A Beginners Guide to SEO

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SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is essential for any online business that is looking to rank higher up in the search engines.  Ideally as a business you are looking to rank in the top 3 or at least first page on any search engine, due to the higher chance of a potential customer clicking on your page.  However depending on your type of business and your competition this can be hard to achieve by itself.  This is where SEO comes in, ensuring your website is optimised the best it can be and having systems in place to boost your visibility on the search engines.

Here are some simple beginner steps to SEO to help you on your way...

Know your competition and keyword research

One of the first things you should do is look at your competition and understand what keywords you want to be ranking for and what’s achievable.  If you are a small business competing with a global enterprise then the likelihood is you’re not going to beat them on certain keywords, however if you’re clever you can rank yourself higher on others.   

Keyword research looks at how you’re ranking for certain search terms and  you can use a number of tools that will collate this information for you, or you could take a look yourself on Google, type in the keywords you think you want to rank for and see how well you fare.  The benefit of using tools to do this for you is they will analyse all the potential keywords, show you where you currently rank, how competitive that keyword is along with the volume of people searching for that keyword.  If a keyword is very competitive and you can see you have a lot of bigger businesses ahead of you, then the chances are they’ve invested a lot to get there, but if there are less competitive keywords which still show a good number of people are searching for, you will have a much better chance to get your business higher in the rankings.  Understanding keyword research can be complicated if you don’t know what it all means and in some case you might want to seek help from a SEO digital agency to help.

Optimise your title tags and meta descriptions

So you’ve got your keyword research completed and you know where you’d like to improve on your ranks, what’s next?  Making sure your website title tags and meta descriptions are as optimised as can be for both search engines and the people you want to click on your link.

Title tags are the one of the first things any potential customer is going to see before they decide if they’re going to visit your website.  By taking the keyword research you’ve already done, you need to create a title tag that gives a clear indication as to what that webpage is.  Typically title tags should be around 60 characters long, any more then the search engine is likely to cut your tag short.

Title tags along with meta descriptions give a brief idea on what content they should expect to find should they click through to your website.  Both are important but title tags stand out more.

A good meta description aligns with the title tag but goes into more detail; it should still contain the desired keywords contained in your title tag.  Meta descriptions can be around 155 characters.

Focus on your on-site content

Next you should focus on optimising the content on your website.  Without being spammy and stuffing your keyword into every paragraph, Google will certainly see it but your reader will almost certainly not like it!  Working your keywords into the text naturally and ensuring it reads well is key.  Keywords ideally should be included in the page headline, sub headline and a couple throughout the rest of the body of text.

Within the content of the page you should also try and use variations of the keywords for that page, using long-tailed variations will help when people don’t use exact match keywords when searching on Google.

There is so much more to Search Engine Optimisation than that listed above and it’s forever changing and evolving with the latest Google updates.  The basics listed however if done right will set your business on the right path to grow and gain customers.  If all of this sounds too daunting or you don’t have any time to go through the SEO motions then enlisting the help of a SEO specialist or agency is going to be your saving grace!



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