Richard Taylor, Managing Director at Simpsons Creative, shares some tips to improve your SEO.
This is something I am asked about at least once a week and the answer is that it is as important as ever if you want to stay ahead of your competition (because you can be sure they are working on their SEO even if you aren’t). I have seen various ’top tips for SEO’ come and go over the years – they have included keeping to a set number of words per page, keeping your keywords in the first paragraph, not repeating your keywords throughout the page, I could go on. And I congratulate myself in having always advised that well written content is key and also, not trying to second guess what Google is looking for.
We are all familiar with searching from a browser and quickly sorting the paid-for from the organic results, we all know how quickly we scan the results for the most relevant answer to our search and we all know how quickly we leave a site when it is not giving us the information we are looking for. With that in mind here are some things you really should consider now in order to be reaping the results in 2020.
How do potential customers find your website?
Creating web pages for SEO
- Page title – This is the title you give the page when you create it, typically found at the top of an HTML/XHTML page inside the <title> tag. Most web browsers will scan this title to see if it is relevant to a search and if it is, will show it on the search results. Google allows up to 70 characters so make sure they are relevant to the content of the page. Only use a few key words – make them specific and don’t include too many as this will dilute their relevance.
- Remember not to duplicate page titles as the search engine will not know which one to choose, and so select neither.
- Meta descriptions – These are the 25-word summaries of the page’s content. Make sure they are an accurate description of the page’s content. Think about what your visitor’s search terms are likely to be for that particular page and make sure this description goes part-way to answering it.
- When you start to write the content for a new web page think about who you expect to be reading it and what they will be trying to find out.
- Be sure to think what search term the visitor is likely to have used to land on the page. Check that search term yourself and see what comes up. When you search on Google you will often see a panel which says ‘People also ask’. So, say you search ‘How long is a commercial lease?’ as well as getting what Google thinks is the most relevant website to answer that query, it also tells you that ‘People also ask’: ‘Can you extend a commercial lease? What happens when a commercial lease expires? And How long does it take to execute a lease?’ This is interesting information and you might want to cover that information too and use those specific questions as headings for your content.
- Make sure your content matches the page title or you will be penalised. It should be informative and well structured – make sure it is easy to scan the content and pick out the information that is relevant.
Writing blog posts or articles for SEO
- It seems that longer in-depth articles now rank higher than shorter blog posts. Google likes an authoritative piece with a named author. Keep the content easy to work around with headings, sub-headings, bullet points and links to other pages on your website. Write in good English, don’t exaggerate or overuse your key words.
Refresh your content
- Keep returning to your web pages and articles: update or add new information. And make sure you post regularly. The search engine crawlers can tell if there is new content on your site and it will make them re-consider the ranking of the page.
- Quality backlinks (i.e. links to your site from other websites) are important to you because they indicate to a search engine that your site has valuable content. Over time authoritative guides/articles/blogs about your business, written by you, may well acquire these prized links from good, relevant websites.
- But beware, search engines can tell if the content is worth linking to so there is no merit in trading links with unrelated websites just to boost your number of links.
- Similarly, make sure that links you make to other website are genuine and are going to pages with relevant, authored information.
Video improves SEO
- Video continues to grow in importance with YouTube now the second biggest search engine after Google. People are prepared to watch hours of video so include some in your posts or on your website. Make sure it is informative, relevant and well-recorded.
Google My Business
- This is an easy way to get your business recognised locally so it is really worth-while setting up your Google My Business page. It means that Google will choose you if a search specifies your town or county and it will offer another point of contact for your business.
Mobile responsiveness aids SEO
- Don’t overlook the user experience on a mobile – your website’s responsiveness will affect your ranking. And not only do search engines prioritise websites built for mobile but your users will thank you too if your website looks good, is easy to navigate on a phone and quick to load.
I hope that this helps you in your quest to be found online.
Managing Director, Simpsons Creative