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Mastering Digital – 5 Fundamental SEO Tips
New business owners make brave decisions every day – from starting up the company and securing premises, to expanding to new markets and taking on staff. At AIB, we’re Backing Brave and, in this digital era, we recognise that many SMEs struggle with the ever-changing digital landscape.
SEO, AdWords, social media, and analytics – what are they all about and how can you leverage these tools and methodologies to grow your business? Over the coming months, Antonie Geerts (Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training) will provide invaluable insights on digital marketing – with quick win tips and detailed advice to enable you to boost your business while “Mastering Digital” in the process.
In this first part of the series, Antonie takes a look at the fundamentals of search engine optimisation (SEO).
When looking to get your car repaired or find a reliable laundry service in your area, you are likely to use the internet to find the services you need. Most of us will use Google, as it’s the number one search engine in Ireland. However, we will rarely click on a website link that is on page two or three in the Google search results.
Being number one in the search results really matters, and becoming number one is where SEO, or Search engine optimisation, comes into play. In my experience as a digital marketing consultant and trainer, I’ve noticed that many of the SEO fundamentals are absent from most company websites, so I want to share them here with you.
The following five SEO tips can really make a difference and shouldn’t cost you any money to implement. There are no short cuts in SEO if you haven’t applied the fundamentals first.
1. Understand the search results and how to “match”
The best way to understand SEO is by looking at the search results provided by Google.ie. For example, in the below screenshot I’m searching for “web analytics consultancy”. The first three results are Google AdWords advertising results (as indicated by the yellow “Ad” icon) and although they are appearing first, in reality they provide less trust than the organic results.
The next two results show Seditio.ie. If you look closely you can see that “web analytics” and “consultancy” are highlighted in bold font. That’s Google’s way of showing why these two results came up in the first and second positions for the search term “web analytics consultancy”.
In SEO “language” we have matched the keyword with the Title Tag, the URL (or page address) and the Meta Description.
The Title Tag:
The Meta Description:
Another important element is the position of the keyword and the limitation of the title, URL and description lengths.
A common mistake, when applying metadata to your webpages, is putting the company brand/name first before any high value keywords. From a Google perspective, it looks like you put more value on “My Company name” than “The service I offer” and hence you will have more difficulty reaching the top spot.
2. Have enough “readable” & “relevant” content on your page.
Although the use of images and flash animation can really impress your website visitors, these don’t help your ranking on Google. Images and animations do not contain readable content that the Google search engine can use to position your site in the search results.
That is why you have to add content to your pages that Google can use to assess the site’s suitability for any particular keyword. The guideline is around 300 Words per page with four-five uses of your keyword(s).
As you can see in the above screenshot, “Web Analytics” is matched a good number of times and the page has over 300 Words of content. Make sure that this keyword matching is relevant to the content and unique for each page.
3. Avoid generic terms and duplication of Title tags, Description and Content
Most websites are developed with out-of-the box content that is often duplicated across the pages without any relevant keywords. For example:
“My business name – Tag Line – Home”
“My business name – Tag Line – About us”
“My business name – Tag Line – Contact us”
As a business owner, this might make perfect sense. But, from a search perspective, it really doesn’t say anything. “Home”, “About us”, “Contact us” only make sense once the user has landed on the website and not when they are searching via Google.
Many websites often use the same “tag line” throughout all the pages, and this makes it impossible for Google to know which of the pages to rank first in the search results.
A better alternative would be:
“My product – Great offer – Business name”
“Benefits of my product – Why we are better – Business name”
“Order my Product – Another Great offer – Business name”
Remember, search results are like the shopping window you see in town. Make use of that space!
4. Use the free tools and data
Google offers a wide range of tools to help you better rank within their search engine. One of these is Google Webmaster Tools (www.google.com/webmasters). With this tool, you can see what pages have duplicated content, title or descriptions. You can also see which keywords are performing well for your website and any issues Google might have with your website content. For example, mobile-optimised content and correct localisation are now high on the SEO checklist for Google.
Another great tool is Yoast SEO for WordPress although this tool is only available for WordPress-based sites (WordPress is a free, and hugely popular, content management system). Yoast works wonders in helping you apply the fundamentals.
5. Understand your current visitor flow and their conversions
I have seen too many companies investing a fortune in SEO without getting any new business. That is why you should first analyse the way your visitors engage with your website. How do they land on the page, how long do they stay, where do they exit the page, how many steps do they need to take before converting? All this information should be available within your web analytics data, and only after you have analysed and optimised this “conversion path” should you make a real effort in doing SEO.
Written by: Antonie Geerts, Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training
Please be aware that all of the views expressed in this Blog are purely the personal views of the authors and commentators (including those working for AIB as members of the AIB website team or in any other capacity) and are based on their personal experiences and knowledge at the time of writing.
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