Well, SEO is really split into three different sections. The first one is on-page, the content, the words and the pictures that you use on your page. The second is the technical stuff, the user experience, the speed of your website, is it mobile-friendly, all those little SEO technicals that you might have heard about. The third side of it is promotion, making sure people know your website exists.
The top two here, the content and the promotion are probably the most important, but the technical stuff, you need to be all right at that if that makes sense.
We start off with the on-page stuff, the words and the pictures.
First of all, keyword research. It’s a weird phrase, keyword research. It’s basically trying to find out what words and phrases people use to find your content, you answer their questions, you solve their problems.
What do people shove into the search engine? What do they type into that box? That would bring your page up in the search results.
It’s trying to find out the types of questions and the problems that people are trying to solve using Google, using Bing, using any search engine. We need to be able to do some keyword research to be able to figure out what words people use to find your services or your products.
Keyword research is really important for when you’re creating the content and creating the page, your web page or blog post, it could be a landing page, it could be a product page, service page, whatever it is, keyword research really, really important.
Second is searcher intent. This is important as well, it’s trying to understand what people are looking for at certain points of the journey to buy something from you.
We’ve got a journey, we could end up with I have a problem, but I don’t know how to solve it. For example, something could have gone wrong in the house. I don’t know, the washing machine is making a weird noise, for example.
I don’t know what this means, what does this mean? So I go and punch a load of words into Google to try and figure out why my washing machine is making a whole load of weird noises. That’s like a searcher intent, okay, we’re trying to solve a problem.
Then the second part of that journey could be, I figured out what’s wrong with my washing machine, it’s the pump, so how do I replace the pump on my washing machine? That’s a different type of intent.
Then I need to buy a pump, that’s another type of intent.
There’s lots of different points where you can introduce your brand, your company, your organization, whatever it is, to people at different stages of their buying journey for whatever product it is. That’s what searcher intent is about.
It’s very much connected with keyword research, because we’re talking about answering questions, solving problems, using different words and phrases and things like that, but we’re actually trying to research stuff and do it properly, so that all our pages, the words on the page, are top-notch and answering people’s questions all the time.
We then need to look at usability, is the content in the right format for your audience? For example, if we’re talking about trying to change the pump on my washing machine, it could be a video, for example. That could be great content, that could be the right format for that type of content, a video. It could be a how-to article for something else, it could just be a little piece of– It could be a PDF download, it could be all sorts of different things.
It’s trying to look at the usability of your page, what kind of content do people want to view to answer that question, solve that problem and also can they access it easily on a mobile phone? You don’t make them jump through lots of hoops to try and actually do something on your website, is it really easy to digest that content.
Then finally, we’ve got all the titles and the tags, which is a little bit more SEO. We must construct a title tag, a description tag, we must use image alt tags, things like this. The title tag and the description tag are very important for attracting clicks because those tags are only seen away from your website. So for example, in the search results on Google and Bing, people might see the title tag, the description tag.
Also, in social media on Facebook and Twitter and places like that, they might see that title tag, that description tag if people have shared your page on social media.
We need to be able to understand to fill in these title tags, these description tags and use them properly within every single page of our website.
The second part is the technical side of your website.
This is where you badger your web team, badger your web developer. The most simple thing, the most important thing is can the search engines find your website? Can they list your website? Do you have a technically correct robots.txt file and sitemap.xml file?
This is the stuff that actually makes the website look a certain way, font sizes, colors, that sort of thing. If you block some of this information, Google might not be able to understand as much about your website as it should. Little things like the sitemap.xml file, you can actually have an automated file built into your website, which automates all the time, so every time you add a new web page, it goes into this little file, and the search engines can look at the file and find your new web page really, really easily.
These are things that you need to be badgering your web team about. User Experience is really important, is your website fast? Is the menu navigation system easy to use? Very, very important. Don’t make people jump through hoops to get to your content. When they load up your page, can they see what they want straight away? Is the user experience really good, really smooth, really fluid?
That brings us on to mobile usability. Does your website work smoothly on mobile phones? Is it fast on a mobile phone? Can people get to your content instantly? We’ve all been on those websites, we’ve opened it up on a mobile phone, has been pop up here, slide up there, slide down, across, “Ah, it’s just like stop it, I just want to read the content, please”, that’s the mobile usability.
If you’re selling stuff, and you’re hiding the page from everybody and there are all sorts of different pop-ups and things, that’s bad usability, we need to look at that.
Make sure you’re set up with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. If anything goes wrong with your website, if Google finds a problem, or Bing finds a problem, they tend to notify you within the Google Search Console.
You can also see which phrases and words people have searched for to find your pages. Really, really useful information, lots of useful stuff. Badger your web team, get lots of this stuff set up.
Promoting your website
This is the most important thing, if nobody knows your website is there, nothing is going to happen, you’re not going to sell anything, you’re not going to get a lead or a sale or whatever it is. You need to promote your website online to generate backlinks. Backlinks, they’re almost like I suppose little tiny votes of confidence for your website.
If somebody who’s maybe a little bit more important but related to what you do actually links to your website, then it builds your authority a little bit. It shows that you’re a little bit more important and Google can see that and understands you’re a little bit more important. Build your web into marketing campaigns. If you’ve got existing marketing campaigns going out there, even if they’re on paper, or they’re on billboards, or whatever, try and build your web and website into the marketing campaigns or conventional offline stuff.
I think creating shareable content is really important as well. You’re creating web content that’s actually of use to people hopefully, like this video, you might want to share this video to somebody else who’s got a website and it might help them, that sort of thing. You answer people’s questions, you solve their problems as much as you can.
We can use social media as well for promoting our content. Look at which platforms your visitors use, where are your visitors and make sure you share your content and you advertise as well on some of these platforms, and you get your content out there in front of the people who want to see it, simple as that.
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