Redeveloping Your Website: SEO 101
In the 21st century, people have put down the catalogues, left the yellow pages in its cellophane and taken to search in order to find the products and services they want
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is about the relationship between your website and search engines and about making sure your website performs in a way that will see it rank as high as possible in search results. Of these search providers, Google is undoubtably the most popular.
Google accounts for around a QUARTER of all internet traffic. What’s more, the top three results on Google receive around HALF of the total clicks. So, if you want to get your audience to the party, you will need to be challenging for those top spots and here is some of the ways your website can do that.
Firstly, Google may be tightlipped about how it ranks pages, but a few things are clear: pages that are popular, trusted and use keywords in the right way generally perform the best.
Google looks at the sites linking to your site to gauge how trustworthy and popular your site is. Link building is great when done right. Yet many have chosen to build link farms and spam links around the web in order to trick Google into thinking that the site is popular. Google has adapted though and now the importance is placed on whether links come from trusted sites, with sites linked to by spammers and link farms suffering hefty ranking punishments from the search engine. Universities, charities and government agency are examples of the most trusted sites, but media agencies are also highly trusted because so many sites link to them.
Of course, if you already have good backlinks (inbound links to your existing site), then it is important to keep these by redirecting the links to your website.
Keywords really underline good SEO. Knowing what your audience is searching in order to find your products or services is crucial, so it is a good idea to make a list of keywords and keyword phrases that relate to what your business offers. To make it possible for your audience to find you in a search, you must have content about what they’re looking for and there is more to this than simply listing your services.
Search is a great way to bring in new clients and customers. Although a potential client may be searching for something you offer, they might not even know that your business exists, but if your website appears at the top of their search you have entered their consciousness and thus stand a better chance of converting their awareness into business.
Of course, your main focus is bringing paying customers to your site. Very little comes from attracting those who aren’t interested in your products, so it’s a waste of time and investment chasing them. A well optimised site will help you target the right people, by making sure you site appears in the right searches. This is another reason why using relevant and specific keywords is very helpful.
Google likes freshness and, because of this, sites that have laid dormant for a while or don’t feature a regularly updated blog are missing out on the exposure that charting well on Google can bring. Although it is unlikely that Google will shift from its stance that ‘quality is best’, it is constantly updating its algorithms, so it important that you don’t get left further behind.
Google states that the best way to make your website succeed on their search results is to frequently produce high quality, original, relevant content. The best way to do this is with a blog or ‘news’ page.
Producing an original blog or news post once a week gives you the opportunity to really utilise those keywords and keyword phrases. Write about topics relevant to your industry, particularly stuff that mentions the name of your products and services, which are of course in your list of keywords.
Although there is nothing wrong with sometimes recycling ideas, make sure you are producing original text each time. This is an SEO issue, not just a copyright one, as search engines tend to see duplicate content as indicative of a poor quality site. And quality is important itself. You don’t have to be a novelist to write great copy, just make sure you’re writing about stuff that will interest your audience.
Publishing new content on a regular basis shows Google that your site is active and provides fresh pages to be indexed and therefore displayed in search results. Google likes fresh content and the Pagerank of websites that haven’t been updated or refreshed for a long time may suffer.
However there is a lot more to blogs than simply SEO because running a website is not just about pleasing search engines. Next week we’ll talk about how a blog can build engagement and increase conversion rates.
Have a good weekend – it’s BBQ weather out there!
PS. Missed any of the other posts in this series?
The other topics in this series:
Part 7: Redeveloping Your Website: Responsive
Part 6: 6 Redeveloping Your Website: The Design
Part 5: Redeveloping Your Website: Template vs. Bespoke
Part 4: Redeveloping Your Website: Building Your Site
Part 2: Redeveloping Your Website: Start with Purpose
Part 1: An Introduction to Redeveloping Your Website