I was recently in a meeting with a client discussing the beginnings of his new business venture. We were slurping down the last sips of semi cold coffee when he had a final question about Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.
He knew it was something companies should do but was confused as to how it worked, whether it involved just throwing some money at Google to solve the problem or, as I informed him, a more intricate process was in fact required. He also mentioned that his personal blog about racing had recently taken a hit despite high traffic and ranking quite well previously.
Search Engine Optimisation is a term many come across frequently through scam‐riddled spam they receive at work but other than the fact it has something to do with ‘keywords’ few know exactly how it works. In fact nobody other than the good people at Google know how it actually works. That’s because the algorithm for search engine results page ranking is kept highly secret to prevent people from exploiting it. Fair enough we think right?
In short, Search Engine Optimisation, as the name suggests, is the optimisation of your web content with a desire to increase one’s Search Engine Results Page ranking or getting to that sacred #1 spot on Google.
While nobody has a manual with step-by-step instructions for the #1 spot there are plenty of elements we can manipulate, proven to have positive impact on where you rank for your relevant keywords. Here at 3am we love our small business clients so I thought I would compile a list of 10 simple things you can do to save yourself and your web designer (or SEO specialist) time, which in turn keeps money in your pocket.
So without further delay here is our Top 10 Pick: DIY Search Engine Optimisation
- Compile a list of 20 quality and relevant keywords
Keywords are the one thing that everybody knows Search Engine Optimisation involves so to get the easy one out of the way our first advice is to compile a list of 20 keywords relevant to your business.
Let’s face it the person who best understands your business is you. You are the one who has been up at 3am thinking of genius ideas on how to market and grow your business. Your heart and soul is in this adventure of yours and therefore you are best suited to come up with the first list of keywords that your website and online content will be built around to increase your rank on search engines. Just keep in the back of your mind what you would search for on Google if you were looking for your good or service.
On a side note I just want to quickly mention that this is a perfect example as to why it is so important to work closely with your web designer. They are the ones who will be translating the information you provide them with about your business into online content. So next time you get invited for coffee, be sure to take up the offer.
Back to your keyword list. Your SEO specialist can take your freshly compiled list of keywords and further improve them, if needed, but you are already one step ahead.
- Use your keywords but don’t overuse
If you are writing your own content for your website, also known as copy, this little piece of advice should be at the forefront of your mind.
While using your list of keywords in your online content is extremely important in terms of ranking higher on search engines, it is absolutely critical to resist the temptation to throw them into every sentence. You wouldn’t be the first person trying to fill a page up with SEO-related keywords just to increase ranking, not to mention Google frowns upon this. So much so that it can actually negatively impact where you rank if you stuff your content.
Take a look at our Business Startup Package page (don’t worry the link opens up in a new window so you won’t lose your spot) which we rank quite highly for on Google. While we have used the keyword quite often, we have split them up in a structured, sensible and non‐offensive way so that it is pleasant to read for both the visitors and as a result, search engines. So if you want to use your keywords a lot, do it the nice way, create content and add a sprinkle of them in each section. Also, keep an eye out on our Search Engine Optimisation Package page on which we are currently focusing our SEO efforts. Be a part of our growth and watch our ranking increase.
- Buy some stock images that you like
There used to be an old SEO saying “content is king”. It was a time that was all about loading the sites up with images, videos, extra pages that served almost no purpose and it gave birth to every man and his dog starting a blog.
One of the main problems with small businesses is that they lack good quality images and content for their website. This results in too much text on the screen and not enough pretty things for your eyes to look at, which can just be plain boring. As humans when we get bored we have lost interest and on the web this results in people leaving your webpage.
Here is an example of some stock icons we acquired.
All we did with the logos was compile the social media icons we required and saved it onto one of our pages as part of the content. We did not intend it to specifically serve any special SEO purpose but as fact would have it, this image provides an incredible amount of traffic to our site. Why? We do not really know other that some sites have copied it for their use, with some having a direct link to our website. It should serve as an example of the power of images for your site though. These visitors might not end up as customers of yours but they do add Google street cred to your site.
Do yourself a favour and register for one of the hundreds of stock images websites and purchase a handful of pictures, icons and vectors that are relevant to your business and that you like. This means your web designer doesn’t have to guess what you might like but more importantly they won’t on-charge costs involved with them buying the pictures for you.
So that there is no confusion and people told you I lied to you. Let it be known that Google doesn’t actually see images when it crawls your pages. It only sees the background things your web designer will do to them, however they serve to simply provide a better user experience, which Google notices.
- Register and sign up to credible listing sites
Another proven Search Engine Optimisation strategy is the acquisition of backlinks. These are links coming into your site. Whether this is through a forum post, your social media or a number of business listing sites such as Yellow Pages, Yelp and so forth.
Every link that comes into your site adds virtual credibility to your domain and the more credible your website, the more likely it is Google will list you over a competitor.
- Do that social media thing
As mentioned above, social media is a great way to get a backlink to your website. However, did you know that Western Australians are amongst the worst when it comes to spending time on social media; we love our social media.
Then there is also the internet sensations who have attracted millions of views because of a funny post, image or clever video. You can’t afford not to be on social media and with platforms like Twitter you have the ability to reach people without any base followers. From a marketing perspective it is also an incredible way for your customers to engage with your brand.
- Get access to Google Analytics and Webmasters tools
Here at 3am Ideas we love the data and stats that Google Analytics and Webmasters tools can generate. When we engage with a client for a Search Engine Optimisation campaign we can get quite obsessive with the information and slightest changes to the output.
It is these platforms that provide us and yourself the evidence that our SEO strategies are having a positive impact. So why not jump on with your account, details your web designer should have, and familiarise yourself with the user interface. It even has a real‐time feed with a location map allowing you to watch the behaviour of your visitors to your website live.
- Do a little online advertising
Pay‐per‐click advertising is extremely affordable and coupled with the other strategies we have suggested can dramatically increase the amount of traffic to your website.
Remember what we said about increasing the credibility of your website? More traffic means Google thinks your website obviously offers a good user experience and quality content and thus serves your website first. After all Google’s job is to connect people with the information they are looking for.
Even if you only invest $100 into it for a singular month, if you follow basic Google instructions and couple it with a little bit of creativity you will get some traffic. A digital marketing specialist can help you assist or expand your pay-per-click program, when you are convinced it works.
- Get online reviews
I am certain that there is at least one customer of yours out there that is happy with your services, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business. Why not get them to leave you a review on Google for you? It’s there for the world to see as a testament to the quality of your work but will also provide, guess what, credibility to your pages.
Not to mention reviews are a great testament to your work and it never hurts having that information publicly available.
- Be patient
Search Engine Optimisation works and we know it is vital to ranking higher on the search engine results page however it doesn’t happen over night. SEO isn’t a one time fix it is the ongoing optimisation of your digital content that will have your web pages crawl up to the top of three results. So get involved in the online community of your industry, post on blogs and industry articles and take control of some of your own SEO campaign.
- Keep your visitors in mind
Last but by far least, always keep your visitors in mind. As I have mentioned before it is a search engine’s sole purpose to bring relevant and accurate information to the person looking for it.
As such you should never forget that at the end of the day your pages’ rankings are affected by how relevant the information is to them. So give the people who are potentially looking for your goods or services exactly what they want.
As you can see most things I discussed are, at the end of the day, about user experience. Offering webpages that have had extensive SEO performed on it are simply sites that are enjoyable to view, offer information and content that is relevant to the person searching for it. Google will do their job, if you do yours rights.
I hope these 10 tips come in handy for you and that it will save you a little bit of time and money. Most importantly I hope I have shed some light on basic Search Engine Optimisation techniques that even professionals utilise.
About 3am Ideas
We are Australia’s digital marketing agency for small businesses and startups. We provide an ROI driven service to our clients. We are especially dedicated to our Business Startup, Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation packages.
We always aim to work intimately with our clients because collaboration guarantees best results. From startups with big ideas or established small & medium sized businesses wanting to take the next step. Gain control over your online presence.