The fact that SEO (search engine optimisation) takes a lot of time to show results isn’t news to anybody. Perhaps that’s why a lot of small business owners think that optimising their website can wait and focus at first on other digital marketing strategies that are more likely to bring in results fast.
But, here’s the thing: planning your SEO should begin even before you launch your website. The foundation you lay, how you build your site, the design elements you opt for, and even your domain name can have an impact on your ranking.
That’s because the SEO process is very complex and thorough and covers everything from website design and other technical issues to keyword research and content marketing.
Here are the vital steps you should take to ensure that your website is SEO-friendly.
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What Do Search Engines Want?
If you want to optimise your website properly, then you need more than just ticking a few boxes on a list of SEO tips. You need to understand first what the search engines are looking for and how your website can accommodate those requests.
Sure, adding great visuals on your web pages might make you stand out, but if your website takes a long time to load and users are unhappy with the experience you provide, then these design choices won’t bring you any real benefits in terms of SEO. That’s because, first and foremost, search engines want the results they provide users to be relevant.
What does that mean exactly?
- Does your website offer a good user experience? What are your loading times? Is it easy to navigate? Does it look safe?
- Is the content on your website relevant to the search query? Does it provide answers to what the users are looking for?
- Are other websites linking to your web pages? In other words, is your content authoritative enough to have others direct their visitors to you?
Once you have the answers to these questions and know what it takes to build a high-quality website, you can take the following steps to ensure that the search engines will find you.
Pick a Relevant Domain Name
As mentioned before, SEO begins even before launching your website, right from the moment you are choosing your domain name. Believe it or not, your domain name can affect your SEO. For example, if your domain name is difficult to spell or sounds too much like something else, then it may be difficult for people who heard about you from word of mouth to find you online. That’s why you should make sure that your domain name it’s easy to spell and remember.
Another mistake a lot of business owners make when it comes to choosing their domain name is thinking that they must include their keywords to rank well. Back in 2012, Google introduced an update to reduce the number of low-quality exact match domains (EMD.) While using keywords in your domain name doesn’t necessarily hurt you, it won’t help you either. In fact, users may be wary of clicking on a website with a domain name that looks something like “keyword-keyword.com” versus one that includes your name, such as “companyname.com.”
Structure Your Website for Your Keywords
Search engines use keywords to understand your website, index it, and then show it to the right people. But, simply choosing the most relevant keywords for your industry isn’t enough to help crawlers “read” your website. You also need to structure it so that each page on your website targets a specific set of keywords.
Let’s imagine that you are a small business that sells skincare products. You sell a variety of products, such as moisturizers, cleansers, serums, masks, eye care, and so on and you would like each category to rank for its target keywords and attract the right audience. So, you will break down your website into the main subject and different categories that relate to the main subject. For our example, your website might look something like:
Structuring your website like this makes it easier for search engines to read your website as each page targets a distinct set of keywords. You can also break down each category into different subcategories. For example, under Moisturizers, you might offer products for oily skin, normal skin, sensitive skin, and so on.
But, perhaps the biggest benefit is that this structure makes navigation logical and intuitive, which ultimately translates into a great user experience. Regardless of the search engines would be able to understand your site, if users have a difficult time navigating it and you have a high bounce rate, then your chances of ranking high are slim.
Create High-Quality Content
SEO has almost become synonymous with high-quality content. Without great content is almost impossible to enjoy the full benefits of SEO. That’s because relevant content is what makes your audience spend time on your website, engage with your brand, and possibly impact your position in the search engine results.
Here are other reasons why great content is such an important ranking factor for SEO:
- It Can Help You Generate Backlinks: Backlinks from high-authoritative sites in your niche are extremely valuable as they tell Google that your site is to be trusted. But, link building takes a lot of effort. If you constantly post high-quality content, then you increase your chances that other websites will link back to your articles. Content can also help with your internal linking efforts, making it easier to transfer page rank from one page to another.
- It’s Easier to Incorporate Your Keywords: You can only target your keywords so many times in product or category pages. Quality content allows you to strategically use your keywords and boost your rankings in the organic search Make sure to incorporate your keywords in the title tag, meta description, image alt attributes, subheadings, and throughout the article.
Always Monitor Your Performance
You’ve built your website, carefully picked your keywords, and created your content. What’s left to do now?
The obvious answer is that you should continue this routine as SEO is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop the moment your site is up and you’ve posted a few articles. But, before you start churning articles, you should also make sure that the steps you’ve been taken so far are generating results.
Set up your Google Analytics and add your website to the Google Search Console to monitor your website and see what you need to tweak to improve its performance.
Look at how people are finding your website and what they do once they’ve landed on a page on your site. If you have a high bounce rate, then maybe it’s time to take a look at your content – are you offering a good answer to their search query? Or maybe your website is not performing as expected and users have a difficult time finding the information they need. Investigate your keywords too. If you are targeting keywords with a high search volume and people are leaving your website too quickly, then maybe your search terms are too broad or too vague.
The beauty of these Google tools is that they offer you an in-depth view of all the moving parts of your website. Moreover, they can help you understand your target audience’s behaviour and what changes you need to make to your site to match their expectations.
Do You Want to Optimise Your Website for SEO?
SEO is a long-term strategy and it’s rarely enough to just launch a website and then wait for your customers to find you. Even if you are a big brand with an established audience, you still need SEO to keep your customers coming back.
If you are ready to take over the digital world but are overwhelmed by the long process of building and implementing an SEO strategy, then you can count on the experts at Australian Internet Advertising for help. We’ve aided countries Australian small businesses rank at the top of the search engines, boost their sales, and grow. And, we can do that for you too.
Get in touch now and let’s discuss your SEO needs.