What is SEO? Learn the basics to help your business rank.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This basically means ‘to rank on Google’. Google ranks businesses highly in their search results who have a great performing website, great content, up-to-date information and who are credible. Those are the essential things that Google are looking for in order to offer their customers the best experience.
So let’s get back to basics about what it means to have good ‘SEO’ to help your business rank well on Google.
What is a Search Engine Optimised website?
Essentially you want your website to rank up high in search results relating to your business. This the whole point of SEO. So a good place to start is to make sure your website is up to scratch regarding the essential characteristics I mentioned earlier: performance, content and credibility.
Having a WordPress website is a good place to start. WordPress websites have a reputation for ranking well on Google, and the most popular SEO plugin on the market makes it simple to fill in the required SEO information for your pages and images. Yoast simply ‘plugs in’ to your website, and guides you through what you need to fill in for each page to have a chance at ranking. (All Webbie websites come with Yoast already installed and filled out – bonus!)
What does Yoast SEO ask you to fill in?
- The page title (the heading of your page which shows as the main heading on Google and on the tab of your browser/window)
- The meta data (the short description of the content of your page that displays on Google)
- The keyword/key phrase (the keywords or key phrase of your page and what you want to rank on Google with – e.g. what your potential customers might use to search for your business)
So whilst you need to take time to fill in this information and keep it up to date should your page content change, it’s also fairly straight forward. The main thing you need to keep in mind is to use a focussed set of keywords preferably in the page title, the copy, the meta data and keyword field so that it all ties together.
Get other sites to link to your site – back-linking
Back-linking or getting ‘back-links on your website is one of the most important factors to help your website rank well on Google. Essentially this means having a link to your website placed on as many other websites as you can – within reason. You want to aim for the larger more established and credible websites.
Some ways you can do this are:
- Add your website to business directory sites, such as Yellow Pages and Your Local etc.
- Guest blog for other businesses with a link back to your website
- Collaborate with other businesses in your industry and share links to each others websites
High performing sites rank better
A site that is fast to load ranks highly as it will give people the best experience after searching for information or services on Google. Three main factors that can affect your site performance include how well it’s developed, how optimised your images are and who you host with.
To have a fast loading site, you need to have a well developed site. For example, if you happen to be using a website builder theme with loads of drag and drop options, these are often bloated and slow performing as they haven’t been built with only your content in mind. Some sites also use multiple plugins, which can also drag your performance down.
In this day and age it should be standard for your website to perform well on a mobile phone. But there are still some sites floating around that are hard to navigate or not aligning properly on a mobile, or even not built for mobile at all *gasp*!
Did you know that a massive 94% of people with smartphones conduct a search for location information from their mobile phone?
There is a clever little online tool that checks your site experience on a mobile – and guess who created it? Yes, Google did. Because they encourage website owners to make sure their site is viewable on a mobile which helps them give their customers the best results when searches are conducted from a mobile phone.
Be mindful of the images you use on your website. If they are large, the site will take longer to load that image. It’s easy to find good sized images and compress them without losing any quality.
If you are sourcing your images from a free stock site such as pexels.com, download a medium or high quality version of the image. Then drop it into our favourite free online image compressor tool tinypng.com to compress the image size without losing quality. Now your site is going to perform much better if you keep your image and file sizes to a minimum.
In addition to making sure your images are optimised, you must also fill in the ‘Alt Text’ copy for each image. You do this from the Media Library (where all your images for your website are located). Once you’ve uploaded your image, click into the box that says ‘Alt text’ and describe your image with a few keywords. This simply means that when Google performs the search from the keywords entered into their search bar, it will search for related images as well, which all count towards your overall ranking.
Going a step further to this, ensure your image files are named with appropriate keywords. So instead of having ‘image-site-37828.jpg’ name your file ‘hair-stylist-melbourne.jpg’.
Hosting can make a huge impact on your site speed. For Australian based businesses, choose an Australian based hosting provider for the best outcome. Business owners who use American companies because they are cheap are losing out on potential ranking and customers because their sites become frustratingly slow. Google released a stat recently that said 53% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. We highly recommend Australian based company VentraIP for hosting (Webbie uses VentraIP for all websites). We aren’t affiliated with them or receive any commission, we are speaking purely from first hand experience, and experience with other providers over the years.
Article written by Louise Theo, Co-founder of Webbie & Divine Digital, with 15+ years experience in the digital advertising industry.