You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about SEO and how important it is for driving traffic and new customers to your business – so let’s get you started with some strategy.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which simply means that you optimise your website for search engines like Google or Bing. The better your website is at this, the easier it is for you to be found by potential new customers.  

Not convinced? Let’s put it like this: last month, there were roughly 12 billion searches made using Google. 85 % of those searchers were most likely to click on the top five results found on the organic (left-hand) side of the search results. So the closer you can get to those hallowed spots, the better for business. 

Here are our top five hacks for getting your website optimised. 

1. Find your ranking

Before you spend time on any kind of SEO strategy, you need to figure out where you currently rank for keywords i.e. the key search terms you want your business to be associated with. This isn’t as easy as Googling ‘quality’ or ‘high performance’ or even your own brand name. Google personalises search results for everyone, so to get an unbiased view, you need to open a separate window “incognito”, then Google your keywords and see where your website has ended up. 

What key search terms do you want your business to be associated with?

Some people prefer to use an SEO ranking tool. By doing this you will get daily reports with  your ranking across all search engines and you’ll get a trending report of your web presence.

There were 12 billion searches made using Google last month. 85% of those searchers were most likely to click on the top five results found on the organic (left-hand) side of the search results.

2. Set your SEO strategy

Once you’ve found your ranking, decide what your business has to offer and who you want to engage with. You want the right people to find you at the right time. Who is your audience and what are they searching for? How you make your keywords interesting to them? And once you’ve decided on your audience, remember to set a strategy for tracking and changing your keywords. Are you going to monitor SEO yourself? Are you going to employ a specialist? What about budget? The best thing about SEO is that it’s not difficult to crack but it does take time and thought. Once you evaluate what your business has to offer and what areas of your business you want to highlight, the next steps are easy.   

3. Choose your keywords

The next step is choosing keywords. Keywords are the search terms that you want associated to your business.

Think about keywords that are highly relevant to your brand or products. Use Google’s free AdWords Keyword tool to see which words have a high “exact-match search volume”, and choose words that have a low difficulty score. Put simply, the trick is to try to think of what people in your country might be Googling if they are searching for your service. Keep it simple and obvious.

Another tip is to choose words that you use often, or that you have already used in blog posts and other content platforms associated to your brand. By doing this, you capitalise on long-tail keywords – these are searches that people use that have more than one word.

Pro-tip! Avoid over-stuffing. This occurs when multiple pages are trying to rank for the same keyword or when you add unrelated keywords and send out spammy links to Googlers. This may result in Google blacklisting your site, which will make you virtually invisible. 

4. Publish content regularly

In addition to choosing the right keywords, a strong SEO strategy includes a commitment to posting content on a regular basis. Content is at the heart of SEO because content is HTML text and without HTML text, you’ll never be found in Google. It’s also good to know that Google will always prioritise fresh, relevant content, just in case you needed another reason.

Pro-tip! A good place to start is by evaluating your website and deciding if you think the content you currently have  could be improved. Are there places where you can add keywords into existing content?

Make sure your customers find you – when they’re looking for exactly you offer!

5. Use social media to boost your rating

Google uses an algorithm to evaluate your relevance online. Currently, this algorithm includes so called “social signals” to make its judgement. A social signal can be an Instagram post or a comment, a tweet (on Twitter) or retweet, a Facebook like or share. All of these give an indication of your company’s web presence and count towards your ranking. 

Here are a few tips to help increase your social signals:

  • Ensure you have social media sharing icons on every page of your website and perhaps consider including some social media exclusive offers.
  • Incorporate Facebook and Instagram into your site wherever possible and update your page regularly with news about your business and offers.
  • If possible, invite customers to like you on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Pro-tip! Don’t spam – this isn’t just about SEO, it’s also about your community. Posting relevant and interesting content is key to making this work for you.

Don’t miss our previous articles about online marketing. Start off with How to advertise your small business online