As I write this Christmas is just around the corner. Now is an ideal time to take a step back from working In your business (the day to day things that you do) and do a bit of work ON your business (business structure, systems, processes, marketing etc.). That makes it an ideal time for some top tips for your SEO for 2022.
Your website should be somewhere towards the top of your marketing list of things to do. Is it up to date, does it properly reflect your business, has it been designed with your customers in mind and, for the purpose of this post, giving it an SEO makeover, an SEO refresh or just an SEO tweak. This could pay dividends in the new year, making your site easier to find. After all, if it’s easier to find, then more people will come to visit, take a look around, get in touch, make an enquiry, book something or buy something, if you have something to sell online.
Here are the top things that YOU can do to improve the Search Engine Optimisation of YOUR website.
1/ Monitor and Measure Performance
Following the trusted mantra of “If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know when you’ve got there” you MUST be monitoring the performance of your website. If you aren’t, then how DO you know whether the investment of time (and possibly money) is actually paying off.
You could be doing something that’s working but what’s worse is you might be doing something that is harming your website. Google Analytics is free to use and easy to get going and goes a long way to providing the information that will help you answer these essential questions.
Set it up on your website, understand what the data is telling you and check in regularly to monitor performance.
I know that Analytics isn’t the only performance monitoring tool out there, and if you are using something else – well done. At least you are using something.
2/ Performance Monitoring Pt 2
Once you have Analytics up and running, head over to the Google Search Console. This is another free tool provided by Google. Analytics looks at how visitors found your website and tells you what they did whilst on their visit. The Search Console tells you about HOW they found your site in Google Search (the actual words and phrases typed in to Google Search) and provides recommendations to improve your website. Again, sign up, visit and learn about the data provided. Turn it in to useful information that you can feedback in to your website design and SEO.
3/ Website Structure
Get the structure of your website in to tip top shape – even if it means a bit of work.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Are you using language that’s easy to understand? Does each product or service that you provide have its own, unique, page and are similar products/services grouped together in their respective “families”.
All of this makes your site easier to use AND helps Google understand what it is that you provide
4/ Keyword Research
Do your keyword research. Understand the words and phrases that your customers are using when they are looking for your website. The Google Search Console is a treasure trove of information but tools such as UberSuggest will also help.
Each page on your website MUST be uniquely optimised for the product/service that’s featured on the page and you should filter out the 3-4 top keywords for each page. Allocate no more than 3-4 key words per page. These are the words/phrases that you will be optimising the pages for
5/ Where do the Keywords Go
Now that you know which key words/phrases are going on each page (you might find a Spreadsheet is a great way to mage the lists) then you need to ensure that these keywords are “woven” in to the page in the places the search engines check out. If the terminology confuses you, then check out my SEO Glossary of Terms
~ Meta Title & Meta Description tags
~ Header Tags (H1, H2 etc)
~ Web Page URLS https://mywebsite.co.uk/service-type
~ Image and File Names
~ Alternative Attributes
~ File Download Names
~ Main page content, ideally in the first 50 – 100 words
~ Selected text in bold
6/ Identify Links TO your website
Use the Google Search Console to identify third-party websites which Link to yours (backlinks). Conduct a backlink audit by checking every single one and make sure that you are happy with the quality of the originating site AND the relevance. If you are a decorator, then a link from the local butchers has no relevance and it may be worth breaking the link. Check for unsavoury content and poor quality sites too – sites where there’s more adverts than proper content for example. Google will penalise you for this.
7/ Build Backlinks TO your website
One of the key ways that Google judges the value of your website (and the higher the value the higher in the results your site will appear) is by the number of links that point towards your website from third party websites so you need to build links to your website. Not just any old link though. They MUST come from trusted, high quality sites that are relevant to your business. So, no links from click baity sites, no links from pages that are 70% Ads and 30% content, no links from sites with poor quality (or scraped/copied) content and no links from sites that have absolutely no relevance to your business.
It’s NOT easy but hard work will pay off
8/ Fresh Content.
Ensure that you regularly add NEW content to your website. It’s not a case of subtly rewriting content but it has to be fresh and new.
Why? There are loads of reasons.
a/ It keeps Google happy.
b/ It gives a reason for people to come back to your website.
c/ It gives people a reason to LINK to your site
d/ It provides you with content that you can use elsewhere – such as email newsletters, Social Media, podcasts, videos etc.
Imagine that you didn’t add anything new to your site – how would Google know you are still in business and why, therefore, should Google give you a good ranking on the Search Results Pages (SERPs)?
Your blog/news page is a great way to do this. You can even write specific content with SEO in mind but don’t over optimise. if you do you’ll be creating content that people won’t read – defeating the purpose of your website
9/ Speed Speed Speed
Site Speed, so important I mentioned it three times.
Your website MUST be fast. If pages take more than 3 seconds to open your visitors will leach away.
We have NO patience when it comes to the internet, pages must open fast, both on desktop/laptops AND on phones. And if people don’t like slow pages and leave almost straight away why should Google promote sites that it knows people leave almost straight away?
And Google doesn’t. Slow sites get pushed down Google’s search results pages, exactly the opposite of what you need.
10/ Monitor Results
Monitor your results. Use Google Analytics, the Google Search Console AND carry out manual searches to see where your site come up. Keep a record (a spreadsheet’s one good way to do this) and keep working on your SEO
11/ Have patience
SEO doesn’t have an impact straight away. It can takes weeks, frequently months to have an impact so don’t panic. SEO is a Marathon not a Sprint. And, if you’ve not seen a change in a couple of weeks DON’T assume that your SEO hasn’t worked. Keep at it.
Keep measuring, look at visitor sources in Google Analytics to see whether the visitors come from. Is the percentage of traffic from Google and the other search engines on the increase?
And remember, SEO is NEVER finished. You can always tweak, review and continue to make improvements
12/ Mobile Phones
Most websites have been getting more than 50% of their traffic from mobile phones and tablets for years now. I would hope that your website is Mobile Friendly – and if it’s not, then it needs to be.
Google looks at the mobile version of your site FIRST.
Don’t take it on on trust that your site is mobile friendly, make sure that it is fast to load and easy to read.
Go to it on your phone, how does it look? Is it easy to read? Does it convey the right messages and is it easy to navigate? Can you even find the navigation?
If you need help with your SEO then all you have to do is get in touch. I’ve been working on SEO since 2001, so that’s more than 20 years, and have a good feel for what needs to be done. Not only that, but I talk in English and don’t use jargon. This means that I’ll be easy to understand when we have conversations and I won’t baffle you with bullshit. I’ll tell it as it is and if I don’t think I can help, I’ll tell you why.
It’s easy to get in touch. Google me, your Chief SEO Officer, reach me on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can call me on 01793 238020 or 07966 5471456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you fancy a FREE, no obligation consultation then book a slot with me here.