SEO, or search engine optimisation, is one of the most important elements to apply to your website. It relates to how easily you can be found in search results. As discussed on the fifth day of Christmas, site speed is incredibly important, with what’s known as ‘on page SEO’. Other easy ways to increase your SEO is through backlinks, traffic and keywords.
Backlinks are third-party websites that point/link back to your website. If someone you knew and trusted referred someone else to you, you’d instantly trust the person referred much more than if they were a complete stranger to either of you. This is essentially how backlinks work. When a high authority website includes a link to your site, Google views this association as a reason to trust you.
There is a simple way to increase backlinks, and that’s through directories, which we cover here. (link up: which link, Brett?)
Traffic concerns the number of people that visit your website over a set period of time. You want this to be as high as possible; the more people that visit your site, the more likely that some will be within your target market, and the more likely someone will get in touch with you for what you provide (it’s a numbers game). Google also likes how many people come to your website and how long they stay there (known as the bounce rate). If your site enjoys a high level of traffic and a low bounce rate, that’s a big green tick from Google and your search engine ranking will benefit.
On every page of your website you can include what’s known as keywords. The way search engines work is through filters. Essentially, every keyword is a filter. For example, if I typed ‘men, large, red, socks’ into Google’s search bar, they would apply these same words as filters. If your site had those keywords on its pages, Google would instantly pick your site up and show it in its results. If you have no keywords on your website, Google will have no idea what sort of people it should direct to your site or under which search terms to place you in its rankings.
That said, you can’t spam each page with keywords, as this will also work against you. Instead, create multiple, well-designed pages on which you can begin to acquire more keywords; this is why most companies have both blogs and landing pages. Often, you can have up to three keyword phrases on your page (also known as H1, H2, H3, with greater importance going to H1 than H2, and H2 more than H3). When it comes to creating a quality website, don’t DIY, outsource this to someone who understands this stuff - doing so will cover its cost many times over in the long run. You may think you know what you’re doing, but you could be harming your site and its SEO rather than helping it.
How can you check if you’re getting it right?
This is a good question. Thankfully, there are a few free tools out there, each with their own pluses and negatives - as long as you use them as a guide, you’ll be fine. One that we use a lot is SEMrush, which gives you 10 free search queries each day.
When you use SEMrush, the results are not always 100% - especially in terms of traffic; make sure you use a range of analytical tools, such as Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel, to measure the traffic to your website. SEMrush is good for checking keywords and backlinks.
As well as searching your own website, you can also search your competitors’ sites and see where their backlinks are coming from. Follow these sites and see if you could arrange a backlink with the originator, too. Usually, you’ll see quite a few backlinks as guest posts on a third-party site; this not only gives you an idea of who may want you to write for them, you will also be able to see the kind of content they like to publish. For example, ITKmagazine is full of guest writers - one of the biggest perks of working with ITKmagazine involves the backlinks that will be created to your site.
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