Take it from us; you don’t have to be an SEO expert to improve your website’s search cred these days. There is any number of search engine optimisation tactics that you can implement without needing to have a comprehensive understanding of all the nitty, gritty technical details. You will need a broad understanding of the basics though. So, without further ado, we bring you basic SEO tips to improve your Google ranking.
1. Do your keyword research
Search engine optimisation is all about making sure your website ranks as highly as possible in Google’s search results when specific terms are entered. So, it should come as no surprise that your first port of call should be to determine what the most popular search terms for your business actually are. The easiest way to do this is to use the Google Keyword Planner tool. You can use this tool in a couple of different ways:
- Input the URL of your website into the tool, and then review the suggested keywords that Google provides. It can often be helpful to enter the URL of a couple of your competitors (that are ranking well) as a comparison.
- Search for particular words, or groups of words, related to your industry to determine keyword suggestions as well as search volume. For instance, if you are a painter, you might enter the words ‘painter’, ‘decorator’, ‘house painting’, and so on.
2. Optimise your website content for these keywords
Once you have completed your keyword research, and know which keywords for which you would like your website to rank, include these in your website copy. Try to include keywords in your headings, as well as in body copy. A word of warning though: don’t overstuff keywords. You don’t want to end up with your website looking spammy, and putting people off. Don’t use the keyword phrase, its variation or a synonym more than four to five times per page. After all, you want to appeal to both the search engines and real, live human beings.
Keep in mind that it can actually be easier to rank for long-tail keywords (phrases that have three, four or five words) as opposed to shorter keywords. Shorter keywords are usually a lot more competitive. For instance, if we take the example of the painter, it will be near impossible to rank for ‘painter’ or ‘decorator’. However, a long-tail keyword, like ‘painter and decorator in western Sydney’ might be slightly easier.
3. Make sure that all your basic on-page SEO is done
There are a few basic on-page search engine optimisation tactics that should always be implemented, including:
- Title tag: many experts consider this to be the single most important element of SEO. In laymen’s terms, a title tag is the page title (although the two don’t actually have to be the same). The first 64 characters of a title tag appear in a Google search result. So, make sure that you include your keyword as close to the beginning of your title tag as possible.
- Meta description: this is a 160 character long description of the content contained with the particular web page to which it is related. This also appears in Google’s search results. Use the meta description to convince your audience to click on your website. Don’t simply summarise the page content; that won’t compel anyone into clicking.
- The H1: this is the headline for your web page. Every page should include only one H1, which includes your keyword and entices your audience to continue reading.
- Alt tags: these are descriptions that appear when you hover your mouse over an image. The alt tag, and the image file name, for every image on your website should contain your keyword or a variation thereof.
4. Produce great content
One of the most fundamental techniques for improving your search rank is to regularly produce and publish great content on your website, usually through a blog. In doing so, you give the search engines a reason to revisit and reindex your site on a regular basis, pushing it up the SERPs. Not only that, you give your audience a reason to regularly visit and click on your website, which also pushes it up the SERPs. If your content is of a really superior quality, you might even find that other websites, companies, and bloggers refer to your content, inserting backlinks into their own content. These backlinks also improve your search engine rank. It really is a win-win situation.
When it comes to crafting content, try to be as strategic as possible about your editorial calendar. Use your keyword research to build out a schedule of blog posts, with each one focused on a particular keyword. Then measure the results. Keep track of which type of blog post attracts the biggest audience, the highest sharing rate, the most positive comments. Then, write more of these blog posts.
5. Use social media
Google is becoming more and more intuitive and investigative. It can now track how effectively you, and your website, interact with the rest of the online world. Like it or not, Google keeps track of your likes, comments, shares and +1s. The more active you are on social media platforms, the higher your search engine ranking is likely to be.
6. Measure and monitor
Make use of the array of free, online tools that Google has to offer. Take a look at Google Analytics as well as Google Webmasters tool. These will report on how much traffic your website is receiving, which keywords are generating the most traffic, what your audience is doing once they actually land on your site, which pages are the most popular, which pages are most effective in terms of conversions. All this free data is right at your fingertips. Use it to continually improve your search engine optimisation tactics.