Having a website can be extremely beneficial for your business, even if your activity is not carried online at all. Through an optimised website, you can find new clients, stay in touch with existing ones, make your brand known, and advertise for free.
But simply building a website and filling it with content is not enough to get you the visibility you need to grow your business. In these times, competition for the readers’ attention is quite aggressive. You need to know the rules of the game, so to speak of you want to gain a competitive edge. It’s much less dramatic than it sounds: all you need to know is how to use SEO to your advantage.
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What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and its purpose is to make your website rank high in the search engine results, such as Google or Bing results. More often than not, search engine users (including yourself) use Google or other search engines to get to the websites they are interested in.
Whether they are looking for a specific company, or a certain product or service, the search engine will retrieve the web pages that are considered the most relevant for what the user searched. SEO plays a big part in telling search engines what your page contains and how you want people to find your site.
Do You Need SEO for Your Small or Mid-Sized Business?
Yes. No matter how small your business is, if it cannot be found in the search engine results, your website visitors will mostly consist of the people you know and yourself. Organic traffic (the number of visitors you get without paying for ads) will increase very slowly if you don’t invest the least effort and time in SEO.
If you are worried that SEO is just a way for agencies or marketers to get your hard-earned money, you have to know what to demand from them. A good SEO specialist has one goal: to get you more leads and more sales. If you make money, they will earn more. These are the results you should pay for.
The good news is that SEO can also be done just by learning the basic principles and applying a few improvements to your website. The more you learn, the more you will be able to improve your website. But you might not want to play trial-and-error games with your own business.
Let’s go through the basics of SEO and see what are the first steps you can take to make your website more visible.
How to Do SEO for a Website: the Basics
It All Starts with Keyword Research
Keyword research for SEO means to identify the words and phrases that people use most often to search for the product or service you are selling. In order to optimise for search engines (and their users), finding out what they are looking for is one of the first steps.
This is not a guessing game. You can do keyword research by looking at your analytics (Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to see how people got on your website) and by using dedicated online tools (like SEMRush, Ubersuggest, and so on.). Once you have a list of the most used keywords, you can start injecting them into your content, meta descriptions, title tags, and other crucial elements of your web pages.
Write High-Quality Content
If your initial thought is that you will just stuff your website with the keywords you just found, we have to break it to you: it’s not the early ‘00s anymore, so don’t even try it. The best way to use those keywords is to include them in relevant, high-quality content.
As a business, you certainly know about what you’re selling. Do share that with your readers and show them that you are trustworthy and authentic. Quality content gives them answers to the most common problems and questions they have regarding your industry.
Do you sell cars? Let your readers know how to choose the best one for them, what financing options are available, how to negotiate for a used car, and so on. They want to know all these things, and a company that provides answers is more likely to win them as customers.
Doing research for interesting, engaging topics from your niche should be part of your routine. Discussion forums and social media are excellent places for testing what makes your target audience curious, upset, or excited. Use those topics to get your brand in the middle of the discussions, and make a good impression while you’re at it.
Being present on social media groups and events helps in the same way. While it doesn’t affect SEO directly, it may encourage more branded searches.
Get Backlinks from Trusted Sites
Link building is a crucial part of SEO, and it shows that other websites trust you enough to recommend your content. Social media shares do contribute to your brand’s reputation, but they won’t help you rank higher in Google results. By having another website link to a page on your website, you work on your off-page SEO. Write guest blog posts for other websites, write shareable content, and connect to your peers.
Internal links will also help bring traffic to less-visited pages, so think of other pieces of content when writing new ones, update your information, and fix any link errors you may have. Use relevant anchor text when linking to your website.
Offer a Good User Experience
Writing a good piece of content will not necessarily guarantee that it will be read. If your website is not mobile-friendly or your site structure makes it hard to find interesting pages on your site, readers will not give it a chance.
Focus on giving your visitors a good user experience by having a fast website with a logical structure, aesthetically pleasing graphics, and intuitive menus. You can also optimise your images by adding relevant alt text to them, allowing visually impaired visitors to know what’s in them. This will also help the search engines “read” them and rank them in image searches.
Measure Your Results
If you are implementing all these steps without checking the results, you might work for nothing. Use free tools like the Google Search Console and Analytics to find out more about your visitors, your most visited pages, the keywords you rank for, and the backlinks you are getting.
Regular check-ups of your website’s performance allow you to identify possible issues before they affect your SEO rank, and offer you new possibilities for your next steps.
But don’t resume your research and reporting to your own website. Keeping an eye on your competition is just as important, as it can inspire your next move, and help you find the thing that will set you apart from others. Just remember, when it comes to SEO, your competitors will not necessarily be the same competitors you have in real life. Instead of competing over the customers, your SEO competition is going for the same keywords and backlinks.
SEO might sound like a hard to grasp technical labyrinth at first, but once you understand its principles, it becomes more natural than you expected. Improving your website through SEO doesn’t mean you are now writing and changing for soulless search engines.
Always remember that search engines work for their users, and your SEO tactics should be done with both humans and search engines in mind. In the long run, SEO is just a part of your whole marketing strategy, which should be driven by the same principles and values you based your brand on from the beginning.
If you want to make sure that your SEO strategy is effective and keeps your brand’s personality genuine and consistent, don’t hesitate to hire an agency or SEO specialist to handle it for your website.
We at Australian Internet Advertising focus on palpable results: sales. We can turn your website into a constant source of leads and conversions, while still maintaining your style and voice. Contact us and let’s talk more about it.