Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s ranking on websites such as Google or Bing. In 2021, it is more important than ever to keep your online identity strong and to increase your organic page visitors as our world turns more digital every single day.
In this article, we will go into the basics of SEO, why it’s so important and how you can optimise your website to show up higher on Google Search Results.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of changing the operation, structure or content of a webpage or website in order to appear higher in Google Search Results.
Say you search for “Accountant in London”, this is what you might see on the first page of the results:
All three of these examples are very well optimised for search engines. Straight away, we can see a strong presence of key words that we searched for (Accountant, London) in their headline and description (we will explain this further later), as well as straight to the point and eye catching headlines to grab viewer’s attention.
Now, what happens if you go to further pages in Google? Say, page 20:
Straight away there is a huge difference in how the search result is displayed, and is why these websites show up so much lower on the search results.
Let’s dive in further and investigate why SEO is so important and how to actually optimise it for your business today!
Why is SEO important?
The 1st page of Google Search Results account for a staggering 91.5% of web traffic to specified queries, with 2nd page only seeing 4.8% according to a study by Chitika in 2013. If your website appears on the 1st page of search results, you are likely to see around 19 times as much traffic in comparison to a page on the 2nd page.
These numbers are incredible and show just how important it is to appear as high as possible in the search engine rankings. The great thing about SEO is that it applies to all businesses, even ones that don’t necessarily benefit from huge amounts of web traffic. For example, if you are a physical bakery in a small town you might think that appearing high on search results might not be crucial as you acquire most of your business from walking in. However, people constantly search for businesses and physical locations such as bakeries on Google all the time, especially on Google Maps. In circumstances like these, the competition for high ranking results might not be great, so taking the time to properly optimise your website to suit search engines will put you far ahead of the competition and ensure your business grows!
All things aside; how do you optimise SEO? Is it something you can do for free? Is it easy to do?
How to optimise SEO?
There is an enormous number of things to consider when optimising your website for search engines, so we picked out 5 of the biggest factors we have noticed that seem to make the biggest difference in SEO rankings.
Register with Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster
It might seem obvious but search engines don’t know about every website EVER. Sometimes, it helps to simply let these services know about your webpage and help index it properly.
Luckily, this process is extremely straight forward. Simply visit Google Search Console website and get started straight away. The process is easy, you have to verify with Google that you own the domain you are trying to register and then simply ensure all necessary assets are present and found by Google (for example sitemap.xml). This will allow Google to crawl your website, find all the pages you want to show up on Google search results, and that’s it!
This process is often overlooked by beginners, many thinking once you set up a website that Google will automatically find it. While sometimes that may be true, verifying and signing up to Google Search Console will make this process quicker and more reliable, immediately ranking your website higher.
Set Up SSL Certificates
While SSL Certificates aren’t necessary, we always recommend setting them up. It has been shown time and time again that search engines prioritise websites with SSL certificates over those who don’t have them, and for a good reason.
SSL Certificates are a great way to provide visitors with trust and security to your website. They are also a MUST for e-commerce websites as they provide a safe gateway for payment transfer.
Most host providers will provide free SSL certificates with your domain, while others might charge you a small one off fee. We always recommend doing this as it is a tiny cost that you have to incur once but helps your website immensely with security, privacy and SEO!
This is the first slightly more complex process when improving your SEO. We recommend using the Google PageSpeed Insight (also found in your Google Search Console account). This will give you a detailed breakdown of your webpage speeds and where it can be improved.
One thing we see time and time again keeping websites from achieving full speed is poor hosting solutions. We use dedicated web page servers to host all our client websites and by having a VPS (virtual private server) as opposed to shared servers allows us to keep the speeds of all websites to the maximum.
Why is this important? Search engines do not want to direct people to a website that will take half a minute to load. They want to send people to websites that are ready to be served in seconds and therefore ranking those much higher.
SEO Headline and Description
Going back to the example at the start of this article, one thing that is also frequently overlooked is the search engine display headline and description.
We conducted an SEO Audit on one of our clients and found that their webpage showed this following a Google search:
Do you see the issue? Say a potential client searches for your business and wants to find out more about you. They will skim read your headline and description and if it gives them no answer or no reason to go into your webpage to find out more they will simply move on with their life. A headline and description of a page can make or break the SEO of a website, so we recommend spending time on it to make sure they are well written, contain your key words, and entice people to read further.
Think of this as your shop front; if you give people walking by no reason to enter or be curious about what’s inside, they will not bother. If you give them a great impression, a great insight into what you offer, and sell them on why they should visit, they will visit and are far more likely to convert from visitors to clients.
Google also isn’t a fan of poorly written headlines and search bodies; it is very unlikely to rank webpages higher if they have been poorly written. Instead, it will display websites which show a strong keyword presence and have clearly adapted around search engines.
Social Share Elements
Although far less impactful on your search engines, these can play a part. Social Share elements include a Fav Icon, Social Share Image and Social Share Headline and Body.
Fav Icons are a must for any website in terms of the professional look. Visitors get very off put by a lack of fav icons for your page as it strikes them as unpolished and unfinished.
As well as that, if you run a blog or a sharable content site, social share elements are crucial. If visitors are to share your article, the people they share it with need to be enticed into visiting the page themselves. If they see no proper social share image and description they simply will not go ahead and check it out.
If you follow these 5 steps, we can guarantee your search engine ranking will improve drastically. Higher search engine ranking means more impressions and more website visitors. At the end of the day, the more website visitors you can get, the more likely you are to land a client and earn more money!
At Reseau, we offer SEO Audits and SEO services. If you are interested, feel free to get in touch and find out more.