Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the first things we’re asked when one of our websites goes live…
We get asked this a lot. It’s often a variation on the following:
“How long until people find me online?”
“How can I get ahead of my competitors?”
And the classic…
“How do I get to number one on page one of Google?”
Everyone wants more exposure and everyone is looking for shortcuts. We get it.
The truth is that SEO is long-term investment, and you should take any promises of quick-fix results with a pinch of salt.
Having said that, there are some things you can do that ARE guaranteed and have been proven to make a difference – BUT… they will require on-going work and a continuous investment of your resources.
What do you need to do?
Every situation is different – there is no ‘one size fits all approach’. Here’s a basic breakdown of what we think is fundamental to making a difference:
• Start with a Good Foundation
A badly coded, poor functioning website using an underperforming platform can be the death of even the best SEO campaign. If your website is poorly designed, uses old coding and tech, lacks content, is difficult to navigate and is slow to load, your rankings WILL suffer.
• Optimise for Mobile
Google is rolling out mobile-first indexing so it’s REALLY important your website is mobile-friendly. To quote Google:
“…our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking…”
Think about how people are using your site, what’s important to them, where do they need to get to easily and quickly. Make sure the mobile version of your website allows them to perform these tasks quickly and easily.
• Make Continuous Improvements
This is backed up by Google’s Senior Webmasters. Every time you make changes to your website it’s re-evaluated by the Search Engine Algorithm.
Making major changes to your website may take a few months to a year to deliver a positive result. You can’t just sit back and wait for those changes to have an impact, you need to keep making continuous improvements to your site – resulting in your site being indexed and crawled more often.
Adding new pages, keeping a regular blog or news page or just refreshing your copy and images can really make a difference!
• Faster is Better
It’s not just ‘Mobile First’. From July 2018, Google will also be using page speed as a factor to determine ranking.
With the year on year increase in mobile searches (which still includes many people in the UK using 3G connections), page loading speed is critical. Simple things such as making sure images are optimised for performance can really make a difference.
• Don’t Forget Your Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and On-Page Content
Start by researching 8 to 10 keywords. KW Finder is a great (paid) tool although if you’re after a free option, look at Google Keyword Planner. Integrate your keywords in your title, meta description and website page text.
Write something that’s natural and descriptive, give each page a unique title and make your meta description readable, interesting and clickable. The more clicks, the more traffic, the better the impact.
Think about what your ideal client looks like – what questions are they asking? The idea is to get your visitor to stay on the page longer. Remember, Google is in the business of giving answers, so write web copy that includes the typical answers your visitors may be looking for.
• Longevity Matters
Research has shown that on average, a page that ranks in the top 10 is typically over 2 years old and the average age of a page that ranks first is closer to 3 years old. Only 22% of pages in the top 10 are less than a year old.
• Think Local
If you’re looking for local traffic, make sure you have your ‘Google My Business’ page set up. Keep the information up-to-date, add more images and think about adding posts and including Q&A sections. For an extra local online boost, make sure your website URL features on other local sites, such as local directories and listings pages.
• What About Adwords / PPC?
PPC (Pay Per Click) should be viewed as what it is – a paid opportunity to drive traffic to your website. It can be a useful tool when running a specific marketing campaign or for boosting your site when first built, however it won’t directly impact on your SEO performance. Recent research shows that over 60% of users will bypass paid ads and go directly to organic results.
The crawler that evaluates landing pages for PPC is separate from the crawler that evaluates pages for SEO. You may benefit indirectly by acquiring greater exposure or external links – but be aware, it’s a short-term solution for something that needs long-term care and attention.
If you’re running an e-commerce store, we’d also suggest you look at Google Shopping and Remarketing as more effective paid options.
These recommendations aren’t anything new but they do require on-going work, time and effort.
Make sure that your website makes it easy for you to edit, update and make continuous improvements. Having the freedom to access SEO tools, change text, add new images, new pages, blogs, embed videos and add social media feeds will mean you’re in control of your website’s performance.
Try to avoid off-the-shelf templates that are hosted on slow servers in another country. Make sure your site is designed with a mobile-first approach and is coded to ensure quick loading and performance.
At It’seeze Hull we want to help you succeed online. Get in touch before you start your next web project – we guarantee we’ll do our upmost to get you to where you want to be.
Contact us here: https://www.itseeze-hull.co.uk/