SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Getting found in the search engines can generate a lot of highly qualified leads for your business. This is easy to understand when you realise that, according to Google, 60-90% or more of offline business starts with an online search.
In the ‘old days’ people would use the Yellow Pages to find a local business. Now they use a search engine. This is true for accommodation, flights, electricians, plumbers, lawyers, car tyres, food outlets and yes, even marketing agencies.
Trying to get ranked for a specific keyword or keyphrase can be very difficult globally (as there it is high competition and only a few top slots). Thankfully, getting ranked locally is much easier for most businesses.
This is especially true when you realise how few of your competition are making a real effort with their SEO.
And this is where we can help you…
A good SEO strategy can be loosely broken down into three cornerstones; good content, backlinks (the number of other websites linking to yours) and technical structure (including the way the site is designed and the way it has been coded and configured).
Be warned of fixed SEO Packages…
It is tempting to take an off the shelf SEO package but this will not do your SEO efforts (or your site) any justice. Every site is different and every business in every location has a different level of competition. Therefore every site requires a unique SEO action plan.
5 top tips to getting your site ranking well in the search engines
1) Use SSL. In English, that means to ensure your site URL starts with https:// (rather than just http://) and displays the green padlock in the browser bar.
SSL is a security protocol and used to only be a requirement for anyone taking online payments (such as eCommerce stores), or transferring sensitive data. However Google now sees it as a basic requirement for ALL sites and it has become an important part of their SEO algorithm.
2) Make sure your site is mobile responsive. This is particularly important for local businesses as the majority of local searches are done on a mobile device. If your site has not been updated in a few years, then it is almost certainly out of date.
Even many modern sites though are not properly optimised for mobile and therefore will not rank as well in the search engines. There are different ‘levels’ of mobile optimisation. Make sure your site has a ‘designed for mobile’ specific set of CSS to ensure the best looking result and optimal usability on a mobile device.
3) Have plenty of good content. Search engines recognise and reward good quality content that is relevant to the search term that someone is searching for. This means good content is a must to any good SEO strategy.
Many small businesses think of their website as an online brochure and use as few words as possible to convey the information needed. Many designers make this mistake too, trying to go for a clean, minimal design.
For competitive search terms, a typical first position search result will have over 2,000 words on the page. This is usually far more than required for a small local business but does give you some idea of the importance in not being too brief!
4) Use good page structure. Use keywords or phrases in your H1 and H2 tags as well as your image alt tags and give the images keyword rich file names. Also, design your page so that it is easy to read.
If you don’t know what H tags or alt tags are, don’t panic. A quick search on YouTube will explain all. They are not complicated to use but they do make a big difference to the search engines and therefore, to your SEO results.
Readability too is critical for multiple reasons. One important factor for SEO is how long people spend on your page when they do visit. If your content is difficult to read (long paragraphs, small text, difficult to read fonts etc.), then people will give up and leave your site quickly.
If you can engage visitors, then the search engines see this as a positive sign and will boost your position in the search results.
5) Define your meta titles and descriptions for each page. For the non-techies this may sound complicated but for most websites it’s not. But, because it does take a bit of work, many of your competitors will not be doing it well.
The meta title and description are both important for two reasons. The first is that they help search engines identify what your page is about and so help determine your position in the search engine results.
The second is what happens when you do get found…
As you can see above, when your website appears in the search engines there is a title and a description. The title appears above the URL and the description below it.
If you do not define these, then the search engines will just grab some text from your site, which may or may not work well. But if you set the meta title and description they will use these instead.
That means if you write a good title and description you have not only a higher chance of getting found in the search engines, but also of having someone click through to your site. Good SEO is about more than just getting found, it is about getting the people searching to your site too!
There are a host of other variables (such as site speed, the number and quality of backlinks to your site and your internal linking structure) that need to be taken into consideration when designing an effective SEO plan. This is why we refuse to offer generic SEO packages and instead will create a strategy that meets your sites specific needs.
(If you are in Nelson, pay us a visit and we can discuss your needs.)