Search engine optimisation (SEO) seems to be something of a mystery to many small and medium business owners. At one end of the scale, there are the ones who think it’s ‘just something about keywords’ that needs to be included in their website content. And at the other end, those who see it as a kind of ‘black art’ – something that’s complicated, difficult and expensive.
Unfortunately, this can lead to people being scammed or ripped off by unscrupulous SEO ‘providers’ who take advantage of this lack of understanding to supply a shoddy service or, in some cases, do nothing at all!
When I take on a new website for a client, I often find there’s no front end or technical content optimisation in place. This might be because the web developer didn’t include SEO in their services and/or the client didn’t want to pay extra for it. After all, SEO is a skilled and time-consuming job (when it’s done properly) and can’t be dashed off in half an hour.
Quality website content is key to getting your business found online
So, to save money, the client wrote their own content, with no advice or guidance, and handed it to the web developer who then copied and pasted it into the relevant pages. Unfortunately, without any knowledge of content optimisation techniques, how could my client possibly know what makes good website content and what doesn’t…
The result? The client comes to me wondering why they’ve spent time and money on a new website that’s not generating any business.
Why does SEO make such a difference?
Take a look at the following statistics from SEO Tribunal:
- 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine
- 67,000 searches are performed on Google every SECOND
- 46% of all Google searches are local
The key to getting found on search engines – of which Google is by far the most important – is, of course, SEO. But despite this, Clutch.co report that just 44% of businesses incorporate SEO into their digital marketing activities. And if you’re one of the 66% who doesn’t, you’re missing a very big trick indeed.
And the secret to successful SEO is…?
You can probably guess from the title of this article: it’s great content. But as with any aspect of digital marketing, it’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it. So let’s take a look at some of the ways you can not only create fantastic content for your website, but make it work as hard as possible for your business.
- Get your keywords right
Take the time to research the best keywords and phrases for your business. As well as general ones, identify a focus search term for each page of your website. To help you do this, think about what your target customers would type into a search engine to find your products or services. Remember to include geographical keywords, such as locations and phone numbers with area codes, if local trade is important to you.
If you’re not sure where to start, you could try using keyword research tools such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Yoast or SEMRush. Or, if you’re short on time or resources, why not ask me to help?
Once you’ve identified the right keyword or phrase for each page, include it in the page titles and other meta data as well as in the front end content. Avoid keyword stuffing (overuse) though, as this won’t go down well with the search engines.
- Write quality content for each page
There are a few golden rules around writing page content in SEO terms. As noted above, the correct use of keywords is essential. You should also avoid ‘thin’ content where pages have 300 words or less of content as this won’t get your site noticed by search engines. And whilst content might be king, excessive ‘filler’ or duplicating content across pages to boost your word count is another big no-no.
Instead, focus on telling your customers what they want to know about the subject you’re writing about, whether it’s your ‘About us’ page or product information. Google loves quality content that’s genuinely helpful and informative. So, cut out the sales speak and stick to relevant facts and features you can link to tangible benefits.
Each page also needs to include a clear call to action that tells your customer exactly what you want them to do. That might be to get in touch to find out more, sign up for a newsletter, request a free sample or place an order.
A good link structure will also help with your search engine rankings and help customers navigate your site. I always aim to include at least one internal link, usually to a related product or service, and one external link to a reputable, industry-related site when optimising web page content for my clients.
- Include non-written and interactive content
The written word is obviously important. But there are lots of other ways you can communicate with your visitors which will add interest and variety to your website. Think images, infographics, videos, podcasts and so on. These techniques can be especially useful if you need to present complex or technical information in an accessible way.
According to startups.co.uk, 97% of marketers say that using website videos has helped their customers to better understand their products or services. The search engines will love you for it, too! My blog article on creating great digital content will give you some ideas.
- Bring it all together
Your website might be the hub of your digital marketing activities but just like a bicycle wheel, it can’t do much without the spokes! That’s why your other online marketing activities are so important. How many websites do you see that don’t have a blog or where articles haven’t been added for several years? Or where social media links are missing, don’t work or link to profiles that have never been used? Even if your website is genuinely all-singing, all-dancing, neglecting your wider online presence won’t do you any favours.
So, get organised and schedule in regular, optimised blog articles and social media posts that your customers will find relevant and useful. Each article or post should link to an appropriate page on your website, helping people find out more about aspects of your business that interest them. Using hashtags and visual elements will help you maximise engagement with your audience.
As well as your own marketing assets, make sure your company profile is up to date on Google My Business and other relevant business directories. This is especially important if you rely on local trade. As with all your website content, include focus keywords and helpful information as well as links through to your website.
Email campaigns and newsletters are another great way to drive traffic to your main website, blog posts and social media accounts. However, email marketing needs to be carefully planned and executed to get the right results – my Email Campaigns web page will tell you more.
Need help optimising your online content? My SEO consultancy service is just the ticket!
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to content optimisation. As noted above, it’s about far more than just throwing a few keywords at your website and hoping for the best. I appreciate that many business owners don’t have the time or skill to manage their SEO, which is where my consultancy services can help.
I offer a complete end to end solution covering digital marketing strategy right through to identifying the right types of content for your business, creating content, managing social media accounts and email campaigns, and measuring and reporting on performance. You can choose one or more of my services as a standalone, or opt for a tailored Outsourced Marketing Services Package that meets all your needs under one roof.