Internet marketing guru, Todd Malicoat, quipped that “SEO is a noun, verb and adjective.” So if you’re taking your online presence seriously, then you should be having frequent conversations about how to improve website SEO, how to SEO better, and how to use SEO tactics to help customers find your website.
Sound like a lot of expensive work? It doesn’t have to be.
While we’d never recommend cutting corners, there are several quick, easy (and free!) ways to improve website SEO. We’ve curated the five must-do tips that’ll put you on the map.
1. Assess where you are
“If you aim for the stars, but you don’t understand how far the stars are from you, you’re bound to get lost among the space junk”… or something like that. Any good SEO strategy starts with understanding your current ranking, and how you got there.
Improving your website ranking relies on you following these steps:
- Start with a simple DIY test by searching your company name, industry, area, and other major search terms you believe you should rank for. Where are you showing up?
- Could you be committing some SEO no-no’s that search engines are punishing you for? Yes, there’s such a thing as negative SEO. Websites that manipulate search algorithms with dirty tricks are penalised, but sometimes innocent mistakes can result in penalties too!
- Free analytics tools can help you see how many site visits you’re getting, where visitors are coming from, and which keywords are performing well for you. Google’s webmaster tools are beginner-friendly but detailed.
2. Build a strong network of links
One of the best ways to show search engines that you’re relevant is to indicate that you’re connected to other conversations. This means building a formidable network of links. Both the quantity and quality of links directed to and from your website have an impact on your ranking.
Help customers find your website by applying these tips:
- Boost trust through linking to reputable websites.
- Create goodwill by driving traffic to other great sites in your industry (avoid direct competitors).
- Contribute guest blogs, images, quotes and other content to respected websites in your field so they can link directly to your site.
- Add internal links where appropriate to other content on your website.
3. Do your keyword research
Keywords are the search terms that users enter into search engines, like Google. Keywords can be tricky to master if you’re not focusing on the right things, so make sure you’re paying attention to the following:
- Know what your target audience is searching for, and why. There are plenty of free keyword research tools available to help you understand your audience’s searches.
- Bake keywords into your content by building your content marketing strategy around high performing, moderately competitive keywords you want to rank for.
- Steer away from keyword stuffing, it’s obvious to both human readers and search engine crawlers.
- Don’t forget to think local with your keywords – you can rank higher for “smaller” local searches that connect you with likely customers in your area.
4. Don’t neglect your metadata
Metadata is data about your data: it tells crawlers what’s on your website. Metadata appears in your HTML attributes. That may sound pretty technical, but polishing up your metadata to improve website SEO just boils down to tags that work for both crawlers and users.
Try these basic metadata tips:
- Title tags are what you “name” the pages of your website. They’re critical, because they appear on search results pages. Every page should therefore have a unique title tag.
- Remember to think locally. Optimise your title tags with a local keyword, such as “house painting Cape Town”. This makes it clear to search engines that the page is directly related to Cape Town.
- Meta descriptions are the short explanations that appear when a user hovers over a link on a search results page. Write meta descriptions that are accurate but grab the user’s attention. Keep them snappy at one or two sentences.
5. Kickass content
We’re sorry to use strong language, but content is serious business when it comes to SEO. No matter what you do, if you’re not offering content that is relevant and useful to users, your rankings are going to tank.
Honour these golden rules to help customers find your website:
- Align your content with high-potential keywords, but make it as unique as possible. Use online research to create effective posts, but never just duplicate what you’re finding elsewhere – that’s not useful to anyone!
- Focus on content that serves a specific audience. If you aim too broadly, you’ll end up with something generic.
- Identify a handful of major customer pain points that you can help solve through your content, upfront.
- Design your content so it’s to-the-point and enjoyable to read. You want readers to feel you value their time, and be compelled to share your content with their friends and colleagues.
Improving website SEO is hardly rocket science, even for beginners. That said, some finesse and expertise can still take you from barely-ranking, right to the first page. Don’t have the time or know-how to master optimised content? Give BEAN a shout.