Module 3: Search Engine Optimisation Implementation
There is a lot to know about SEO and in this lesson our focus is IDENTIFYING YOUR KEYWORDS.
First up, we need to know what YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER is searching for.
Simply work through the modules and by the end of it all, you should have identified your keywords and know exactly what your website needs to be ranking for.
By now you should have your list of keywords and have identified specific keywords for different pages on your site. The next step is to implement those keywords into your website, it’s more than just filling out a box with your meta description 😮.
So, let’s get started. Here are some of the areas that will help optimise your content and tell Google what your site is about.
Page Title (Title Tag)
Your Title Tag shows up in a search engine result. It should describe the MAIN SUBJECT of your page and will show up as the first line of a search result. Your Title Tag lets Google search know exactly what the page is about. Quite often, blog posts will have the same Page Title and Headline. You can add vertical separators to add more relevant SEO text as seen in the example above. Our business name is Digital Marketing Hub, and we optimised this tag for Digital Marketing Cairns. We are also trying to get across that we are an affordable service and have used the remaining text space to do so.
Tip – Try and use your keyword at the START of the title.
Page Description (or META Description Tag)
Shows up as the second part of search results. The goal of your meta description is to make people CLICK through to your website. It also helps Google determine how RELEVANT your page is. Ensure to include your keyword in a way that is easy to read and doesn’t sound like you have just stuffed your keyword in. Like the Title Tag, we have optimised our Meta Description for Digital Marketing Cairns. We have used the key phrase at the beginning and have used a similar phrase at the end so as not to stuff the content area.
This is one of the most important places to optimise to ensure ranking for your keywords.
Tips: Try and use your keyword in the first sentence (or at least the first paragraph).
Use variations of your keyword in similar phrases. Example: Growing your business, how to grow fast, drive incredible growth.
Make it flow. This will be difficult at times, depending on the amount of text on the page.
Avoid keyword stuffing. If you use your keyword too many times, Google will penalise you because, well, it sounds kind of spammy.
Avoid things like –
We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at email@example.com.
WRITE FOR HUMANS, it needs to be READABLE and MAKE SENSE.
To improve your page copy, add Subheadings. People like to visually SCAN the page and including Subheadings will make your content easier to read. It also gives Google search an idea of what the content is about.
Although best practice is to ensure your H1 header tag is only used once on the page, this is not a do-or-die instruction. Google’s algorithms have changed for the better recently and it’s more about the reading experience. Think like the end user, but also consider how your site is crawled by Google bots.
The H1 is usually the largest heading at the top of the page but is not always the case. Try and include your keyword in the heading.
Your subsequent headings, H2,H3,H4,H5 and H6 can be used more than once and have no hierarchical significance with Google. As well as providing some logic for Google, subheadings are a great way of creating space on your page which is much more pleasing to the eye.
Links (anchor text) are one of the top ranking factors.
Avoid the ‘click HERE’ link. It’s a great place to pop in a keyword instead and use a variety of combinations throughout. If you are always using what is known as the same anchor text (click here), Google can flag this as a black hat SEO link scheme and penalise your site. General rule, include links that count and vary the text that includes the link.
Images (Title and Alt Text)
Make sure your images are relevant to your content.
It’s not crucial to use SEO keywords in image titles (the text that pops up when you scroll over the image).
Use your keyword in your Alt Text. This is the part that helps Google determine what the image is about. Keep it short but try and avoid just using the keyword. If appropriate, include the keyword. The focus should be on describing the image. If you have loads of images on one page, using the same keyword is not necessary. Instead, do some competitor research and consider another relevant keywords.
Your page URL should describe what your page is about, so make it descriptive. The goal is to include your keyword in your URL. (Obviously this is not always possible). A well-crafted URL provides both humans and search engines an easy-to-understand indication of what the destination page will be about.
Tip – Keep the URL’s SHORT and include no more than one or two keywords. In the below example, it’s clear that the page is about SEO in Cairns.
Is your website running a wee bit slow? Try testing your site on Pingdom, just pop in your web address and you’re good to go.
A site speed of more than 3 seconds may mean that your site needs some attention to bring that load time down. Why? Well, in today’s day and age of instant gratification, your potential clients’ attention span diminishes FAST after a few seconds. Chances are they’ll simply click or tap past your site in favour of a faster loading page.
Recent stats indicate that over 40% of consumers will abandon a site if they have to wait longer than 3 seconds. That’s a pretty big bounce rate simply caused by impatience.
Another critical reason to ensure you have a fast-loading site is that search engines rank sites with fast loading times higher than slow loading sites.
Here’s some beginner’s tips on how to improve your site speed:
Check your image sizes
Large images take longer to load, so if your home page is image-heavy, you’ll really need to optimise those images. There are loads of plugins that can do that task and many of them are free. I use the Smush plugin, it ably handles all my size optimising throughout my sites. If you currently have large images of a few megs, the free plugin version may not be able to reduce that image to the appropriate size. In that case, you’ll need to consider a paid option. In any event, you should be optimising your image size PRIOR to upload.
Deactivate and delete unused plugins
This goes a step further than deactivating unused plugins. Besides clearing up some data space and reducing the load on your server (depending on how many plugins you have), it makes your dashboard much tidier and easier to navigate.
Delete old or unwanted files
Think of the extra themes, blogs, pages, comments, spams etc that you have or will accumulate over time. All those extras will increase the size of your database and web files and slow your site speed down. Get rid of them. If you haven’t used them for a while and see no purpose for them, let them go. I periodically clean up my site, it makes it so much easier to navigate the dashboard when I’m creating new posts, pages etc.
Use a caching plugin
A caching plugin simply generates a static page of your website and stores it for faster loading. There are loads of great free caching plugins that you can ‘set and forget’ if you’re unfamiliar with the more advanced functions of some caching plugins. WordPress W3 Total Cache is a great option.
A quick note on plugins – check with your host provider about recommended or disallowed plugins. Some plugins can have a negative effect on your site as they may clash with your host’s caching and security system.
Use a lightweight theme
Many themes are super sparkly with fancy sliders, widgets and backgrounds throughout the entire site. In choosing a theme, always be mindful of the ‘need for speed’. When uploading your chosen theme to WordPress, I suggest loading only the pages you’ll be using. Don’t opt for the entire ‘demo’ theme as you’ll be left with sluggish files that will really slow your site speed down.
Minify CSS and JS files
Not much to know here if you’re not on the techie end of things. CSS and JS files can take up a lot of space, a plugin will simply reduce the size of these files and add to a faster load speed.
Check your hosting provider
Some shared hosting providers offering you the world (unlimited bandwidth, emails, storage etc) will result in a slow load time due to the provider being unable to deliver full visibility during peak times. Check their reviews before making a decision. If you’re already with a provider that you are not happy with, it’s time to find a new one.
During the process of speeding up your site, don’t forget to periodically test your speed, you’ll get a better understanding of the areas that will benefit most from doing all that work.
Individually, each of the above suggestions may or may not amount to a large reduction in site speed, but taking action on all points can save you those crucial few seconds required to keep your potential customers from looking elsewhere.
Back linking – Backlinks are considered the ultimate ‘vote’ for your website. They are any link from another site back to yours. The more credible, reliable and authoritative sites that link to you means more ‘votes’ for your site!
How to get backlinks?
Easiest way is to ask. Create amazing content that people will want to share. Create infographics and how-to guides. Reach out to influencers in your industry. Can you swap a link in exchange for a testimonial? Remember, there are good and bad backlinks. Don’t like asking for links? You can always find quality Domain Authority sites to link from. There are loads of high Domain Authority blog sites where you can create an account and post blogs. You’ll simply add a link back to your own site. It takes a bit of time but it’s worth it. Schedule in several links each week, you’ll be surprised how quickly your list will grow.
What makes a good link?
- Trustworthiness of linking domain
- Popularity of the linking page
- The relevancy of the content from the source page
- The anchor test used in the link
- The number of domains that link to the target page
- The ownership relationship between the source and target page
- The text directly surrounding the link
- Ensure the category you choose is what people searching in Google would input when thinking of your business.
- Business description – think about your keywords.
- Fill out the whole Google My Business listing.
- Keep updating your profile, add images, specials and blogs.
- Ask for reviews! (always reply to reviews, good or bad.