Search Engine Optimisation has always been a buzz word amongst our customers, but it’s typically misunderstood. Lots of people have the misconception that all you do is add your ‘keywords’ and then you’re done, but there’s more to it than that.
Over the years Google has changed the way it works, and the algorithms that it uses to determine page rank are now incredibly complex. The aim of Google is to provide the best and most relevant content based on the search term the user provides, and in striving for this they’ve effectively created a search engine that has a degree of intelligence. It understands the content and context of your webpage, and tries to rank it in an almost human way.
The days of writing pages specifically for search engines is long gone, we should now be writing with our human audience in mind. Our goal should be to provide interesting and relevant content that helps them solve their problems and is seen as a kind of authority in your specific market segment.
The basics are still important, so things like having keywords in your urls, relevant titles, properly structured pages with keyword rich headings etc, but a major factor right now is trust. You have to ask the question “Does Google trust me?”. Does it think that your site is a useful, relevant and trustworthy page to send it’s users to? If it doesn’t then how do you build that trust?
Here’s five easy to implement steps that you can think about to get you started:
If another site owner has taken the trouble to include a link to your site as a useful resource then Google will naturally assume that your page has good, relevant content on it and it uses this as a ranking signal. Where the link comes from will depend a lot on to what degree Google improves your rank. Inbound links from high ranking sites are much better than from low ranking ones – in fact if you’ve links from more dubious “link farm” sites then you’ll be penalised for it. The aim should be to get as many inbound links from as many quality (and relevant) sites as you can.
To demonstrate this, which of these businesses would you trust the most? This one with nearly 2,000 inbound links from numerous different domains?
Or this one with none at all?
Which site do you think Google trusts the most? Which will it therefore rank higher in search results? You get the idea?
You should also include links out from your site to others, as then Google sees you as a resource. You’ll probably find that you can quite quickly generate a series of inbound and outbound links by a reciprocal link building programme with business partners, but the main thing to remember is that it’s all about quality and building up your page authority.
Note that it’s always better to have branded anchor text on inbound links wherever possible rather than just a generic ‘click here’.
Get listed on directories
Some digital marketers don’t think that this is very important, but we think that there is definitely a place for online directories in your overall plan. It’s important to clarify here that they are established, useful directories within the market sector that you operate, not the ones that contain thousands of links to random sites all over the web. Again, the key focus here is quality. Take a look at the directory – is it a useful resource for your potential customers? Are your competitors on it? Is it well maintained and frequently updated? Does it appear high up in search results? If so then you need to be on it.
If social media users share your content online then this all goes towards building authority for your brand, and Google will examine social media pages just as it will any other. Tweets, Facebook posts and Google Plus +1’s all count as credible back links to your site, so utilising them can be a great way of generating inbound links. The jury is still out as to whether having your posts shared on social media actually benefits page rank due to Google perceiving you as being more trustworthy, but regardless of this it’s still a great thing to do.
Have an active news section or blog
Creating a news section gives you the opportunity to add fresh content regularly to your website, and this is something that Google always likes to see. If your website frequently changes then Google understands that it’s current, and it knows that it’s more likely to be a useful resource that it can trust.
This is an important ranking signal for local SEO and is seen as a prime way of demonstrating trust and confidence in your business. Remember to ask your customers to leave you reviews on your Google Business page, and make it easy for them to do so by showing them how they would go about this.
Remember though, it’s against the law for you to write your own reviews, or for anybody connected to the business to write a review without declaring they have an interest!
So this is just a handful of non technical ways to help you improve how Google sees your website, and show it that it’s a resource that has authority and can be trusted. Think about what you can do to demonstrate your expertise, and how you can help answer the questions that your potential customers are searching for solutions to – and always remember that in the end we’re ultimately dealing with people, not technology.