You can have a great business model and offer a fantastic product or service, but it all means nothing if your prospective customers can’t find you!
If your website is buried way down the bottom of page 10 on Google then the statistics suggest that someone else is getting your customers. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an effective way of boosting visibility and drawing natural traffic to your website. If you are a new business in a competitive marketplace then getting to the top of those listings, and staying there, is a great way to demonstrate your credibility and reap the benefits. Google dominates over 75% of the search engine market and research shows that around 60% of users will not scroll past the first few listings!
Long gone are the days where keyworded meta titles and descriptions would boost your search engine positioning, and while keywords themselves are still relevant, content should be created for the reader and not the robots. Instead, try the 5 SEO quick fixes covered below, which can work wonders for your ranking position, and you can start implementing them straight away.
Before you go any further, sign up to a google search console account (formally ‘webmaster tools’.)
1. Register and optimise your Google ‘My Business’ account
If you don’t already have a google business page, then head over there now and sign up for free. A Google business page will make sure that you not only appear in the search listings but, when users search for your business or businesses like yours eg ‘search engine optimisation exeter‘, your page will appear in the local SEO business listings or ‘places’ section on the first page too. This is a great marketing strategy while your SEO optimisation is still in progress. Plus, Google rates websites more highly for rank positioning, simply by having a page – it’s such an easy fix!
Be sure to fill it out as thoroughly as you can and give the user all the information about you that they need. Showcase what you have to offer with photos and regular updates, and use the reviews feature to further demonstrate your credibility and secure more click-throughs.
2. Check and fix broken Links
One of the ways that search engines optimise results is by crawling your site and its links, indexing them and storing the data for more efficient information retrieval. Crawlers, or ‘search engine spiders’, scour your website, and a dead or broken link stops that spider in its tracks. Spiders don’t appreciate a broken link and it will have a negative effect on your ranking.
Not only this, but broken links also compromise the user experience. If you have ever stumbled across a 404-error code while seeking information you will recognised this frustration. Often it will drive users elsewhere in search of the information they came for.
Your new Google search console account offers a link checking service, or alternatively you can try screaming frog. Fix any broken links that you find, and assign 301 redirects to pages that no longer exist, to instantly improve your SEO ranking.
3. Compress your website images
A part of SEO ranking is user experience, and nothing kills the user experience like slow download speeds. Images have always been and continue to be a cause of site bloating. With higher resolution images becoming standard, the larger file sizes can cause slower downloads, particularly if the user does not have broadband equipped to deal with it.
Image compression will reduce the file size without compromising image quality. If you use WordPress, we recommend the WP-Smush it plugin. Otherwise, take a look at tinyPNG for image compression solutions.
4. Include and update your XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file that lists every URL on a website and informs the ‘spiders’ which webpages pages are available for crawling. The sitemap centralises all the information within the website in one place which can then be stored by the robot.txt file allowing it to be accessed and recognised by all search engines. It can be tailored by the website owner to reflect the hierarchy of information in favour of search criteria.
If you have an XML sitemap and update your website frequently then you should be updating the sitemap just as often. If you don’t have one then you are doing your site a huge disservice. Use xml-sitemaps.com for free, or screaming frog also provide the service, and the Yoast plugin produces sitemaps for WordPress users. Then use your Google Search Console to link to your sitemap and tell search engines where they should be seeking information.
5. Keep your site secure with an SSL Certificate
A Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted. With recent GDPR changes, it could be argued that even moderate data capture is ‘sensitive’ so having an SSL in place is best practice regardless of the SEO implications, and an essential if you are handling any financial transactions. Browsers are now flagging sites as ‘not secure’ if they do not hold one. This in itself has the potential to deter users from your site.
Google favours sites with SSL certificates and a secure site will rank better than its non-secure alternative of the same nature. You can use a Free SSL service called Lets Encrypt or purchase a, more reliable, full certificate through your hosting provider, to secure your site and reassure your users with that increasingly recognisable padlock.
These quick fixes are a great starting point for the beginning of your SEO campaign. Google is believed to use over 200 ranking factors for page placement, so it is clear to see the advantage of an ongoing effective SEO strategy. Once you have implemented these tips ask Google to re-crawl your page and sit back and watch your page work its way up the listings over the following weeks.
If you need any assistance with implementing these practices, or you want someone to efficiently manage all aspects of your SEO campaign the Knee Deep can help, with a range of SEO packages designed to boost site ranking and optimise your content.
Just get in touch for a free, non-obligation telephone consultation. Alternatively, if you prefer a local service, and are a seeking SEO in Exeter, Barnstaple or the surrounding area then we can arrange a free face-to-face to discuss your need.