Although your website does a lot of communicating with your customers (and potential customers), that’s not the only dialogue that it’s involved in – it’s also talking to Google. Every day, Google continuously talks to every website out there (30 trillion, to be exact) and ranks them accordingly using its own internal algorithm. The art of climbing higher in Google’s search results involves mastering search engine optimisation, or SEO for short. The higher you are, the more visible you are, and the more you’re able to get eyes on your product, service or site. SEO is the name of the game when it comes to online commerce, yet many businesses are not yet taking full advantage of this crucial sales tool.
What Matters to Google?
So what exactly is Google looking for? The parameters set by the mega search engine define what makes for good SEO and the coin of the realm when it comes to search engines are keywords. The definition of keywords has changed a little over time; a few years ago, they were just single words that were related to your site or business. These days, more complete, specific phrases generally work best. There are simply so many sites out there that standing out is a real challenge. If your business sells shoes, the keyword ‘shoes’ isn’t going to get you very far, as there are thousands of other sites advertising the same item. However, long-tail keywords (keywords that are more like phrases) are easier to rank for, given that they are not searched for as frequently and can be much more niche – see if anyone is already ranking for ‘men’s blue breathable work-out sneakers’ and if not it’s yours for the taking!
What Do You Do with Keywords?
Once you’ve found your list of keywords or phrases, you want to place them naturally within your content so that they form part of an overall whole. Take blog posts as a case study; you want to make sure that they have plenty of keywords in them (but without overloading the ratio), and, if possible, you’ll want to insert them in the title of your posts, preferably as the first word. You also want to make sure that your post backlinks to other sites (the older the better), and that you optimise your images. Google factors in the relevancy of images in its ranking system, so they’re important to get right.
Content is King
On top of all that, your content needs to be good. And we mean really good. Google isn’t just about stats and numbers; it also rewards quality content. Keeping your content consistent is also an important factor. One of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy is the consistency of the content it produces. If you drop out of a regular routine, or starve you site of content for a few weeks, this can negatively impact your SEO.
Yes, this can all seem a little overwhelming. You need an SEO checklist just to keep track of it all. But remember, just because you’re not an expert in SEO (yet!), doesn’t mean that other people aren’t. You can enlist someone to help you out with optimising your search engine rankings, and the sooner you bring them onboard the better. The most important thing to remember to never neglect your SEO. It’s a valuable tool for your business, and one that can help you grow exponentially – just so long as you do it right!