Do-it-yourself SEO: Tips for getting found on Google
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of your most important digital marketing channels. Why? Because if practiced, it could bring a whole load of traffic to your website – for free.
Yes, you read correctly; SEO traffic is completely free.
There’s no need to understand every technical explanation of what exactly SEO is. All you need to know is that it involves making some changes to your website in order to make it easier for Google and other search engines to find.
It’s true that SEO can get quite complicated. This is where SEO agencies can step in. However, there are some simple things you can do that won’t require outrageous agency fees. If your competitors are small businesses too, it could give you the edge you need online.
This article won’t cover the items that are deemed more complex, but we’ve put together some simple tips that will help you improve your SEO. Start implementing these and you should notice a boost in your rankings soon!
This is the first step to cover. Your keyword research will require a few hours of your time, but it is a document you will continually refer back to. Search engines return results to users based on the keywords they enter, so it’s important that you’re using the correct ones on your site.
Head over to the Google Keyword Planner and sign up for an AdWords account if you don’t have one already. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to find the keywords your potential customers are using. Ensure that you filter by country and ‘exact match’ keywords before typing in a bunch of keywords related to your business. The Keyword Planner will then return up to 800 results and it will highlight the average number of searches per month for each word.
This allows you to prioritise your keywords when you make changes on your site. We’d recommend saving everything in a spreadsheet so you can refer back to it whenever you need it.
Title tags or meta titles are one of the most basic things to get right in regards to SEO. They are also one of the most important factors when it comes to rankings. The title tag is a description of whatever that webpage is about and should not be any longer than 65 characters.
Refer to your keyword research and pick the most relevant keyword for the page. Include this keyword in the title at least once, but no more than twice. It’s also a good idea to include your brand at the end. This makes your search result more recognisable to users and it also helps Google associate the target keyword with your brand name.
Your title tag should also entice users to click through to your site, so try to make it as catchy as possible, while still following the rules above.
Create content based on your keyword research
There’s no doubt you’ll discover a gold mine of new keywords you had never considered before your keyword research. The aim now is to create content for all of the keywords your site isn’t currently targeting.
Start a spreadsheet full of these keywords and keep ticking them off until you’ve covered them all. In some cases you may even find that a certain keyword could be a whole section with multiple related articles living underneath it. You can never have too much quality content, so go for it and keep this task constantly running in the background as part of your SEO effort.
This is an easy one. Whenever you create a new page of content, ensure the main headline uses the Heading 1 or H1 element. Most CMS platforms (and even Microsoft Word) allow you to easily select this option.
There should be only one H1 tag per page, so any sub-headings should use the H2 element. Any headings under H2 should use H3, and so on. Keep it hierarchical and it will make it easy for both readers and Google.
It’s so easy to just upload images to your site without even considering their SEO value. However, Google often returns images in their main results page and many users search via Google Images. In addition to this, optimised images help to reinforce the theme of entire page.
Ensure that you name your image appropriately. For example, if you’re a florist and you’ve created a page of content about red roses and you want to add a photo of red roses, you should call the image red-roses.jpg (or whatever file extension you’re using).
Your CMS may also allow you to add a title and description for the image. Definitely make use of this feature and include all of your target keywords.
It’s extremely important that you link up all relevant pages on your site. Using the example above, if you have a page about red roses, you may also have a page about white roses. Since these two pages are related, each page should link to the other, as well as any other related pages.
This helps readers navigate your site and make purchases more easily. But it also helps Google and other search engines crawl through your site faster.
Local SEO can be a really big win for small businesses with customers that come to their physical address. For this reason we’ve written a whole article on local SEO and getting found on Google Maps, so please check it out for more details.
Further SEO reading
As mentioned in the article introduction, these tips are extremely basic. We recommend further reading if you want to take your SEO strategy even further. Please check out Beginners guide to SEO by Moz and SEO start guide by Google for much more technical detail and more strategies you can implement.
Have you tried DIY SEO before? Did it work?