SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is something that most business owners know about, vaguely, but few really understand it, and why it is so important to your business. In this article we unpack the concept and teach you WHY you need it.
The short story is that in order to rank first on Google and other search engines, your websites content need to match what potential visitors are looking for, having a pretty website alone won't help you get traffic. Sounds simple, right? Well, it's not.
But there is a good way to think about it. Great SEO sits at the sweet spot between your technical aspects, and your on-page and off-page efforts.
WHY DO I NEED SEO?
3. You could get up to as much as 30% more traffic. A joke that is popular with online marketers is "Where to hide a dead body? On page two of a Google Search". It is true. No one goes to page two. They might not even scroll to the bottom of page one. So ranking high up on a list for specific keywords (relevant to your industry) is extremely important.
OK SO I DO NEED IT.. HOW DO I GO ABOUT IT THOUGH?
SEO is not a one off-thing (sorry), but more of a continuous project. But there are a few main areas to work on, namely:
1. Technical SEO
This is also referred to as 'under the hood' SEO, or the stuff that is in the backend of your website. It can't be seen for the most part, but it is what dramatically improves your website's search performance if you have it set up properly.
Technical SEO ensures that your website is optimized for Google (and other search) engines that 'crawl' sites to find out what they are all about, has good page speed, and that it is optimised for mobile (which is crucial in this day and age). It also optimizes your site for humans by making sure its structure, navigation, and internal links allow easy browsing, and that meta tags are filled in so both search engines and humans know what the page is about.
Important steps here is to create a logical navigation pathway, compress images (making your site load faster), adding Alt text to your images (which helps products show up in Google images), and naming them in plain language, with keywords and your brand name in the image name, using only -, never _.
2. On-page Optimisation
The easiest way to understand content optimisation is by asking yourself, “How can I make it clear to visitors what this page is about?” From there you can optimise your pages to make sure they answer these questions:
- Does the heading clearly explain what is on the page?
- Am I using the keyword or some variation of it in subheadings or in the body of content on the page?
- Does the URL slug contain the keyword? Is it overly long or short?
- Is the title of the page enticing? Does the meta description make this page seem click worthy?
- What are the image file names? Do they have alt text filled in that clearly explains what’s displayed in the image?
Your meta title and description are your ways of communicating to users and search engines what your page is about, encouraging people to click on it from a search. Sites like Shopify pre-fills the title and meta description with the product/collection name and the product/category description, but if you haven’t customised these for each page, it’s likely the meta data isn’t communicating what your page is about to users and search engines or isn’t making it enticing enough to get a click. So you really need to go over the SEO box at the bottom of all your pages, products, categories etc, to make sure they are saying what you want them to say. Most people miss this, and it is the easiest (although time consuming) way to make sure your website ranks high in searches. Do it now.
3. Off-page SEO
This section refers to things such as backlinks from other people's websites, social media channels, local business directories, and niche directories. Having social media accounts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. is crucial for this. It is also recommended to have a profile on Google My Business, although this has become increasingly difficult for online-only businesses. If you've got one though, use it as any other social media tool, as this can improve your local SEO, which in turn can help you get local customers.
The easiest way to build off-page SEO though is to have amazing products or services, that get people talking about your business online. People sharing your business with friends and family because you’re doing something special that makes you stand out is the best way to build a business, and should always be at the forefront of everything you do. It takes a while to build up, but keep at it, and they will come. And don't underestimate how providing amazing customer service can create a great bond with your customers! Be responsive on social media, and take time to get back to people who have questions about your products or services. And always remember:
SEO Is About Humans First,
Search Engines Second
Lastly, make sure you have both Google Analytics and Google Search Engine installed on your website, so that you can track how you are getting along, and also submit a sitemap to GSE once you have set everything up, ensuring that your website gets crawled and indexed as soon as possible and you can start ranking high in searches!
Below is an image that shows how Google and other search engines crawl to explore your website and its pages. Submitting a sitemap is really important for them to know how to read your site.
This article is a summary (and our own 2cents) of an article that can be found here. It is lengthy, but contains all the info you need to get "stuck in" if you want to really learn and apply SEO to your website. We recommend reading it, and if you feel like you could need some guidance afterwards (because it really IS a science), get in touch with us, we are always happy to help.
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