Put simply, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about getting found on Google.
It is the steps you can take to make your website easier to find in search engines. The term SEO can sound intimidating. But with a little bit of knowledge, there are ways you can improve your website easily.
Let me explain why you need to be thinking about SEO for your website and how it all works.
Imagine your new website as a new town – full of brand new buildings and talented people with something to offer the world. But this town has been built on an island. On the mainland are the roads, and the roads are the pathways that visitors want to take to get to your town.
How can you get the visitors onto your island, or to bring this back to reality – onto your website? You need to build more bridges and roads to connect the pathways on the mainland (the internet) to your town (your website).
When your website was built, your web developer (hopefully) did many things to connect your site to the internet. But sometimes, this alone is not enough to get you ranking as high as you would like.
There are a lot of behind-the-scenes work that often needs to be done by an SEO professional, but there are simple things that you can do yourself on an ongoing basis.
Three important things you need to consider when looking at improving your SEO yourself are:
Think about your keywords as search terms. What words will people use to search for you? Make sure you think about what people will type into Google to find you, and make sure those words are used throughout your site.
Search engines use electronic ‘spiders’ that crawl the internet to index all the websites, so that when a search is entered, it knows where the most relevant pages are for that query. However, spiders can’t view images, so you need to enter some text that describes what that image is about, or what it represents.
There are two things to think about when you load an image onto your website; the image name, and the ALT text.
IMAGE NAME: Instead of IMG5362 for example – rename the image to company_name_blog_post_topic.jpg
ALT TEXT: Write a short, readable phrase that describes the image, using relevant keywords.
One of the things that the spiders are looking for is how your website interacts with the wider internet. Ideally you want to have links into your site, links within your site, and links out of your site. Your site should not be isolated, and separate from the rest of the internet.
If you have a good reason to link to another company or brand, do it. This may cause that company to link back to you. Also, if you come across something on a different site that your audience may like, don’t be afraid to share it. That website may then discover you and might even promote you back, or get in touch.
Creating links within your site (linking to a different page on your website in your web copy) will help people move through your site, help establish information hierarchy, and help spread link juice (ranking power) around your website.
Quality links to your website from other websites (especially those in related fields) are one of the backbones of SEO. Try to develop relationships with similar companies that have blogs, or ask owners of related websites to put a link on their site, and then do the same for them. Make sure you claim your free business page listings for your brand.
So what should you do?
We recommend talking to an SEO professional and getting them to look over your site to identify any foundational problems (site structure, performance, meta data etc) as well as identifying any issues with keywords and content; then working with them to address these and any other issues that arise.
REMEMBER: Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing project.Ultimately we believe that the best person to manage your SEO on an ongoing basis (provided you have the time!) is YOU.
Google does not make a secret of how to gain a high ranking. It states clearly in its webmaster guidelines:
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”
“Create a useful, information-rich website, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”
So in conclusion:
- The words you use are important.
- Be relevant and prove yourself to be an expert in your field.
- Be interesting and valuable to your readers.
- Be fresh – consistently add new and relevant content to your site.