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How to optimise for search engine success

If you’re struggling to attract new users to your website, having a consistently executed SEO strategy will prove invaluable. It’s important to note, however, that no matter how long your website has been established for, without a methodical SEO strategy in place, it may not rank for the keywords and phrases that you are targeting traffic for. A reminder that Google ranks pages targeted at keywords, not whole websites.

When search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu and Duckduckgo (the private one) attempt to rank your pages, they consider a combination of things that you do both on and off of your website. In this article, we’ll be looking at five tips that you can use to ultimately drive more traffic to your organisation.

1. Research and review your page keyword data

A pile of wooden scrabble tiles.
Photo by Clarissa Watson on Unsplash

If you haven’t already connected Google Search Console, Google Analytics or other similar SEO analytics tools then do so immediately, first off, or have an expert do it for you. What these tools will do is give you the visibility of what keywords Google are already ranking your pages so you can see where you’re going wrong (or right) and maximise on this! 

What’s great, as well, is the ability to plug in your competitors’ websites into SEO analytics tools that shows you all the keywords that they are ranking for. Treat it as a little inside information to play the competition at their own game. You’ll then need to map your primary pages to keywords that you want to target searches to.

2. Strengthen your technical foundations

Man seemingly holding up a large boulder in a desert.
Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash

Page loading time (speed) is one of the most important factors search engines will use to rank your organisation. It’s a proven ranking signal that typically the highest ranking pages are the fastest; with search engines tending not to direct users to pages that are slow to load as this creates a frustrating user experience.

  • A common issue with slow websites is the size of images uploaded, meaning the dimensions and file size of on page images. The way that image sizes affect page load time is simple: the larger the image, the longer it will take to load the page.
  • Make sure your Sitemap is submitted to Google Search Console so search engines can crawl it efficiently and understand how the site is organised and where the links all go to. There’s a thing called ‘crawl budget’ and if you’re using too much up due to needless errors then you will be penalised!
  • One step up from the Sitemap, make sure there are very few broken links and dud pages so that crawl budget can work super efficiently. These are known as status codes and show up as 404 pages and 301 redirects. Sites can often (by accident) leave pages that don’t need to show up in Google, in the search results, so checking that there are no private pages will help here too!

3. Then add your target keywords to page metadata

Large red neon sign on a building saying 'All we have is words; All we have is worlds'.
Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

Every page on your website has its own unique title that tells users (and search engines) what to expect from your content. Your page title is the text that’s displayed as the blue link in a search engine results page and is also shown as the name of the tab on your web browser. 

As well as showing up in these places, the page title is also used as one of the most important factors for search engines when deciding how to rank your site. If your page titles are untargeted and generic then you can forget about traffic and you’re missing out on valuable searches! 

When creating your page titles, ensure that you use your important keywords in the text, and make them as enticing for a user as possible. This offers far more attractive results in search engines and shows the visitor that it’s relevant content to their search query.


4. Now create helpful, relevant and targeted content

Close up of an 8 ball on a green billiard table.
Photo by Alexandre Lion on Unsplash

If your goal is to provide real value to your prospective and existing users, then you need to be adding fresh and multimedia (images, guides, infographics, videos) content on a regular basis. What really counts is adding different kinds of content on a regular basis. 

New and interesting content appeals to users as it keeps them simulated, connected to your organisation and adds value. Most importantly though, targeting this content at specific interests or pain points that they’re searching for leads to success.

When creating new pieces of content, be sure to offer useful advice, facts and opinions, and other information which will entice people to not only read it but to also consider promoting it to their website visitors. Outgoing links to relevant content that you’ve just produced is as important as incoming links that have promoted your content to send traffic to. Every link is like a little vote that shows Google your content is important and should be ranked highly!

5. Promote the content to get backlinks from other sites

Painting of to hands almost touching their fingertips together.
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Unless you have a secret community of journalists or influencers ready to promote every piece of content you produce, there’s no silver bullet to get other sites relevant in your industry to promote your content. So make sure when you’re doing your keyword research of what other content is ranking for your target audience, that you show up in those spaces too. 

If you’ve featured an industry-relevant organisation, brand or individual that has a digital presence, send the content to them to promote for you. If your content answers a popular question or solves a big problem then find sites that people have raised those issues and post to them to help them out!

Use data, facts and statistics where possible so other website owners or digital marketers find your content and naturally link to it as a reference point. Piggyback on other forums, social media groups and communities to grow your audience too, be an active participant in them and when your content can be helpful and relevant then send it their way and watch them share it. 

The bottom line is create super useful content that’s relevant to your audience’s interests and pain points that they would want to share with their peers.

Adam Smithson and Charlie Penwarden

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