SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation – is a vast topic. We’ve written about it before and, to be honest, its such a complex and constantly evolving subject that most normal (ie non-techie) humans sensibly decide they have better things to worry about.
But some people outside the tech industry – and particularly those running a small businesses with its own website – do worry about SEO. What is it and how can it be maximised?
At Individualise our job is to help small businesses. In a very direct way that means building great websites and offering fantastic ongoing plans to support those websites once they go live. We build all our websites with SEO in mind.
But sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics when people want some technical information and shared what we’ve learned. So here are four cornerstones of good SEO practice
1. Speed is of the essence
The fast your site is, the happier Google is. In fact, Google even provides you with Google PageSpeed Insights, a handy tool that can check your site speed on both desktops and mobile devices.
If your site speed is below par, this tool will give you the analytics on where it can be improved, including whether the images on your website have been optimized. If the images on your site are too large, they can take a while to load. Making them smaller speeds up loading time. If you have built your site on WordPress, which we use for all the sites we build, you can do this easily by installing a plugin that does it for you automatically.
Having said that, make sure you are using all the plugins on your site as, conversely, if you use too many it will slow your site down.
When you put in your keywords, think niche. If, for example, your site sells used cars just using the keywords: “Second hand car sales” won’t help your site be found for obvious reasons (there’s lots of used car sales outfits, worldwide). You need to put in your location and, if you specialise in a particular type of make or model, then that too. Something like: “vintage Eastern European tractors,” for example. And then if you also add in your location, you’re onto a winner.
The longer and more specific your keywords are, the higher your chances or ranking for this keyword are. This may mean that the search volume for this keyword decreases but you can compensate for this by optimising a lot of pages on your site for different keywords. And the combined traffic for all of these keywords will be more than if you tried to optimise them all for just one keyword.
3. Create Great Content
We love content at Individualise. Our clients love content, Google loves content. But not everyone can write great content, even when they think they can. Writing is one thing, and writing for Google is another. Combining the two elements is a different skill altogether.
It’s important to make sure that every page of your site has decent content, and that news or blog posts are at least 300 words in length. You can’t expect Google to consider you an expert on a subject if you only wrote two sentences about it six months ago. Which means you also need to regularly refresh your site with new, original content (Google can tell when you’ve “borrowed” it).
Having said that, don’t write for Google, write for your audience. This means not just stuffing content with key words but making it readable, and at the very least grammatically correct with no typos (you’d be surprised).
4. Think Mobile
While you may write and organise your website on a desk or laptop computer, many people will look at it on a mobile device. And the number of users on mobile devices is increasing.
This year, Google switched to mobile-first indexing. This means that Google looks at the mobile version of your site before the desktop version before deciding how high to rank it.
An Individualise, we know best practise is for all the websites we build to work on all formats.
But if you want to find out for yourself how mobile-friendly your website is, go back to Google PageSpeed Insights and take another look and see if the results it gives are similar for both your desktop and mobile versions.
Another one of Google’s analytic tools is this test, which will tell you exactly how mobile friendly your site is and where it may need help.
So if your site speed is slow and it doesn’t work well on mobile devices, you’ve got some work to do.
Want a whizzy website with great content that keeps Google happy with no hassle? Easy. Just get in touch.