Estimated Reading Time 17 minutes
This 5 point guide will help you look at a number of practical applications you can do now to improve your ranking on Google.
We will also look at how to measure what you are doing and in turn, drive potential new customers to your site.
We will look at:
- What is SEO?
- Site Speed
- User Experience (UX)
- Doing an SEO Audit
- Writing Blogs and doing a Podcast
Why is SEO important?
With the current lockdown scenario we still find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been enormous growth in outreach channels such as webinars, influencer marketing, chatbots, podcasts and live video.
A list of the latest growth areas based on search trend data in marketing focus for 2020 can be found at Exploding Topics.
So, whether you are running PR, Social Media, Paid Ads or TV – your website is normally the final destination a user arrives at. Your website is still the validation a user needs to feel confident about your business.
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 within marketing teams but also amongst C-suite 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 is normally either YouTube, Amazon, Google or Bing from Microsoft.
Though Bing is rising in popularity and we are a proud Microsoft Ads Partner – the lion’s share of searches in the UK are with Google, so in this instance, I will focus on Google.
With over 85% market share, why wouldn’t you want to be appearing 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 2019, Google Premier Partners made up an elite 7% of agencies in the UK.
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.
Google will list search 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 users search query, based on a set of ever-evolving criteria.
Understand the guidelines. Guidelines that are 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.
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 monitor how Google is looking at the speed of your site. There is a great tool called Pagespeed Insights.
Type your URL into the box and it will show you how your desktop and mobile site speed is viewed by Google. Your website is then given 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
- Using a Content Delivery Network or CDN can help load balance the bandwidth of your site
These are just a few areas that will help improve your site speed and the Page Speed Insight tool will guide you to the most pertinent and that need attention.
3. User Experience (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.
Google sums up the core foundations of good website structure as:
Other areas that should be considered in the UX mix include:
- Site navigation
- Have you optimised for mobile?
- Ease of reading and engaging in the 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 set up correctly. Sadly many aren’t. When set up correctly, Google Analytics can 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.
All this free data about your website can be used to improve user experience by identifying potential challenges with your site and addressing them.
Learn more about how we can help you with your Google Analytics.
4. Do an SEO audit
Improving your SEO is a journey. There are no overnight fixes. A really great start in that journey is a website SEO audit.
A good website audit will look at:
- Broken links on your website
- 404 errors
- Title and meta-tag structure
- Page and rank authority
- Schema validation
- Page content
- Internal linking and navigation
This is one of the best things you can do. Investing in a site audit will give you a deep insight into your website’s footprint and more importantly, how you can fix and improve the areas that come back from the SEO audit.
If you want to learn more about an SEO audit as well as what the cost may look like, please read the blog – How much does SEO Cost?
5. Write Blogs and do a Podcast
Though creating rich content such as blogs and podcasts 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 blogs
- Blogs and Podcasts don’t turn into business
- I’m too busy to write blogs let alone a podcast
- I don’t know what to write or record
- I don’t know how to record a podcast
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.
Equally, thinking of the right subject matter and taking time to record a podcast takes planning and allocating both space and time.
When I explain to those reluctant to write blogs and record podcasts what the amazing returns they can get back, I see people transformed by an evangelical zeal to get writing & recording as well as start to share their content.
Let’s break it down – let’s look at blogs first:
Why 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 previously wrote a heartfelt and objective blog on how to evaluate and find a good Paid Search (PPC) Agency. It looked at how to evaluate Google Ads 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”.
Why podcasting works
Breathing life into words brings what you may read on a web page, to life.
It gives the listener a deeper understanding of what you may be trying to convey as well as create a different type of engagement by using another sensory part of the brain.
Also, think about how a user may engage with a podcast. You can’t read a blog while you’re driving or out running – but a podcast can create an almost intimate connection with the listener – some people say they even listen to podcasts in the shower. It has all the benefits of the blog we have mentioned previously – and more. So maybe do both and measure the impact of each.
For both podcasts and blogs, think about:
- Your topic
- Sub headings
- Images and video
- Distribution to social channels
- Research and statistics
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 of other touchpoints 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