Wherever you look, you’ll see articles, social media posts, and webinars dedicated to SEO and how important it is.  

The purpose of successful SEO is not only to drive traffic to your site but to perfect the usability and user experience of your site. SEO is not something that you can just do and forget about, it’s an ongoing task that needs you to be up to date with the latest algorithms, techniques, and best practice.  

Monitor your SEO results

If you want to know if your efforts are getting results, you’re going to need to monitor them.  Once you have that data, you can start implementing changes and tracking your progress. 

What does it take to build web presence that helps your business grow?There are many tools out there to do this which can be expensive, but luckily, some of the industry leading ones are completely free. 

Google Analytics – this tool will track all of your website traffic, sales and visitor behaviour.  The sheer amount of data it can provide can seem a little overwhelming, but if you concentrate on only the actionable data you need, it will provide you with a huge amount of insight.  

Google Search Console – can monitor how your site performs in search results and recommend changes and improvements too.  Search Console can help you understand your content and the search terms that drive visitors to your site and also show you who is linking to you. 

Do your keyword research

Every time someone searches in Google, they are using keywords.  That’s why keywords are a vital part of successful SEO. Knowing what your target audience is looking for and then adapting your content to match is how you attract them to your site.

List your probable keywords

Start with listing a bunch of keywords that you think your customers may use.  This is a best guess and can provide a starting point for your research.  

Type one into the Google search bar and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and look under sections ‘people also asked’ and ‘searches related to keyword to…-’ Add these words and phrases to your list. 

Seek out your audience

Find out where your audience is and what they are talking about. Great places for this are LinkedIn, forums, Reddit. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

Generate a longlist of keywords 

Using your shortlist of keywords you can use an online tool to generate a long list.  Don’t be surprised if hundreds come back.  There are a number of great free online tools to help you do this including: 

Select your keywords

Separate your keywords into short (1-2 words), medium (2-3) and long-tail (4+) keywords.

It’s generally easier to rank for medium and long-tail keywords.  

Group your keywords into topics and use them to create your website content. 

Let go of old SEO practices

Search engines are smart and they can tell if your content is stuffed with keywords in an attempt to rank higher.  You don’t need to find 50 ways to say one thing and try and fit it all in an article.  Your user experience should always come first. 

Find out what your competitors are ranking for

Google your keywords and see who shows in the top spots for these.  If you’re up against huge multinationals, then it will be more difficult to rank for these keywords. However, they are a good example of best practice so you can see what they are doing and incorporate this into your site (don’t copy their content though).  

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is not as scary as it sounds.  It basically refers to work done outside of your content that helps your site be found by search engines.  

The main elements of technical SEO include:

Site Speed

The longer your website takes to load, the more likely people are to go somewhere else.  To increase your site speed you need to keep your site template as simple as possible and if you’re using WordPress for your site, don’t clutter up the back end with unnecessary plugins, widgets and themes.  

Large images can also slow down your site so make sure that they are the right size and try a compression plugin.  

If you have redirects on your site, this can add to your page speed significantly.   A page should only have one redirect on it. 

Use your Google Search Console to find any broken links or crawl errors on your site.  

Optimize for mobile

The majority of people have a smartphone with which they access the internet.  If your site is not optimized for mobile viewing, then you are going to be penalized by Google and alienate a lot of potential visitors. 

Check your site on the Google mobile test tool. 

Site security

Using an SSL certificate so that your site is an HTTPS is vital for an SEO friendly site.  Google now flags HTTP sites as unsecure and many people will navigate away from them after this warning. 

URL structure

A user friendly, intuitive structure is vital.  Make it short, descriptive and memorable. The robot.txt and sitemap are important parts of a well structured site too.  

Internal linking

Each of your pages/articles should have multiple internal links to relevant content/pages elsewhere on your site.  

These internal links will keep older content visible to search engines and users. 

Duplicate content

It used to be the case that duplicate content on a site was a serious issue when it came to SEO. 

There are a number of reasons that duplicate content can appear.  Try and rephrase it where possible or, if it is vital that the content remain as is, add the canonical URL which is the original source of the content.  That was, Google knows that you are referencing the original and you will not be penalised.