SEO

A Beginner’s SEO Guide That You Can Do Yourself

The rewards of having an effective SEO strategy can be vast, it means not only increased traffic to your website, but also extra sales for at times little cost.

However, as a start-up or SME, it can seem daunting with some agencies providing expensive proposals. So we’ve put together our best tips for how to get started on SEO for your company.

What is SEO

SEO is the ongoing process of making your website as ‘search engine friendly’ as possible and therefore naturally increasing your website’s positioning on search engine’s result pages (SERP) such as Google and Bing.

SEO only concerns organic search and differs from search engine advertising (SEA) which is usually conducted on a cost-per-click basis.

Perform a Website Audit

A good place to start is by performing a website audit on your current website in order to see what you’re doing well and where you can improve.

Likewise, you should start reporting on your search engine positions for the keywords that you’re targeting (more on that later). By doing this, you can track progress towards your end-goal and assess if your SEO strategy has been a success or not.

Create Metadata

Although metadata doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of effectiveness on SERPs as it did a decade or more ago, it’s still generally considered good practice to at least update your meta titles and descriptions for each.

Essentially, a meta title explains to search engines what your page is about in a very top-level way. This should usually be similar to the H1 heading you have on that page. The meta title appears as the heading on your search engine listing.

Additionally, the meta description goes into more detail of what the page is about. You should think carefully about what to include and make sure it’s relevant to that page.

This will appear underneath the title on search engine listings. There are usually character limits on metadata so keep this in mind when creating them.

Compile a Keyword Strategy

You should be selecting which keywords you’re targeting carefully. There are two main areas you consider when selecting these. Firstly, you should look at which keywords are most relevant to your page.

You’ll struggle to rank for the content that’s not relevant to your website as search engines will know it’s not a good user journey.

Once relevant keywords have been established, you should then look at which keywords gain the most search traffic.

After all, if you’re deciding between two keywords but one has 10,000 searches a month on Google.

Whereas the other only has 100, then although it may be easier to rank short term on the lower amount, ranking on the 10,000 searches keyword will be much more beneficial in the long-run.

So trying to rank on a competitive keyword such as “payday loans” might take longer and considerably more work to rank for compared to a term that has much fewer searches.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on trends where you may be able to spot a keyword which you know will rise sharply in the future.

For example, this could’ve been the case in early 2020 for the search terms ‘fashionable face masks’ or ‘hand sanitiser’ which both would’ve had low traffic prior to the pandemic.

Start Thinking About Backlinks

A well-known metric for a strong website is their domain authority (DA). An effective way of increasing your DA score is by gaining links from other well-reputable websites to yours.

Search engines see this as a sign of trust and therefore will rate your website higher.

For example, it’s generally considered that a link from a top website such as the BBC or a Government website will do wonders for your rankings as they have a reputation for only linking to legitimate, well-respected websites.

There a few ways you can try and gain news backlinks. To start, you should be trying to produce great content that publishers will want to link to.

Then it’s worth contacting as many publications as possible that you think would be interested in speaking about your content.

Secondly, you could find out links your competitors have (especially broken links) using a tool such as SEMrush and contact those websites suggesting you replace the broken link with your own.

Additionally, there are many directories out there that you can sign up to and actually provide a free link. You should only really choose directories that are relevant to you, but this can be a great way to get some early links until you have a larger budget available.

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