Today, the idea of searching online for whatever you need, from a pizza to a divorce lawyer to a new car, is second nature to all of us. So what happens if you search for the product or service that is your business' bread and butter, and your site is nowhere to be seen in the results?
Evidently, your SEO needs some attention. But before you rush off to get specialist assistance, there are some simple things you can do to get your own virtual house in order.
1. Check the sitemap
Your sitemap is the first place the search bots look, and it gives them important information about your site. Do you have one? If not, that needs to be first job on your agenda. Check it is up to date, clean and not too enormous.
2. Share the love on social media
Social media shares might not directly affect page ranking, but they have a huge impact on brand awareness. Better awareness means more traffic, means better rankings. Keep your company name and branding consistent across all platforms, and add share buttons to your content to encourage people to get social with it.
3. Tidy the site structure
Keep structure as shallow as you can. Important pages should be at most three clicks from the homepage. Provide clear menus at the top of every page - you don't want your readers to waste time trying to find a page on your site when they could be placing an order.
4. Check your metadata
Some webmasters overlook meta descriptions on the basis that they do not directly affect page ranking. What they do achieve, however, is far more clicks, as they show searchers that they have come to the right place. Keep them snappy and include keywords. There's no need to use the meta keyword field though - in fact, it's recommended not to use this at all.
5. Add authority links
There are still people who think external links are a bad idea, as they will send visitors away from your site. On the contrary - by linking to sites with high domain authority, you're providing useful reference information and increasing your site's credibility.
Search engines will love you for it, but remember to go for quality over quantity.
6. Be mobile-friendlier
Everyone knows the importance of mobile, but is your site really as mobile-friendly as it could be? Google provides its own mobile friendly test, so you can find out once and for all. If you fail this test, you'll need to instruct a web developer to either fix these problems or build a new site.
7. Use alt text with images
Google is a big fan of sites with images, but it can't 'see' them per se. Concise, keyword-rich alt text will leave it in no doubt as to what your images are about.
8. Optimise title tags
Title tags are the first thing Google examines to understand your page content. They are also what will be displayed in the search results. Use long-tail keywords, but again, be concise, and keep it to 50 characters or so, as longer titles may not display properly in the search results.
9. Keep it fresh
New content is the lifeblood of your site, so blog away to your heart's content, adding fresh, interesting and relevant articles. New content attracts Google search bots, and provides new pages that can be shared across social media - so if you don't have a company blog, get one set up this year.
Search engines are smart enough now to recognise spammy content that is designed purely to boost SEO. Write for people, not bots, and your customers will be happy. Ultimately, happy customers means happy search engines - and your ranking will rise accordingly.
10. Get HTTPS / SSL
Google has already hinted that it will favour secure websites over traditional unsecure sites. Even if you don't process payments, you may be storing client email and names on your website or within your mail lists, so security is important for all businesses.
As Google's search algorithms become more advanced, the line between pure technical SEO and content becomes more blurred. On-site content is as important as what is happening behind the scenes, so once your foundations are in order, start working on your content marketing strategy build awareness and grow a larger customer base.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Jon Wade, content manager at FSE Online.