SEO is the a combination of many factors, all of which can have a significant impact on how well customers find you in search results...
You should care a great deal about SEO. Without optimising your website for search engines you could be losing out on new customers while your competition wins them.
For example let's say you are a solicitor in Southampton, or a roofing company covering a wider area in Hampshire. Your website should reflect the keywords that a potential customer would be using in Google. These keywords should be distributed in a natural way throughout the content of your website, in headings, paragraph copy, image alt tags and more.
However, keywords should not be overused. Long gone are the days when you could stuff the keywords that you wanted to rank for into the footer of your website. Google has become very wise and your website could potentially be penalised by Google and drop from the search results altogether without careful planning.
Low search engine rankings = less customers.
Provide Google with the data it needs to rank your website higher.
Higher rankings = more customers.
What's more important is creating valuable content for your website visitor, as this can also influence your ranking position. The longer a visitor spends on your website and interacts with it the better. This is a signal to Google that your website has good quality content and can help to push your site further up the rankings. The length of page content can also help. For example, we created this website with the aim of ranking for 'Southampton SEO Agency' and it has nearly 1000 words.
Any content that you create for your website should be unique. Google does not like content which has been duplicated from other sites or even your own. This can sometimes be a challenge with ecommerce websites with multiple products that have the same or similar features.
Your website should always have good architecture. Think of this in the way an architect would design an office building. Starting with the ground floor (your website's home page) a visitor should be able to find their way to the next level or their final destination without walking down a dead end corridor. The way your site is constructed works in a similar way.
From your home page, all the important pages or content should be easily accessible with limited clicks. Google works in the same way and 'crawls' your website. If Google comes to a dead end but there are other pages on the website which aren't internally linked it won't know they even exist and won't always index them in search results.
Good Internal Linking
Your home page will have the greatest 'authority' out of all the pages on your site and this should be passed to the other pages with a good internal linking structure. The links within your website should also use good anchor text. Anchor text is the words that display when linking to another web page.
Using relevant information about that page in the link will indicate to search engines what the destination page is about and is great opportunity to use your keywords. For example, our agency also offers Southampton web design services - note the use of keywords in the anchor text.
Good External Links
A backlink is an inbound hyperlink from another website which links to your website. These links can help determine the value of your website to search engines. If a linking website is considered an authority and related to your business or market it can help to boost your ranking position. Plus some of the linking website's authority can be passed to your website, this is often referred to as 'link juice'.
The Gold Star Effect
Have you ever noticed those little gold stars in search results when looking for a product review or service provider? This is called 'schema markup' and it's a way of telling search engines not just what the content on your website is but what it actually means. Google even has a handy tool which will create schema markup for you, ready to implement into your website's HTML.
Using Schema markup can rank your website better and can also increase click-throughs from search results. If you would like to know more about this contact us today, we can review your website for free.
Brand Reputation & User Reviews
Over 80% of online users will read product reviews before buying. Encouraging your customers to leave a positive Google review can help to push you up the rankings. Perhaps you can incentivise with a money off voucher if they leave a positive review.
For businesses or trades that provide a service to a local area it's so important that they rank in the 'local search results'. Again, there are many things that can help a business appear to customers searching for a 'graphic designer in Southampton'. It's vital that you tell everything about your business to Google. This includes getting creating a Google Business Page and verifying information such as address, operating hours, website and more.
Google Maps & Google My Business
When a potential customer searches for a business or trade they will first see targeted adverts at the top of the page (many don't even realise these are ads despite the little green 'Ad' icon). After the ads are a list of business locations, this is referred to as the 'Google map pack'.
To be included in the map pack you must optimise your business profile, create new listings across the relevant providers such as Yellow Pages, Bing, Yelp and 1000's of others and ensure your company information is consistent.
Perhaps your business has recently moved but customers are still going to your old address? This is why you must update all online information with the correct location of your business.