Business owners; has the idea of SEO got your head all in a muddle?
Do you just want to get back to the business of running your business and pretend that SEO isn’t a thing?
I can sense you all out there nodding your heads (and possible inserting a curse word for emphasis too).
The magic behind SEO that makes it work is all about language, mathematics and (believe or not) a good dose of common sense.
Search optimising your own content is actually really easy once you get around the mental block about the technical side of things.
At the end of the day, you don’t really need to understand in depth how it works, you just need to know what works. And then do it. (Strong emphasis on the “do it” part!)
Here are some easy ways you can get started with SEO
Analyse Your Pages
You are probably becoming aware that there are things you can do to improve the SEO of your page, even without spending any money. But how do you know what needs improving, and then how do you go about fixing it?
There are a number of plugins available to attach to your Content Management Service (also known as WordPress, Squarespace, Joomla etc) which can go over each of your pages and give you an SEO report. One of the very best of these is WordPress SEO by Yoast which is available to all WordPress users, and in itself is almost a reason to choose WordPress for your CMS.
You can give each of your pages a live action report, which will rate you on how well each one is optimised, and list the areas in which you can specifically improve, including all the places where you can add keywords, as well as assessing the length and readability of your blogs and reminding you to insert internal and external links. It’s a simple tool for anyone to use, and this just scratches the surface of what it can do.
Start with giving yourself a report, and then look below for some areas where you may be able to improve.
Let it be known though that getting a green light on Yoast, does NOT mean your page is optimised to perform well in search results. Which brings me to my next point…
SEO starts with keywords, and popularity of those keywords (because optimising for a term that no-one is searching for wont get you very far).
All SEO assessments need to have a point of reference to get their bearings. Plugins will check to see how well you rate, but they need to know the keywords you are trying to rank for, AND you need to be optimising for keywords that are worth ranking for in the first place.
Having more thoughtful, targeted keywords is a good place to start.
Keywords that are:
- slightly longer (aka long-tail keywords)
- more specific to your audience (talk their language)
- act on user intent (ie. people looking for information “how to…”, people looking to buy “buy online/shop/in my area”)
- have search volume (people actually looking for this term)
Considering all of this to find your target keywords will ultimately create better conversion.
So if you sell charcoal drawings of cows, you would do better optimising for a keyword like ‘buy cow artwork online’ than just optimising for ‘cows’ or ‘charcoal drawings’.
Why? Because anyone searching for just “cows” could be looking for a whole range of things from farm gear through to novelty items or actual cows! Anyone searching for ‘cow artworks online’ is specifically looking for artwork of cows. See the difference in why the second would result in more clicks (and sales) for you?
Hot Tip: Optimising for local search will yield faster results than broad, target everyone everywhere, keywords.
To rank well in search engine results your content needs to be relevant, interesting and authoritative. Search engines have ways of working out if you fit these criteria without a little man at Google having to read every single online page on to give a subjective opinion. Instead they have robots who we have to impress instead.
You can improve the SEO of your blog content by:
- having longer blog posts, that are at least 1000 words long
- adding new blogs or content to your website regularly
- writing content that is engaging, as well as easily readable
- writing headings that grab people
- optimise your meta title and description to make them more inspiring to click
For more information on this, you may also want to check out our article on how to search engine optimise your blog posts for conversion or download the Ultimate Guide To SEO For Blogging.
You can make a number of changes to your page directly that will increase the quality of your SEO. These include:
- inserting your keywords in the title, sub-titles and in the content of your blog (especially the first paragraph)
- making the copy on the page easy to read
- inserting keywords into meta-descriptions and the long-form URL of your page
- cross-linking and adding outbound links
- insert keywords into the title, alt-tag and descriptions of any media on the page
Again Yoast SEO for WordPress is helpful for this because it allows you to see exactly what your search engine results will look like as you fix titles and descriptions; which is often a perspective we don’t think of.
This makes you look better to the Google robots who are assessing your SEO standing, but more importantly, makes you look better to potential customers reading their search engine results.
Building Back Links
The more links pointing to your blog from other websites, the more authoritative search engines consider you and your content to be.
You can help things along by inserting your own internal links between your blog posts and pages (aka cross-linking), but gaining quality external links adds extra oomph to your SEO strategy.
Building backlinks involves connecting with other websites to help expand your reach. Do a bit of research to work out which consumer sites or influencers rate highly in your niche, and then approach them to guest blog or set up some sort of cross-promotion. Appearing on podcasts or events, commenting on other blogs, being referenced in external articles all contribute to building your profile with back-links.
You can also add your own links to other websites, such as relevant studies or helpful products for your customers. This improves SEO as well.
Online reviews are an important piece of the SEO puzzle, and should be of considerable interest whether you are interested in SEO or not.
Positive reviews increase traffic from search results, and carry some weight in local search results. Positive reviews also highlight to the Google robot that your product/service/business is of high quality and therefore should be ranked higher.
The last piece of the SEO puzzle is traffic. Without traffic your awesome content, product or business is not being seen, and no-one wants that.
What is traffic? Traffic is the flow of (real) visitors to your website.
If you have Google Analytics active on your website, you can see how much traffic you have currently by looking at the number of Sessions and Users. You can also check out the sources of your traffic. Click here for more info about the 10 Basic Performance Metrics To Monitor In Google Analytics.
If your blog post or website is getting good traffic, the search engines will deem your content higher quality and of interest to the public, therefore will index your content higher in the results so that more people to see it.
One of the best ways to boost traffic and increase your rankings organically is content marketing. I’ve also included a handful of other ideas to help you drive more traffic to your website in this post here and this one here.
PLUS more traffic = more opportunity for conversion. But more on that another day…
Where to from here?
These are the base pillars to get you started with SEO. Not gonna lie, SEO can be time-consuming, never-ending, and is most definitely a long-game strategy (so the sooner you start the better). It’s absolutely 100% worth the investment (I have built several businesses using SEO alone, no advertising and minimal social media), but if you need leads TODAY search engine optimisation is not what you need, however I believe it’s good to integrate in your daily practices now so that 6-12 months from now you start seeing the return.
Still think SEO belongs in the “too hard” basket? Here are some options to get you started…
- Book a DIY SEO training session with me and I’ll walk you through the steps to get you started.
- Get a solid understanding of the basic principles and how to apply them for your business in the SEO Basics for Beginners eCourse.
- Rather leave it to an expert? Get in touch with me as I’ve got some stellar done-for-you SEO packages that will have you ranking in no time!