Search Engine Optimisation
In this blog post we're going to talk about getting notice online. There are a number of different elements we're going to cover, including...
- What is Google SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
- Why it's important to improve SEO
- How to improve SEO
- Tips and tricks
- A list of useful resources
What is Google SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
Google has become synonymous with finding out information in the modern World. How many times have we said 'just google it'? Online searches hep us to find just about anything, and it's not just Google. Bing also accounts for around 20% of online searches.
In simple terms, SEO is the process of making your website more visible online, i.e getting found on Google, Bing and other search engines. Search engines have a number of algorithms (clever coding) to search, analyse, assess and rank your website. They do this by searching for key pieces of information, such as key words and meta-tags and description, images and alt images to list just a few. Without these key pieces of information, search engines will not rank your website favourably against your competitors.
Why it's important to improve SEO
SEO is so important if you're business relies on it's website and potential customers finding you. You need to stand out from the crowd, and that's just about having a fancy website. In launching PB TwentyFive there were a number of things we could control. The website, the branding, the product and our business practices. But one thing that was less certain is....how do we get found on search engines?
In the first 12 months of launching a website you've got less than a 6% chance of making it to Google's first page, due to the every increasing number of websites. The average time a website is life before featuring in Google's top 10 is 600 days! That's a long time, but there is a specific reason for it. Google likes to be able to trust you and your website, and longevity is important. When we launched PB TwentyFive, we never had that luxury of having a website that had been launched for 600 days so we had to improve our SEO as much as possible.
After the first 2 months our website was featured on page 11 when massage wax was searched. Pages and pages of other brand were way ahead of us, which in essence means we were anonymous. The website was looking great, yet it was invisible to everyone except direct visits from social media contacts, which has proved exceptionally important, but it wasn't enough to get the traffic we needed to build a customer base.
How to improve SEO
If you look online you'll find an overwhelming body of information on how to improve your SEO, and being honest when I first looked into it I panicked big time. I thought there was no way I could learn it, never mind make the necessary changes for our business. So, I looked into outsourcing this vital project, but quotes in excess of £400 per month meant that it wasn't viable for our small business. So what did we do?
We did a lot of research into what it means to be visible on Google, and it turns out that it's not as complicated as it first seams, or as some companies would have you believe. We've all had to learn something new, and this was certainly the case with SEO and we'd like to share some of those tip and tricks, which hopefully get you noticed and save you money.
SEO Tips and Tricks
1. Keywords - Using keywords is very important for SEO. This means you need to use the most important words to your business in all of your website pages. USe them often, and use words that you think customers will use to find you. For example, massage wax or sports massage wax, which is of course important for us.
2. Use good quality images that are relevant to your business. When using images, save them with the correct filenames. Usually when you save an image from a telephone for example it gives an obscure name - rename it to something relevant like 'Sports Massage Oil' or 'Massage Therapist Newcastle'. In addition you'll need to use image alt tags that are relevant, again 'Sports Massage Oil' etc..
3. Content - fill your website with a lot of content, this will help your SEO and your customers to understand you and your products and services. Make use of FAQ's, About us pages and Mission Statements to get your message across. Again, make it relevant and use keywords.
4. Backlinks are links from other people's website back to your own. This will help Google to understand your business and build trust. In the past businesses would buy links and be listed all over the place, but it's commonly understood that Google doesn't like that now and has a way to rank links built on trust and the quality of the site your linked from. Try writing guest blogs for other website and ask for a link back. List your website on listing pages such as freeindex or yell etc..
5. Social media can help your SEO in a number of different ways. Firstly, get your SM links on your website and link them. The more likes and shares you have on social the better, as this all helps search engines to build that elusive trust.
6. When you search for your website online, you will also get a list of related searches at the bottom of the first page. This can be of great help because you can then use those related searches to help you shape your content and key words. For examples, search for massage wax and you'll get related searches such as best massage wax, massage oil, therapists massage wax etc...
7. Take a look at your competitors and see what they're doing. See how they use keywords and content and images. If they are ahead of you on Google then see what you can learn from them and make the necessary changes.
8. Assess your website by using free online tools, such as SEOptimer and see how you're website is performing, and then take action. If it tells you your images don't have alt tags - change them.
9. Updating your content can really help as search engines want your website to be fresh and current. Consider writing a blog about what's relevant to your business. Blogs are still a popular way to convey important messages and they can help you promote your knowledge and expertise.
10. Technical aspects such as robots file and sitemap.xml and security certificates are often inbuilt into website platforms, such as Shopify which PB TwentyFive uses. If there are some technical issues with the website as identified by one of the free tools, then I would recommend getting professional help, unless you know what you're doing.
It might be a lot of work and effort, but it will most likely be worth it if you need to be seen online. For us, we went from page 11 to page 1 (for some searches), but averaging page 2 in as little as 2 months...and a lot of hours I must say. Has it been worth it? Yes, most definitely and our sales have reflected so.