Any content on your site can and should be used as a marketing tool for your business. Every piece of content you add to your website has the power to affect your SEO success.
If you examine the quality of your blog posts or product descriptions, are you truly making the most out of your digital marketing?
Having a wide array of good, high quality content can get your site sustained and consistent search traffic with no additional costs. This organic traffic is the polar opposite of PPC, i.e. paid advertisements which would require constant funding.
When looking at how to improve your marketability the first step should always be making sure your content is search engine optimised. Every page that you can optimise increases the number of people who are likely to find your site.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation is the umbrella term used to describe the different steps you can take to boost visibility.
It can be as simple as making sure keywords are all present to the more in-depth analysis of the way your website is actually put together to streamline it for users and search engines.
SEO covers a many potential methods and tools you can use to boost the visibility of your site. In short, it is essentially the techniques you can use to increase the amount of traffic to your site , your search rankings and to improve the retention of visitors.
The two main ways that this is done is through both off-page SEO and On-Page SEO. We will cover Off-page SEO in another article but for now, let’s examine what we can do on our website.
Adapting your content, which appeals to both search engines and your visitors is a great place to start. This will allow search engines to categorise and examine your site more quickly and easily, resulting in a higher position in search results.
The other is to work on the user experience which is the way your site is built. Google’s latest update, Core Web Vitals, is prioritising user experience. This update measures website performance against the searcher’s experience when they land on your website page. Take a moment to think about the ramifications of that statement. Your site’s content will now be taking a back seat to how it performs. From now onwards, onsite user experience will officially be a ranking factor in the SERP.
Neither one of these will be enough on its own to make up for a lack of preparation in the other. You could have the most engaging and thought-provoking content ever written on your site but if Google can’t find the content with its bots nobody will ever get to read it.
People tend to either be unaware of the steps they should take to allow their site to be more bot friendly, or they overcompensate and forget that SEO is also highly based on what people want and, consequently, what they are searching for.
Finding the perfect match between the core components is often what separates a good website from a great website, and that can be the difference between a company merely surviving and one flourishing online.
How does SEO work?
As you just read, SEO is simply making it easier for your website to be found through online searches. This can be achieved through a few different methods which will be outlined below.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and is only ever meant to be a quick primer on how SEO tips can help you change your site and the way in which they work. We have a more detailed guide on SEO found here.
When it comes to optimising your site the most efficient step to take is making sure you’re comfortable with SEO in all its forms.
These can be looked at broadly in two main camps; Content for users, and Content for Search Engines.
Just as explained above, despite the separation of the two, both need to be done at the same level and, ideally, should be done at the same time given how intertwined the two camps are.
You want to make sure that anything you push to your site is something that people want to read and that they know they can come to your site to see it.
For this to happen you need to know a number of things about both your customers and your site, namely:
What are my clients looking for?
- Relevant keywords
- User intent
What are the goals of your website?
- More downloads?
- Increased sales and revenue?
- Improved customer service?
The second aspect is making sure your site is available and accessible to search engines for them to be indexed for future searches.
Each one of these pages will then be filed and analysed in order to eventually rank your site against others when there is a relevant search.
When it comes to your site this means that any pages that would lower your rank based on lack of content such as form submissions should be excluded from this “crawl” through your website in order to keep your average score high.
The best way to start looking down this path is to sign up for a free Google Search Console account. It allows you to check through a list of your pages and see how many have made it into the Google index as well as submit sitemaps to make sure that the content you want to be pushed up is being pushed.
If your pages aren’t appearing and you can’t think of any reasons why it could be an indicator that Google is pushing your site down based on previous use of less desirable tactics.
That means that cramming your content full of individual words, especially non-relevant words, isn’t the best way of getting yourself noticed. Keywords and terms are still a thing to incorporate but they aren’t the be all and end all of SEO.
What no longer works?
Google and other search engines have become too advanced now to attempt to trick through what are known as “black hat” optimisation techniques. In short filling your site with common keywords and phrases just doesn’t cut it anymore.
In the past, site owners would use tricks like hiding unrelated terms in coloured fonts at the bottom of their pages to force themselves higher in more searches.
Fortunately for more ethically minded website owners this style of artificially inflating a sites hits will now have the opposite effect and force the site to the bottom of any search results. But since that method has been removed the playing field has just been made more even, enabling people with good and high quality content to rise to the top.
It did, however, mean that the importance of understanding and adapting to the changes in the search engine algorithms has dramatically increased. So by understanding what it is your customers or patrons want from you as a service you can slowly begin to build a stockpile of commonly searched words or phrases related to your product.
This can be as simple as thinking about what you would search if you were looking to find your own site to the more in-depth study of google and other engines search trends.
What other factors should you consider?
Obviously, Google isn’t the only search engine out there, Microsoft’s Bing or one of the newer commers Duck Duck Go are some notable competitors, so Google might not always be the way your audience finds your site. This doesn’t stop it being the most important search engine to tailor your site towards though.
Google accounts for more than 90% of all web searches when you look across all the sites they own. Of course, the vast majority of things you do to improve your SEO will apply to all of these engines, but you should try and keep in mind just how large Google’s market share is.
Even if appealing to Google isn’t what you want your company to do it is always advisable to make yourself familiar with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and to have a look at Bing’s too.
These two resources give you a quick rundown on how the search engines look at your site and content. They also give you a basic list of things to watch out for or to focus on to avoid falling foul of their automated rating criteria.
Domain Authority is perhaps the best metric for quickly and easy predicting how well your site will perform across a wide number of search engines.
It is a ranking system that essentially scans your entire website for the number and quality of external links. Your site will be given a ranking from 1 to 100 with every new site starting at 1.
The ranking is based on every other site that is currently indexed meaning that sites such as Google, Wikipedia, or Facebook can have a huge impact on the scores of much smaller sites. This means that despite your site score potentially looking very low there is no need to worry.
Domain Authority should be used as a comparative tool, so all that should interest you when it comes to your site is how you stack up against the sites of similar sized companies rather than aiming to get the highest score possible.
This is backed up by the fact that Domain Authority score isn’t something that is tracked by Google so while improving your score probably means that you are doing something right on your site, it shouldn’t be done to the detriment of any of the other SEO practices.
Another great feature of the Domain Authority ranking is the ability to look at the rank of individual page in what is predictably called Page Authority.
Page Authority can be a huge help in letting you see exactly which page of content is pulling people to your site or at least leaving enough of a mark to get noticed by other sites.
As an analytical tool this can really help you sculpt your content towards things that provide a tangible improvement.
Essentially SEO optimisation is a way to make sure your site is being seen. It needs to be seen by your users and by search engines and SEO optimisation is the way to do it.
Each aspect works together to reach the highest audience and understanding how it all comes together is a fundamental part of ensuring your website excels in pushing your brand forward.
Everything you do when it comes to web design choices and content creation should be geared to making your site reach more people.
SEO optimisation gives you the framework to do that.