Search Engine Optimisation is the foundation of a good Website. Often, when I take on an existing website, I see immediately that there are opportunities for improvement. These are usually visual aspects, for instance, improvements that increase user engagement or enhance the impact. These aspects are sometimes debatable and can be a matter of opinion. In most cases, there is an opportunity for improvement.
What is not debatable are the technical and behind the scenes aspects of the website. Many websites are built for creative visual impact and the technical and on-going SEO is neglected.
All SEO, including the initial technical SEO, starts with good “keyword” research. I’ll look at your customers, your competitors, your Unique Selling Point and will find out as much about your business and the habits of your customers as I can, similar to what I would do when I build a new website.
Initial Technical SEO
I come across websites that have not even been registered with Google or with Google Analytics. It’s unlikely that they will be found, so that’s where I start.
- Make sure that the website is registered with Google and Google Analytics. I make sure that Google can access your page, your sitemap, and your “robots.txt”.
- Check that “Google My Business” exists and is complete. On that note, I send the “review link” to my new customer so that they can collect those stars. Every little thing helps with SEO.
- Check that the website works on various display sizes, including tablet and mobile formats.
- Improve the performance of the website. That includes areas like “image optimisation”, “caching” and “minimising”. I warned that this is “Technical SEO”.
- Meta Data is often neglected, so I complete the Alt Tags, Page Titles, and Page Description. (These are not visible).
- I look at your content, your visible titles, sub-titles, and other content.
- I create a “schema markup”.
- Building Links is paramount. We’ll discuss any business associations, customers, and business associations that will be willing to link to your website. Create profiles with those suppliers and associates.
- Check for broken links.
- I make sure that your site is secured with HTTPS.
- Create meaningful content, blogs and pages with “informative” content.
- And while you’re creating content, you may as well use social media to distribute it. If you’ve got something worthwhile, you may as well share it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (and other appropriate platforms).
- Make sure that you never have duplicate content.
With those things in place, you have a chance to creep up the search rankings, but here’s what makes a difference as well.
On-going SEO is all about analysis and reacting to the findings. While the rules at Google change from time to time, there are fundamentals that make perfect sense.
One particular failing I come across often is that content is optimised for keywords that are hardly ever used in a search. Without the right tools it’s virtually impossible to guess what is a good keyword and what is not. Optimising for a keyword or search phrase that only gets used once or twice a month is not useful when there are other words with a similar meaning that get searched hundreds or thousands of times. It’s my job to find those keywords and phrases and to optimise the website for those, all while also retaining uniqueness to keep the competition low.
Headings and subheadings have to be meaningful and have to contain appropriate keywords. A small change in the works of a heading or in the content can make a big difference. Google Analytics plays a large part in my research. I want to know who goes to the website, what searches the visitors use (Google Ads only), how they navigate the website, how long they stay on each page and which page they exit the website on. This information is gold – sometimes literally, if it’s used correctly.