You’re at a party and someone starts talking about Bitcoin. It normally happens just before you make a bee-line for any room free of someone boasting about the financial revolution they’ve discovered. You've listened to the hype but you stopped trying to keep up with everything when Snapchat became TikTok. I think there are a lot of us who feel this way about SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not as new as Bitcoin, but it does share that element of unpredictability and hard-to-grasp science that some people understand, some people pretend to understand and some ignore altogether.
How is your site map structured?
The best place to start when looking to improve your SEO, is the structure of your website. If you were building a hospital, you’d want to make sure that the corridors followed a logical plan for navigation. If you’ve been to a hospital, you’ll know this is a horrible analogy for best practise, but you want to make your website as easy as possible for Google to navigate. This is done by keeping your URLs structured with the right keywords that detail the category and detail of what's on the page.
Your URLs should give you more than just somewhere to click, the URL tells you a story about how you can find the content and what the content will include. For example, with this link..
The link is an insight into how our website it structured. Search engine knows that they're being taken to a page within the /blog section of the Webstars website. It also knows to expect content relating to marketing tools for this year on the page. The URL follows a logical structure.
This year, Webstars achieved runner up for an SEO award with a client, before actually doing any SEO campaigns. We achieved this by building the website with a constant consideration for SEO and how the content would be structured. You can save a lot of time and resource down the line if you consider how search engines will navigate your site during the build.
How fast is your page speed?
Do you want a website that wins design awards in Shoreditch or wins you loads of new business? To achieve both is possible but rarely returns on the amount of investment needed. Put your user first.
We are always coming across new websites that look great on desktop and serve smiles around the boardrooms when viewed on 27 inch Macs. The problem is that for 60-80% of end-users on a mobile who are trying to reach the page with patchy 4G, the home page doesn’t even load. 40% of consumers wait no longer than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site. If your page doesn’t load fast and your user decides to return to Google, then your bounce rate increases and your website sinks down the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Aside from the issues in deterring the user, search engines measure page load speed and will penalise any slow-loading websites.
How many other pieces of your own content are you linking to?
Do not be the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ with your content. Google will rank your website higher if you cover topics in detail. Explore the topics you want to be known for, thoroughly, and approach the same subject from different angles using pillar pages. The term “pillar pages” relates to the pillar or main block of content that is surrounded by related smaller pieces of content. By interlinking relevant content throughout your content in this way, you are more likely to keep the user on your website. Google will note this and score you better as a result.
This is where you really start turning a content plan into a content strategy. What do you want to be known for and does it relate to something you sell? Be as detailed as possible and explore the subject so that you’re the number one authority for that niche. Do this and eventually, you’ll be one of the page one search results for that keyword.
Is your website https secure?
Unless you live in a friendly and safe neighbourly village where everybody knows your name (you’re living my dream by the way) then I’m guessing your house door is locked. Well, just like your house, Google thinks you should secure your website and will rank you down if you haven’t. They’re protecting their users from accessing websites that aren't secure, which require any personal data to be entered. Switching to https just requires the purchase of an SSL certificate and installation. This is something you can do yourself but is easy for people who specialise in it, like singing. If you’d like us to help you transfer your site over to https, please get in touch (we can’t help with the singing).
So what is the easiest way to guarantee first page results?
Honestly, I couldn't say there's an easy way. There is a simple method though and that's to focus on the end-user experience always. The objective of search engines is to make money from advertisements ensure the end-user has the best experience online. Your objective should be to understand the purpose of the website for your user, from the keywords they search to the information and service you can offer them. When you have a landing page that accurately resolves what the majority of people were looking for that search term, you will rank higher.
There are so many things you can do to improve your SEO, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a dark art. This brief article is an insight in the best places to start, based on the most common opportunities for people that ask us for SEO support. If I was a self-appointed “guru” or a “ninja” I suppose I’d call these “knowledge bombs”, but I’m not. So please just use some of these free tips and in exchange make the world a better place by not talking about Bitcoin at dinner parties.