Search engine optimisation is a technique that helps search engines such as Google find and rank your site above the 200 million active websites that are also competing for visibility.
Search engines work by searching for data that follow pre-set algorithms (sets of rules installed by the web developers). They will crawl the web to find and index keywords, meta tags, page links etc. In order to rank higher than your competitors you need to ensure that your website is designed to follow the algorithms because the higher the match, the higher you will rank on search results.
Whilst it’s key that you optimise your website to consider these algorithms (most sites – even the free to use home build sites have functionality to help you with this), it’s important not to fall into the trap of writing for the search engines. You’ll just end up with copy that your customers are not interested in reading.
How do you do this?
- One of the easiest ways to stay at the top of a search engines listing is to create regular, quality, content that reflects questions your customers are asking when they type into the search bar.
- There is a fantastic free site https://answerthepublic.com/ where you can see what people are asking when they type into search engines, which should help you to develop your content.
- Use what marketers call ‘longtail keywords’, which are specific enquiries made up of four or more words. In traditional key word writing a restaurant might just use the word restaurant or Indian Restaurant or Indian food as a key word as it will answer more search results. But if you were to write a blog that a search engine might pick up when someone is searching for Indian food you might use longtail key words such as ‘How to create your favourite Indian food at home’.
Make sure your meta title is strong and punchy. This is the blue headline we see when the search results come up. This is what impacts the minds of users and determines whether they will click on your site or not.
There are some key tips to writing a great meta title:
- Try to connect with emotions
- Try to use numbers (i.e., 10 ways to xxx)
- Use your targeted key word or longtail keyword once in the title – preferably at the beginning
- Keep within 60 characters
Check that your meta description is engaging (this sits under the meta title on the search results page). This is the section that describes what will be found on each page of the site.
You can do this by:
- Keeping the language conversational
- Including your main keyword
- Focussing on the value the reader will get by accessing the page/site rather than the actual content
- Adding a call to action if possible
Use internal links to keep your visitors on and moving around your site more. For example, if you are a bed and breakfast business and want people to be able to access your breakfast menu, add a link to the page that will take them directly to the menu. You might then mention that sausages are from the local farm shop. You could include a link to a blog on your site where you have written about the local farm shop and the farm to fork process.
Encourage links to your site from other sites. Perhaps the local farm that provides you with sausages can provide a link to your site and to the blog where you have written about the farm to fork process. Are there other supply partners you can collaborate with?
People often like to share valuable and interesting content. Help to make it easy for them by adding share buttons that will allow them to share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter.
Measure and review what is happening with your website. By using analytics software such as Google Analytics (which is free by the way) https://analytics.withgoogle.com/ you can see where your website visitors come from; what they typed into the search engine; which pages they visited; how they moved around your website. This information will really help you tailor your content and look at how your website is developed.