Search engine optimisation (also known as SEO) is a process of increasing your site’s online visibility through a number of strategies and approaches for the purpose of getting more visitors to your website. According to Backlinko’s research, the first result on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks. This pretty impressive data shows you what weight SEO ranking holds for a business. Being visible online is essential in the modern, digitised world we live in. If your potential customers can’t find you, how are they supposed to know you exist?
Successful optimisation includes multiple factors that search engines value – technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. With comprehensive enhancements, you can gradually increase your organic traffic, provided you do it right.
Improving SEO takes a lot of time and dedication. For this reason, hiring a professional to help with your brand growth is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. Get in touch if you would like to discuss your growth plans with our team, we will be happy to hear about your business. Otherwise, enjoy the article!
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO optimisation practice involves technical aspects of a website such as hosting, security, structured data, site speed, sitemaps and robots file. It helps search engines understand and index your content successfully. Ensuring your pages are crawlable and indexable is an essential part of the technical SEO process.
Technical errors can potentially stop your website from being crawled altogether and prevent it from appearing in search engine results. Ensuring your page and file architecture is clear and easy to read creates a strong technical foundation and a great user & search experience.
2. On Page SEO Checklist
On page SEO involves optimising website pages to increase organic traffic and rank higher in the search engine results. On page SEO practice consists of creating insightful content, optimising HTML tags, headings and images.
HTML title tag
This tag is an HTML element placed inside the head section. It tells the search engine what the page is about; therefore, it has to be unique for every page. Your title tag is also displayed in the search snippet and appears as a clickable headline in the search results.
Google puts an emphasis on words that show up at the beginning of the title tag, so we advise your main keyword to be placed somewhere at the start of your title tag sentence.
Keywords are words or phrases you want to rank for when the user enters them into the search engine. They help define what your content is about. Once the search engine associates your page with what the user has searched for, it will bring it up as a related result.
Your keywords should fit naturally within the context of your text. It’s recommended to add your main keyword 2-3 times on the page. Along with your main keywords, it’s good practice to include LSI keywords within your content. LSI keywords are words and phrases related to the topic of your page. They reassure Google that your content is about that particular topic.
SEO meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor; however, they can have a big impact on your CTR (click-through rate) and, as a result, affect your SEO rankings. These short snippets should contain compelling, click-worthy information that will appeal to your audience.
Headings and subheadings you use within your content are known as HTML header tags (H1 – H6). They are an essential part of every online page. Search crawlers use headings to help them understand the structure of the page, therefore, making it easier to crawl and index. Header tags improve the user-friendliness of your website, which is an important Google ranking signal. The main H1 tag is considered the most important as it’s the primary title of the page. This particular tag is the main ranking factor as it tells the search engine bots what the page is about.
Well-structured URL’s are a powerful tool in search engine optimisation. They inform the user and bots what the page should be about. The length of your link should be relatively short to maintain a positive user experience. It’s also recommended to include keywords in your URL as they can impact your site’s visibility. While URL’s are an important part of every website, they are not a major ranking factor, and you shouldn’t create new, unnecessary links only to stuff them with keywords.
Image ALT tags
Using optimised images on your website makes it visually appealing while at the same time preserving the load speed of your page. Making use of the image ALT tags will help you get the best out of this search engine optimisation asset. ALT tags are especially useful at helping Google and visually-impaired visitors understand what the image is about. Where possible, we recommend implementing keywords into your image tags, but only if they help describe the image itself.
3. Mobile-Friendly Website
Over half of all traffic comes from mobile devices. Because of the mobile device domination, since July 2019, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes content using the smartphone agent. This information makes it crucial for your business to introduce a well-performing, mobile-first website.
Your content should remain mostly the same on all devices. The user experience (UX), however, should change to accommodate best mobile practices. It’s important to remember about the site speed. The longer the user has to wait for the site to fully load, the faster they can choose to abandon it.
4. Page Load Speed
Page speed measures the loading time of your website content and it is a direct ranking factor. According to research, 40% of visitors will leave if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Slow websites increase your bounce rate, making the audience drop off sooner than you would want them to.
There are many ways in which you can enhance your site performance. At RA Creative, we are able to run a page load speed test on your website and create a successful strategy to tackle issues that have a negative impact on your page load speed.
5. Smart SEO Keyword Research
Keyword implementation is one of the easiest ways to significantly increase your SERP ranking. The most common SEO keyword research mistakes people make include selecting keywords with huge competition, or ones with very little monthly traffic. It’s important to remember people search for things in different ways. It’s best to rank for both – short-tail and long-tail keywords to ensure you target multiple spectrums of traffic.
When working on your research, choose keywords relevant to your business and the ones that correspond with your search intent. Keep in mind, keyword stuffing days are long gone, and you could get penalised for using the same word or a phrase too many times within your website content. Instead, use your keywords naturally to align with the context and intent of the page.
6. High-Quality Website Content
Fresh, insightful and unique content is what users love the most. Essentially, it’s all about providing your audience with answers to any questions they might have or topics relevant to their interests. You want to be the last search result they need to click in order to satisfy their search query. The key is to keep the user engaged for the longest amount of time possible.
Another thing to bear in mind is the importance of content relevance in relation to a particular topic or a search query. Relevance is an important ranking factor, so it’s recommended to ensure your content is relevant to the keywords and search queries you are trying to target. That, and regular content maintenance that keeps it up to date, should satisfy the ever-changing Google algorithms.
7. Link Building Best Practices
Links continue to be some of the most important ranking factors. They pass their authority value along with the URL for the relevant content topics. The text that moves you from one destination to another after the click is called anchor text. Google uses anchor text as a ranking signal; therefore, it should relate to the topic of the page you are linking to. You should avoid using phrases such as ‘Click here’, ‘Read More’ etc.
Internal links are links connected within your website. They help establish page hierarchy and, in addition, spread link equity between the pages. The best link building practice is to do it near the top of your main content as opposed to using sidebars or navigation. These two are also extremely important factors of your website; however, they serve a different purpose.
Relevance of the content you are linking to is one of the most important factors of internal SEO linking. Connecting your content with related pages on your website through internal linking helps improve your site’s relevance for multiple user queries.
Backlinks are external links from one website to another. Google looks at how many external sources link to your page and investigates their quality. Links coming from high authority websites help your site look trustworthy as they are difficult to manipulate. Pages with a big number of SEO backlinks usually have high organic rankings.
When someone links to your website, they pass some of the link equity to your page. It is, however, optional, and websites can choose not to share the authority value by using the ‘nofollow’ tag in the URL. It’s good to know that although the option ‘nofollow’ is selected, you still gain valuable traffic, which boosts your SEO rankings.
8. Check Your Ranking, Monitor And Analyse Regularly
One of the main factors of a successful website is tracking progress and taking steps to gradually improve your SEO efforts. If you haven’t set your Google Analytics up yet, be sure to do it as soon as possible. This amazing tool enables you to track the data coming from your website and helps you optimise accordingly to achieve the best results.
Another free tool we recommend is Google Search Console, which allows you to analyse top-performing pages, user queries, click-through rates, keyword ranking and much more. GSC is great for all SEO’s out there as it informs you about any technical SEO issues with your website that cause crawling errors.
9. Google Algorithm Update
Google Algorithm is a set of instructions and rules that Google follows to rank the content within its search engine. Google updates its algorithm very frequently, but only major changes get publicly announced. Some updates could have a direct impact on your optimisation efforts, so it’s good practice to stay on top of any changes. One of the helpful resources to follow is Moz’s Google Algorithm Update History database, where you can search for the updates in chronological order.
Google looks at the following signals when checking content: date last updated, how often the content gets maintained, the amount of content updated, new links, traffic and user engagement. Once you’re happy with your search engine ranking position, you need to remember that keeping your page at the top can be difficult. Google constantly changes its ranking results. In order to stay on top, you need to work on regular maintenance and delivery of relevant content to your audience.
You can’t drastically change your ranking overnight. However, with hard work and consistency, you will see steady SEO improvements in no time. Remember that satisfying the algorithms is just one piece of the puzzle. The vital role plays user experience, which helps retain valuable traffic you have worked so hard to get. In this case, content really is king, and besides the SEO work, you should strive to satisfy your audience by becoming the industry expert they can trust.
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If you have a project or require consultancy about a challenge, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to assist with any of your queries. We provide SEO services in Nottingham and remotely across the whole of the UK.