This month I’m delighted to welcome SEO specialist Rachel Hodges to my blog, with her follow on from my SEO-related PR tips last month. In her guest blog, Rachel gives you some suggestions for helping to get your website higher up the rankings.
As a small business there are so many ways you can improve the quality of your website’s SEO. We have to face the fact that there isn’t a one-stop fix to get you to the top of Google’s first page of results. However, the good news is that every small change and tweak you make to your website is going to have a positive impact. Here’s some great ways all local businesses can adopt the written content of their websites to help themselves be found online.
Search engines are very capable of finding local information, and today about 50% of all searches made online have some degree of local interest. So, it’s your job to make it clear where your business is located. Think about the size of area you serve. Perhaps you’re a Kent-based business that services all of the South East. Explain this at various points across your website and don’t rely on just your address to explain where you reach.
Make sure your business name, address and phone number (NAP) are correct on your site, and if you are listed on Google My Business don’t forget to request an update when any of these change. Help Google more by adding your location(s) to your website’s footer, so it appears on every page. Also, if you’re using a serviced office in another location make sure that address is also added.
Whatever you may hear to the contrary, keywords are still one of the most important elements in helping Google find your website. No longer do you have to put strings of single words and phrases into the back-end. Instead, the challenge is to incorporate them naturally into the written content on the public-facing page itself. You’ll also want to repeat them about three times every 100 words so that Google will recognise them as being significant.
When researching keywords, think as laterally as possible. Consider what you already know about your products and services. Check in the Acquisition area of your Google Analytics to discover what words people are searching for when they come to your website via a search engine. You’ll also want to draw up a list of synonyms, to find ways to describe something that will suit a broad range of search terms.
The concept of long-tail keywords has been a factor for improving SEO for many years and was first coined in an article in Wired Magazine in 2004. Today’s interest in local searches means that they are now probably more important than ever before. Long-tail keywords are much more targeted than the general keywords that every page needs to have. They answer a very specific information request and can be used by people who know what they are looking for and therefore are nearer to a conversion.
Here’s an example of how you can use keywords to produce long-tail keywords. Let’s imagine you have a website offering ukulele lessons. General keywords may be ‘ukulele lessons’ and ‘ukulele lessons Bromley’. Then longer keyword phrases could be ‘ukulele lessons for beginners in Bromley’, ‘take ukulele lessons if you’d love to play an instrument’, ‘easy to learn ukulele lessons taught in Bromley’, ‘learn music the easy way and have ukulele lessons in Bromley’.
There are a great many ways you can positively impact the authority of your website. Having incoming links to your website from trusted listing websites will improve your website’s Domain Authority ranking – a score of quality that each website is given. The higher it is, the more it positively influences you reaching the number one position on Google. Ensuring you’re describing your company consistently across your business will grow your Brand Authority.
And the authority doesn’t stop there. The quality of the content on your website helps show Google that you are an authority. Make sure your page content is genuine to you. Don’t be scared of writing too much, but don’t ramble. Around 300 words per page is about ideal or write more to a length that’s appropriate if the topic demands it.
If your website is primarily a portfolio of images, make sure that you include at least one paragraph of text, with keywords, at the top of each page. The search engines prioritise information gleaned from page content over any image naming conventions.
Hopefully, we’ll soon be at a stage where every website is running a Content Management System (CMS), allowing you easy access to change the text. The other great bonus feature of a CMS is its functionality for setting up key SEO assets such as Title Tags, Alt Tags, naming images and creating page URLs. Follow the guidance your CMS gives and don’t leave any of these fields blank. They really are an important part of helping the search engine understand what your website is about.
If you’re using a WordPress site (like this one), then make sure you activate the Yoast SEO plugin (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast). It’s easy-to-interpret health-check feature assesses a broad range of factors and scores them as Red, Amber or Green for SEO. This makes making improvements really fast and effective.
As you can see, there are so many ways you can improve your on-page SEO and help your business. However you start, start today.
Rachel Hodges has been a copywriter for many brands including luxury retailers Harrods and Selfridges and managed and improved websites for organisations in a variety of sectors including online retail, B2B consultants and the professional service industries.
Through training and consultancy in SEO and content writing, Rachel supports SMEs to achieve greater understanding and improved results. She works with businesses building their first website or those wanting to take their current site to the next level.