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5 top SEO tips to grow your business
This 5 point guide will help you look at practical things you can do now to improve and measure what you are doing and in turn, drive potential customers to your site.
We will look at:
- What is SEO?
- Site Speed
- User Experience (UX)
- Doing a Website Audit
- Writing Blogs
Why is SEO important?
Your website is your company’s shop window to the world. Whether you are producing rich content, PR, social media or running ads, your website is normally the final destination a user arrives at. This is also the destination that Google looks at in detail and determines where you will rank in its search results.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as it is commonly known, is a crucial component in the marketing mix. So important, that it is not only a hot topic on marketing teams but amongst directors and board members. Quite simply, there is no point in your company or brand being brilliant at what you do without people being able to find you.
We all know that when someone is looking for your product or service, they will undoubtedly do a search. This could be on either Google or Bing or another search engine. Though Bing is rising in popularity and we are a proud Bing Select Agency Partner, the lion’s share of searches in the UK are with Google, so in this instance I will focus on Google. Incidentally, we are also a Google Premier Partner. Google Premier Partners are recognised as leaders in their field having fulfilled Google’s exacting standards. In 2016, Google Premier Partners made up an elite 5% of agencies in the UK.
Google market share in the UK Jan 2018 – Source: Statista
1. What is SEO?
It is always worth going back to basics. Why? Because what was right 5 years ago is not necessarily right now. How we searched then is not how we search now. Also, SEO like many other things in life, never stays still and is always evolving.
So simply, Google will list search engine results based on a number of metrics such as content and site structure etc. These are normally listed in what Google deems to be the most relevant to the search engine result pages (SERPs) based on a set of evolving criteria. SEO therefore, is the ability to understand this criteria and ethically enhance the guidelines set out by Google to improve and optimise your web property to create relevant web pages for Google to display in its SERPs for users to find.
There are other touchpoints along the customer journey and SEO plays a big part along the way. Everything from discovery to purchase along the sales funnel as we can see from the graph below:
Google uses somewhere in the region of 200 ranking signals. These vary from technical elements like your domain, site architecture and page speed through to other areas like content, relevance and backlinks to your site.
2. Site speed
This is one of the first and easiest ways to look at improving your ranking on Google. Your initial port of call is to look at how Google is looking at the speed of your site. There is a great tool called Page Speed Insights and you can find it here – Page Speed Insights.
Type your URL into the box and it will show you how your desktop and mobile site speed is viewed by Google, giving a score out of 100 and recommended areas that you need to tweak or in certain cases, change completely.
Your site speed can be affected by many things including images or videos that are too large and take time to load from your hosting server. Other points to consider that may have an impact are:
- Properly formatting and compressing images can save data and lighten the page weight
- Too many landing page redirects
- Leverage browser caching using a Content Management System (CMS)
- Using a secure certificate for your domain host – i.e. https as opposed to http
These are just a few areas that will help improve your site speed and the Page Speed Insight tool will ruide to to the most pertinent that need attention.
3. User experience or UX
How visitors navigate through your site is important. If they have a good experience, this will resonate with them and keep them coming back and sharing this positive experience, thus amplifying your brand.
Again, Google has come up with a series of tools and resources to help you create a better or delightful web experience for visitors to your site. This tool is called Web Fundamentals and can be found here – Google Web Fundamentals.
Other areas that should be considered in the UX mix include:
- Site navigation
- Have you optimised for mobile?
- Ease of reading and engaging in content on your pages
- Design and layout of pages
- Is your site responsive?
Another great source of understanding User Experience (UX) is Google Analytics (GA). You may already have GA set up on your site and providing it is set up correctly, sadly many aren’t, it will give you a plethora of rich insight on how people move across your site, where they drop off, how long they stay on a particular page and where they came from. Google Analytics can be found here – Google Analytics.
4. Do a website audit
Improving your SEO is a journey. There are no overnight fixes. A really great start in that journey is a website audit.
A good web audit will look at:
- Broken links on your website
- 404 errors
- Title and meta-tag structure
- Page and rank authority
- Schema validation
This is one of the best things you can do. Investing in a site audit will give you a deep insight into your websites footprint and more importantly, how you can fix and improve the areas that come back from the audit.
5. Write blogs
Though this may seem like an obvious statement to make, it is something many companies simply do not do. There is a reason for that and they fall into one or more of these areas.
- Takes too much time
- No one reads them
- Blogs don’t turn into business
- I’m too busy to write blogs
- I don’t know what to write
I hear this from clients all the time and when I look at the reasons behind the statements, I can see why. Writing any content, especially good quality content takes time and planning.
When I explain to those reticent to write blogs, the amazing returns they get, I see people transformed by an evangelical zeal to get writing and share the content.
Why? Because blogging works:
- Let’s you become a thought leader
- Become an authority in your market
- Share your content on social sites
- Use the content to shape other marketing collateral
- Google loves well written blog content
The main point is the last point, Google loves well written and meaningful content that is generally designed to help people who have a need for the product or service. Google is in the business of helping find relevant content and if your content has that in its core, you will be rewarded by Google ranking your written content on the search engine results pages.
As an example, I recently wrote a heartfelt and objective blog on how to evaluate and find a good Paid Search (PPC) Agency. It looked at how to evaluate AdWords professionals to help grow your business entitled, “Choosing a PPC Agency”.
The point being, it was thought through, took time to write and planned. Afterwards it was distributed to a few other social sites like LinkedIn and Twitter and is currently ranked in the top 3 for the search term “How to choose a PPC Agency”.
So, also think about:
- Your topic
- Sub headings
- Images and video
- Distribution to social channels
- Research and statistics
- Provide your sources
People are hungry for information. Feed that hunger.
If you have done some of the above already, you will know that there are a lot other touch points or micro-moments along the way. Implementing some, if not all of the above will pay great dividends for the future.
To learn more or chat about the above please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org