Everyday, over three billion internet searches are conducted worldwide. This means that people are looking for you and your business every single day. How many of these people are actually finding you?
If you are struggling to be found, you’re not alone. This is because as of January 2021, there were an estimated 1.87 billion websites on the internet. It’s not hard to get lost.
The great news is, it’s not hard to be found either. And that’s where SEO comes into play.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of matching words in people’s searches to words on your website pages, so when a potential customer makes their search, your website appears in front of them, right at the top.
Search engines work hard scouring the internet to bring people the content that best meets their needs. Your job is to create great content that satisfies those searches and structure the information in a way that allows search engines to find you.
What’s important to realise is that you may only have one website, but that website has several pages, and each page is an opportunity for a search engine to find you.
“To improve the SEO of your website then you need to look at each and every page of that site. If you do that you’ll start to see a difference. You’ll start being found.”
So what does every page of your website need in order to improve SEO?
STEP 1 – Keywords
Your keywords are the main words you use to describe your business, products or services. These words need to be used throughout your website content, and on every page.
An important note to remember is once you have chosen your keywords, you need to stick to those exact words, and avoid using variations.
For example: if you use choose the keyword photographer, make sure you have used exactly that word on every page of your site before you start using variations such as photograph, photography, photographic, photo etc
The reason for this is that search engines are machines operating on algorithms. They look for perfect matches first, and put those at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). So if someone types in photographer, and you have used it on every page of your site, you are more likely to appear higher on the SERP.
Another good tip for service providers is to use your location as a keyword. This is especially important if your services are only available in a specific area and cannot be delivered online or via a postal service.
Any trade, such as a plumber, hairdresser, or mechanic for example, can use their town or city as a keyword, as people often search for specific services in certain areas. Also, using a keyword that is less common (because not all websites in your industry will be in your area) will help you stand out more.
“Google knows a lot about your customers, so the more we can help Google connect us to those people the better,” says Aaron.
STEP 2 – Structure
A good website structure not only appeals to the reader, but also search engine algorithms and it’s this appeal that helps your SEO.
Think about the pages and layout of your site:
Does it flow logically?
Is it all still relevant?
Is it easy to navigate and find what you’re offering?
A well-organised site allows a search engine to easily find, assess and evaluate the contained content. If the search engine finds the page worthy, it will allow that page to be displayed on the SERP.
Well-organized structures also appeal to visitors since they can find the thing they were expecting in a place they expected to find it. This keeps your reader happy and on your site longer.
STEP 3 – Titles and Meta Descriptions
The name of your site matters, and so does the title on each page of your site. An easy way to get the search engines to find you is to include at least one of your keywords in the title of each of your website pages.
Meta descriptions are the 160 characters found on the SERP that summarise the content of each webpage. It’s really important that you review these meta descriptions for each of your website pages.
If left untouched, a meta description will be the first few lines that appear on a webpage, and more often than not, this is not the best description of the page. It can confuse the reader, especially if the description ends mid sentence (remember – it only uses the first 160 characters), and generally looks unprofessional. Not a great first impression.
To avoid this, write your own meta description and manually change it on your website, making sure you create a simple and concise description of the page with a few of those handy keywords thrown in to improve that SEO.
STEP 4 – Monitor your performance
Once you have everything in place, you need to track your performance. You’ve put in all this work (yes SEO is a lot of work) and now you need to know if it’s doing what it needs to and bringing you a return.
You also need to know if you have done it right. SEO is not a set and forget item, nor is it a one-size-fits-all. There may be places where changes are needed, and improvements can be made.
A lack of results doesn’t necessarily mean “SEO doesn’t work”. It could simply mean that you need to change or tweak what you’re doing.
And closely monitoring your results lets you know whether you’re on the right track… or need to change course.
Logging into Google Analytics is one of the easiest ways to track your SEO progress. This handy little tool reviews your keyword rankings, organic traffic, time spent on the sites and its pages and so on.
Keeping an eye on this will help you to make changes where needed, and will also show you how any content updates on your site have affected your SEO performance.
Our final tip
SEO is neither quick nor simple, so it’s OK to feel overwhelmed – we’ve all been there.
- work on each page of your website as its own little project, thinking about what you want those search engines to pick up from the page.
- Any new content you develop needs to match your SEO, so keep those keywords front of mind.
- Keep track of your progress. The more you watch and learn, the better you’ll get at this and soon enough, you’ll be #1 on that SERP.