SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which is the practice of enhancing a website to achieve the best possible ranking in the search engine results (SERPs).
When someone enters a query into the search bar, they’re presented with results based on relevance and ranking. Popularity, authority, relevance, trust and importance are all factored in. The goal is to appear as high up as possible on the first page, especially for local businesses.
Here are seven simple ways to boost your website to improve your local SEO.
Keywords are words or phrases that categorise and index the web. Users enter specific words into the search bar and are presented with results that best match those keywords. Websites craft content around these themes and they send signals of relevance to search engines.
Building a keyword list should be a priority for business owners, though it’s helpful to understand how your demographic searches online. Consider the following:
When searching for keywords, consider the search volume, competition, propensity to convert, and value per lead for each one. Make a spreadsheet and fill in these statistics. They will help you form a clearer picture when considering keywords. Your content can be optimised once you have your keywords.
Also, be aware that Google penalises sites that load their content with too many keywords. This is seen as a way to manipulate a site’s ranking so that it will appear higher in the search results.
Adding your business to online directories is vital for boosting your local SEO. Listings also help to establish your business online so that people are more likely to find you.
They also help to add value and credibility to your business with features like reviews, which and potential customers will read and consider when considering your products or services.
Google Places/Maps, Bing Local and Yahoo! Local allows you to add your own business listing, however, they don’t completely rely on their own records when it comes to search results. They pull data from various sources including HubFind and update their systems with it. If your business information is inconsistent, these local search engines will think they’re incorrect or irrelevant, which will affect your SERP ranking.
For your content to rank, it needs links. These links help by sending signals of trust to search engines. There are two types: internal and external links. Internal links guide users to other pages on the same site. External links are pages from other sites that link back to your own domain and are great popularity indicators.
Links are important for SEO because they give Google a clear layout of the structure of your website. Developing an internal linking strategy can boost important pages on your website and help to determine the relationship between your pages.
Gaining external links isn’t easy, but it can be done. Ask your stockists or partners to link your website to theirs. Alternatively, you can become a sponsor of a local organisation or charity and feature your website on theirs.
This is the text that helps describe the content of a webpage to search engines. This content doesn’t appear on the page itself, but in the code. Meta tags consist of many elements, though the main three are keywords, title tag and meta description.
Title tags are the clickable headlines shown on the search engine results pages, and meta descriptions are the descriptive text displayed on the SERPs which tell users what the page is.
Images and videos, like content, should be optimised for the web. Quality pictures and videos will not only appeal to your users and enhance their overall experience, but multimedia can also boost your SEO.
We optimise media because search engines cannot search for images and videos like it can with text, so descriptions are added in the alt text to make them searchable.
The written descriptions are visible to users if an image fails to load, and can also help the visually impaired as the computer can read them out.
The phrase ‘content is king’ really does ring true when it comes to SEO. Fresh content tells search engines that your website is regularly updated, maintained and relevant. Content has to not only relate to your subject matter, it also must also be well written.
When you frequently update, remember that bots will also come and crawl your site. The more frequently you do this, the more opportunity you’ll have to rank higher in the SERPs. Plus, your site will benefit from having more keywords.
Your copy must be optimised for keywords, but remember that you are writing for humans and not the computer. Google doesn’t look favourably on companies that load their content with too many keywords, so it’s best to avoid doing so.
Great content can also be promoted on social media to raise brand awareness and gain new leads.
More users now search on their mobiles compared to desktops, so it’s vital that you create a website that allows for both these types. If not, Google may penalise you.
Not all devices are the same size, though a responsive site will automatically adjust to these measurements.
For more information, read this guide to making your website mobile-friendly.