Over the years, search engine optimisation (SEO) has changed with the times, especially with algorithms becoming more sophisticated. For website owners, this is a plus. Not only has it banished spammy websites that hold weak content, but it has improved the user’s experience, too. Omar Thompson from StartUp Active shares the SEO do’s and don’ts for 2017.
The only issue with SEO is that it can be quite confusing for people who haven’t used it often, or at all! But the best way to see SEO is like a game between you and the search engines. Your Google ranking is your level and, with each win, you boost up to the next level (and ranking!). The rules are simple, and if you follow them correctly, you can’t go wrong. So, to get you started, here are our top do’s and don’ts when implementing SEO for your website.
Do focus your content around keywords
Your SEO is built on keywords. It is the fundamental element for getting found in searches. Once you have determined what keywords you wish to rank for, it’s time to put them into action and the first place to start is with your page titles and content. When it comes to Google search, you will be limited to 55 characters to entice searchers to click your link over your competition – so the goal here is to make your titles engaging!
When it comes to your copy content (your article text), ensure that it is simple and specific to your topic area. Trying to be too clever and squeezing in extra, irrelevant information won’t specifically help boost your ranking. Simplicity is key here. Bear in mind that – in this day and age – search engines have grown in intelligence (picture it like the Terminator movies, if you will.) This means that they can now understand context and conversational language. Steer clear of repeating exact keywords to avoid your link being classed as spam. The best rule here is to add variations of your keywords throughout your text. This means you don’t have to repeat an exact keyword or phrase, instead we recommend using keyword variations, such as long-tailed keywords and keyword expansions.
Do use keywords to find new content topics
At the heart of a successful SEO campaign is your content, but what people fail to realise is, to begin ranking, you need to write about topics that matter to your target audience. Keyword research can help you do this; by studying rising patterns among certain keywords and phrases, you can select the most popular or least-covered topics in your industry and then write about them.
Do make the most of your title tags
Title tags are important indicators for your page or post’s content and play a big part in SEO. Be sure to include words and phrases that accurately and concisely describe what you’re offering – use keywords that are relevant to your services but make sure they also tie in with your article or page, to avoid confusion.
Do optimise images for SEO
Something that many small businesses fail to notice is the impact images have on their website. Naming your images to fit in with your keywords is important. Also, remember to label or tag them so they become visible to search engines. Don’t just name these images anything – stick to keyword phrases – it doesn’t have to be a long description. Once traceable, search engines can understand more about what your content offers users and, if it’s relevant, increase your ranking in the process.
Do optimise your website for mobile
Google now favours mobile-friendly websites, as they provide a better user experience. However, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then Google will punish you via your search ranking. The benefits of designing for mobile are two-fold. Not only are mobile-friendly websites preferred by search engines, but they are generally preferred by users, too. We’ve found that responsive web designs can result in lower bounce rates – a metric analysed by search engines to determine your ranking. The lower the bounce rate, the better it is for your SEO.
Do make a clear call to action
Ranking high on Google is great as it will bring much more traffic to your website. But once there, you need to make it clear what you want people to do. Having tonnes of traffic to your page is brilliant, but if there isn’t an end goal, that traffic won’t convert. Make sure your call to action is clear and that people will be able to click from your article to other places on your website. What do you want people to do after they’ve reached your page? Book in for a consultation? Purchase an eBook? Whatever it is, make it clear.
Don’t focus exclusively on a handful of phrases
Narrowing your focus is good practice, but don’t get caught up in only pursuing a handful of keyword phrases. Doing this will make your website come across as repetitive and will fail to give Google an accurate view of what your company is all about.
Don’t overfill your content with keywords
Keyword overfill is dangerous. Using a phrase too many times throughout your website page or post will be deemed unnatural to both search engines and readers. It can be quite easy to see keyword overview in text and if readers spot this they will be instantly put off. If you’re ever in doubt, read your content out loud – trust us, this works.
Don’t link too often to external sites
Something that Google has begun cracking down on is websites that are linking too often to external sites. These are classed as ‘unnatural outbound links’. Flooding your content with external links has many damaging factors; it will make your content hard to read, you will see a high bounce rate from people clicking the links (resulting in them leaving your page) and your content will look quite spammy. Search engines will also pick up on this and it could result in them classing your website as spam, thus damaging your ranking. Do feel free to link to external sites when needed, but don’t flood your content too much.
Don’t try and cheat the system
The days of cheating your way to the top of search engines are long gone. Link schemes such as buying back links, using hidden links, and participating in link networks can now cause more damage than good. The reason for this is simple – search engines are becoming smarter – they can now tell the difference between genuine conversational content to cheating content. If you take anything away from this article, I want it to be this point. Techniques to cheat your way to the top of Google no longer work and you may find your website being brutally punished. Avoid this method at all costs. You want your business to be as genuine and honest as the services it provides. Don’t let get-rich-quick schemes overpower the hustle and grind you have put into your business to get it where it is now. If you do, the damage could be catastrophic.
As I’m sure you’re aware, SEO is crucial for your business and the higher the ranking your website has, the more traffic your website will see. Putting the do’s in place will, without doubt, benefit your website but avoiding the don’ts is just as important.
If you’re running a fitness business, it’s more than likely that you want to attract local traffic to ensure they’re high quality. To get your website seen in local searches, download our FREE Local SEO eBook Guide here.