SEO can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the process of optimising your website so that search engines can understand what it’s about and rank it higher in their results. This way you will get more traffic from people searching for topics related to your business online.
SEO can be such a daunting process, with SEO agencies charging thousands of pounds for their services and you’re not even sure what they do! The good news is that there are some simple things any business owner or blogger can do themselves in order to get started with building an online presence that will help them attract new customers.
Here are our ten easy tips for improving your own SEO:
Write for humans, not for search engines
Search engines have a job to do, but the best way to help them is by writing for humans first. Developing a site that people like and want to visit will naturally provide value and increase your rank in search results.
We see so many people spamming their content for keywords and it sounds so unnatural and robotic that people don’t like it and don’t bother reading it! Google hates this more! Search engines love web pages that are popular, as it tells them that the content is interesting and relevant, and they will then show them in their search results.
Do some keyword research and use long-tail keywords
Google has its own keyword tool, which is also what we personally use for our keyword research. If you’re trying to rank on Google, then why not use its own tool!
Do some research for keywords in your industry and try to favour the long-tail keywords. These are the ones that have more words – for example, instead of “website agency”, we’d perhaps go for “WordPress website agency in Shoreditch, London”.
There are so many great SEO software tools out there such SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz or SpyFu, just to name a few. Some of these even have free account options. Find out the data on your keywords and see which ones have the lowest competition and use these in your content as they will give you the best chance of ranking for that keyword.
Stand out from the crowd with original content and be relevant
One of the most important things you can do as a digital marketer is to be unique and relevant. This is especially true when it comes to content creation, which is where most people get stuck. They think they need to write something that will be liked by everyone, so they end up writing something generic, that ends up being bland and uninteresting.
When you create your own content, it helps establish yourself as an authority in your niche or industry. If you’re the only one talking about a particular topic, then it’s likely that people will find you for that topic as you’ll be the only resource out there!
Many people just try to copy popular trends because they think lots of people will visit their site as a result. Instead, you’re just one of thousands of others doing the same thing and not only will it be boring, but you may not be found. The bigger brands will always dominate these topics.
Rename all image files and add alt tags
Adding alt tags to your images is one of the easiest ways to improve the SEO of your site and make it more accessible.
ALT tags are used by screen readers, and they’re also a great way to get in additional keywords that are relevant to what you’re trying to describe. The best part is that there’s no limit on how many words you use in an alt tag!
It’s quite a slow process, especially if you have lots of images on your website, but it’s totally worth it!
Use a plugin like Yoast
If you have a WordPress website, then Yoast is a great SEO plugin! It’s completely free and acts a great guide for whether each page is likely to rank.
It works as a traffic light system, where red indicates that your content is not good enough and you will likely need some work to include more keywords or optimise your page in some way, and green means that it’s optimised nicely.
This plugin can also be used to write better content; it will even tell you which words or phrases don’t match the overall tone of your article. This is especially important when writing about certain topics where keywords are important, such as travel or fashion. You want to make sure that you don’t overuse certain words or phrases in an unnatural manner by making them too repetitive throughout your articles, otherwise Google might penalise you for trying too hard at ranking high on their search engine results pages (SERPs).
They also have a great “academy” where you can learn how to use their SEO plugin and other SEO tips to help your website rank in search engines.
Optimise your URLs and use subheadings to help Google understand your content
Your website URLs are also known as permalinks and we constantly see people leaving in default permalinks in their site such as yourdomain.com/page-123. You’re missing a trick here to put more keywords in your URLs.
By doing this, Google knows exactly what page it’s looking at when it crawls through your site. If you have a lot of pages (say, hundreds), then you can simply use the major topic or theme of that page for the URL and keep each individual word separated by hyphens (-). For example:
You could also separate each word with underscores (_), which would look like this:
To optimize your URLs further, try using phrases instead of single words; they’re easier to read. So if we were writing an article about how healthy foods help combat disease and aging, we might write our URL something like this:
Link to other websites and include internal links in your content
The next step is to build relationships with other websites. If you want to rank on Google, you need high quality backlinks. The more high-quality links you have, the more likely it will be that your site will be ranked high in search results.
There are two types of links that can help you build a strong reputation and increase your visibility online:
- Outbound links (links pointing to other sites)
- Internal links (links within your own site)
It’s important though, that these links are indeed of high quality, as spammy links can actually cause harm to your website’s SEO.
Share it on social media
Using social media for business is a whole other ball game, but social media is great for SEO too!
Whenever you share content on social media, you can add a call-to-action for your users to do something. If you link to content on your website, then this will count as a backlink and it will also drive traffic to your website.
If you create content that’s specific to each platform, then this is a great way to reach your exact audience and introduce them to your website’s content.
Ask for reviews
Review sites, such as Yelp and Trustpilot, are filled with reviews from consumers who have had positive experiences with local businesses. You can ask your customers to leave reviews on your website or on third party sites. We think that Google reviews are some of the most powerful, because again, it’s on their own platform! Plus, they pop up on the right-hand side whenever someone searches for your business!
Reviews are a great way to get your business known and they can help you get more customers! It’s important to remember that just because someone leaves a review doesn’t mean they’re going to stay loyal forever—so make sure you keep the good ones coming by providing them with excellent service in return.
SEO is an industry that is forever changing, and Google are still pretty secretive about their algorithm, so we consistently have to be educating ourselves on what’s effective in search engine optimisation.
Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy, and you shouldn’t expect to rank immediately. Expect to work hard at it for 6-12 months without any results (painful, I know!), but then the results you see will be totally worthwhile!
It’s important to also have a search engine optimisation strategy – are you looking for more customers, people to read your content etc., and what does success look like to you?
There are so many great SEO resources out there and incredible videos on YouTube that provide consistent tips that are up to date, so do check these out.