Simply put, the more visitors you have on your website, the more opportunities you will have to make a sale. SEO is about increasing the number of visitors to your website.
SEO Basics for Beginners Part 1 of this blog looked at what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is and why it is essential in helping drive quality traffic to your website.
Part 2 looks at how to get started and the key marketing tools to use.
Where is a good place to start SEO?
We probably need to start by pointing out that there is no quick fix to SEO. It requires time and effort and needs to be looked at as an on-going, longterm marketing activity. However, “marketers who commit to the effort required in creating quality content can improve their SEO positions” (Kaci Bower, www.sherpablog.marketingsherpa.com)
We mentioned in Part 1 that successful SEO centres around creating fresh, relevant and authoritative content. So how do we go about ensuring our content is exactly that?
There are three key areas to focus on when starting Search Engine Optimisation.
- Keyphrase Analysis
- On-page optimisation
- Link building
1. Keyphrase analysis
Before spending time optimising your website for the keywords you think people will find your site with, find out what they are actually looking for instead.
It’s straightforward enough to find out what the most number of people type in and search for in relation to your types of products and services. This allows you to optimise your website for the best keywords that will result in the most visitors.
Ensuring all your content is relevant and customer focused is integral to achieving good search engine ranking. Key phrases are the words that users type in to the search engine query box when performing a search, therefore achieving keyphrase relevancy is essential as this is what the search engine is looking for.
The first step is being able to identify the keyphrases your customers are likely to type in the search engine when looking for a product or service. Spending time researching your customers and competitors is important. There a number of great tools available to help with this. For example Google Adwords offers Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator, these tools are free , you just need to set up a free Google Adwords account.
Without having to spend any money on a Google ad campaign you can use the Google Adword Keyword Tool to show you how popular a keyword or keyphrase is to estimate how many are searching for those terms. Utilising these research tools can help you make more informed choices when look at creating relevant and authoritative content.
When you are in the Google keyword search tool, start by typing in the keywords you are thinking of using or phrases about the products and services you are selling. When you click the Search button for those keyword phrases, Google will then give you the number of monthly searches for a whole bunch of related phrases and keywords.
You will then be able to determine the keywords and phrases which receive the most searches each month which will help you optimise your website to attract the largest reaching audience.
2. On-Page Optimization
On-page optimisation is the process of ensuring that the content on your website matches the key phrase queries searched for by your customers and is central in achieving search engine relevancy. Essentially it involves making many small adjustments to areas of your website that make it easier for search engines to crawl through and understand the content of your web pages.
“Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes may seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.” (Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide)
The free SEO guides we’ve listed at the end of this blog will really help you in this area since, as we’ve mentioned, on-page optimisation means making lots of little tweaks to your web pages such as title tags, alt tags, meta tag, URL and so on.
3. Link building
So we know content needs to be relevant but search engines are also looking for authority. A key factor in search engines determining whether a website can be considered authoritative is how many external / inbound links it has (these are links into your site from another third party site). Remember though links need to be high quality and relevant.
Creating valuable content helps generate inbound links from quality sources. You should look at becoming a bit of an ‘expert’ in your area of business you could for example think about creating a business blog writing posts relevant to the products and services you are selling or the audience you are trying to attract. Two great free hosted blogging tools which are easy to set-up and use are WordPress.com and Google’s Blogger. You can then link to your blog from your website and link to your website from your blog.
You can also proactively build inbound links by identifying and linking up with partner sites such as trade associations, suppliers, relevant media sites, press release distribution sites and social networks. Finding other peoples blogs and news sites and offering to guest post an article will also allow you to write useful and helpful content which also builds backlinks to your website.
Content, content, content!
SEO is about creating quality content that is customer focused, relevant and authoritative. Increased search engine visibility really will help drive traffic to your website, but don’t forget SEO should be looked at long term and as an ongoing marketing commitment. There is no quick fix SEO but it is low cost and investing some time and effort in on-page optimisation, keyphrase relevancy, customer focused content and increasing inbound links can see real and sustained results over time.
Want to find out more?
Hopefully Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog has given you a better understanding of SEO. If you are interested in exploring this area in more detail below we’ve listed below some excellent free resources that will help get you started.
Free search engine optimisation guides:
MOZ Beginners guide to SEO: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/
Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: http://www.google.co.uk/…/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
Tools for help with keyword analysis
Google Adwords – Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator (once you’ve signed in to adwords just click on Tools and Analysis then Keyword Tool or Traffic Estimator):
Search engine guidelines (how to ensure you are using white hat techniques!)
Google Webmaster Guidelines (especially Quality Guidelines section)
- Keyphrase analysis