If you’ve already read our two previous articles on Indexing and Algorithms you will have gotten a bit of a wider overview on precisely what SEO does.

In this third installment, we will be covering the practises of Search Engine Optimisation and exactly how you can optimise your site to attract the best kinds of traffic!

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Search Engine Optimisation differs from Search Engine Marketing, which brings around the old question of SEO vs. SEM.

Practises like social media marketing, writing regular blogs, and including Meta tags, (more about these later…) are all techniques that fall under SEO. On the other hand, Search Engine Marketing includes ‘paid marketing’, such as Pay Per Click and covers the advertising of your website through search engines, (think of the results you find with the yellow [Ad] box in your search results page.)

Overall Search Engine Optimisation can be split into two distinct groups; On-Page & Off-Page. The clue is in the name, because the range of techniques used either take place on the website or off the website.

On-Page Optimisation

Optimising your website on-page includes:

  • Blogs
  • Meta Tags, Titles, and Descriptions
  • Keywords & Content
  • Internal / External Links
  • Image Optimisation

Blogs

Keeping a unique, regularly updated, and content-rich blog ensures that search engines always find fresh content and new pages on your site. This means more of your pages will be indexed and search engines will view your site more favourably, which in turn can improve your rankings.

Blogs are also great ways of showing off your brand personality and knowledge of the industry, keeping visitors on the site longer, and also promoting your products or services without pushing for a sale.

Meta Information

Meta Information such as Meta tags, titles, and descriptions give search engines a highlighted view of your content,. It basically gives them the data to determine the most important parts of your pages and categorise your site under the correct terms and topics.

To optimise your site using Meta information, make sure to input Heading tags that include your keywords, write out an interesting page description that sums up its content and, again, include your keywords, and finally ensure that your page title involves your keyword! However, it is also vital not to spam the reader; never add duplicate Heading tags and don’t stuff your content full of the same keywords – moderation is key.

Keywords

Content is one of the most important parts of practising good SEO, which is why having your industry & company’s keywords spot on is vital. You can identify these for your website by doing a quick test; if you had to choose around 5 words that summed up your brand, industry, products, or services what would they be? For example, a florist might focus on wedding flowers, funeral flowers, florists in my location and so on.

Making sure that your content always includes a selection of your specific keywords will work wonders for the ranking of your site and therefore its visibility.

Internal / External Links

Another thing that search engines like Google look for in a website is links. Internal linking is the process of adding hyperlinks throughout your website, whilst external linking requires adding hyperlinks to other websites.

When internally linking, choose keywords and pages both from your website that correlate to each other, e.g. in this blog, we can link to our dedicated ‘SEO’(link) page in this sentence which tells Google and other engines that this page is related to Search Engine Optimisation. When externally linking, choose keywords from your pages and link to other healthy websites that also correlate to your industry and content.

Image Optimisation

This is especially important for those sites that heavily feature images, such as online retailers. The process is actually a lot simpler than it sounds, however it is still equally as important.

You can optimise your images using tools, or by simply resizing them in tools like Photoshop to ensure that they don’t slow down the experience and load times for any mobile or desktop users. You should also include alt text for each image to abide by the Disability Discrimination Act, as this will provide a description for users who may have difficulties viewing them. This when combined will have a positive impact on your SEO.

Off-Page Optimisation

  • Optimising your website off-page includes:
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Link Building / Directory Submissions
  • Email Marketing
  • Press Releases (PR)

Social Media Marketing

Social media is now an everyday part of most people’s lives, including many prospects within your target market, which makes it a great, cost effective tool for getting your brand out there!

Even without the inclusion of social media ads, the reach of your messages is huge and much more considerable than your website, as it can target people who haven’t heard of you before without them having to seek you out. It is also easy to link to your website and specific pages, like promoted products, which also drives traffic and has the ability to massively increase both awareness and conversions.

Link Building / Directory Submissions

Similar to external linking, link building involves gaining backlinks to your website from reputable, healthy, and relevant websites. Backlinks essentially help search engines to identify what your website is about, whether it seems legitimate, and ultimately whether it will be of interest to the demographic that you are looking to target.

Directory Submissions are another way of gaining backlinks that involves inputting your company’s information and website into a relevant industry directory which then effectively lists you under the right category relating to you. As well as increasing your backlinks, it also increases the chances of traffic finding you through websites such as http://www.thomsonlocal.com/ & https://www.yell.com/.

Email Marketing

Perhaps one of the marketing methods that we have all heard of, email marketing allows you to reach your audience instantly and in a way that incorporates text, images, and links all in one. Once you have a customer or client’s data, you can promote your brand and remind them that you’re there, as well as increase the chances of conversions.

Most email campaign systems also allow you to review the success of your emails, which is great for identifying which of your database are the most responsive, as well as giving you data to target specific customers effectively.

Press Releases & Public Relations (PR) Submitting press releases via online trade magazines and blogs gives you a more active online presence and also allows you to target a very specific and industry-relevant audience.

As with blogs, they should identify the nature of your organisation, promoting your key selling points and products or services. However, press releases don’t need to be as keyword-intensive as your website’s blogs and therefore can be written to actively promote your brand more efficiently.

Now that we’ve reached the end of our 3 part coverage on SEO, why not drop us an email at clients@cornerstonedm.co.uk or call us on 0161 213 9941 to see what our digital, design, and advertising services can do for you.

Cornerstone DM