You need to get your website SEO basics right if you want success in digital online marketing. This is sometimes referred to as “on-page SEO”.
Search engine optimisation can position your website effectively for your prospects (and therefore potential paying customers) to find you in the search engines. Getting the basics right can make all the difference between online success and failure.
Most business owners (and most web designers for that matter) simply do not understand what Google, Yahoo and Bing are looking for. You need a website that is “SEO compliant” – in other words that is pleasing to the search engines and most importantly to customers at the same time.
By not understanding website SEO, business owners start off on the wrong foot. Their websites are not built on solid foundations and this inevitably has a negative effect on their online presence. The danger is that they will simply end up with a nice looking brochure that is to all intents and purposes a needle in a haystack.
This is just a very short guide to the essentials required for search engine optimisation success.
What the Search Engines do not want to find
The search engine spiders that crawl a website are actively on the look out for “negative stuff” which will penalise you. They are very clever (they are computerised algorithms after all) and if you or your SEO Agency have done anything nefarious they will almost certainly catch up with you sooner or later. These so called black hat techniques are to be avoided as they are ultimately likely to prove counter-productive.
Your aim should be to building a successful website through SEO for the long term.
So let’s take a look at this negative stuff that the search engine robots are not looking for…..the things that they are programmed to find in order to penalise websites.
Keyword Stuffing in your content
This is a cardinal error that many business owners unwittingly make. On the face of it it might seem like a good idea to stuff lots of keywords into you articles because you really want Google to know what it is about. But don’t worry there’s no need – the Google robot is actually quite intelligent!. Remember Google penalises websites for overstuffing keywords in their content. If have have stuffed your content full of keywords, the bot will think you are just trying a little bit too hard, and are trying to game the system.
You should aim to keep your density to between 2 to 4% or even lower – any higher than that and you may end up getting a dreaded Google penalty. But quite what the appropriate amount is – well that is a subject that could occupy thousands of words, some of which would say that ultimately it’s not that important!
Poor user experience
Don’t forget that Google’s whole raison d’etre is to give its customers good and relevant website results. So isn’t it obvious that Google will prefer sites that give the user a good experience?
Now what exactly does that mean? Well, to be a bit pedantic you could say that it means exactly what anybody would say “a good experience” means. It is as much an aesthetic**** judgment as a technical one.
Ultimately you also have to make it really easy for your users to navigate through your website. Too many advertisements will be distracting and not help your users to enjoy your content. Quite simply if your website is too difficult to read and navigate, then people won’t stay on it very long & it won’t do what you want it to do. The technical term is that your “bounce rate” won’t be very good. Google rewards sites which are “sticky” – a site where people stay for a while.
But in simple black and white terms, which site do you think Google will prefer? A site where people go to, and rarely spend more than a few seconds before going off somewhere else? Or a site where people go, and often spend several minutes reading the content and watching the videos? We won’t insult your intelligence by telling you what is glaringly obvious.
So if you want a good ranking, give your users a great experience.
It’s common sense really. But not only that, it’s actually a double whammy because if your website gives a good experience to the user, then it will be a much better site in terms of information and therefore potentially much better at converting.
Some website SEO experts will categorically tell you to never buy any backlinks. Others think it’s an acceptable practice if you don’t overdo it. Certainly purchased backlinks can be effective, but there are risks, and you the client needs to take full responsibility for this because if you get caught by Google or the other search engines, you will get a penalty. The worst case scenario is that your website may be put into the so-called “sandbox” and your website’s rankings will suffer accordingly.
It’s far better to get real proper backlinks that are meaningful, and from authoritative sources. Again, this is just pure common sense.
So as will be apparent basic website SEO is a case of good common sense. Follow the guidelines, do what you are supposed to and don’t do anything naughty, and you’re off to a good solid start in the ranking game.
What do the Search Engines look for?
Now that we’ve covered what the search engines do not want to find in respect of website SEO, let’s be a bit more positive and talk about what they are actually looking for. These are the things that have the capacity to put rocket fuel into your search engine rankings.
So let’s consider the things that can really make a massive difference to your rankings, and therefore your revenue.
Relevant, quality content
Well this isn’t rocket science, is it?
If your website is about buying shoes in London, then the content had jolly well better be about shoes, and about London, and about the experience of looking for shoes in London, and perhaps some reviews and recommendations of some great shoe shops here in London. You won’t get very far if this is only a small fraction of the content, and most of the site is actually about Liverpool supporters travelling to London to watch your team play at Stamford Bridge and happening to spot a shoe shop on the Kings Road on the way to the game.
A slightly exaggerated example perhaps, but it does serve to illustrate a serious point: the bottom line is the content must be relevant. Better still the content should also be high quality and have a high perceived value.
Website load speed
The faster your website, the better. People have low attention spans on the web, and it the site doesn’t load fast, people won’t wait around. Google knows this. So a quick loading website will help your website SEO.
Last, and most certainly not least, there is the new world we live in. The mobile mobile. The smartphone world where millions of people around the world are addicted to their smart phones. This is a world wide phenomenon and in 2015 Google did actually report that more searches were taking place on mobile devices than on computers in ten countries including the US and Japan.*****
Mobile traffic is taking over from desktop and laptop traffic. You had better believe it because this is an inexorable force that is changing the face of the internet and the business world. The positive side is that there is an avalanche of mobile traffic waiting to be taken advantage of. The negative side is that if your website is not mobile friendly then you are losing out in a very big way – not just because Google will push you down the rankings but because even if people find you, if your site does not load quickly and in a mobile friendly way then people will simply vote with their fingers and abandon you and find someone else.
Admit it, your attention span on a smart phone searching the internet is pretty low too.
Take advantage of this new world, this mobile friendly search engine world. Make sure your online website SEO is done properly. Fill in the Discovery Page now.