Top Ten SEO Tips

Published: September 2013

Newcastle Design Agency Urban River provides you with ten easy to follow SEO Tips to help your rankings in the search engines.

Information on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can often be contradictory making it confusing and difficult to understand what things you need to do to in order to optimise your website, these top ten tips should make things clearer.

1. Forget SEO!

Yes you read that right! Before you start work and invest time on SEO you should take a step back and forget SEO for a moment. Sometimes SEO isn’t the problem with your site. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you are getting if your site is ugly, unattractive and cluttered it won’t draw traffic and you won’t get calls with orders. There is no point spending time and money on SEO if you’ve got a bad site. The best advice we can give you is to improve your website before even contemplating SEO.

2. Keyword Research

If your website is up to scratch but you’re not ranking highly and not getting as many leads as you would like then it’s time to put some effort into SEO.

The best place to start is to do some research on the keywords that are relevant to your business. Begin by writing down words you think are important and ask around to find out what keywords or phrases people would type if they were trying to find your business through a search engine. You can also take a look at your competitor’s sites to see what keywords they are using. Once you have an idea of the keywords you want to focus on use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to collect further data. When you perform a search on a keyword phrase in Google Adwords it tells you the number of searches per month for the keyword, the competition and a list of alternative keyword ideas. The best keywords/phrases to focus on are ones which are relevant so they reflect the nature of the product/service you offer, have low competition so it is relatively easy to climb the rankings, and high monthly phrases which means they are popular phrases which are searched often.

3. Link Building

Link building is a significant aspect in determining the ranking of your site. Inbound links are essentially links to your site from external sites. Search engines view links as recommendations and a sign of trust. You need to get links to your website from relevant, trusted services. Would any of your suppliers link to you? Are there any industry specific directories or trade bodies that could link to you? Do you have any useful articles you could add on to blog forums? Are your employees LinkedIn profiles linked to your website? Building links isn’t an easy task but if you use web directories, generate content worth linking to, respond to Q&A forums and avoid any gimmicks you’ll be on the right track.

4. Optimise Each Page

Approximately 25% of the overall time you spend on SEO should be spent making sure each page on your website is optimised correctly.To optimise a page properly start by choosing a keyword for the page then decide your page URL which should be concise, clear and include the keyword. The page title, meta title, meta description and content should all also include the keyword.  Ideally you want the keyword to appear in the first paragraph of the content and then a further 2-3 times within the content body. The meta description is what drives people to click through to your website so it should provide a compelling overview (no longer than 160 characters long) of what information they will find on the page. Remember the content needs to be optimised for people 1st and the search engines 2nd and should be at least 300 words. Any content less than 300 words tends to be overlooked by the search engines.

5. Content

The on-going creation of new content and the optimisation of content is vital for success in the rankings. Content optimisation is based on how search engines and people view web pages. Both search engines and people recognise the value of new content and expect clarity and quality. They want to know what your content is about and they want to trust you, so think carefully about what content is useful and helpful to your visitors. You need to structure content on the pages in a way that makes it easier for search engines to understand. You can do this by having organised headings and sub headings formatted in different ways, by including images and video and by having internal links between web pages.

6. Establish Trust & Credibility

A website that has established trust and credibility is one that will rank highly. To establish trust and credibility your website needs to demonstrate how you are an expert, show who you have worked with, be consistent and secure, offer solutions, be honest,  include reviews and testimonials and give reasons why they should leave their contact information.

7. Be local

1 in 3 queries people type into a standard Google search is about places and in 2013 local will pass 50% of all search queries (already 50% on mobile). So, local is a big deal and if your business provides a local service you can’t afford to ignore it! If you haven’t already you will need to set up a Google+ local page which is a free feature listing where you can add the right information about your business to ensure its found on Google Search and Maps and get closer to your customers. Citations are also a key component for local SEO. A citation is any mention of your business name, address or phone number around the web (NAP). Claim any free listings available to you and make sure that the information you add is always consistent across sites.

8. Social Media

Use social media to build a presence of your website and share any new content added. People share content that they like and search engines view this trusting so ensure your web pages and blog posts are easily shareable on all major social networks

9. Measuring SEO Effectiveness

Use Google Analytics to conduct regular analysis of your website. Google Analytics allows you to measure sales and conversions and gain insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site and what keywords they are using to find your site. You can also gauge how successful your SEO efforts are by keeping track of subscribers, social followers, sign ups, contact forms, phone calls, basically monitor any new leads and enquiries, how they found out about your business and if it was by a search engine what keyword they used to find you.

10. Don’t give up!

SEO is a long term ongoing process rather than something which can be instantly guaranteed with a few quick fixes to your site. It takes time and patience so keep at it, don’t give up and you’ll start to see results in the rankings.

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