I get a lot of clients asking me about SEO, SEO, in my opinion, is just common sense to make your website useful and relevant to your users. Here is a tick list of the minimum to have an SEO friendly site.
Be clever and understanding
The first thing you need to remember when you think of search phrases is that generic search keywords like ‘Agency in London’ are expensive to bid, but also aren’t great to filter your potential customer. I’m not explaining what type of agency I am. I could be a detective agency or a creative agency. Therefore I’m not filtering the ideal client.
For example, I’m a one-person agency that wouldn’t be able to take on a multi-million budget project. I don’t have the capacity. So in my case instead of “Agency in London” would be more effective something like “Creative agency for small businesses in London”.
Put yourself in your potential customer’s mind, what would they search on google to find you?
Google analytics can help you find keywords in which your customers have to reach your website.
Google Ads has the Keyword Planner that can also help you to find keywords that you might haven’t thought.
On the standard Google search, the predictive text can also help you find what the search phrases that people are looking when they search are.
Also, the related searches are also quite helpful.
There are other tools you can your like Buzzsumo. But don’t get lost on the tools. Make sure to focus on the keywords.
SEO friendly web
Most of the below aren’t just for Google. As I said in the beginning, it’s mostly common sense to improve the user experience. So you are not doing SEO only to rank higher on google but also to help your customers navigate on your website.
It’s important that your homepage is well optimised. It’s essential that your texts contain the keywords and on your titles. A “What?” h1 title is useless, best to put something more explanatory “What creative services we offer?”
Navigation is best to be horizontal, and if you can have keywords on the menu titles even better. Put the important things in front. “Our services” or “Products” can bring more money that “About us” or the blog.
Friendly URLs!! A URL that looks like “domain.com/?post098hk.php” a part that isn’t memorable, Google hates them. Make sure that they look nice and have Keywords separated with a hyphen, not a dash, or underscore.
Responsive. AKA mobile friendly. If your web isn’t displayed correctly on mobile Google will put you at the bottom of the list.
The speed of the site is also crucial. Make sure you compress your images for web, not straight from your mobile. Fancy scripts that make things move can also slow down the site.
Hosting needs to be in the same country where your customers are searching.
As per now a website that has no SSL certificate (that the URL has https://) won’t be trusted by most browsers. But also you are telling your customers that your site is secure, and they can add their credit card there.
Metadata is essential to include. I use Yoast SEO, where you can add it. Metadata is used on the search pages to give the user a sniped of what the page is about. Keywords are important to include, but also needs to be readable, as in natural phrases not a pile of keywords.
Sitemaps need to be submitted to the Search engines. These maps are to tell Google all the content that they have to crawl and they get updated when you add new content.
Check your 404 URL’s ensure that if there is any broken link to redirect it or repair it.
Don’t duplicate. Duplication of content gets penalised. If you copy and paste the same material, for example, putting the same blog on a Linkedin article, you are in trouble. Google will know and will get annoyed.
Images well named are Google best friends. Make sure to add the Image Tag and Title on your pictures. It’s not only for Google it’s also polite for accessibility website readers.
Same with links. Make sure to include keywords. I insist it needs to be readable.
About backlinks and link building this: Quality over quantity. Make sure the website that links back to you are good sites and coherent. If it’s well done, it will give you a lot of brownie points. Remember that your social media sites should link back to your site.
Enhance your web
A blog is a great tool to create new content. If your website looks alive, Google will come back to get your new posts indexed. A static site isn’t really interesting for Google. It’s also an excellent opportunity to add search phrases. “How to”, “What makes”, “Learn to” are perfect titles for posts that help you be found. Just remember that the content needs to be interesting too! It’s like if you go to a show, the window display is fantastic and when you go in they only sell sh**.
Break up the content. Making your content easy to read is vital. You should be able to have a quick look at the content and understand what is about. Break it into sections with titles (h2, h3…), add bullet-points or lists, etc.
Adding bold and italics is also very recommendable to ease the reading.
Internal links are great to keep the user on the website. But also help Google to understand the relevance of your content. So whenever you can do it! Great to link blogs.
Add share with Twitter and Facebook. Make sharing easy, and people will use it. It’s a free way to share posts.
Comments and testimonials usually come with keywords, and it’s not you who says so. Use them! Ask for Google or trip advisor reviews too.
Google ads and social media ads is an excellent strategy to start getting visible while your site is getting loved by Google. It can take months to appear on organic searches.
There are various options of advertisement, retargeting and display are great to keep in your customer’s mind.
But be careful, you need to ensure to track all the money spend and the ROI, otherwise, you just throwing bottle in the sea without knowing if someone is finding them.