How far do you have to scroll when you search for your own website in Google or other search engines? If you’re not on the first results page, it’s unlikely that potential customers are coming across your website. You need to take a look at your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and improve your SEO ranking to make sure your website takes the top spot in search engine results pages.
SEO is a massive topic, and there’s never a point where you can tick “SEO website” off your to-do list. It’s a continuous task, and the more you upload optimised content to your website, the higher your SEO ranking will be. We’ve created this article to give you SEO tips so that you can start using for your website to help you bring more customers to your business.
In a nutshell, the better your SEO is, the higher your website will “rank” on a results page when potential customers search for a “keyword”. You want to be in the top spot in a search engine listing because it’s unlikely that your customers will head to page two or beyond.
Google and other search engines monitor every page on the internet and build an idea of the usefulness of your website to decide where you should rank in a search. The easier you make it for the search engine “crawlers” to read and understand your site, the higher you’ll be listed. Think of it as lots of little workers moving from page to page of the internet with a big checklist of things to look out for.
When learning the SEO basics, you can break it down into two chunks: on page SEO and off page SEO.
On page SEO
On page SEO is the ways that you use keywords in your website content to let search engine crawlers know what you’re talking about and connect you with the people who are searching for that topic. If you know exactly what your customers are searching for, and the exact wording that they’re using to search, you can make some really great content that you know without a doubt people want.
To find these key words, you’ll need a Google AdWords account. AdWords has lots of really useful features that you might want to look at another time, but for SEO ranking, we’re interested in the Keyword Planner Tool. You can search your topic and see exactly how many times people have been searching for it and discover the working they’re using to do so, which you can then use on your website. When you use the tool, keep an eye on:
- Average monthly searches – from this, you can see approximately how many times people have searched for those key words that month. The more searches, the better your chances of being found.
- Competition – if there’s lots of competition for your key words, you might need to start paying to compete. Look for terms that are less popular to give yourself the best chances to be found.
- Bid price – you can put money behind your key words and have your website appear as an advert when people are searching, guaranteeing you a top spot. This can be costly and going for searches with low or no bid is your best option when learning SEO basics.
How to use your keywords in your content
Using your keywords successfully in your content can take a bit of time to learn. If you use them too frequently, it can actually lower SEO rankings as search engines will view it as spam. One of the best SEO tips to keep in mind is to have your keywords take up around 2% of your text.
Makes sure your keywords are used in:
- Titles – titles are what lets your readers and search engines know what you’re talking about, so use your keywords in them.
- Headers – there are different types of headers that you can use your keywords in. A H1 header appears largest on the page and search engines will read them as being most important. H2 headers are less important, leading to H3 and H4 ones, decreasing in importance as the number goes up.
- Text – it’s good practise to use you keyword in the first line after a head to reiterate to search engines that you are talking about the topic. You should also use them in the rest of the text, but don’t go over that 2% rule.
- “Metadata” and page titles – to help make it really clear for search engines what you’re writing about, include it in what’s called your metadata. Sounds fancy, but all it means is the little bit of text that appears your title on the search engine listing. And your page title is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s the bit of information that sits at the top of a tab when someone has the page open.
Using images in your content makes it much more appealing, but a search engine won’t understand what a picture is showing unless you tell it. To clue a search engine in, all you have to do is use an “alt tag” on your picture, which describes what the image shows. It’s always a good idea to include your keywords in the tag too.
If you'd like some great images to use for your promotional material, we've got you covered. Check out our free Yorkshire image library here.
Off page SEO
Off page SEO includes all the things you do away from your business website to help search engines rank your site. It’s about showing that your website is something that people find useful. The off page SEO tips are:
- Link building – other sites linking through to yours shows search engines that you are trusted by others, especially if it’s a well-established site. Consider chambers of commerce and trade unions as they often list local business websites.
- Social media – if you have content that can be shared, that’s great for SEO as it lets search engines know that people actually like what you’re doing. Social media is perfect for your customers to interact with and share what you produce.
- Mentioning other businesses – if you help another business build links on your site, they’ll likely respond and link through to your site on their business page too.
- E-Marketing – any emails you send to your customers should link back to your website to make it easy for customers to find you and increase your SEO.