SEO is the practice of optimising your website, so it organically ranks higher in search engines, especially Google. Over 90% of searches happen on Google, the equivalent of 70,000 searches per second.
Organic rankings are where your website appears in Google searches without any paid advertising – so investing some time and resource into making your SEO the best it can be can really pay off in the long-term.
Lea Glover is a Digital Marketing Manager with Belfast-based web solutions provider, Flint Studios. With over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing, specialising in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), she was the perfect speaker to provide SEO tips to small business owners at a Cathedral Quarter BID Lunchtime Learning Workshop.
Lea said: “In 1999, Google announced that over 200 criteria are used to determine a website’s rank. Twenty years on, this is bound to have increased significantly, and the criteria can change annually, so it’s difficult to keep up. However, there are some areas that are consistently important in determining how high your website will rank.”
Here are Lea’s 6 key areas to focus on to boost your SEO and website performance:
- Keyword Research
“Before undertaking any SEO work on your website, it’s super important to know what keywords you want to be found for” said Lea, adding: “Think of search terms potential customers may use to find you and use tools like SEMRush and Answer The Public to see how many searches are being carried out on those phrases monthly. You don’t want to focus on ranking for keywords that have thousands upon thousands of monthly searches, because it will be very difficult to do, but equally you don’t want to focus on ranking for keywords that have too few monthly searches (unless they are super relevant and niche). Aim for a sweet spot somewhere in the middle.”
- On-Page Optimisation
Assign keywords, and even secondary keywords, to each page on your website. Then optimise the content for those words, including:
- Meta Title Tags – the blue text that is hyperlinked in a Google search.
- Meta Description – the grey text that describes what a search result is about in Google.
- An SEO-friendly URL – include keywords in your URL, if possible. (However, don’t go back and change URLs on well-established pages as this could cause more harm than good).
- Headline (H1) title tags in the site’s HTML (you may need a web developer to help you with this).
- Within the content of the page itself, aim for a minimum of 250 words.
- Image file names and alt tags.
- Internal links (to other relevant pages on your website) and external links (to other relevant pages on other websites).
- Content Creation
“Google loves fresh content and new things on your website, so creating useful and relevant content is a great way to boost your rankings” said Lea.
When writing content for your website, think about how you can create content that:
- Generates awareness, such as ‘How To’ posts, Q&As, and informational videos.
- Increases interest, such as infographics and brochures.
- Allows for consideration, such as reviews, testimonials, and case studies.
- Maximises conversion, such as contact forms, lead capture pages, calls to action.
- Encourages retention, such as newsletters, events, memberships, loyalty points, etc.
- SERP Features
Lea explained: “Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) have developed over time to become much more dynamic and user-friendly, which also means there are more ways to get your website noticed. Google My Business is a free tool for all business owners that can help you optimise your search listing.
“Longform content on your website that is between 1,500 and 2,000 words, which answers a specific question that people are searching for in relation to your products and services can help get you listed under the ‘People Also Ask’ section.”
- Technical SEO
This is where you may need the help of your web developer, though there are some things you can do yourself to give your technical SEO a helping hand. This includes:
- Ensuring a quick page load speed.
- Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly and optimised for mobile.
- Ensuring your scheme markups are in place.
- Ensuring your website has an SSL certificate.
- Setting up your Google Console and Google Analytics correctly.
- Link Building
When adding links to your own website or getting others to add a link to your website on theirs, relevancy, trust, and authority are really important. You don’t want lots of links from one website, you want lots of links from lots of websites.
Want to hear more tips and ideas from Lea on SEO? Check out the full recording here >> https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/whats-on/lunchtime-learning-seo-for-beginners-2
To see more Lunchtime Learning sessions go to: https://www.cathedralquarterbelfast.com/lunchtime-learning