you need to think about your outreach and link building strategy.
Write down and commit to three actions you will take to develop and enhance the SEO of your website.