There are two main ways to drive traffic to your site – Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing. But what's the difference?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process used to help improve the amount of organic (unpaid) search engine traffic driven to your site by optimising on-page activities.
Search Engine Marketing uses paid services such as Pay-Per-Click campaigns and paid search adverts, to increase traffic to your site.
We always suggest ensuring that your SEO is firmly in place before committing to any paid options. It can take up to 6 months to settle into a ranking, so benefit from as much organic traffic as possible before spending money (unless you need immediate results, in which case a Pay-Per-Click campaign is the best way forward, but that's another blog post.)
Here's our list of top 5 strategies to get your SEO working as hard for you as possible.
- Establish key words and phrases which people actually search for and include geographical terms if you offer a localised service. There is no point ranking number one for a search term which no one uses, likewise there is no point spending time and money to rank highly highly nationwide for a search term if you only offer those services on the Isle of Wight. Need a hand with this? We have an SEO specialist on board!
- With over 50% of searches now being done via mobile devices (phones and tablets), it's essential that your website caters for this section of your audience. Your website has to be fully responsive so it can adapt to work on any sized device so matter where your audience are coming from, they all receive the same level of flawless service. If your site isn't responsive, make this a priority to sort out as you are being penalised for it. All our websites are responsive, and have been for over 2 years, so get in touch with the team if you need a upgrade.
- Content is king. Have a clear information structure to make digesting the information you're providing easy, support the copy with relevant imagery and update your website regularly with interesting, fresh content. Having a blog is ideal if you can commit to keeping one running (we recommend posting at least every 3-4weeks), but don't start one and then let it die as you'll actually be penalised for this.
- Search engines pay attention to websites which others are linking to. In other words, the more incoming links you have from other sites, the better. Search engines recognise that your content is stimulating and useful enough for other businesses/people to link to, and reward that by pushing up the ranks. Directories are a great way of boosting your incoming links , here's a useful link to kick start the process http://www.nexuswebsites.co.uk/top-15-free-uk-business-directories
- Having the right technical set up is vital to ensuring that the search bots can crawl your site effectively, so things like having links within the site and correctly formatted page titles, URL's and meta descriptions with your key words in, is important. Don't forget that search engines are blind, so it's essential to also include alternative text with every image so they can register what it is.
Above all, remember that search engines are a business too. They are looking to win more market share by providing their audience with the most interesting/helpful/relevant content they can, so manage your website with your customer's needs in mind, and the search engine ranking will follow.
It's worth noting that there's heaps more you can do to optimise your search engine visibility (we didn't touch on social media, an analytics system or content management systems!) so if you fancy some more free tips, just drop our team a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring on 01983 810505.