Earlier today I stumbled upon an article on a reputable website entitled ‘Why You Should Leave Your Business Website’s SEO to Professionals’. I was intrigued to see what it would say and whether it would make a strong case.
In fact, the article was rather brief, at around 600 words, and its second sentence contained a rather awkward anchor text link to the sponsor’s website. The piece was little more than a sales pitch for the services of this company, and actually contained little concrete reasoning as to why you should leave the SEO for your business website to the professionals.
The truth is that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) isn’t rocket science. Anyone can learn the principles of SEO and begin to implement them themselves.
Most SEO is implemented with Google in mind, and whilst Google has provided plenty of guidelines, the actual search algorithms they use to rank results in search queries are never revealed. For this reason, SEO tends to involve the implementation of industry-accepted principles and practices with no absolute certainty about the outcomes which might be achieved. This applies whether you are an SEO professional or not.
Is SEO something you can implement yourself? The answer is a definitive ‘yes’. However, much depends on whether you have the time and the energy to do so. It’s for this reason that many business owners leave it to the professionals. Assuming you do have the time and the willingness, let’s look at how you can go about setting your Website’s on page SEO up for success in internet search through SEO.
The goal of SEO is that your website should rank well enough in internet searches to be noticed.Then you will want people to click through to your site and you should have a customer journey in mind. As a business website, your goal is likely to be that the person clicking through to your website ultimately becomes an active customer.
In its essence, SEO incorporates three distinct aspects –
- Setting up your website, and its pages, to be discovered by Google and other search engines
- Providing high-quality content for the search engines to index
- Developing a reputation on the internet as a result of the relationship between your website and other websites
In summary, it’s about technical SEO, quality content, and backlinks. Let’s delve into each of these in a little more detail.
Table of Contents
Technical SEO means setting up your website to be crawled and indexed by search engines. It involves putting all the building blocks in place. First and foremost, the pages of your site need to be discoverable so that they can be indexed. This can be achieved through the use of an XML sitemap, which is basically an outline of all the pages on your site. Each time you add a new page, it should be added to the sitemap.
Technical SEO also involves considerations like using SSL to make your site secure, ensuring that the site is mobile-friendly and that it loads as quickly as possible. In fact, each of these aspects is now crucial as Google has announced that page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021. This essentially means that user-friendly sites will rank more highly than sites that are not user-friendly.
One other important aspect of technical SEO is the use of structured data markup. This involves adding code to the source of your website which helps search engines better understand its content. This data can assist Google and other search engines to index your site more effectively and provide more relevant results.
In order for your website and its pages to rank well in internet search, the content of the site itself needs to be of the highest quality possible. You are competing with any number of other sites for one of the top positions on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s). As a business it’s important to surpass the rankings of your competitors in order to acquire clients.
You need to begin by ensuring that your pages have titles and meta descriptions. The content on the pages itself should be structured with heading tags, H1, H2, and so on, and your images should have alt tags so that Google knows what is contained in the images. If you’re using a website builder, such as Wix, it’s straightforward to implement each of these elements.
Optimising your content for SEO simply means writing the highest possible quality of content about your subject matter. As a business this will involve describing the products and services you offer. As you create content for your site, with your customers in mind, you should liberally incorporate keywords and search terms which might be used by potential clients. This will require prior research to find the most useful keywords. However, although it’s essential to include the keywords in the copy on your site, it’s important that the keywords aren’t ‘stuffed’ into the text and that everything reads naturally.
Think about the intent of the search queries people might use which would lead them to your site, and endeavor to provide answers and solutions. Your goal is that, as far as content is concerned, your site should provide the best solutions possible. It’s essential to provide focused, comprehensive, in-depth content in order to rank well with the search engines.
You can have the most outstanding content in the world but, if your website is an island, there is little reason for Google to rank it above those of your competitors. This is where backlinks become an essential ingredient. Backlinks from other websites, particularly authoritative sites, are crucial for successful SEO. Having a solid backlink profile will result in your site ranking well in Google as it provides your site with a stronger reputation.
The challenge is in the acquisition of backlinks. This is normally a much more time-consuming activity than either the technical SEO or the creation of quality content. You might in fact find that you run out of ideas without professional help. Sandeep Mallya at 99signals has written a really helpful piece on this entitled ‘
Whereas Google provides plenty of information about the other aspects of SEO, they have much less to say about link-building. This is partly because links back to your site should ideally be obtained naturally. In Google’s words,
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
In reality, as you begin to implement your SEO, you’re not likely to acquire many backlinks entirely naturally, simply because you’re not yet known in the internet community. Over the years, numerous methods have been employed in an effort to acquire backlinks, many of which are frowned upon by Google and can lead to penalties. However you go about acquiring backlinks, it’s important to try to remain within Google’s guidelines in order to avoid having your site penalised.
It is certainly possible to independently implement SEO on your business website. In order to do so, you will need to dedicate a great deal of time and effort. Take care of the technical details, create quality content for your website, and acquire authoritative links back to your site.
You may need professional assistance in order to implement one or more of these elements, or you may find that you’ll hit a ceiling with what you are able to achieve by yourself. One other factor is your timescale, and how soon you want to see your website ranking well. SEO is never a short-term activity, but the more work you put in to the elements described here, the faster you will see results.
Good luck! This article was written by Norm McLaughlin, founder of Norm’s Computer Services, a computer repair and IT support business in Brisbane, Australia. Norm is also a Google-certified digital marketer.
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