SEO Basics

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Your website is your way of reaching out to the world, of getting your product, service, or resource out there for the world to see.  And it will come as no surprise to anyone reading this article that SEO is the way to make that happen.  As the world goes more digital every day, a well-crafted website with solid SEO is one of the most important keys to achieving success, profit, and recognition.  Many of our recent articles have focused on the fine points and details of Search Engine Optimisation, but sometimes it’s good to go back over the basics so we can get a solid overview of the process.  So, here we go!

First of all, what is SEO?  Basically, it’s tuning up your site so that you come up when people search for things related to what you have to offer.  The higher your search ranking, the more visitors you’ll get on your site.  If your site is well-designed and your product is good, more visitors mean more traffic and a higher percentage of conversions.  SEO is how you get found, so let’s look at the main tips for making that happen.

Step 1: Pick a Domain Name that Fits

Think about the main keyword that people will enter when they want your product or service.  Try to include it in your URL while making it simple and easy to remember.  An SEO expert tip is to stay away from hyphenated buzzwords, and go for something that reflects your brand and makes it easily rankable and linkable.  For local businesses, try to include your area in the domain name.  This will reach your target demographic more effectively and massively boost your conversion rate.

Step 2: Make a Keyword Plan

This is where you’ll need to do some research.  The broadest keywords will face pretty steep competition, so they won’t improve your raking very quickly.  But they are still essential for upping brand visibility in your niche.  Supplement these with long-tail keywords, specific search terms that people will enter when they’re serious about wanting to buy.  These keywords will be the backbone of your site, included in the content, tags, alt text, meta data, page titles, and other areas.  The best sites are focused around the keywords in ways that offer content and features that your customers want.

Step 3: Design and Build the Site

Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving.  One of the biggest keys to improving your rankings in the current web climate is to make your site user friendly and easy to navigate.  But this is only the beginning.  SEO should be built into the site from the ground up, using effective anchor text to link relevant pages and including alt tags behind banners and images.  These are the details behind the scenes that the search engine will evaluate, and keys to establishing your site as the go-to for interested visitors.

Step 4: Structure the Site Well

This is one place where an SEO company can help more than you might expect.  Web design often focuses on creating aesthetic sites, rich in keywords and targeted to engage your audience.  But the way your site is structured also has a huge impact on how search engines evaluate and index it.  From the very beginning, it’s important to use optimal linkages from one page to the next and name the site sections properly.

Step 5: Optimise Your Content from the Ground Up

Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past.  In fact, including irrelevant keywords can actually result in penalisation and drop your search ranking.  Content is king, and it’s more important than ever to make sure that your content is informative and valuable for your audience.  However, as with all things SEO, it goes deeper than that.  You also want to research LSI keywords.  These are terms related to your product.  Optimise your content with proper LSI keywords, and you channel heaps of more interested parties to your site.

Step 6: Optimise the On-Page Data Properly

Each page contains different tags and meta data.  Alt text and H1, H2, H3 headings are just a few of the things to consider.  Try to include relevant keywords in each of these, as well as in the first and last sentences of your content.  This is great for boosting your ranking, as well as making your site focused and clear for site visitors.  You can further improve your ranking by making sure keywords show up underlined, bold, or italicised.  Finally, make sure to create interlinks in the site.  In addition to making your site visible, effective anchor text and interlinking can make your site much easier to navigate. You may wish to do an SEO audit first to see exactly what needs to be done. 

Step 7: Build your Backlinks

One of the ways to establish legitimacy for your brand is to make sure other sites link to yours.  These are backlinks, and they create additional channels that let interested customers find you.  One helpful step is to reach out to authorities in your niche and request backlinks from them.  Another key is to seed article directories with content that links back to you.  Keep in mind that some sites will be more helpful than others in establishing your site and boosting your traffic.  This is another area that an SEO consultant can help.

Step 8: Establish Your Presence

This is what it’s all building towards, from the first step.  You want to be seen.  Optimising your site itself is a great first step, but to really improve your visibility, you want to make sure you show up in other channels as well.  Think social media.  Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, set up profiles on all of the active social media platforms you can find.  This raises brand awareness and brings it into the public eye, expanding your audience and building your client base.

Step 9: Keep Tabs on How it Works for You

Pay attention to Google Analytics and other services that let you monitor traffic, search results, conversions, bounce rate, and other features.  You have to adapt and grow with your audience.  So, pay attention to what gets results and watch the trends.  SEO is a continuing process requiring ongoing research and steady improvement.  A huge benefit of active monitoring is that it helps you to keep your finger on the pulse so that your deals and offerings are aligned with your demographic.

Step 10: Keep Up with the Changes

One of the best reasons to outsource SEO is that it’s a full time job to do it right.  It’s complicated and the algorithms continue to change.  Technology is continuing to develop, which means that new elements are being taken into consideration.  One great example is voice search.  People speak differently than they write, so voice search terms are different from written ones.  They have to be optimised in a different way.  The market continues to shift as well, putting different emphasis on select long-tail keywords and the market evolves.  An SEO expert knows the ins and outs of the process, and they can take care of the details so you can focus on building your brand and developing your products.

SEO is more than an investment.  It’s an essential element of success.  If you want to know more about SEO or to have your site assessed, feel free to contact us.  At Local Web, we’re dedicated to making your site visible and helping your business to achieve its potential.

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