While digital marketing has made it easier than ever to make a splash online, selling products and services is becoming more competitive as new businesses flood the market.
One way to stand out is by ranking high on search engines on desktops and mobile. Below, we’ve put together a four-step guide to fine-tuning your site and getting ahead of your competition.
STEP ONE: Choose your weapons
One of the first things that you should consider when optimising your website for search engines is your keywords.
Create a list of keywords and phrases related to your niche, and then review each one against your competitors and other industry resources like newspapers and niche blogs.
Once you’ve created a list of keywords you’d like to target, prioritise them in order of importance and analyse them using a keyword tool such as SEMrush or Ahrefs.
Such tools allow you to find data about individual keywords, like how competitive they are and how often they’re searched.
As well as honing in on your list of keywords, aim to define your objectives with your search engine optimisation campaign.
You may want to double your website traffic over the next six months, or perhaps you want to get on the first page of Google for a highly-competitive term that gets lots of searches every month.
Be realistic. You won’t rank #1 for 100 new keywords in a month, so choose achievable, actionable targets to give you focus.
STEP TWO: Optimise your content
Now that you’ve decided on the right keywords for your website and set objectives, it’s time to optimise your content to match.
First, add keyword-based titles to your content that will establish a theme for your page, and offer direction for your keywords and topics.
After, add meta tags and descriptions to pages to improve their appearance on search engine results pages (SERPs), and place strategic keywords and search phrases in your content.
It’s important that you incorporate keywords in the most natural and organic way possible; stuffing will lead to penalties.
As well as optimising your content for search engines, also think about your user experience on mobiles. Although long-form content of 2,000-plus word pieces performs best on search, users won’t want to scroll endlessly through a post on their phones.
Nor will they be able to read super in-depth infographics with small text, so try to find a balance that works well on all devices. You may want to experiment with other forms of content, like video, to break up text and improve the mobile user experience.
STEP THREE: Get technical
Nobody enjoys the work involved in technical SEO, but it’s an essential part of marketing if you want your pages to rank on search engines.
If you work with a reputable web developer, many of these technical SEO enhancements will be done for you, so shop around and find a company that knows its stuff.
Adding fast-loading pages and responsive design to your website after it has been completed can be incredibly time-consuming and costly, so try to get it right from the start.
Speed has been a ranking factor for several years now, so you’ll need to make sure that your website loads as quickly as possible if you want to rank ahead of the competition.
An incredible 53% of consumers will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, and a one-second day in loading times can reduce conversions by a whopping 7%, so consider speed your top priority when optimising your site.
Optimising code, powering your website through a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or switching to a UK-based web host are all options to consider, so play around and try to reduce loading times by as much as you possibly can.
This site speed tool from Google should be useful here.
According to Google, “if your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search”, so a mobile-first web design is essential.
Rather than designing a website on a desktop and making adjustments later, you should consider the mobile browsing experience the primary browsing experience for your users.
63% of all internet traffic now comes from smartphones, so stop burying your head in the side and think mobile.
Another major technical SEO factor to consider is sitemaps.
Creating sitemaps for Google and Bing will allow your pages and blog posts to be crawled and indexed quickly, and alert the search engines to new changes to your website.
You can create a sitemap for your business from scratch through XML, or you can use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO instead.
There are too many optimisations to list in this article, but some of the most impactful include:
- Adding metadata to your pages and blog posts
- Improving your internal linking structure through content
- Adding alt tags to your images and video content
- Using hreflang tags for regional URLs
- Submitting your website to other crawlers and directories
STEP FOUR: Test and measure your results
With the hard work of optimising your website out of the way, it’s important that you test and measure your results to determine your return on investment (ROI) and make further changes to your SEO campaign accordingly.
Make sure you’re tracking traffic using a tool such as Google Analytics, and monitor the performance of individual keywords through SEMrush or its free alternative, Keyword Tracker.io.
Over time, as you continue to optimise your site for keywords and build new links to core pages, your keywords should begin to climb north, and towards the first page.
As well as monitoring and tracking your SEO campaign, you should also carry out ongoing maintenance and modifications to continuously improve your rankings.
Unfortunately, in the world of search, nothing stays still for long, so a successful campaign requires ongoing adjustments to help pages stay at the top of search results pages. Don’t stop.
Continue to track your keywords and long-tail phrases and change them as and when you think appropriate.
Also remember to analyse your link strategy, building new links through outreach, directory and article submissions, skyscraper content and guest blogging.
The more high-quality links you have pointing to your pages, the more authoritative and powerful they’ll become.
Optimising your website for search engines and mobile users is hard work and requires skill and dedication.
If you’re struggling to put together an effective SEO strategy for your business, get in touch with the experts at Zudu today and ask about our search engine optimisation services.