There’s no doubt the rise of search engines has completely revolutionised the way we live our everyday lives.
What do we do when we want to shop online? We use Google. What do we do when we’re looking for cheap flights to a tropical paradise? We check Google. What do we do when we want to know any bit of information at all? We ask Google. In fact, the term ‘Googling it’ has become the most popular way of saying we’ll search for something on the internet.
And yet, despite how much we use search engines, there are many businesses out there that haven’t managed to capitalise on using Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine as an effective marketing tool.
You may have a website that gets a couple of hits every now and again, but ask yourself: are you really putting your all into getting your site noticed or is it something you have just for the sake of it?
In this blog, we’re going to share with you some simple tips to improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so more people can find you through Google, and to get you generating more leads and sales.
But before we launch into how to improve your SEO practises, we need to explain a little bit better about why implementing this marketing technique is so important to your business.
What Is SEO?
Put simply, search engine optimisation is the way you improve both the quality and quantity of your website traffic.
For example, your website might get 500 hits a day, but if no one is buying from you then it means your site is clearly being found by the wrong people.
On the other hand, you could be selling three or four of your products or services a week through your website, which means there’s an obvious demand for what you do. But, if your site only gets three or four hits a week in the first place, it means you aren’t getting noticed by enough people.
SEO involves working out what people are searching for when they fire up Google. It’s the words they use, the questions they ask and the type of content they want to engage with.
Understanding how to come up with content that meets the searcher’s criteria is the key to improving your leads and sales. Remember, you have to solve their issues with your content. Do that, and that’s the key problem resolved, right there.
When Did You Last Review Your SEO?
When would you say you last reviewed the content published on your website for SEO purposes?
Was it three months ago? Maybe six months? Or even a year? Possibly never? Well, in our opinion, you should be reviewing your SEO every three months at least, though to be extra thorough, we do weekly and monthly SEO reviews for our clients with our SEO monitoring software.
At Strawberry Forge, we offer a digital workshop for our prospective clients, and we ask them how often they conduct SEO reviews. On average, we found that 1 in 3 hadn’t carried out an SEO review in the last three months!
Quite frankly, we were a little bit shocked by this because it meant they were losing out on so many potential leads and sales. We were told by our prospective clients that they thought they reviewed their content enough anyway or that they didn’t think they needed to use SEO.
As surprising as this was, it made us stop and think. Not enough companies have carried out an SEO review because they don’t know how or they’ve just not had the time or staff to get it done.
For those who need a few lessons on improving their website’s SEO, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you.
A Guide To SEO
Step 1: Learn What People Are Searching For
If you don’t know what terms your potential customers are searching for, you’ll find it next to impossible to generate more traffic to your site.
Think about the product or service you offer. Now, consider what you would type into a search engine to find the best provider.
Let’s say you own a strawberry distribution service (your own Strawberry Forge, in a manner of speaking) and you want to be found by restaurants and supermarkets looking for suppliers. The most generic thing they can type into Google is “strawberries.”
And just look at the results:
The top spots aren’t really relevant to you or your business, are they?
But that doesn’t mean you can’t rank for search terms that have more relevance to your very own Strawberry Forge.
People search for things in very different ways. Sticking with our strawberry example, think about your location and the exact service you provide. So, instead of trying to rank for ‘strawberries’, you can rank for ‘strawberry distribution service North West’.
By tailoring your content to include a specific long-tail keyword, you stand a better chance of being found by the potential customers actively searching for North West strawberry distributors.
Once you have found the keywords you want to rank for, check to see if they will yield a good result using a keyword analyser tool.
Even if your chosen word doesn’t look like it will bring in the results you’re after, there will still be a list of suggested keywords for you to look over that will be similar to your original KW but could end up being a better fit.
Step 2: Create Interesting Content
The advice in Step 1 will help your site to rank higher, but the real key to performing better on Google is by providing unique, interesting content that people will want to read. For this, you’ll need a blog.
We have seen many businesses fail to capitalise on their blogs. Instead of coming up with regular posts that will establish them as thought leaders in their industry, they update their blog with a couple of sentences every few months just because they feel they need to say something. This is not the way to improve your site’s SEO.
Google algorithms tend to favour sites that are rich in content, and with every blog that appears on your website, you’re creating a new page that has the potential to appear in search results. But if your posts are threadbare, you’ll quickly find your rankings drop.
So, now the question is: how do you come up with content that will perform well? To do this, we need to go back to our keyword analyser tool.
In your KW analyser, you’ll find a whole host of queries people search for. To perform well here, look for the keywords that aren’t ultra-competitive in the volume and difficulty scores but still have a good amount of traffic.
Terms with high volume and difficulty scores will be dominated by the giants of your industry, so trying to compete against them will probably not end well for your site’s content.
It also helps to find popular topics people in your field are engaging with. Sites such as Quora and Reddit are great places to start finding ideas to write about.
Once you have found the right keywords and come up with some unique ideas, you can focus on the fun bit; writing.
Step 3: Optimise the Content Page
Having great content is one thing, but now you need to make sure the page is well-structured not just for the readers, but for the search engine as well. You want to do this in four ways:
Keep your URLs Short but Descriptive
The description of your URL is picked up by search engines, and from that, they will be able to work out the topic of your post.
You should include your exact keyword in your URL if possible, but a few words or a phrase from it will work well, too.
Come Up With Intriguing Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions
The meta title of your blog is actually the name of the browser tab, so don’t expect it to randomly appear somewhere on your page. It will, however, pop up as the title of your page on a Google results page, so people will know what your post is about.
Because of this, you’ll want to write a meta title that includes the keyword you want to rank for and is something that will intrigue people enough to click on it.
Your meta description serves the same purpose, but it gives you a chance to flesh out your topic a little more. Again, include the KW and write something that will compel someone to click.
Use Headers and Subheaders
Have a quick scroll through this blog and look at the titles of each heading. You’ll notice that our titles have been split into headings and subheadings — we haven’t just put the text in bold and increased the font size. Using headers and subheaders makes it easier for search engines to understand the structure of the page, so you should implement them as part of your SEO strategy.
Below is the structure your content should follow:
- Header 1 — Use H1 for the on-page title of your content. It should include the keyword you are targeting;
- Header 2 — Use these as section headings to help you make your point clearly. They should include your KW if possible, but you don’t have to put it in all the time or if it feels unnatural;
- Header 3 — For if your sections need to be split into subsections;
And so on in that fashion.
Writing posts with clear headers and subheaders makes things easier for search engines to digest, as well as for your readers, so there’s no reason not to use them.
Optimise your Images
Because search engines can’t see images in the same way we can, you have to alt tag to describe what your image actually is.
It’s best to be specific here, as having a good alt tag can help you rank on Google Images.
Is There Another Way to Rank High on Search Engines?
The quick answer to this question is yes: PPC (Pay Per Click). This is where you pay to have your website links advertised at the top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
While you may think focusing solely on PPC will keep you in good stead, we at Strawberry Forge like to think of PPC like a serviced office; if you stop paying the bills, you get thrown out, but if you own the office outright, you aren’t going to get shifted anytime soon.
Or to put aside our love of property analogies for one moment, we’re saying if you want to keep your spot going down the PPC route, you have to continually pump money into the service. Organic content that’s search engine optimised, however, will maintain a high standing — with the potential to even grow over time — as long as you’re dedicated to optimising your content properly.
That’s not to say PPC shouldn’t play some part in your digital marketing strategy. While you’ll want to rely on organic SEO for long-term results, you should think about using PPC when necessary to achieve the best possible results for your site. After all, you need to have all bases covered to get a high CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) score.
By using PPC in moderation, it will allow you to go after competitive keywords to possibly boost your conversion rate for as long as you’re willing to pay for it.
We seem to find business coaches pushing PPC as the be-all and end-all for start-up companies to rank on Google, but it’s just not true. By all means, use it to start generating leads, but the sooner you start optimising content for search engines, the less money you’ll have to put into your PPC budget, which will save you thousands of pounds in the long-run.
Do You Need a Hand with SEO?
All the information we’ve given you in this blog is to help you become an SEO master, but we realise not every company out there has the time to get it done.
Luckily, SEO is a speciality of ours, and we are available to help you generate more leads and sales through our best practices.
To fully understand how Strawberry Forge can assist in growing your company’s leads and sales through SEO, we’re offering you a free digital workshop to highlight the key areas you can improve on. Book yours here.