SEO Tips: So, you’re a brand new website owner. (Even if you’re not, just play along for the sake of the hypothetical.) You’ve employed the greatest copywriters and graphic designers to turn out the highest-quality content anyone has ever seen. The copy dazzles and the design draws users in. This website is a masterclass in seductive words and high-quality aesthetics.

So why isn’t anyone visiting your website?

On the World Wide Web, one cannot get by on expertly-crafted words and glittery graphics alone. That isn’t to say that content isn’t important, because it very much is. But if you’re focusing on quality content only, you’re only looking at half the picture. You will also need to employ a great SEO(search engine optimisation) strategy.

Most people have at least heard the acronym ‘SEO’ before, and many even know what it stands for. But what is search engine optimisation, exactly, and how can you use it to boost traffic to your website? Read on for all the answers and more!

Defining SEO

Before we venture any further, let’s straighten something out: what, exactly, is search engine optimisation? SEO is an umbrella term for the many strategies taken to push a website to a search engine’s first results page. Why is this such an important marketing strategy? Because 75 per cent of Internet users don’t look beyond the first results page!

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If you’re on the first results page of Google, you’re front-page news. How do we get you there? Here are a few strategies you can use.

The power of keywords

If you want to put your website on the (site)map, keywords are a must. What are keywords? They’re words or phrases that people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for. So, for example, if a customer was looking for top-quality coffee in Melbourne, they might type ‘best coffee places Melbourne into Google.

Let’s say you’re a Melbournian coffee shop owner and you’re creating a website for your business. Armed with the knowledge that people tend not to look beyond Google’s first results page, you’ll want to ensure your website matches the most common keywords typed into the search engine. The more common keywords your website contains, the more likely it will be to appear in the first batch of results. Ergo, your search engine visibility will earn you more organic traffic.

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Check out the queue at Patricia Coffee Brewers in Melbourne. We wonder what (if any) SEO strategies they used to boost visibility.

How do you determine which keywords to include? There are only so many you can use before your copy begins to sound artificial. You need to choose wisely and weave them in with stealth. Free keyword generators such as Ahrefscan help you determine which keywords are trending right now. Type in a few keywords relating to your business and let the numbers guide your decision!

Consistent quality content

Humans seek novelty. If they’ve seen everything there is to see on your website, you’re not providing an incentive for them to return. By creating quality content on the regular, you’re not only showing that your site is an active and evolving space, but you’re showing knowledge about your niche. People will see through shallow, buzzword-filled content, and they will notice if you lifted content from somewhere else.

Remember those copywriters we mentioned earlier? Get them to hone their skills and showcase your brand’s in-depth knowledge about its little corner of the Internet. Get those graphic designers to create original imagery rather than relying on stock images.

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The more original content you create, the more interest you generate. The more expertise you exude, the more trust accrued. If it’s interesting enough, users will share your information on social media. And if you weave the right keywords into your written content, your content will continue to appear on Google’s first results page. You can’t go wrong with having a blog feature on your website.

Another strategy is to post original content to a third-party website. Showcase your knowledge in alternate locations, providing a link to your website, and people will be a) impressed by your expertise, and b) more likely to find you.

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are like short blurbs of a web page’s content. You’ll see them on Google results pages. More detailed than a web page’s headline, they typically contain about 150 to 160 characters. They can also include standard taglines (aka unique selling positions or USPs) like ‘Buy now, pay later with Afterpay.

Meta descriptions

Why are meta descriptions so nifty? They’re a rapid-fire way to grab a user’s interest. If you’re smart, you’ll also craft them to include a common keyword. This way, they’ll show up more frequently when users type the keyword in question.

Meta descriptions are short, sharp blurbs that show up in addition to website results. They won’t push any search results to the second page. They are an additional attempt to grab a user’s attention before they continue to the regular search results. (And more strategies can’t hurt, right?)

Build links with care!

The reason ‘SEO’ is an umbrella term is that so many strategies fall under it—and, with so many forms of SEO, there’s bound to be overlap. If you create enough original content to place yourself on the map, chances are third-party websites will provide links to your website on their website. But this is something that’s done at a third party’s discretion, and it’s something over which you have no ultimate control. You can only do your best and hope to reap the benefits you deserve.

You can flip the concept on its head and link to third-party websites yourself. You can also link back to relevant pages on your own website. That being said, you should only do this if it feels natural. Do it too much and it will a) look like you’re overselling yourself, and b) be very hard to read.

Build links with care

This is what you don’t want to happen.

When providing links of any kind, ensure the links are current. The more 404 pages your website links to, the more unprofessional your website will appear. Search engines will also penalise websites for this on the grounds of poor website maintenance. We’d hate for this to happen on your website, so check out this tool to ensure that all the links you’re spruiking are still serving your SEO efforts.

To optimised searches and beyond

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a good insight into SEO and some specific examples of how you can make it work for your website. If you’re going to take anything away from this, heed this advice: keep content consistent, qualitative, and keyword-heavy.

Of course, there are other things you can do to keep your website front and centre, including website maintenance and routine optimisation. Take pride in your work, take note of what attracts organic traffic, and play the numbers game in your favour. This will give your website the best possible chance to shine, and that’s what search engine optimisation is all about.

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