I’d be genuinely surprised if an SME owner told me they hadn’t heard of SEO.
For the last decade it’s been one of most pushed forms of internet marketing. It’s also one of most evolving forms of internet marketing. This is especially true concerning the search engine that monopolizes the market: Google Search.
With over 60% of searches conducted through Google in the U.S. alone this year, you can bet it’s just as popular in the Australian search market. Which is why so much emphasis for SEO is placed on Google’s search platform. If you can appear in their search results, you can expect more visitors to your website with the potential of more sales.
But SEO is a complicated subject. When a user searches for a phrase on Google, there are hundreds of factors that determine what website is shown in the results. And while there is a mountain’s worth of SEO information on the web, it can be hard to determine where you should start.
Of course, you could always hire SEO services, but that can come with its own complications, especially if you have no idea if you’re actually getting value from their work.
So today, I’m going to quickly cover some steps you can take to SEO your own site, and hopefully increase just a little bit more search traffic to your own site.
1. Use the right keywords
SEO is heavily reliant on keywords. Simply put, these are words, terms and phrases that Google uses to determine what a searcher is looking for.
Aligning your website to the right keywords is important if you want your website to be displayed as a search result. For example, like below:
Start by reviewing the main webpages of your site. Hopefully, you have a common theme idea for each main page of your site. Now, create a table and list these important web pages that sell your product or service, as well as the page’s ‘theme’.
For example, for Vuly Play, it would look something like this:
While we are going to create new pages that target new appropriate keywords we discover, exploring existing web pages also provides starting points for your research.
Now that you have your list, we’re going to conduct some quick keyword research so you can put more value into your pages. Keyword research lets you determine the average amount of times a word or phrase is searched on Google, over a specific period. The higher the search volume of a keyword, the more competitive it is, and harder to rank your website at the top of a Google search results.
These keywords are generally known as ‘head terms’ – one or two words that describe exactly the product or service. A head term could be something like ‘paint’.
Likewise, keywords with smaller search volume are usually easier to achieve top page rankings, as there is less competition. These less competitive keywords are often what are called ‘long-tail’. Longer tail keywords are phrases that are simply made up of several words.
For example, using Vuly Play again, we might look at our trampoline product range:
|Keyword||Type||Avg. Monthly Search Volume|
|Buy Trampolines||Head Term||720|
|Is jumping on a trampoline good exercise||Long-Tail||30|
|The bounciest trampoline in the world||Long-Tail||20|
As you can see, head terms have vastly higher average search volumes.
The bad news is, for most SMEs, ranking for head terms is going to be extra difficult, and going to take a lot of time and money. The good news is, you can still get value with SEO by targeting long tail keywords. They might not be as lucrative, but at least you can achieve tangible visits, leads and sales.
2. Finding the right keywords
Searching for the right keywords to optimise is extremely important. Here is a quick way you can find the best keywords for your products or services.
- Use a free keyword planning tool to:
a) Find long tail keyword suggestions
b) Determine their average monthly search volumes
Google provides a free Keyword Planner tool. However, it provides incomplete data on keyword volumes unless you spend a set amount on their Google Ads program.
For this reason, I recommend another free tool, Ubersuggest. Go back to the table you created with your important website pages and themes. Use the theme as a keyword to input into Ubersuggest. Don’t forget to set the language and country to your location.
Once the data has loaded for your theme keyword, scroll down the page to the section titled ‘Keyword Ideas’. Click the ‘View All Keyword Ideas’ button, as this is going to help us find the best long tail keyword to target with SEO.
Start reviewing the keyword data. You’ll need to examine each set of keyword ideas (suggestions, related, question etc.) when finding the perfect long tail terms for your website.
There are going to be irrelevant keywords listed across each keyword ideas segment. Similarly, there will be keywords listed with zero average search volume. These can be ignored.
Click "Vol" at the top of the column to sort average search volume from lowest to highest. Our aim now is to record longtail keywords that may be of value. We are trying to find keywords that match as many of the following criteria:
- Comparable low average search volume
Try to find listed keywords that don’t have a high average search volume. But what number constitutes a high average monthly search volume?
This is a hard question, as it is completely dependent on your industry. The highest searched head terms for one businesses’ product or services may be 10,000, while another business may be 100. Compare search volumes of related keywords appearing for your page’s theme. This will let you better gauge what keywords you should be recording from this list.
- Low difficulty rating
As an added bonus, Ubersuggest offers a column labelled ‘SD’. This refers to the keywords ‘SEO difficulty’ – the higher the number, the more competitive it is to rank. Try to find longtail keywords that have a low SD.
- Prioritise longtail keywords that have a commercial intent
For each of your page’s themes, try to find 2 – 3 longtail keywords. Record the phrase, the search volume and the SD score in table list. For example:
|How to clean a trampoline||Limited commercial intent - Likely searcher already owns a trampoline|
|What trampoline is the safest to buy||Higher commercial intent - Likely searcher is researching what trampoline to buy|
Don’t fret if your longtail keywords are mostly informative. They are still valuable and present you brand in front of people for future considerations.
3. Optimise your site with the right keywords
Now it’s time to create new pages that relate to these targeted keywords. There are three elements that you need to nail in order to achieve ranking success for your found terms.
1. The Title Tag
The title tag is a headline in search results. You can see them highlighted below and is the text a user clicks on to visit the corresponding webpage.
Title tags are still a crucial element to rank for keywords in 2019. When designing your new page, create your title tag to exactly match the long tail keyword phrase you’ve chosen.
If you research the best practices for title tags, they generally advise to keep the tag under 60 characters. But don’t fret if your phrase is a little longer. The tag may end up truncated in search results but will likely rank better.
2. Writing valuable content
I can already hear the collected moans from everyone when the topic of writing content appears. But it really doesn’t need to be that difficult. Because remember, you are targeting longer tail, less competitive keywords!
Take your long tail keyword and input it into Google search. Open the first three search result pages and examine the content. Your job is to generate content that is superior to what you see in front of you. In many instances, the content won’t directly relate to your long tail keyword. This is advantageous to you as you can now provide Google with 100% dedicated content to your keyword phrase.
Here are some other key factors to get you ranking:
- When creating your new page URL, use your long tail keyword phrase in the structure: www.example.com/this-is-your-long-tail-keyword
- Match the heading of your content article with your long tail keyword phrase.
- Use your long tail keyword phrase naturally in your content. Don’t overdo it, if you only must use it once, then only use it once.
- Cover the long term in as much as detail as possible. Remember you need to provide more context and information than those top three search results you recovered before.
- Your new page has to be able to be found by Google. This means either it is added in your website’s sitemap and linked to from other pages of your website.
- If you can, leverage imagery and video. If you have a smartphone and can take high quality media, then go for it!
- If applicable, promote your new page on your social channels. Every little bit of recognition helps because remember, these keywords are easier to rank for!
Now what are you waiting for? Go find some longer tail keywords based on your existing page themes and create new ones. Rank for the smaller terms and build traffic. Over time, this will increase your authority in the eyes of search engines and let you start competing with the more lucrative search phrases!
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