SEO (search engine ranking) techniques for your business in 2020
What is SEO? Is SEO important for every business? Should you invest in SEO or can you do with out it?
These are questions asked by every start up and new business who is ready to launch their website.
It's very well that I’ve got this all singing all dancing website, but is anyone going to see it? How do I drive traffic to it?
The online world is bigger than ever with more websites currently live than ever before! There is so much information and content out there it can be hard to find let alone engage with.
Firstly what is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is Google’s way of identifying how websites should be ranked and in what order for the different queries and questions typed into its search engine.
The first result on Google has around 30% change of getting clicked. For the second, that percentage has halved to 15% and so on as you go down the listings. So you can imagine how important companies rate improving their SEO, everyone vying for that top spot on Google.
If SEO didn’t exist then it wouldn’t be difficult for rich companies to manipulate the ranking. It is responsible for keeping the playing field fair and helps deserved websites appear in the search results.
With Google’s ever-evolving algorithm changes, SEO is still as complex and confusing as ever and in truth we don’t fully understand it. But there are some tried and proven techniques that will improve your ranking and that will cost you nothing. You can apply some of these techniques to your website to improve your ranking.
Ways to Improve your SEO.
1. Content is King
You need to come up with a content marketing strategy, don’t wait for clients to come to you. You need to go out and drive traffic to your site. Make sure your website and social media are updated regularly. If you don’t put any work out there then how is anyone going to know you exist and let alone buy into your services. There are lots of ways of doing this through various channels. Make sure your content is informative and engaging, websites that provide highly informative and educational content generally have a higher conversion rate resulting in more clients.
You need to choose which social media platforms your are going to use and update them regularly with interesting and engaging content. I know from first hand when you start out and you see people with 100K followers and you’ve got 43 and one of them is your Mum it can be disheartening. This takes time and you’ve just got to stick in there and work hard. Those people didn’t get success over night they worked hard for it.
Creating a blog is a great way of creating awesome content to engage potential clients. But creating content for use on only your own site can get lost in the sea of websites and entrepreneurs starting out the same as you. The best way to go about it is to write guest blogs on other people more established websites, they get awesome content for free and you in turn get a platform to demonstrate your knowledge and get credited for it in front of a whole new audience.
You can read about some digital marketing strategies here, in another blog post I have written.
2. Meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are short descriptions that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) for each webpage that ranks successfully. They explain to clients what your company is offering and help search engines categorise your website.
It has been suggested that having a meta description does not directly improve a webpage’s search engine ranking. However, having detailed and relevant descriptions of your pages does improve click-through rates. This signals to search engines that the information is useful to your readers, which does place those pages at an advantage when it comes to rankings.
You need to make sure your description is relevant to your key words and is no longer than 150 characters. Make sure the content is interesting and relevant and makes the searcher want to click on your site.
3. Use of Heading Tags
The use of headings within your website will not only improve the landing page experience but will also allow search engines to properly index your website.
Potential clients attention span is only a slightly more than a goldfish, 10 seconds is the average time you have before they click away from your page. So organisation of content is key to engage the viewer. By maximising the time that people spend on your site is so important in improving your SEO.
This main heading introduces your page’s content to users and search engines alike. Your H1 tag should also normally include your main target keyword, to cement the topic of your content and improve the likelihood that your content will be shown to users searching for that particular topic.
These are like book chapters, organising your content into different sections.
These are used as subheadings within your content. Have you noticed that this blog post has done just that? Dividing content into manageable sections per main subject not only means the content itself is easier to read, but it provides more value to users, as it increases their overall experience of your website.
4. Improve your website speed
The faster you website loads then the higher search engines rank it. Also in today’s world if people are waiting more than a couple of seconds then the chances are that they have clicked on to another website. Website speed is vital in creating clients from clicks. Research has shown that 40% of people who visit a website will leave if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load and won’t return due to the poor service and memory of the Website. This can have a detrimental effect on your site and can demonstrate to search engines that your site is not worth ranking highly.
In 2010 Google put out a statement on their webmasters blog which read, “Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”
There are sites out there that test your website speed and load time like https://gtmetrix.com/ and Google Search Console will also run a speed test and tell you different ways to optimise your site and improve your loading speed.
Faster sites definitely rank higher than their slower adversaries.
5. Optimise your Images
Your website needs images, otherwise it would be pretty boring right? It needs cool images that have high quality resolution and are not pixelated, that load quickly and don’t slow down your site. You need to ensure your website’s visitors see an image resolution appropriate for the screen size they are viewing. This plays a huge part in ensuring fast page loading times for your site. How to achieve this is optimisation of images.
Basically, image optimisation only downloads the necessary image size required for the device it is being viewed on. For example if you website was being display on a 37 inch iMac it would download a higher resolution image, if it was being viewed on a 1 inch smart watch it would only need a smaller image. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to serve perfectly sized images, no matter the device. If your website is built on WordPress, a simple plugin is all it takes. Other platforms like Webflow have image optimisation built in. How easy is that?
6. Outbound Links to other websites
How will using outbound links increase your chance of getting a high search ranking? I hear you asking. Well search engine algorithms can learn a lot about your site entirely based upon who you link to and how. Links from your website to another website will increase the relevance of your content. Commonly these are used to verify facts, back up sources or simply point readers toward resources. You can think of the link as creating a map for people searching different industries and sectors and how relevant you page is to their search. You are helping create structure for the web.
To build a search engines trust in your website you need to provide backlinks to high authority pages and demonstrate that you are a legitimate in your field. This increases a search engine’s confidence when ranking your page as a result for their users. It’s like a form of association with high authority sources and boosts your reputation by operating in the same circles as the big names and players.
Using outbound links in your content can also help to establish a network with other bloggers, journalists, websites and companies. With you endorsing their work you will hopefully encourage them to do the same in return.
You might think that creating a website with good SEO is difficult but it doesn’t have to be. There is a lot to learn but it gets easier the more familiar you become with the subject matter. You don’t have to get everything right the first time around. What matters is that you master the basics and constantly strive to improve upon your existing work.
SEO is vital for your businesses success and is a critical process for startups, in order to boost awareness, traffic and conversions. Optimising your content will not only improve your startup’s search rankings but will increase the professionalism and user experience of your website. Try some of these ways to improve your SEO today, they will improve your ranking over time and best of all they are FREE.