Saving money, increasing online visibility, attracting more qualified leads; there are many reasons why search engine optimisation (SEO) is vital to a successful digital marketing strategy. But to really nail SEO in the long term, you first need to understand how it works.
Whether you’re just getting started with SEO, or are simply looking to increase your knowledge, our top search engine optimisation tips will help you step up your marketing game with best-practice SEO.
But first things first…
What’s the impact of good SEO?
With just over half of all website traffic coming from organic search, and SEO delivering a healthy ROI, the question shouldn’t be “why optimise your website?”, but instead, “can I afford not to?”
There are many benefits to SEO and many reasons why you should you should be trying to get your website ranking with search engines:
While there are many methods of driving traffic to your website, most of them are very expensive. But with a good SEO strategy the traffic is free! That means that once your SEO is firing you should be able to reduce the amount of money you’re pouring into paid advertising while still delivering great results with just the right combination of paid and organic traffic.
Better long-term results
A defining feature of search engine optimisation is that the results tend to be compounding. However, SEO is certainly not a “set and forget” strategy. To stay on top, you’ll need to respond to competitor activity, shifts in the market and even changes to search engine algorithms to keep your website ranking. But, you’ll soon find that success breeds more success the longer you keep at it.
Attract more qualified leads
Not only does SEO allow you to increase your online visibility, it also gives you the power to improve the quality of the organic traffic that’s visiting your website. With the ability to select your targeted keywords, you can optimise your web pages to attract people who are already searching for the product, service or solution you’re offering — or the challenges you can solve. These people will have a higher purchase intent, and therefore represent more qualified leads.
How to make SEO work for you?
SEO is important, but don’t let it dominate your content.
While there’s no doubt that good keyword optimisation is important to increasing your online visibility, you mustn’t become a slave to it. Remember to put just as much time and energy into developing a website that converts as you’re putting into attracting organic traffic to that website.
As a rule of thumb, if there’s ever a choice between readability and cramming another keyword onto the page, always choose readability.
Your goal should be to weave your keywords into your web copy so subtly that they’re almost invisible. Try reading your content out loud. If you’re tripping over your words or it feels awkward or uncomfortable on your tongue, then your content probably isn’t very readable.
Test our SEO:
Can you pick out the keywords and phrases we’ve targeted in this article?
SEO is a long-term strategy
SEO is one of those ‘overnight success’ stories that was really months — or even years — in the making. In reality, it can take months to see any results at all! And it can take even longer to get your website ranking for keywords that have a higher search volume and a higher level of competition.
Be patient with SEO; it will take some time to start seeing results. But, when it starts to work, it’s not like paid advertising where the results stop as soon as you stop spending.
When hiring an SEO expert, steer clear of anyone who guarantees that they’ll get your website ranking on the first page of Google within days or weeks.
SEO doesn’t work like that. These people are either using black hat techniques that will see your website penalised, or they’re optimising for low-competition keywords that no one is searching for and won’t deliver the quality traffic you are looking for.
SEO is more than just keywords
It’s important to remember that there’s more to SEO than just keyword optimisation. Here are some technical SEO factors that will influence your online visibility:
- Security and accessibility
- Page speed (both mobile and desktop)
- Mobile optimisation
- Domain age and authority
- User Experience
- Previous performance
Google regularly updates their search algorithm, with a particular focus on improving the user experience (UX) and the overall quality of web content. Keep an eye on the most recent updates from Google as they typically announce upcoming changes to the algorithm before they occur. This gives you the chance to proactively make adjustments to your website.
Things to avoid
While good SEO is beneficial to any digital marketing strategy, getting it wrong can be damaging to your online visibility. Here are some things to avoid to make sure you’re getting the most out of your website:
It’s important to build a streamlined and consistent experience across every page of your website. But when it comes to SEO, each page should ideally have its own set of targeted keywords unique to that page. Optimising multiple pages for the same keywords will result in those pages competing with one another for online visibility.
That’s because, when a user conducts a search online, Google doesn’t just show you the website that matches your search terms in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Instead, it chooses the single most relevant page from that site, to the exclusion of all others.
To solve keyword cannibalisation issues, you may simply wish to merge content into a single page, or rewrite the pages to target different keywords based on the purpose of that page. This means you can optimise for a broader range of keywords, while being specific about the pages those keywords are most relevant to. This effectively widens the net, attracting more organic traffic but still ensures visitors find the pages that are most relevant to their search.
After conducting your keyword research, keep a document that lists targeted keywords for every page of your website. This will remind you which keywords you’re targeting per page, and which one to avoid in the future to prevent a double-up.
Forgetting search intent
People search similar terms for different reasons, and it’s important to remember this when conducting your keyword research. Optimising for the wrong keywords can attract the wrong audience, giving you a “false positive” as page visits go up but conversions remain unchanged.
Never forget search intent when performing keyword research and always remember what you’re offering your audience when selecting your targeted keywords so that visitors are actually finding what they need.
We spoke earlier about the dangers of sacrificing readability for the sake of keyword optimisation, but this didn’t always used to be the case.
In the early days of search engines, businesses would effectively “stuff” their websites with as many keywords as possible, even going so far as to hide invisible text into the background of their sites. While keyword stuffing helped businesses boost their website ranking, it also resulted in unreadable content and a terrible UX — which was bad for the reputation of the search engine.
To avoid penalties,
make sure to avoid
Thankfully, search engines are smarter these days, and keyword stuffing will quickly see your website penalised, or even removed from the SERPs entirely. To avoid these penalties, make sure to avoid “over-optimising” your page.
The general recommendation is to try not to use any given keyword more than five times on a page and to remember our earlier point about prioritising readability over keyword density.
Neglecting long-tail keywords
Keywords are typically divided into two categories: long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. A short-tail keyword is more general and tends to have a higher search volume, but also a higher level of competition.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific and have less competition, making them a good choice for smaller websites who are competing with bigger brands and their much larger budgets. The specificity of long-tail keywords can also be used to attract a far more targeted and qualified lead.
Think of the difference between the short-tail keyword “shoes” and the long-tail keyword “black running shoes for sale in Melbourne”. While the former will attract all kinds of visitors for all kinds of reasons, the latter ensures that only those people who are looking to buy black running shoes in Melbourne are going to see your website.
Combining long-tail keywords with your understanding of user intent is a great way of ensuring that only the most qualified leads are being directed to your website.
Send your results skyrocketing with search engine optimisation
SEO is an effective way of getting your website seen online. Done right, it can save you a lot of money by continuing to draw organic traffic to your page long after your optimisations are made.
But conducting your own keyword research and optimising your own website for search can be a daunting task. It always helps to have a second pair of eyes to make sure you’re not making the small but costly mistakes that can hold a website back.
Contact The Walk today and we’ll conduct an assessment of your website to find any of the common SEO mistakes that you didn’t even know you were making. We’ll then help you fix them.
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