Updated: Feb 25
Looking to drive more traffic to your site?
Wondering how to stand out online in a noisy competitive space?
Rogue Design shares best practice factors that will improve your visibility to search engines and help you rank higher up the Google search list.
Did you know there are over 200 factors which determine your online ranking? These can be quite complex technical criteria and they’re continually changing. You also have to consider that you are competing against the millions of other business and websites, fighting over the limited space for top Google searches.
Suffice to say that while there is no guarantee that will get you ranking at the top of Google, there are some best practice factors that will enhance your website’s SEO and make you appear more attractive to search engines. If you have wondered exactly How Search Engines Work - check out this video.
Research the topics and phrases that people may use to try and search for your business. For example, if you owned a Personal Training business based in Bristol, people may include the search terms, 'gym', 'exercise', 'personal trainer', 'Bristol' – but there be could 100’s of key terms that relate to your business.
There are many paid ways to find suitable key terms, this but here are some handy Rogue tips on how to do this for free:
Start with brainstorming. What topics do people search for that are related to my business? These aren’t keywords, but broad topics.
How do you know if a keyword is too competitive to rank? Do a search in Google and see what sites are ranking at the top. If the first page is made up of high authority sites like Wikipedia, that have millions of visitors every day, then you might want to remove that keyword from your list. But if you see a handful of smaller blogs, sites or forums on page one - then bingo! You have a real chance of ranking higher.
Take your broad topics and then… use Google and YouTube suggest to find keyword ideas. Clear your browsing history and search for something relevant to your business - you will see a list appear below. This is the current most popular searches in your location. Weave these into your sites content and you're already winning.
Similarly, if you scroll to the bottom of the Google listing - you will see a related search list - these are also most common current searches and can give you a valuable insight into what people are Googling the most within your topic.
Ubersuggest is a great free tool which allows you to get insight into the strategies that are working for others in your market so you can adopt them, improve them, and gain an edge. You can't always fully trust the volumes, but you can trust the sense of scale.
Every Word Counts
Next it’s time to create your content for your website! When considering the content for your site, it's recommended to factor in relevant keywords within the first 100 words. Matching your content to what people search for helps Google to match your site with the listings most relevant to your business or service.
Google rewards good, engaging content.
So creating awesome informative content which is more relevant and more up-to-date than your competitors is key. Adding Modifiers to your titles help to highlight that your content is relevant and up-to-date. Using modifier terms like '2019', 'best', 'guide', 'checklist', 'fast' and 'review' can help you to create 'long tail versions' of your target keyword – for example, combining two key terms into one title: 'The Best Skin Products Guide 2019'.
If you have a brilliant but ageing blog in your archive, why not revise it and add a modifier to the title. Reach out to the folks that have might be interested in hearing your new and improved piece of content and you may even earn a Social Media share.
Best Blog Formula
Blogging is an excellent way to keep your content fresh, exciting and updated regularly and here are some of Rogue's useful tips.
The Title needs to be punchy and really grab your reader’s attention. Look at magazines and newspapers for inspiration for the kind of catchy and inspiring headlines you could use.
The Introduction should hook people in with a bold statement giving a quick overview of what to expect.
The Body should include sub-headings so people can quickly skim read. Paragraphs should be no more than 5-6 lines long and you should be linking to other reputable sites. This acts like a recommendation and reinforces your credibility and authority on the subject.
The Conclusion should summarise at the end with a question to encourage people to leave a comment. Engaging regularly with potential customers will lead relevant enquiries and more followers. Think as though you are at a networking event, if you aren’t reaching out and engaging people they are unlikely to reach out to you.
The Length should be around 2000 great words.
Make Your Site Accessible
Did you know that Google can't read pictures and can only read text? This is why it’s important to describe what is in your photos and on your page as this is the only way search engines can prioritise your content.
Alt Text should be describing exactly what is in each and every photo and does not have to be keyword relevant.
Meta Titles should describe whats on each page of your site. Every page is different and so should each title be. They should be no longer than 120 characters and snippets should also contain one of your keywords.
URL's should do exactly what they say on the tin. Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. To be SEO friendly they should be labelled the title of the page and not numbered or something random.
Page Titles should start with a keyword. Google has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight. And ranking factors studies have found that short URLs may have an edge in the search results.
The longer someone is on your site the better. Google prioritises sites who retain their readers for longer periods of time. Don't be afraid to give away useful information, write long, great articles and embed videos to retain the reader. You can then even build a mailing list which you will be able to mail with billable content later.
Design It Better
A stylish, design-led website with flawless UX (user experience) and navigation holds a higher perceived value, increases dwell time and improves the likelihood of repeat visitors. Think of it like entering an uninspiring high street shop - would the environment make you want to browse for a while and potentially make a purchase? It can hurt your ranking if a reader doesn't stay for long enough and 'bounces' away from your site.
Algorithms are increasingly prioritising websites and digital media with video content. Adding videos specifically helps increase your search engine results page rank. Rogue works with Stardust Media who specialise in moving media and can help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors for affordable prices.
Spread The Word
Strategically reaching as many people who are relevant to your business or brand is really important. Here are a few Rogue tips on how to achieve this:
Email Blast your audiences about the product, service or message you are wanting to promote. With clever marketing tools like Mailchimp now there are so many ways to make an email look super fancy and personalised too... Rumour has it though, that writing just a few lines without including photos could increase response. Why? They look more genuine and they stand out in a busy inbox. Why not test it on a small audience segment and analyse the results?
Social Media is amazing for your business and you should be taking full advantage. Literally the whole world is at your fingertips. Posting engaging content regularly is a sure fire way to spread the word far to the right audience. There is a direct correlation to regular posting and engagement. More engagement leads to more enquiries. FACT.
Backlink are linking one site to another and make a huge impact on a website's prominence in search engine results. By linking reputable sites from your site you should aim to make the experience better for the reader. Don't just backlink for the sake of it though as that could be considered spammy and you could hurt your ranking. Reach out to the folks that you have linked and hopefully earn a share or a link back.
With algorithms and people’s behaviours continually changing it’s really important to analyse, improve, test, repeat. By implementing Google Analytics you are able to monitor the pages within your site people are looking at the most, how long they have spent on them as well as seeing which pages aren't creating much attention. If people aren't looking, revise the content and check back in a month or two. The process should be research, write, check results, repeat. If you need some support with setting your site up with Google Analytics, Rogue_Design can help.
If you aren't using social media to its fullest potential than you are going to be left behind. Attending a group or 1:1: workshop to better improve your understanding is absolutely recommended. Kat at Sharpfox Social offers the most brilliant workshops and Lesley at Cotswold Creative Media offers social media training, copywriting and ads management which will steer you in the best direction providing you with the tools to do it yourself unique to your business.
Joining reputable local directories like Sali Green Lifestyle and national ones like Yell will also provide another way to get found online and have people shouting about you. The more ways you can be found online the better.
Off Site SEO
There are even more measures to generate traffic to your site earn even greater visibility which happen off the site. Selecting and implementing these focused online marketing activities will deliver better results.
Google Business listing is a free tool which every business should be signed up to. Your business profile appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.
Google Search Console help you measure your site's Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site stand out in Google Search results.
Site Map acts as a roadmap of your website which leads Google to all your important pages. Sitemaps can be good for SEO, as they allow Google to quickly find your essential website pages, even if your internal linking isn’t perfect.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for SEO and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account.
If you can't wait for your new site to work its way organically up the rankings, then by using paid searches you can see immediate results. Here are a few ways to do this:
Paid Search Advertising within the listings of a search engine. These normally appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) or to the side, and increasingly look more and more like organic results. At the moment Google places a small ‘Ad’ label on them.
AdWords By picking some keywords that a searcher might use on Google, you can create an advert that will appear on a search engine results page based on those keywords. You pay Google AdWords each time your ad is clicked. The price you’re willing to pay for each click is called cost-per-click (CPC). You can pick a maximum bid amount and theoretically brings you the most clicks possible within that budget.
Social Media Promotions can help amplify organic content, using social network advertising tools to target the audience and reach thousands of potential customers.
For your SEO campaigns to be successful you should be looking to do all of the above, if not now but eventually. SEO results are not immediate nor are they guaranteed. There are a lot of variables (over 200) that play into how quickly you see results after your site has been updated but generally speaking websites can start to see results in 2 to 6 months.
SEO is an investment and consistency is key. Remember you have to shout louder than all of your competitors to get heard. By implementing these focused online marketing activities you can increase online visibility and be found by your ideal customers.
Here's some useful trusted guru's which are definitely worth a follow: Neil Patel, Brian Dean and I also use Quora a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers on anything in the world.
Have you found this article useful? What SEO challenges have you faced with your business? Use the comments section below and join in the discussion.