It goes without saying that search is a big part of the way we function in this day and age. If you are a small company or new startup and are ignoring search, then you do so at your peril. Creating a solid and effective search engine strategy is key to engaging with prospective customers online, and it’s a proven channel for generating more traffic to your website. What’s not to like?
While search engine optimisation isn’t as complicated as one might think, it does require some forethought, as well as time. The benefits are not seen overnight; it took about 3 months to see the fruits of our labour when Corvita was founded, but now search is a key part of new business.
Before we start with our three key tips, I’ll mention two half tips that will help define your approach to those below: always think about the user, and technical optimisation.
Firstly, thinking about the user. Google continually update their algorithm, and search has moved away from the easy wins that black hat SEO would provide. The focus is now on providing a good experience for the user, be that in the speed and quality of your website, or the pertinence of your message. If you are providing something genuinely useful and valuable to people, then you will perform well.
The second half tip concerns technical optimisation - the technical set up of your website, i.e. how the code is written. This plays a big part in the ranking of your site. If it is cumbersome and displays a weak user experience, or the code is not written semantically it will have an effect. This isn’t a key tip though, because any digital agency worth their salt would be all over this.
Write Quality Content
Perhaps this title should be broken down into two constituent parts; write content, and write quality content. Having a blog on your site is an important step in providing for your users' needs, as well as from an SEO perspective. Generating fresh and pertinent content will engage with people, and also has an impact on your search ranking. Way back in 2003, Google filed a patent that gives us an insight into their algorithm called Document Scoring Based on Document Content Update.
So writing a blog is good, but it is important to write about the correct thing: not you. Too many businesses shout about themselves, their services and their products, but this is a mistake. No one knows who you are and chances are they don’t care. This makes it important to focus on the benefits you can provide to them. When people find you via a search engine, it isn’t because they typed your name into the input, it’s because they have a problem they are looking to solve. Showing that you can solve this problem is the key to great content.
It is also worth noting that we want to focus on quality and not quantity. Solving users' needs over generating vast arrays of fresh content will ensure you are targeting the key people who will become strong customers. You also won’t be able to match others in the quantity game who having been established for longer and have greater resources for generating content.
Links are thumbs up from other sites. Your site will be ranked better based on who is linking to your site. The more respected the referral, the more impact it will have on your ranking. With this in mind, it is important to focus on not just getting links, but getting the right links. As I mentioned, quality links are from well respected sites, however if you have too many links from sites that are not well respected - spam - then this could adversely affect your performance.
Links are all about trust, and if sites who have generated a reputation for being trustworthy can link through to you, then the search engines are more likely to trust your content.
Track and Analyse
How do you know that what you are doing is worthwhile? Unless you track your progress, chances are it won’t be. There are a plethora of tools available, some we have written ourselves, for managing your search engine optimisation, and while some are better than others, it’s worth spending time to figure out which one best suits you.
That said, you can start with the free options provided by Google to get you heading in the right direction. Their analytics package can provide a great overview of who and how they are viewing your website, as well as any potholes in their journey. Secondly, their search console provides an overview of how your site is reached so you can see how you are matching up to the keywords you tried to focus on.
Search is a game changer for any business, get it right and it can help business flourish. If you make yourself easier to find, you increase your chances of growth, and following the tips above will set you on the path to success.