SEO… Is it even still a thing?
Search Engine Optimisation has come a long way over the last ten or fifteen years with significant changes in just the last three. Old practices to inflate search engine positions, encourage more traffic and game the system are now met with heavy penalties and in some cases, complete removal from the top search engine, Google. (Who accounts for nearly 90% of all searches in the UK by the way.)
SEO in 2015 is more important than ever, the thing is YOU can probably do a lot more than you think you can to help your online efforts along. An SEO agency such as ourselves apply the science to the situation and ensure criteria are met to aid rankings, ensure the right pages are ranking, encourage sales / enquiries with the traffic you have and make sure you are getting the best possible results: All in line with the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Stick to the Rules:
For a full breakdown of the rules, check out the Google Webmaster guidelines here.
The most important parts are the following principles:
• Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
• Don’t deceive your users.
• Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
• Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
If you read the webmaster guidelines (I suggest you do), you’ll see there are many more rules but seeing as most website owners these days are in fact business people who usually have a web developer manage their website, there is often a big gap where correct content management of the website should be. Web developers can (hopefully) program and design websites but they are not responsible for generating the content. As the business owner you may know your business but you won’t necessarily know how to make a website attractive to search engines and people. So here are a few quick tips to think about:
The Real Reason You Are Here: How to Rank Fast!
It may be a good couple of months before you get changes and updates indexed by search engines. It’s likely you’ll NEVER rank for some of the terms that you WANT to rank for. It may even be that the terms you WANT to rank for are actually not much good because they won’t bring the sales and enquires you ACTUALLY WANT.
Establish some goals: Why are you working on your website? I bet it’s to make sales and obtain leads. So it is not simply a case of trying to attract traffic.
Correctly format your pages: Yes, do it properly: Meta Title is priority one (One of the biggest indicators to search engines as to what the page is about. H1 tags is priority two. H2 tags and bold highlight the relevant terms. Contrary to popular belief, don’t use 100 works when ten will do. Bullet points are fine and actually helpful if you want to aid people who visit a page so page content may be more straight forward than you think.
Meta Descriptions won’t help you rank. Nope. They won’t. But they will help bring visitors who find you organically and like the info you put in there, so make sure you are appealing.
Think about what you’d expect to see as a first time visitor: Is the info on the page relevant and clear? Is it easy for a visitor to buy or enquire? Make it easy for someone to complete the goals I’ve mentioned above.
Which brings me onto…
Conversion Rate Optimisation: What’s that you say? Sounds complicated? Well, it can be but for the most part a bit of common sense will dictate what you need to do. In simplistic terms it just means making it easy for visitors to complete an action, whether it be make a purchase, call or enquire. So quite simply, is the “Buy it Now” button prominent? Is Your phone number visible on the page? What about the contact form? What about live chat? You make want to talk to your web developer about this but try to ensure it’s incredibly easy for people on your site to do what you want them to do.
Too Good To Be True? Use your instincts to avoid bad advice and poor practices. If you’re being offered cheap links, a cheap service, quick fixes and false promises then run a mile. Or research the issues in question, then run a mile. There is a lot of bad advice and “cheap” SEO tactics and all are to be avoided.
Instant results? Not with SEO I’m afraid. As mentioned, even the best strategy can take several months and a LOT of know how to ensure a positive ROI. The best bet for instant results is PPC management and good quality campaign. That will of course cost more money though.
Well, I actually tried to tone it down a bit! I work on PPC and SEO accounts every day and often forget it can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to it. I’ve even heard people refer to Pay-Per-Click as “Paperclip marketing”… On a number of occasions.
We all want fast results but more importantly, we want good, sustainable, long-term results and you’ll need to work hard for those and continue to work hard to keep them. The bottom line is, if you don’t understand or don’t have the time, seek out reputable help from a well established SEO and PPC Agency.
I’ll save you some time; because you’re already here, so get in touch!