No need to fear those three small letters: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I'm here to break it down.
SEO essentially means making your website more visible on search engines in an organic (i.e not paid) way. In other words, if you have good SEO your website will rank highly on search engines.
Why would you want to rank highly?
Let’s go for an example.
Say you’re a florist called FlowersRUs based in Oxford.
Unfortunately, because your website was created ten years ago and not updated properly, you only appear on the tenth page of a Google search.
Imagine someone in Oxford needs flowers asap. They will maybe type ‘florist Oxford’ into Google.
Logically, they will start at the top and work their way down. Is it likely that they’ll get to your little shop loitering on the tenth page?
No, someone else will have got their custom. Sorry FlowersRUs!
So what can you do?
What people most associate with SEOs are keywords, and in a way they are the fastest and easiest place to start with.
1. Identify a few keywords that you think represent your brand. For instance, FlowersRUs might go with ‘florist Oxford’.
2. Do those keywords appear on your website at the moment? If not, it’s time to get them all over it: titles, texts, tags, etc. Don’t forget to include it in any meta descriptions of your website too.
At the same time, don’t go overboard, i.e ‘Welcome to Oxford florist FlowersRUs’s website, we are an Oxford florist, providing excellent service in Oxford’.
(Can you tell flowers aren't my thing? Why did I pick this as an example? Too late! let's power on!)
There are various tools that you can use if your website is built on Wordpress such as Yoast, which can help you check how good you’re being at including your chosen keywords in your website.
3. Regularly write content on your website which uses these keywords.
4. Wait. Change won’t happen overnight. Give search engines time to crawl over your website (less scary than this sounds).
It’s not just about keywords
Linkbuilding is one of the best ways in which you can give your website a bump.
This means increasing the number of websites which refer back to yours.
So some of the ways that FlowersRUs could rise through the ranks include:
- getting a website or online magazine to feature it, (i.e '10 upcoming florists to watch in Oxford').
- adding a link to one of FlowersRUs's pages as a reference on Wikipedia
- having an active presence on social media
The bigger the website, the better. Avoid anything spammy as that might get you flagged up as spam in turn.
How long your website takes to load will affect your rank. You can find out how fast your website is here, which includes tips on how to improve the speed.
FlowersRUs is probably better off getting its entire website redesigned or substantially updated as it’s unlikely a ten year old website is mobile-friendly. As of 21st April this will affect rankings too. This only affects rankings when viewed on a mobile, but I imagine someone searching on their phone for 'florist Oxford' is probably going to want to get their flower emergency sorted ASAP.
These are a few basic tips which will get you started on the path to make your website more visible. They're not the be all and end all, rules will keep evolving and the best thing you can do is keep an eye on any news that might affect your website.
Clients using Passle tend to have a good SEO, just saying...