If you look through almost every single industry there is, there is always one constant tip to take on board for you to be able to achieve your aims; keep things simple. Many people take the ‘run before you can walk approach’ and apply complicated methods to achieve the right results. Like a football manager who bustles into a new job and immediately tries to play an overcomplicated system that is just too confusing for the players to understand – it won’t work and will only present adverse results. Believe it or not, that analogy is exactly the same in every industry that deals with people, including websites! Maybe in the long term, strategies can be horned and shaped, eventually branching off into the style that you’d like to eventually implement, but to start with – you need to get people and on board, listening from the off, so the simple method is always the best. Make sure you can walk, before you attempt to run.
If you administer a website – the best way to gain long-term results is by implementing web page optimisation into your content.
What is Search Engine Optimisation? Why do I need it anyway?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a long-term web page optimisation strategy that is designed to improve your website’s visibility in search engines, which include Google, Yahoo and Bing. By creating specially-arranged content, that is peppered with keywords that users would use their search engine to look for, you are able to make your site rank more higher; dramatically increasing the likelihood that it will receive a vast increase in visitors.
What exactly are search engines looking for?
Search engines exist to present their users with quality content – if they didn’t, then they nobody would use them. So they ‘reach out’ to the internet and using complex lines of code (generally referred to as ‘spiders’) that literally crawl the web and latch on to web pages that fulfil the criteria that they have set out in their code. That criteria generally looks for web pages that;
- Have quality content that contains the right amount of keywords and clear-enough styles of presentation.
- Perform well . How fast does your site run? Keeping your pages minimal (and not stuffing them with pictures and videos) is key. This is why blogs are so popular – because due to the minimalist nature of them, helps to rank them highly in a search engine.
- Link To Authority . Does your website contain a good amount of quality content that can be linked to, or does it contain links to ‘authority’ sites?
o Authority sites are websites that are known by the industry to offer ‘quality’ content – such as news pages, online encyclopaedias, popular blogs etc. The spiders recognise these sites as ‘safe’, so any link to them will be highly regarded. In the long-term, if your website continues to post quality content and is well-received – you may even become an authority site!
- Provide a good user experience . How does your website look? Is it attractive enough in presenting its content? Is it easy to navigate around? Is your website safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?
o A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing only one page. The aim is obviously to have as low a bounce rate as possible. You need to keep people on your website by making multiple pages attractive and intriguing enough that people will stick around and want to learn more about what you have to offer.
What are search engines NOT looking for
We all have a certain amount of storage space on our personal computers – the same goes for even the biggest of search engines. Only the better optimised pages will be able to stick around a search engines’ rankings – people even resort to tricks in an attempt to attract the bots into ranking their website. When found, the search engine will not display any website that indulges in ‘Black Hat SEO’. Things that search engines don’t want to see include;
- Keyword stuffing . Many people make the mistake of constantly stuffing the same keywords all over a piece of content in order to attract the spiders. If it notices the same keyword used over-and over, the spider will just crawl on by, looking for other, better content related to the same keyword that they can rank. A keyword is better displayed every 70-100 words.
- Poor user experience . If you make it difficult for the user to get around, or cram that much onto your web pages – then they are not going to bother reading your content and just move off your website. This will increase you bounce rate and one of those diminutive spiders from a search engine will just pass on by.
Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO
Even if you abide by SEO practices – there are ways in which you can become unstuck if you fall into the trap of using any ‘underhand’ SEO techniques. There are two main types of SEO techniques; Black Hat and White Hat SEO.
Black Hat is the tactic of using repetitive, unrelated (and sometimes, hidden) keywords on a website that focus on attracting search engines to list their content (sometimes that are not even related to the keywords) as high as possible. The method is employed by those who are seeking a quick financial return on their website, in place of any long-term strategy, as Black Hat SEO could see a website eventually banned from a search engines listings.
White Hat is the method that uses keywords tailored to a particular audience and fall within SEO best practices. This is a strategy that is best employed by businesses that are seeking a long-term presence in a search engines listings. With White Hat tactics, search engines are more likely to uphold your rankings as you continue to grow and add more content, so if you’re a website that is need of a constant flow of visitors - this is the only tactic that you will need.
How to build a cohesive SEO strategy
Now we’ve established what SEO is, as well as what and not what to do – it’s time to build a cohesive SEO strategy. Instead of paying through the nose for marketing courses or advertising that will only offer short-term results, SEO offers a simple web page optimisation solution by laying down a long-term plan in order to attract users to your website. By using specially-arranged keywords that a user may search for, you can design intriguing, quality content that will attract a reader and make them interested in your services. But where do you start? Here are some tips on creating a good SEO strategy;
- Research your target audience – If you’ve ever tried to do anything in the dark, then you obviously know how difficult it can be – trying to do SEO without knowing who your target audience is, or what they want, is the exactly same. Take the time to ‘turn the light on’ to your audience, to see who they are, what they want and what it’ll take to make them interested in your services. Ask yourself these questions before you start;
1. What keywords would my customer or target audience use to describe what they want?
2. What is generally the one thing that may prevent someone from using my service?
3. What is the best way for me to engage with them?
- Make a list of keywords – If your ability to think up content is the brains of your website, then SEO is the heart. Users will search for simple keywords and you possessing the right ones, could make-or-break your strategy. Make sure to compile a list of at least 10 keywords associated with your business and enter them into Google’s keyword tool to find variations of them that make sense to your business. Using the tool, narrow down the given keywords to between 10-15 and rank these in order of preference, as they relate to your business. This keyword list should be treated like an ongoing project that needs to be updated once a month, as search trends constantly change, so you need to be able to keep up as you continue to post content.
- Build a page that is focused on the keywords – The most important step – now you have your keywords, be sure that you know how to implement them in your content. It’s always much better to have multiple web pages relating to different keywords and phrases. Getting one page filled with all your keywords to rank is extremely difficult – and having more pages present in a search engine will increase the chances of your website being visited. Create a list of the different web pages and rank them in order of importance, this will then give you an opportunity to plan when to post your content.
- Blog! – Blogging can be an extremely effective way to get your pages to rank. Offering you the chance to vary your content by talking about, well anything, that may relate to your products/services, will give you the opportunity to slip in more varied keywords that you may not necessarily be otherwise able to do. It’s important to remember that your blog should be written for your intended audience, so make sure that the content is somehow relevant and the keywords fit in seamlessly.
- Create a link-building plan – Away from on-page SEO, link-building is a huge factor in how search engines rank your web pages. Have a think about all the ways in which you can attract inbound links to your website. Follow our golden rule first though – keep it simple. Maybe enter into a share agreement with local businesses to share each other’s links on your sites? Post your content on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ - this will give your outbound links a wider coverage and the likelihood that it will get shared by others and seen by your intended target audience.
- Track your competitors – An often overlooked, but an extremely effective way of creating a sound web page optimisation strategy – is having a look at what your competitors are doing. Understanding their methods will give you an idea of how they appeal to their customers – and how your own philosophy must stand out from the competition. Following these simple steps will help you to build a good knowledge of your competitors
1. List all your competitors – use a search engine to search for similar websites, using keywords that you have already mined that relate to your service, location and content. Remember - the websites that appear on the first couple of pages of a search are the ones that get SEO right, so be sure to study them in detail.
2. Research your competitors – now you’ve got your list, look closely at their websites, specifically the written content and look at the keywords and different styles they use to present the information.
3. Compare them with your website – once you’ve got the information on who your competitors are and what they do to implement SEO, look at your own website and compare. Think about how you can present similar ideas, but done to your specific style so you can stay ahead of them.
- Keep up with latest SEO news and practices – just like everything in the world changes and moves on – so does SEO. Keywords that people enter will always change, so make sure that you stay ahead of the game and keep researching your keywords and the SEO industry in general.
Adapting these easy steps will set you on the path of optimising your website, helping you to retain readers and hopefully, increase conversions. So put on your white hat, sit at your computer – and happy optimising!
SEO Junkies – experts in Search Engine Optimisation!
Here at SEO Junkies we are a professional web page optimisation agency that is dedicated to helping websites to improve their output and gain more visitors. We have vast experience in the industry, having already helped many businesses, of varying sizes, to rank better on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you’re looking for help on SEO and would like to learn more about the method, or any other digital marketing service, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of friendly experts today on 0118 380 0203 or you can send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org