What good is your website if your target audience can’t find it?
Think of your website as real estate you’re trying to sell. If your home is not on the top listings, you can’t expect to get calls. Similarly, if your website is nowhere to be found on Google, Bing and Yahoo, then don’t expect to get any business from it.
Regardless of the nature of your work, if you’re planning to make a website, or have recently made one, SEO should be a fundamental part of your online marketing strategy. Here are the only 5 things you need to ensure your website is visible on search engines.
1) Improve Your Website Speed
You’re probably thinking, “but what has that got to do with SEO?”.
If your website is slow, unresponsive and/or not optimised for mobile, then you can’t expect visitors to stay for long. You only have 5 seconds to get the attention of your target audience. If your website doesn’t load in less than that time, you’re losing a potential customer.
Page speed on desktop and mobile is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. You can use the Google PageSpeed Tool to check the speed of your website on desktop and mobile, and identify issues that are slowing it down.
As Google and other search engines place more importance on user experience, you must ensure your website is not only fast, but easy to navigate as well. It’s always a good idea to test your website with people who were not involved in the development and get their feedback. This can help you identify and resolve user experience issues.
2) Build A Keyword Database
You probably have heard that “keywords are dead” or “you’ll get penalised for using them” from people who have a vague idea of what SEO is. The truth is, you can’t stuff keywords anymore in your content and get away with it.
Google and other search engines will punish you for pumping keywords in every sentence. However, search engines will reward you for using keywords in such a way that they blend well with the content.
Use Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords you can target. You will have to set up Google Ads to use Keyword Planner, which is free. Now, enter the services you provide to find keywords. For example, we provide digital marketing, social media marketing and SEO services, so I’ll add them down here.
Based on the services, I will get a full list of all keywords I can target, along with their search volume. I have selected the location as UAE, and these are the results I got.
Now that I am aware of the keywords, I can split them into three groups:
Core: keywords most closely related to the services I provide. I should use these keywords on most pages and articles. For example, social media marketing.
Supplementary: keywords which are a part of or supplement the services I provide. For example, Facebook advertising.
Long-tail: search terms and phrases which users might enter to find my services. For example, how to make Facebook lead generation ads.
A combination of these three keyword groups can do wonders for your website. While most long-tail keywords have low search volume, they have high click-through rates. This means you have a better chance of getting relevant traffic using these keywords.
But what’s the ideal keyword density?
Despite what you might have read on other blogs, there is NO ideal keyword density. Make no mistake, Google will penalise your blogs and pages for having too many keywords.
As long as the keywords appear naturally and do not negatively impact the readability, you are good to go. For example, this blog is about SEO, so naturally you’re going to see the term used a lot throughout the content.
Does that mean we will get penalised? Of course not. But if SEO was written multiple times in every line, you wouldn’t read this article, and Google wouldn’t bother ranking it either.
3) On-page SEO
On-page SEO incorporates all website optimisations to improve search engine rankings. You have total control over on-page SEO, and if something doesn’t work, you can always make changes. Focus on these four main aspects of on-page SEO.
Ideally, you should add keywords in the page title, headings (H1 and H2) and throughout the body. As discussed, there is no ideal keyword density. As long as you make sure they appear naturally, you are good to go.
You should have SEO titles and descriptions for all pages of your website. For example, this article has the following SEO tags:
As you can see, I have incorporated the keyword SEO in the title and description. This is a good example of meta tags that are both search engine and user friendly. Now this is how our SEO service page looks like on Google search:
See the difference? For the page, we’re focusing more on telling the user what we can do with a call to action in the end. On the other hand, the focus of the article is the topic itself. The only thing common between the two is the keyword.
So when you’re preparing meta tags, make sure they are SEO friendly and also provide value to the potential visitor. They’re the first thing people will see in search results, so they should leave a lasting impression.
We retain information better when it’s presented visually. The images and graphics should compliment your website pages and articles. Ideally, you should have at least one image with a blog and multiple images on the core pages of your website.
Image size matters a lot. If your image file size is big, it will take time to load, which slows down the page speed, leading to poor user experience and eventually poor SEO. Reduce the image file size as much as possible without compromising the quality. Ideally, you should keep the image size below 70kb.
SEO text for images is also important. The above picture has the following text:
Alt text: SEO
Description: SEO ranking factors
Alt text is basically a text alternative to an image. They should be descriptive to improve web accessibility and help you improve image search rankings. Adding descriptions and captions to the images is a user experience improvement which may further promote your images in Google search.
Internal links allow Google and other search engines to easily crawl and index your website. They also help improve page views, time on site and create a journey for your website visitors. Ideally, all pages on your website should have links to other pages.
For example, if you’re writing an article about the benefits of home renovation, it should have an anchor text that links to home renovation service page, which in turn links to gallery page, which links to get a quote form. This way, you are defining a journey for your visitor, who is now spending more time on your website, visiting more pages, and may eventually turn into a customer.
4) Off-page SEO
Now that you know how to optimise your website, it’s time to work on off-page or off-site SEO. Link building is the best way to increase traffic, build credibility and improve your search ranking.
The first thing you should do is list your company on local business directories. Ideally, you should list it in all regions you service. For example, if you operate in UAE and Oman, then create listings in both countries. Here are 5 business directories in UAE where you can add your listings for free.
If your website is new, but your business has been operating for a while, then ask your clients to include your link on their website. It could be a link in one of their articles or on their partners section. Getting backlinks from popular or high traffic websites can greatly improve SEO as Google will consider your website reliable.
There are paid backlinks as well. Guest blogging on high authority websites can help you drive relevant traffic to your website. Entrepreneur and Business Insider are two examples of high traffic, high authority websites where you can guest blog and add backlinks.
Another way to reach a large audience is through influencer endorsements. You can ask influencers in your industry to do a product review or endorsement of your brand and share it on their website and social channels.
For example, Neil Patel is a digital marketing influencer whose blogs consistently appear in search results and has a large social media following. So it makes sense for an up and coming business in the industry to work with him. Influencers can help you maximise exposure by positively presenting your brand.
You should also share your articles and website links on social media. A case study by Moz revealed that backlinks from social media do not impact SEO directly. However, if your content is good, it will likely be shared on social media.
With increased website traffic and awareness, more people will search for your business on Google and other search engines. So while social media won’t directly impact your SEO, it can increase your reach and drive quality leads to your site.
5) Set Up Google Analytics and Search Console
You can’t fix what you don’t know. That’s where Google Analytics and Search Console come into play.
Google Analytics allows you to understand how organic traffic flows through your website and where it’s coming from.
For example, you can find out how many traffic sessions are coming from Facebook, which pages people visit, and at what point they leave your website. This is valuable information that helps you further optimise the website. Ideally, you should set up Google Analytics just before launching the website so that you can start getting data immediately.
Once Google Analytics is set up, you can then add Search Console.
Search Console allows you to see who links to your pages, most-linked content, how pages are linked and more. You can also view impressions and click-through rates for keywords to identify which terms people are using to find and visit your website.
As your website starts to rank for targeted keywords and brings traffic, Google Analytics and Search Console can give you insight on how to improve your SEO further.
So that covers all the SEO basics for your new website. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Need a hand? Get in touch with us and our SEO specialists will take it from there!