The ability to be found online will always be close to the top of a company’s priorities. As search engines update regularly getting your SEO right can be a full-time job. Not a problem for larger organisations with whole teams dedicated to keeping their company top of the rankings. But what about marketers who must navigate digital in smaller teams, or even on their own? Here are 10 key steps to navigating your SEO journey.
Customer is key-words
What words and phrases would your target customers search if they were looking for a business like yours? What questions might they have that your website could answer? There are plenty of tools to help you research keywords, including Google’s own Adwords and Keywords Planner. If you don’t have AdWords you can search words and phrases in Google and they will list the related searches people have used at the bottom of the page.
Once you have a list of popular keywords you can check out your competitors and see where they rank. If they rank highly in the organic search results you can inspect their pages to see how they are set up and look at the tags they use, content they produce and their site structures. Think about the title they used, how many times the keyword appears and if the content is relevant or useful.
Need for speed
People expect to access information quickly online. The speed your site loads is therefore a major factor in your site ranking. If your site loads too slowly, search engines like Google will penalize it. You can use online tools to run a speed test such as Web Page Test, as well as this free tool to check if your website is being penalized. It takes only takes two seconds to check.
A quick glance at your website’s analytics will probably tell you that more customers are visiting your site on mobile devices than ever before. The usability of your site across these devices will be taken into account in search engine rankings. We are strong advocates of mobile responsiveness here at Modular as we have discussed in depth.
Watch your back
The quality of the sites that link back to your site is assessed by Google and taken into account when ranking you in search results. The more people that link to your content the more likely you are to be seen as the authoritative voice on a given subject. Use a free tool like this one to find out how they might be impacting your search ranking.
Research, research, research
Putting in the research time will make planning your SEO strategy much easier. If your website works quickly and can be used across devices then you can focus on the content you produce. SEO content is often known as hygiene or help as it is useful content that is specifically aimed at searches carried out by your target audience. This content should be included in your company’s content strategy, even if you are a small business. Writing a series of blogs based on keywords can be achieved with limited resources but could have a big impact on your online visibility.
SEO has been used and abused by many over the years so each new update from search engines such as Google and Bing sees their algorithms get smarter and smarter. If you’re artificially bumping up your rankings by taking shortcuts and engaging in shady business search engines – and probably your customers – will notice and will penalize you.
Don’t panic, it’s organic
Focus on developing content that truly reflects what your company can do and what you represent. Once you put your hygiene content out there you may wonder whether it is having an impact. Remember, improving your SEO is a process and getting there organically and through your own merits can be extremely rewarding.
Paying for the privilege
That said there are some pretty competitive markets out there when it comes to certain keywords. If paying for ads can turn small amounts of money into interest, customers and revenue, then you may want to consider this as part of your advertising budget. Your PPC strategy will depend on the type of business you run, the customers you are trying to reach, your objectives and how you attribute your marketing spend. Test-running an ad initially will help you to see what impact it has.
Don’t stop believing
SEO can be fairly daunting, even if you’re familiar with other aspects of digital. One of the best bits of advice we heard was that optimisation is a bit like dating. You need to try hard but not too hard. Find a balance that works for you, don’t make things up, put regular time and effort in and, most importantly, make sure you pay attention to what Google ‘thinks’ of you by periodically figuring out how and why you rank where you do.
At Modular we are always looking for ways to help our clients realise their business objectives and learn more about the digital world. To find out how we could support you
Call 0117 325 8050