Time to sort out your SEO?

It’s ironic that in the midst of all our other digital marketing activity, one of the areas that can get neglected and overlooked is our SEO. To say this is a little controversial in itself – as there is a current breed of marketer that proclaims that SEO no longer matters.

This argument goes along the lines of because Google algorithm changes are placing more emphasis on rewarding high-quality content, SEO is no longer important: it will just take care of itself. Our blog this time last year – SEO Is Dead – Long Live SEO – addresses this in more detail.

Yes, of course you want to have relevant and quality content to engage readers, build customer trust and interest people in visiting your site. But all this is irrelevant if they can’t find the content in the first place!

If we all use ourselves as an example, it’s highly probable that the last time you used the internet and needed to find something you used a search engine. It’s estimated that Google processes around 40,000 search queries every second. Visualise them here! The likelihood is that a not insignificant proportion of those green g’s are searching for a business just like yours!

So, if search engines are the primary method that most people use for finding information and sites, it’s critical that you are not only listed in their results but achieve higher rankings than your competitors. Moreover, given that around half of search queries now come from mobile devices, it’s also essential to ensure that your site is fully mobile-friendly, so that it also performs well in mobile search rankings.

The best way to improve your performance in both desktop and mobile search rankings is by effective use of SEO. It is worth investing time and energy in this to do it as well as you can. Here are the three things you need to do to help you get it right!

1. Top Quality Content

You need to spend time and effort creating quality content that is relevant for your target audience. So you need to learn more about this audience and also examine the performance of your content to date to see which topics have been popular and generated interest. Also keep an eye on the content that your competitors are publishing to make sure that you do it better!

Armed with this information you will be able to incorporate SEO effectively and naturally into content without it being forced. We cover keywords below, but good content avoids using convoluted words and phrases solely as an attempt to improve your ranking. If keywords sound awkward or forced in a particular sentence, don’t use them: if the content itself is helpful, relevant and well-written in itself then this will attract potential customers to your business.

2. Effective Use of Keywords

As referred to above, it is important to integrate keywords naturally into content rather than the old practice of keyword stuffing. Search engine algorithms now process keywords differently than they used to, though they are still relevant to good rankings.

The main thing is to ensure that your keywords are relevant. This will attract more specific traffic from users who are genuinely interested in your products or services and therefore bring an increased chance of conversion. Even if your site receives less visitors overall, the proportion of conversions should be higher.

You can ensure keywords are relevant through research. There are many keyword research tools out there that allow you to identify the keywords and phrases that people are currently using to search online for a business such as yours. If you add these keywords to your page title, headers, and meta description, then just use them where they make sense in your main copy and this will be enough.

3. User experience

User experience is critical to SEO and starts even before the user visits your site. Given that most online experiences start with a search, you need to make sure that the journey from search to site is going to be smooth!

Test all the links to make sure that they are going to the landing pages you intend them to go to and make sure that your navigation is top notch, to enable the user to browse pages without any glitches along the way. Be aware that any delay may be off-putting so it is also vital to ensure that the loading speed of your pages is as good as it can be.

Also bear in mind that visual content is increasingly important. Make sure that it is quick to load and that it is also optimised for search engines in terms of titles, alt text, metadata and keywords.

In addition to all the above, remember to keep the rest of your online presence fresh and relevant so that one long-forgotten and unused platform does not let the side down! Share content and links between different platforms so that you have a consistent message and brand. Make sure that all these links work and that you have a cohesive online footprint covering a multitude of channels.

So, is it time to refresh your SEO? It will be well worth doing and should reap dividends for some time to come. Sadly though, it is one of those tasks – a bit like decorating! – that you need to keep under continual review to ensure that it is always up to date. But it is the lynchpin of your digital marketing strategy and – if done well – will ensure your deserved place in desktop and mobile search rankings on a long term basis.

Author: Robert Walker