SEO Basics for the online side of your business

Location, location, location . . . OK, OK! We all know that location is key.

Place a shop in a high-traffic area with favourable demographics and sales will increase. For online businesses, it’s search engines that determine location traffic. Once you get on the front page of search results when would-be customers are looking for what you offer, and you improve the chances of making a sale.

How can we achieve that? . . . . . Through Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.

In one sentence:

SEO is the act of BROADCASTING and spreading what your site is all about, through design and content so that search engines bring you the most relevant visitors.

Standout SEO

4 Key points to Get Google to Notice Your Site

Let’s remember, Bing, Yahoo and Ask are also search engines but it is the big daddy Google that drives traffic to most online stores and websites.

So it’s Google that serves the majority of the worlds online search requests. It’s still great to get traffic via other search engines but let’s focus on Google for our SEO efforts. Here are four ways you can do that without hiring an expert.

  1. Focus on relevance

SEO RelevanceSearch engines are designed (developed) to fetch. So when you enter a search term Google will return a full page of results. After the paid adverts, the link at the very top (organic search result) represents Google’s best judgement at fulfilling your needs.

So by focusing on your SEO, the aim is to be that first link by designing your site to be the most relevant result for a user (and this is important) who’s searching for what you offer.

So let’s say that you build a website that sells pens. Not just any pens, but high quality custom-made “personalised pens.” Your site should focus on relevant content that uses phrases related to (and including) “personalised pens.”

  1. Use multimedia, including video

Well-crafted wording (content) is critical but it’s not just this alone that will put you above competitors. Google and other search engines are very interested in sites that have a wide variety of compelling content that serves a specific need. Video can be particularly important because it’s accessible content that offers fast answers, and remember video on YouTube can also be optimised for search engines.

  1. Build authority

What your visitors think of your site and their behaviour whilst on it matters to search engines! Connecting with followers and customers is essential and making it simple for your content to be shared across social media and blogs is a must.

The more sites and services that link to your content, the more authority Google will assign to your site when ranking it in results.

  1. Be descriptive.

Last point about SEO is that it pays to know a few HTML tricks. Say you’re building that personalised pens website.

Insert “Personalised Pens” into the title tag of your site and do the same for “h1” or headline tags, meta description and alt image tags. As a user you can’t see the code on a page, but a search engine does, a search engine sees your page completely differently and it uses these HTML signals to decide where your site should rank in an index of related sites, even though meta description isn’t used as a ranking factor it does help with user click through from the search engine results page!

Before you publish your work…

A lot of what we have been talking about is technical optimisations, and this is for a good reason. Tweaking details can make it easier for search engines to notice your site, but you will have to work harder for the optimum position on the first-page — we did touch on this but this is where well-crafted content comes in.

Relevant, well written, easy to read content is a winner all round, Google wants you to keep your visitor as the focal point and not the search engine when building your pages. That is where free tracking software like Google Analytics can help you get a better understanding of what your audience thinks, or even if you have an audience.

  • Where do visitors go when they arrive at your site?
  • How long do they stay?
  • Do they buy more than one product?
  • How did they find your site?

Google Analytics has customisable reporting options that can tell you all this and more.

By using this crucial analytical data you can fine tune your on page content, images, and meta data until you’ve reached a comfortable ranking point, and then you can fine tune more when growth starts to slow.

Please remember SEO is NOT a fix-it-and-forget-it process, It requires on-going effort to serve your customers well — and get noticed in the process.