Every website owner knows that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a crucial factor in having their website rank well in the search results. However, not every business owner knows what they could do to improve their website for themselves. SEO techniques having changed so much in recent years and Google’s search algorithm being so advanced and constantly evolving, it can be a very easy for non-technical business owners to feel lost and useless.
The following tips will help you improve your website without using advanced techniques and without spending any money.
1-Adding Quality Content
For the past year or so, Google has been focusing more than ever on quality of website content and has been very explicit about it: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. (…) Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. (…)Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.”
An easy way to add new quality content on your website is through blog posts. Having a blog, not only adds freshness to a website (websites that are regularly updated generally receive higher ratings on the search engines), but also provides visitors with information relevant to your business.
If you don’t own a blog, wordpress.com is an excellent, easy to setup and free platform.
When adding new content to your website, make sure it is unique, rich on useful information and resources. Write to provide value to your visitors and forget about the search engines (is it worth saying that copying and pasting large amount of information from other websites will have a negative impact on your ranking?).
Another important point: don’t keep your new content to yourself but share it! The more social media platforms you use, the more exposure you will get.
2-Bad User Experience Will Impact Your Rankings
Try to consider what a person visiting your website would think. For instance, what do you think would happen if your website had lots of broken links, information hard to find or unclear, some duplicate texts or other problems? Would visitors stay on your website, or would they leave for another one?
Review your website regularly for broken links and update them when necessary. Search engines use the text of a link to determine the content of the page you’re about to visit. As such, be more specific with this text and try to avoid the obvious “click here” cliché if possible.
If you find several very similar pieces of texts, rewrite them. If you are updating your website often, make sure you review it on a regular basis and mend any issues found.
3-Optimise your pictures
As with links, images are an important factor for user experience. Review your website’s pages for broken images and if any are found, re-upload them or add new ones.
Also, Google has recently changed the way they show pictures in their search results, adding much more information alongside images, so when adding new pictures, it is increasingly important to properly name files (for instance, photo-of-my-product.jpg” instead of “IMG0000542.jpg”) and label your images with title and alternative (‘alt-text’) values corresponding to the context of the page. These were initially for the benefit of people with poor vision, but are now increasingly used by the search engines.
If you have a physical business, you can help your website by using some easy but still crucial local SEO practices.
Register your business listing and create a local profile on Google Places. It is very easy to do and completely free.
Get listed in local directories. Most directories are free and by registering your business, you will see an increase in visits from potential customers.
Ask for reviews. Reviews are more and more important for local businesses as it gives more credibility, helps your website rank better and ultimately brings new customers. Depending on your type of business, you can start with the following sites: Yelp.co.uk, Trip Advisor, Foursquare.
When registering your business, make sure your company profile is consistent with your Google local profile throughout the platforms and all fields are filled in. Citations (any online place that uses your company name, address, phone number) play an important role in local SEO.
It is now increasingly believed that social signals have an impact on search rankings (directly and indirectly). Social media is still an important way of spreading the word about your business. Sign up to the business pages of Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google+ (automatic when registering through Google Places). It goes without saying that if you don’t intend to be active on these platforms we wouldn’t recommend registering in the first place – but be careful, your strongest competitors undoubtedly will.
There are many things that can be done to optimise your website but the advice on this article should help you improve its performance. Although the advice mentioned in this article is mainly aimed at people with no or very little technical knowledge, they obviously apply to anybody. It is also worth remembering that SEO is an unavoidable part of every successful website and you should either learn how to do it, have an in-house SEO person or hire a professional agency.