A Marketer’s Guide To SEO
Discover our ten step guide, designed to help you to understand and implement SEO – including handy top tips!
Getting more traffic to your website is going to be at the top of most business owners’ minds, but how can you make this possible? We’d suggest starting by looking into your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
SEO refers to how you can optimise your website to appeal to both search engines and your website users, the purpose being to organically rank in a search engine, whilst enhancing your user experience. The way it works has matured and evolved quickly, therefore it is important to stay one step ahead when it comes to SEO.
Creating a website that is easily found via search engines, saves both time and money. This ten step guide will help you to both understand and implement SEO, in order to increase your websites visibility and increase traffic.
1) Take a look at your website’s URL structure
The URL of a webpage is a key ranking factor of search engines, so it’s important that you get your URL right! When creating your URL structure, remember that the easier it is for your users to read, the easier it is for search engines to digest. If your URL structure is too complicated for the search engine to understand, this is likely to affect your rankings!
Top tip: when creating your URL, we recommend keeping it short, keyword rich, descriptive with hyphen name separators and written in lower case. If you have already created your URL, remember that changing it may negatively affect your SEO and you’ll need to create 301 redirects from the previous URL to the new one.
2) Optimise Your Titles
Within the HTML, each page of a website has a H1 (main heading), a H2 (subheading) and so on. When a search engine index’s your web pages they will look at the text within these, so you should ensure the wording within the titles are keyword rich, unique and relevant to that webpage.
Each page of your website will also have a title tag (meta title) within the HTML. Your meta title informs both your users and search engines on what that is included in that specific webpage. It is a great opportunity to enhance your click-through rates to your website as this is the page title users see in search engine results, so ensure your title for each page is a precise, concise and a captivating summary of what each page is about.
Here is an example of how your meta title will appear in Google:
Top tip: keep your meta title short and snappy with no more than 60 characters, so it doesn’t get cropped by the search engine, and include keywords relevant to that specific webpage. This will certainly help to put you a step ahead with your search engine rankings!
3) Create Engaging Meta Descriptions
Similar to meta titles, each page of your website will also have a unique meta description, which is fully editable in the HTML. Your meta description gives you the perfect opportunity to tell the user exactly why they should visit your webpage, and what they might find on it.
Here is an example of how your meta description will appear in Google:
We recommend being creative and engaging with your meta description, and try not to include more than 156 characters, so it doesn’t get cropped by the search engine. This is to encourage click-throughs, so if the user doesn’t understand what the meta description is telling them, they may not click through to find out more.
Top tip: If your meta description defaults to duplicate across each of your pages, this can be confusing for both search engines and your users, so don’t take short cuts and get creative with personalising content!
4) Build Relevant Backlinks
A backlink is when another website includes a link to a specific page to your website, from their website. The process of earning these links is known as link building or link earning. This could be anything from a company featuring your website in a blog post to a company creating a feature section of your company on their website, including a hyperlink to your site.
Search engines will assess backlinks, for their quantity and quality, to determine how others vouch for your content. So having a large quantity of quality backlinks is likely to have a positive effect on your websites ranking position, as it gives search engines a vote of confidence.
Top tip: Commenting on authority blogs and leaving a hyperlink can also count as a backlink to your website, therefore get commenting and increase your exposure! But we recommend you exercise this with caution as you always want to add value to reader and not be seen as spamming.
5) Carefully Structure Your Website
Ensuring that your users can easily navigate to every valuable page on your website is of course important for user experience but also for SEO.
From an SEO perspective, when a search engine crawls your website, they will travel through your website by following internal links, therefore having carefully structured links within your website is important to your rankings.
From a user experience perspective, if the user finds it easy to navigate through your website it will decrease your bounce rates and increase the amount of pages per session your users are viewing – resulting in the average time spent on your website increasing. These are all variables measured to form your user behaviour, therefore it is valuable that your website structure is focused on your user journey to ensure the traffic you are getting to your site are wanting to stay on your site.
Top Tip: Adding an XML Sitemap to your website will also aid in enhancing your technical SEO, this is because it enables search engines to find pages on your site that may not be discovered easily during the normal crawl process.
6) Content is King!
Including content on your website is key to both your users and search engines. A big challenge that bloggers and content marketers face is writing content that is both optimised for search engines, yet will also appeal to people.
When optimising your content, to appeal to search engines, it is crucial that you use relevant keywords. Keywords are ideas and themes that define what your content is about, they are the words that your audience enter into search engines. Your content should be rich in keywords relevant to your website, and match queries your audience are likely to search for.
Top tip: Don’t make the mistake of simply filling your content with tonnes of keywords, as search engines will pick up on this and it can damage your rankings as it may be identified as keyword stuffing. Find a healthy balance between writing content to appeal to your audience, and including keywords to appeal to search engines. For further guidance on creating content, check out our ‘Content is King’ blog post.
7) Add Alt Tags To Your images
An alt tag is a text description that can be added to an image on your website, in HTML. But why is it important to add an alt tag to your images?
– It enables search engines to understand what the image is showing – enabling them to rank the image (so ensure you use keywords where possible).
– The text appears if the image cannot be displayed.
– It enables visually impaired people to be told by screen readers, what the image shows.
Top tip: always remember to add an alt tag whenever posting an image on your website, as this will enable search engines to crawl the image and enhance your rankings.
8) Increase Your Social Presence!
Shared content via Social Media, gets attention and similarly to backlinks, search engines assess your social media following and shares to determine how credible your content is.
So how can you get started?
– Get yourself set up on social media platforms and start growing your followers.
– Share engaging targeted content to your followers, as well as your blog posts (remember your aim is to get your blog posts shared to increase your backlinks).
– Share blogs/articles from other companies that you are interested in, they may return the favour!
Top tip: Spend time researching the social media platforms that work well with your company brand, ethos and can add value to your target audience, rather than rushing into creating an account for your company across every platform, without fully understanding the platform.
9) Post Frequently!
Posting new and engaging content and blogs to your website will not only enhance your users experience of your website, but it will also ensure that search engines come back and crawl your website regularly, helping your pages to increase in rankings over time.
The same approach should be taken with your social media presence, followers want to see new content, consistently.
Top tip: to find out more on how marketing automation can help you, check out our blog ’10 Top Reasons Your Business Should Invest In Marketing Automation’.
10) Measure & Report
SEO should be an ever changing and evolving aspect of your marketing strategy. So, measuring the performance of your SEO is key to determine what is and isn’t working, and what you can change to enhance your rankings.
Top tip: Start by installing and getting your website set up on Google Webmaster Tools, it provides you with valuable insights into your websites indexing status and visibility. Allowing you to track the performance of your website, and the best part is… it’s completely free!