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There is a common misconception that there is a secret formula to “owning the internet” and dominating the first page of results.. In recent years of SEO, this is a half-truth at best.
There certainly are technical elements you can address to potentially achieve better positions and improve your conversion rate but most people simply don’t know where to begin when tackling SEO themselves. So let’s give you a few tips to help you along…
Ranking & Conversion Pro-Tips:
Content, Content, Content…
Yes, this drum has been beaten half to death and the phrase “Content is King” is one of the most overused terms in the SEO world; but it’s with good reason.
Ensure your website is written for people not search engines (More on that later) but use a bit of science to cater for both. Keyword cramming and unclear walls of text will not help and may in fact score you a penalty in the long term. What needs to be seen is good quality, regularly updated content, industry-standard blogs and pages that let visitors know exactly what that page is about.
Try viewing your site through the eyes of someone who knows nothing about you or your industry: Does it make sense? Is it clear? If a new visitor cannot understand your site then it’s likely a search engine bot won’t either so it’s time for some improvements.
Website Errors Need Fixing.
- 404 errors: Dead pages spell trouble. If you deliberately remove a page because perhaps you’ve stopped providing the service or selling a product then you really need to 301 redirect that page to another page that is logical. If there is no logical page then direct it to your home page. Just ensure you do this as 404 errors will eventually be de-indexed and you’ll lose any page authority it will have accrued.
- 301 redirects: This is by far the most common error and links to the 404 errors above. We see this mostly when a business owner upgrades their website and the URL structure changes… Within no time at all you will see that de-indexing and lose page rank because you didn’t tell neglected to update your CMS to direct search engines from the old page URL to the new version. The same goes for products and services: ALWAYS REDIRECT TRAFFIC to the correct page!
Probably the single most easy thing to fix and one of the most commonly seen mistakes is neglected meta titles that either display the wrong information or simply confuse search engine in terms of what to rank for.
Getting this right will definitely help your rankings and more importantly let search engines know what exactly each page is about. Get this wrong and you’re likely to find product pages ranking for your company name or services ranking for something completely irrelevant. It’s such an easy, logical fix too… Get on it!
It’s become an absolute necessity to get involved in social media as part of your SEO efforts with many companies being hugely reliant on traffic from their various online profiles to bolster their enquiries and / or sales. It’s also the single best way of naturally building links and a loyal fan base. You’re in denial if you think there is a way of getting to the top of search results and staying there without an online social presence.
Write For People.
I can keep this one plain and simple: If you are writing to rank then you are probably doing it wrong. Write content that is unique and aimed to appeal to a visitor to the page, not search engines. You can always go back and retrospectively adapt the text to ensure the right keywords are in the to aid ranking BUT if you look like you’re throwing in terms purely for ranking then you will likely scare visitors off and not do yourself any favours when Google’s smart algorithms come knocking.
A slow website will hold you back. The chances are that if you have a site that take 5+ seconds to load then there is a very real possibility that your visitors could become impatient and leave. You can use a VERY handy Google tool to check these things: Google Page Speed Insights
A word of advice though: sluggish loading times are often related to HUGE images you have uploaded to pages that slow things down. (In my experience) – Though it could be a huge number of factors including your host and a plethora of other errors but first off, check it is the page loading speed that is slow and not simply a problem with the computer or connection you are trying to view it on.
Everyone has landed on websites or web pages at some point that do not make things clear or are difficult to interact with and as a result they have left, potentially removing the possibility of a sale or enquiry to the owner of that page.
Always ensure that your landing pages are clear and concise with great calls to action and relevant information about the products, services or page contents. Sites often get this wrong: With either far too much information or far too little.
Are your Enquiry & Sign-Up forms Easy to Use:
This seems so obvious but make sure the technical elements you rely upon to see enquiries come in are working. A broken CAPTCHA on a form for example means you will see no conversions because a user simply cannot complete the form and may get frustrated and leave. Sure, they could call but the chances are they won’t.
Always assume your visitors are lazy or stupid (Yes that sounds harsh) – How easy is it to make an enquiry or register with you? Are the links and calls to action clear? You need to see this like it’s the first time you’ve ever used your website and ensure that signing up or getting in contact are easy to use.
Use the Right Tools for the Job:
There are tonnes of programs and systems available for SEO management. Not all are useful and some are just plain inaccurate. The industry standard programs you will pay for but the basics you should be using for free are:
Google Analytics – You NEED this! For stats, traffic and a lot more.
Google Webmaster Tools – For keywords, traffic, security issues and penalty notifications. (Plus much more!)
See Above for the Google Page Speed Insights Link – For accurate measurement of your site speed and insights into how to speed it up.
You NEED the above tools in your arsenal. Ensure you are linked to an active Google Analytics and Webmaster tools account so you can access your data properly at any time. You know you can trust Google… The more reliable third party software will likely be expensive and the free stuff, well, it’s free for a reason.
Seek Expert Advice.
The chances are you know your business very well. You know your services, your products. You have extensive experience in your given field of work but you cannot be the authority on everything and even if you could, time is always an issue.
This being the case, you should look into finding an SEO expert. It’s always doing some research before committing and asking plenty of questions to check they know what they are talking about. Remember that “cheap” packages are likely cheap for a reason and that SEO should be an ongoing effort.
Luckily, we have a number of SEO packages that are likely to suit you. Why not get in touch and get the ball rolling? Leaving your online efforts to chance is not an option so take action today!