Here at Viewpoint Digital Media, one of the questions we get asked most frequently is: ‘Where should I start with SEO?’ Before we jump into getting started with SEO, though, let’s answer a question we hear perhaps even more often:
What is SEO?
SEO, aka Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of optimising a website so that it becomes more easily findable by relevant users. When we talk about search engines in this context, we’re generally referring to Google, which holds well over 80% of search engine market share worldwide. And when we’re talking about optimisation, we’re looking at a website’s content relevance, technical configuration and link popularity.
So, in essence, SEO is all about zhuzhing your website so that it will organically rank higher on a search engine results page (SERP). And the more visibility you have, the more likely your brand will capture business.
Getting started with SEO
1. Check out the Google SEO starter guide
Google has a handy SEO starter guide that lays out general guidelines and best practices to help your site appear in a Google Search. Note that if these guidelines are not adhered to, they can cause your page or site to be omitted from Search. It’s a great idea to familiarise yourself with this guide, whether you’re planning to implement the SEO yourself or have a professional do it for you, in order to familiarise yourself with the basics and lingo.
2. Start your keyword research
Keyword research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for your products, services and content. It then involves analysing, comparing, and prioritising the best keyword opportunities for your website. Note that this does not mean thinking of every possible phrase imaginable and cramming them all into one page! Nor does it mean using the same key word over and over and over and over again… This is called ‘keyword stuffing’ and violates the search engines’ rules and best practices.
Keyword research can start with a simple Google search – type in words relevant to your product or service, but don’t press enter – this will give you a dropdown ‘top searched’ list. Beyond this, keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest and Answer the Public can also be handy.
3. Write content for your audience (not for Google)
Your content should be authentic and targeted to your ideal user. Knowing your audience here is key. Before drafting any content, ask yourself: Who is my primary audience? And what about a secondary audience who can inform my primary audience? And how will they find my site online – what search terms are they most likely to use?
Once you’ve got your audience nailed down, it’s time to write your content. Aim for a minimum of 300 words per page and remember that your content should be:
- clear and direct, with ideas broken up using headings, subheadings, paragraphs and bulleted lists, where relevant
- concise and jargon-free (unless your audience are lovers of jargon!)
- preferably in the active voice
- layered with (relevant, helpful) links to other pages on your site
4. Add metadata to each web page
Metadata is a snippet of text that tells search engines (and thus potential site visitors) what your webpage is all about. Your website metadata consists of a page title and meta description for each page, along with ‘alt text’ for images.
- The title tag (around 60 characters) is one of the first things that users notice in a search engine results page. This is your first information-waving flag, as it offers a preview of what your content is about.
- The meta description (around 155 characters) is of equal importance to the title tag. If the title tag is the title that appears at the top of a search result, the meta description is the snippet that displays underneath and should provide an accurate description of the content of your page. It is usually the element that determines whether users will click on your page.
- Alt text is used to describe (and thus optimise) your images. It has become a very important element of modern SEO, as it offers an additional opportunity to rank in the search results, this time with your visual content.
5. Don’t skip corners!
With an estimated 72% of Australian consumers searching online prior to making a purchasing decision, you want to get this right! Without SEO set up on your website and an ongoing SEO strategy, it’s unlikely that your site will rank within the first few pages of a search result. And if you’re flaunting search engine best practice, you may not show up at all.
So… do your research, stay within SEO guidelines, tailor your content to your audience – and watch those visitor numbers rise!
Contact a digital marketing agency
If all of the above still seems a little daunting – never fear! Reach out to the team at Viewpoint Digital Media and we can help you with an SEO strategy, as well as monthly SEO management. After all, if you don’t currently have an SEO strategy, then chances are your business is missing out on visibility, leads, sales, conversions and future customers.