‘SEO’ is definitely one of those marketing jargon terms. I’m sure you know it means Search Engine Optimisation which is a term used to describe a website ranking with a search engine. But have you thought any more about it? I doubt it. Does it matter? The short answer is yes….but you don’t need to spend hours on it. Understanding the simple principles will help to clarify what you might consider improving on your own website. You’re busy, you haven’t got time to sift through long blogs.
For small businesses it is worth investing in long term SEO content. That is to say, if you have a website, it’s a great idea to fill it with well thought out content to keep it optimised and functioning as well as it can. There are some basic things that you’ll need to do in order to be indexed by search engines and for them to be able to ‘crawl’ your site. More on this in another blog.
Keeping up with the ever-changing algorithms of search engines is a challenge even for SEO specialists, so here are a few basic principles to get you started.
Your website should contain rich content full of relevant keywords and phrases. What do your customers or audience search for? Do those words or key phrases appear on your website? No – well it’s a good idea to add them in. How do you find the keywords? There are lots of free tools out there, Google Keyword planner and Google Console for example. But don’t over stuff – 5% of the total word count is the recommended percentage of keywords.
Blogging – yes, blogging is good. It keeps your site updated with fresh and relevant content. But it must be useful and answering customer questions or offering solutions to your users. Blogs don’t need to be long winded, in fact it’s better if they’re short and snappy, easy to read with lots of sub-headings making them ‘scannable’. There are key elements to setting out your blog that really help them to be successful – a brilliant headline, tone of voice, adding alt attributes into images and so on. Yoast is a fantastic tool which I use for every single blog I write!
Linking to and from authoritative websites improves your SEO. It’s known as ‘link juice’ – back links, internal links, inbound links, outbound links, linking to social media. Send your links all over and around your website. Visualise a robot crawling your site, happily bopping from one page to the next.
Type of copy
To keep it really simple, any copy you upload to your website needs to be minimum 400 words in order for Google to index it. Short form content is roughly 500 words, whereas long form is 2000 words or more. Evergreen is informative and key content that will stick around on your site and is loaded with important keywords and phrases.
‘Information rich lists’ are an increasingly popular way to include content, as are infographics. Whatever type of content you choose, it must be easy to read and digest – consumers don’t hang around for long these days! Video is more popular than ever before (one in five posts on social uses live video), multi page guides, interactive tools, graphs – you know, you’ve seen it all!
Style and tone of voice
Depending on who you are writing for, you should find your style and tone of voice and stick to it with some consistency. Get to know your audience, their demographic, age group, interests. Will you communicate in a formal or casual way? First or third person – never switch between the two! Be honest without too much hype! It’s tempting to use intellectual content, but the more clear and simple you can keep it, the better. Short sentences are recommended – this took a while for me to learn! Many organisations have brand guidelines which set out exactly what they expect.
8 seconds to grab your attention!
That’s the average time required to grab the attention of your reader! So punchy headlines are essential. They often fall into clear categories – ‘How to’, ‘Asking a question’ or ‘This is how your life will be better if….’ It’s understood that consumers only read the beginning and end of a headline and skip the middle bit all together!
Use a Call to Action like ‘click here for more information’ and so on at regular intervals throughout the page as an exercise in signposting your customer to a shopping, download, newsletter sign up page.
I hope that’s helped to answer a few of your questions about SEO. If you’d like to understand it in greater detail there is a lot of free information out there. If you don’t have time and you’d like to outsource your marketing, get in touch and I can help you. I support small businesses on a part time basis to move their business forward.