A guide to initially improve your website's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
As a small business, ODI recognises the importance of ranking high in search engines like Google, in order to attract potential clients. Having recently had the big job of relaunching our website, we found it needed a lot of focus. So we decided to write this quick “guide” for anyone else that is trying to improve their Google rankings.
1. Set up a Google Business account
This is pretty self explanatory, but having your company listed on Google is very easy, it’s free and enables you to appear in local search results – start small, right? This is also great to link to which is essential in order to understand your customers’ behaviour on your site.
2. Mobile friendly sites are key
Who doesn’t use their phone to look up stuff on the internet these days? You’d be very silly not to make sure that your site works perfectly on mobile platforms, and you could certainly lose a lot of potential customers if you don’t. These days a lot of web building platforms automatically do this for you, quickly and cheaply with plugins for your, so you really don’t have any excuses!
3. Keyword Searches
This is by far the most important but equally the trickiest – you need to identify keywords that you can use throughout your website, ie. identify the search terms that people use in order to find your type of product/service. You will most likely need to do some keyword research and identify gaps in the market, because if you are using the same keywords as your bigger competitors you won’t really be getting any higher than them in Google searches as they are more established, and will most likely have more coverage online.
4. Online Tools for the win
Google Keyword Planner is a great online tool that help you identify keyword gaps in the market and help you capitalise on this aspect of your site.
Another great tool is Google Webmaster/Google Search Console which helps you track your site’s search performance, and provides you with a wealth of information to help improve the performance and any errors you may have. Give it a go, it’s also free!
5. Images/ALT Text
One of the most time-consuming jobs (but it’s worth it in the end) – if you run a heavily image based website like ours, then you need to optimize the SEO on these images! Start with the file name – this shows up in your website HTML so make sure you include your keywords here too so that the images show up high in search engines! Alt text is where it can get painful, as you need to your images – this is what will show up if the image won’t load or if someone is visually impaired, but it will also hugely help your Google ranking as you can include keywords here too! Think of it like, Google can’t ‘see’ your images but it certainly can ‘read’ them! The Alt text needs to be clear, concise and not use too many keywords – you are describing the image!
Internal and external linking is important for SEO as you are linking relevant topics and themes together in a sensible way – not only for website readers but more importantly for search engines. These links help establish the authenticity and credibility of your business, so it’s important to only use helpful links and avoid unrelated ones, as this may harm your rankings.
Social Media is a safe bet when it comes to backlinks, not to mention the mass audience that it reaches, making it a very effective online marketing tool. You should really try to link as much of your business’s website onto your social media accounts as possible (without spamming your followers, of course!).
Press releases/Blog mentions are another great way to get some backlinks to your website, although this can be very pricey. If you want to go the cheap way you could try free press websites like PRWeb.com, or try posting your links in the comments of relevant blogs or forums.
As you will be aware of, SEO and online marketing is very time-consuming, and it can take a while to see exponential results, but if you start will these simple steps, then soon your website will be ranking on the first page of Google!
Good Luck! :)
By Savannah Rado