So you have a new website but no one is visiting?
Many people fail to understand that ranking in search engines is a lengthy process and one that needs continuous nurturing. Having said that, there are a few essential steps that you can take to ensure that you get a good start.
You will see the name Google throughout this post as it will be far more relevant to people that using the term ‘search engine’. Don’t forget to optimise for Bing too! All too often people just focus on optimising their Google listing and forget about Microsoft whose search engine is also behind Cortana and Yahoo (amongst others.)
1. Google My Business Listing
When taking on a new client who has an existing website, this is one of the first things I check for to see if they have control over their Google listing. This is the foundation to build your local SEO strategy on, also making sure that you show up on Google Maps. When looking for local businesses, many consumers are now starting their search on Maps rather than from Google’s home page. Having control over this listing will increase the traffic to your website and telephone enquiries.
If you haven’t already, make sure you set up your business on Google taking the time to give a good description of your business, populate with quality images and making sure opening hours and contact details are correct.
2.Titles and header tags on a web pages
If you have built your own website and are new to SEO then it is possible that you have overlooked optimising your web pages titles or understanding header tag hierarchy within your website. Your main title on each page should have the H1 tag attributed against it making sure that it includes your keyword and then other tags down the page from H2 to H5, making sure you use relevant and natural sounding keywords.
This blog post explains clearly how to write your header tags.
3. Long Tail Keywords
When writing the copy for your website, try to include ‘long-tail keywords’. These are searched for by consumers who know what kind of service they are looking for or have a particular problem they need solving. If your website answers these queries, then there is a very high chance that you could convert their visit into a lead or a sale. Long-tail keywords are generally less competitive and by writing natural-sounding content that includes them, it’s a good way of driving traffic organically to your site.
Try typing a long-tail keyword into Google that is relevant to your business and see what variations Google comes up with!
4. Alt tags on website images
Go through all of the images on your website to check if they have the alt tag attributed to them. The alt tag should be a description of the image, ideally including relevant keywords that are in sync with the keywords that your website targets. This also helps visually impaired visitors to your site who use screen readers, as they will be read the alt attribute and get a better understanding of what the image is. This is an important principle of web accessibility and Google will favour those sites who take this into consideration.
5. Are you mobile friendly?
When a user visits your website from a mobile phone or tablet, it is imperative that your website is automatically optimised for their device. Google is changing how they index websites and will prioritise those that are mobile friendly, which is why your website should be built with mobile in mind first.
6. Make it faster!
Speed is another huge SEO factor. If you have a comparative website with a rival in terms of other SEO factors, then the speed of your site could make the difference to who gets the higher ranking.
If your site is slow you need to determine what the root cause is. Is it your hosting? If you are using WordPress do you have too many plugins? Are your images correctly sized and optimised? Does your website carry too much bloated code?
Increasing your sites speed will make a difference. It will improve the user’s experience and lower your bounce rate whilst increasing the time spent browsing your site – increasing the likelihood of new enquiries or sales.
Check your site today to see how your website performs with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool
7. XML Sitemap
By submitting an XML sitemap of your website to Google, it shows them that you have pages that you consider to be of high quality and would like them to be indexed. The sitemap makes the process of discovering your site easier and directs Google’s bots to your pages and posts showing how your site is structured.
Check out this blog post which gives an in-depth explanation of how sitemaps should be used correctly.
8. Optimise your page titles and meta descriptions
When a searcher decides on which website to click on when searching, it isn’t necessarily the top site that wins all of the time. Many users do read the titles and page descriptions when making their decision, so it is very important that these are written in a way that will draw them to your website by showing that you have the solution to whatever it is they are searching for.
Craft your page titles to include what it is that someone may be looking for and back this up with a meta description that gives further information on the page title.
These are all very basic SEO tasks that should be completed with every website as standard. Some of these may give an instant result and some may take a few weeks to bear fruit. Even though these tips are fairly well known it is surprising just how many websites there are out there that don’t fix these very simple errors!
SEO is constantly changing and whether you are ranked at the top of Google for your search terms or you are on page 43, there is always room for improvement.
Do you have any other tips that you would implement?