SEO

Making the most of your websites potential

Search Engine Optimisation is a a time consuming effort. However, it is worth it because:

  • all it costs is the time to do it
  • effects accumulate over time
  • your site will be penalised without it

Difficulties with SEO mainly crop up in incredibly competitive niche markets. For example being a mechanic in the Sydney area is very competitive. You will probably have to turn to Facebook and Google advertising to really start to leverage attention in your niche. However, with well applied SEO, many small businesses can gain some traction on the web organically. It wont happen over night, but it will happen. Sometimes we want to do it all ourselves. Sometimes we just want someone else to do it.

Buyer persona

Why Buyer Personas? They help you identify the language that your customers are using. This language will change depending on your demographic. This then helps you identify critical keywords and keyword groups.

A buyer persona is a term that represents the largest demographic of people who interact, use and self-promote your brand. You can gather information about your clients and custmomers a number of ways:

  • Simply noticing who is interacting with your brand
  • Surveying people about your brand
  • Analysing your site and social analytics

It is important to summarise this very broad concept down to an actual imaginary person who you can understand. Some of this you may have to intuit, but much will be readily available if you ask the right questions, and set up your demographic analytics in the right way.
eg “Jessica is a 30 yr old woman with a job in retail. She checks her phone mainly in the morning and before she knocks off work, as well as later that night. She lives in Perth, earns $60K, likes music and going out and has no kids.

Keyword research

By analysing your competitors websites and setting up your Google Search Console, and by researching your brand niche, you can come up with a comprehensive list of keywords that you can use in your Onsite and Offsite optimisation. The more Google and Bing relate your brand with these keywords, the more you will rank for them. Even better, the more other websites relate your brand to those keywords, through mentions and backlinks, the better your site will rank for them. There are many ways to get your keywords out there, and it all starts with effective research.

One excellent source of research for effective keywords is competitor research.

Competitor research

All of your competitors, while being a challenge, can actually be very helpful for narrowing down your keywords. By analysing your competitors sites, and realising what search terms they are targeting, and being found under, you can begin to work niche keywords around and in the same way.
One step further, if you are interested in Google Ad Words, is you retain the ability to target people based on competitors websites. So you can serve ads to people who have visited another website entirely. This is a powerful way of exposing your brand to precisely the people who would be interested in your offering, but may not have come across your brand yet.

Onsite optimisation 

Onsite optimisation means editing the HTML (code) of your website to reflect all of that keyword research. It is important that the keywords are used in a natural seeming way, and not copied and pasted a thousand times in tiny text the same colour as the background. That kind of behaviour will get you penalised these days, and that means your site will lose ranking. Simply discuss the relevance of the keywords, and try to exemplify your expertise as you do so.

The important places to use these keywords are:

  • Headers (H1, H2 and H3 text)
  • In the body of the text
  • In links in the body to other pages in your site
  • In links in the body to other pages on other (authoritative) websites
  • in the Alt text of images
  • In the meta Title
  • In the meta description

If you miss any of these, you are missing an opportunity to promote your business in its specific niche.

Offsite optimisation

Using these same keywords, you also apply the same theory to other sites that will allow you to create content about your site. For the most part, you want these sites to be as authoratative as possible. How do you find these sites? Try Googling your keyword niches. Often you will see directory sites in your niche that are ranking for those keywords, that you can promote your business in. For example:

  • Trip Advisor
  • Google My Business
  • Facebook Pages
  • Local Directories (like Margaret River Rotary)
  • Sensis Yellow Pages
  • Blogging platforms like Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram
  • and so on. Your industry will have it’s own special niche directory
  • Many of these places are free. Some are not. The choice is yours. But you always want a backlink to your site, or a citation at the very least.

So that is all the technical SEO stuff. Next there are related fields, not technically SEO, but still very helpful. Schema Data falls in this category. Schema Data (or Rich Snippets) are a way for search engines to not have to guess about the content of a page, the purpose of a business, or the cost and colours of a product. Schema lays it all out in code that we don’t see on a webpage, but that sits in the code and tells Google and Bing precisely, in detail, what the business and the offering is.

As you can see, there is a lot to do. There are many tools out there that you can pay for the privilege of their take on things. I know. I spent my money on them. But in the end, unless you are a niche specialist, I am of the opinion that the free ones are awesome.