Search engine optimisation tips

It’s been a while since we last posted something on search engine optimisation. I’m hoping the following will help our clients with the basics, including what we’re doing for them and what they can do for themselves …

But just to summarise what we’re talking about here, search engines (and in Australia it’s really only Google that matters) want to give their users the best results to match what they’re searching for. Best in terms of relevance and quality.

Say you live in Western Australia (and why wouldn’t you?) and you’re thinking about setting up as a new business, maybe fishing for lobsters. Well, one of our clients, Western Rock Lobster, would be the first website you’d want to visit. If you ask Google “starting a lobster fishing business” Google’s going to:

  1. Know which websites have content that is a good match for this request, and;
  2. Know which of these websites has a good reputation, which Google can guess by the number of other relevant websites linking to it, and;
  3. Know which of these websites is secure, loads quickly and has a format that works on the device their using (a phone for instance).

Your goal as a website owner is to do what you can to address these three points.

1. Have quality content

First, make sure you have plenty of content on your website that is focused on what you do. It’s always a good idea to think about what Google searches your target audience are likely to be doing, what words or phrases they’re using. We call these “keywords” and maintaining a list of them is a great idea. You can then make sure that you’re including these within your web pages. Having said that, we’re not talking about dumping lots of keywords into pages for the sake of it. Google’s algorithms know well written content when they come across it, and you should always write for your audience rather than for what you think will make search engines like you.

2. Post regularly

Adding news articles or blog posts to your website regularly provides a good signal to returning search engine bots that you’re still active and publishing content of interest to people searching. This kind of content also makes you look interesting and relevant to your audiences and can provide you with something to share on facebook. You know your what’s going on in your industry and have probably got a good idea of the kinds of things that your target market wants to read, so it’s worth making the effort to put together a few words at least once a month.

3. Getting others to link to you

Even if you’re the only lobster fishing organisation in Australia, if no other website’s are linking to you it tells Google there might be something fishy about you. At the very least, getting a link from your members or customers websites would help build some trust with search engines. Even better would be links from other important bodies in your industry. Like maintaining a keyword list, this is something you should review regularly and see if you can build an ever increasing number of links from relevant websites to yours.

Things we’re doing to help our clients

These days there’s no excuse for not having the SEO basics in place, things like properly formatted HTML, nice URLs, and breadcrumb navigation are so easy with modern content management systems like WordPress. On top of this, search engines are also looking at the security and performance of your website and at how nicely it treats those using it on mobile devices.

For the last couple of years we’ve been providing HTTPS and responsive, mobile-friendly website design for every project we work on. On top of this, we’re continually making performance improvements both by investing in super fast server tech’ as well as automating the process of optimising website assets. We also offer a WordPress maintenance package to ensure the software behind our clients websites are up to date, keeping them and their website visitors safe.

Want to learn more?

Hopefully all this will give you enough to feel you understand the fundamentals of SEO. You can learn more from free sources like Google’s SEO Starter Guide [PDF] and Moz’s SEO Beginners Guide.

And a bit of advice

One final word, like all businesses, you’re probably inundated by calls and emails from SEO agencies. I’d recommend putting the above into practice and see how you go before contracting an SEO agency: there are probably one or two good SEO agencies local to you, but there’s almost certainly a great many who could do you a fair bit of damage too.

Posted in SEO