That’s the $64,000 question.
It can be overwhelming reading about how you can make sure people find your website when they search on Google, Bing or any other search engine. The steps that you need to take, where you need to put words and what words you need to put where; can all just seem a bit like mission impossible to do yourself. But luckily, that’s where you’re wrong.
It’s time to break it down…
Here is a term you will see A LOT when trying to increase the amount of visitors or traffic to your website – SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is defined as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results”.
But, let’s start at the very beginning.
A search engine is an online platform such as Google, Yahoo or Bing (for the purpose of this article we will use Google). It is how people, from all over the world, search using the keywords of what they are looking for i.e. Nike Shoes or Nike Shoes New Zealand. Depending on what you are selling, will determine what keywords people use when searching for your products or services, and the keywords you use primarily on your website.
The main aim of SEO is to be ranked highly enough so that your website is visible on page one of Google. Once someone searches using a keyword, Google will populate a results page with its most highly ranked results. This page is called a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Did you know that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
Will your website be listed on page 1 of Google?
This can depend on a number of considerations like what keywords you have used in your website content, where these keywords have been placed, the quality of the content, how many links you have (both internal and external), plus a number of other things. While the list of things to do may seem a bit overwhelming, the important thing to remember is that SEO is not an overnight strategy.
The first few months are dedicated to making updates to your site and waiting for the search engine spiders to crawl and index the changes. Depending on your website, the amount of work it requires, and the crawl frequency of the search engine spiders, it typically takes 3-9 months to begin seeing new rankings.
Here’s a good SEO checklist from Salesforce of what you can do to increase your chances of ranking more highly to appear on page one of Google and increasing the number of visitors you get on your website:
Natural content is the way to go.
Prior to beginning your SEO, it is important to do a little keyword research. You don’t have to do a full dive into it but enough to get into the mind of a searcher, consider how you search for things online and then create a list of words you think people might use to find you online.
When it comes to writing content for your website, the most important thing is to create content that is relevant, original and that sounds natural. You don’t want your content to sound as though you have forced a keyword in mid-sentence.
If you are continuously publishing great, relevant content this will automatically include keywords that will assist with resulting in better conversion rates. Bear in mind that for your content to be effective in getting your website a higher rank what you are writing needs to be original. Duplicate content is something that you should always avoid, as this can ruin your site’s search rankings. You can easily check to see if your site has duplicate content by using online tools like CopyScape and SiteLiner.
So what’s the next step?
Links – internal links, external links, inbound links, outbound links.
Links are what defines the authority and the trustworthiness of your website. But here is one of the most important pieces of advice:
Don’t buy links. Earn them.
Since the quality and quantity of inbound links have a significant impact on a website’s rankings, it can prove very tempting to buy links on other sites. If you listen to anything in this article, this should be it: buying and selling links are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and your site will be punished for doing so, in the form of your search engine rankings falling significantly.
There is no need to spend money on an SEO expert to dramatically improve your search visibility. The simple steps stated above will do wonders to achieve a major SEO boost. At the end of the day, SEO is just about improving the usability and user experience of your website. A change to your website that makes your visitors happier is likely to make search engines happier.
One last extra titbit that you might question later.
What Is The Difference Between SEO and SEM?
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. The goal of SEO is to get your organic rankings higher in the Google search results. SEM on the other hand is Search Engine Marketing and this typically refers to paid search or search advertising, like Google AdWords. If you are interested in learning more about either Search Engine Optimisation or Search Engine Marketing, talk to your local marketing agency or contact us and we can point you in the right direction.