SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation. When you are looking to book a holiday or to buy new furniture you google relevant words and the search engine returned you millions of website to choose from. But how did it decide which results to show you and in which order?
These words you used are called key words (or common words that are linked to a certain topic). Google algorithms match these key words to relevant websites that contain this matching information. So the first thing to consider when building and developing your website is the use of the correct key words.
The words you may think are the most sought after may not be so. To find the mostly used keywords you could start with Google Keyword Planner which will help you to define the best choice of words to use to promote your business. But how did the search engine decide which results to show you, and in what order?
Google has a very complex algorithm for serving search results, and it changes relatively frequently. And although the company does not make the exact algorithm public, here are a few elements that we know for a fact have an impact on a page’s ability to appear in the results for certain keywords:
The keyword’s appearance in the page’s title, header tags, and meta description
It is important here to use the keyword associated with each page in the page title, the header tag and the meta description – this is the paragraph that is usually seen below the website when you do a search. If you don’t know where each of these are your web developer will but you will need to guide them as to which words you want used to promote each page on your site.
The amount of naturally-occurring, organic links to the page
- Where a supplier lists you as a stockist of their brand and has a link on their site to your site.
- Local directories listing your site.
- Writing blogs for other websites where it links back to your site.
- Links from social media back to your site e.g. posting a blog on LinkedIn which links back to your site.
- Guest blogging – perhaps a blogger has had an experience in your salon then writes a blog about it and links back to your site.
The way the website performs on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets
Google penalises sites that are not responsive to use on mobile devices, so ensure that your site works well on mobile devices.
Active blogging and updating of the website
This is a good way to ensure that you are updating the content of your site regularly and Google favours this.
- Generate original information/content
- Offer a service or answer questions
- Offer your knowledge and advice (ensure you include keywords in this)
- Write blogs related to what is currently trending . Use Google Trends to find out and see if you can add to the trend by writing a blog to add to your site to raise this SEO cause the topic is trending.
Usage of videos and pictures with relevant key words used to name these. Many web designer will build a site for you but it is vital for you as a business owner to know that each picture and video on your site must be named with a keyword linked to the page it is promoting. This is one of the best ways to gain good SEO.
Functionality of a website
Google, similar to people, likes sites that are easy to navigate. So the longer a viewer spends on the site, the more they are liking it and the more relevant it was to their search. Google will favour sites that respond like this.
Alternatively, if a viewer is on your site and there are broken links to pages – you will have seen 404 errors in your time on the internet – these are where the link to the page is broken and must be fixed. Google will penalise sites that have these errors. So the aim of the game is to keep people on your site as long as possible by having no errors and making it information and fun to stay on.
Now, when customers search for a local business or product, they’re often greeted with reviews about a company on the first page of search engine results. Obtaining reviews on third party websites adds to your brand’s credibility, while making it simple for viewers to gain insight into customer satisfaction associated with your brand.
Try to set up a call to action on your website and social media sites where you request your clients to submit their reviews. Use social media review such as Facebook or create a Google+ business page. Always address these reviews particularly if they are negative. In my experience I have seen one star business reviews given by people who have never even had an experience of the company. If this happens it is important to ask the person about their review and on what it was based, just so that you can address this professionally and allow other viewers to understand this was not a direct customer of yours.
Be Active on Social Media
If you are promoting on social media ensure you make a link to the landing page of exactly what you are promoting. The amount of people who will click to this link and be brought to your site will increase the number of viewers you have on your site and therefore Google tend to rank you higher as you have more clicks.
And finally make sure to track the success of your SEO by using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.