5 SEO Hacks from The Content Consultancy
Hacks…tips…advice…whatever you want to call them…I wanted to put together a post which would help you with search engine optimisation (SEO) and to ensure you understand it a little better.
This post is not just about “what to do” to improve SEO on your website, but also to explain the elements of SEO a little more. So, dive in and see what you think.
1 – Write quality content for strong SEO results
Forgive me…but this has to be my number 1 hack! Genuinely, it’s not because of what I do. SEO experts have said the same to me. Importantly, it is one key element of SEO that we (you!) can do!
There are amazing SEO specialists out there. Primarily, they will help you with what’s called “off-page SEO”. This is the behind the scenes stuff, which can be mega technical! However, on-page SEO (more my specialism) still often comes back to offering good quality, authoritative content that can be trusted. To achieve this, you just have to do ‘the basics’ – ensure you have written easy to understand content; check that your website is easy to navigate; used clear and consistent naming conventions and, the most technical bit, check for broken links, so your website visitor doesn’t get ‘lost’.
Tip: use this great free tool to check for broken links and fix them!
As for the longer pieces content, simply put, you need to ‘write well’ – you need to make sure that the content is informative and depending on the website visitor’s intent, you can meet their needs and answer their questions.
If SEO scares you…if SEO overwhelms you…this is the main takeaway – stop worrying and just write clearly
Consider what your ideal client needs to know and ensure it is easy to find on your website and on other platforms.
Search engine results depend on many factors and one of them is ‘time spent on site’. A visitor is more likely to leave your site quicker if it is complex, hard to understand or they can’t find what they were looking for – the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to make your written content is of high quality, clear and easy to follow. This equals more time spent on your site…hopefully, even exploring further than the homepage or initial landing page. These are all excellent ‘brownie points’, as far as the search engine bots are concerned, because it shows them that visitors are not only ‘finding what they expected’ on arrival (which is a big tick for the search results you appeared in), but the website is also trustworthy enough that the visitor has chosen to ‘explore further’.
2 – Know your keywords and make sure the search engine bots can ‘see’ them
Keyword research is definitely a rabbit hole you could get lost down for days, so I’m going to make it super simple. Firstly, identify the very common keywords associated with your business. Whilst it is unlikely that you will ever rank for these very popular ones – they still need to be included cleverly because it is what you do. There is no point trying to over think it and try to use more obscure terms in your profession to just get the ranking but leave your website visitor completely puzzled as to the services or products you offer.
Secondly, in the short term, for most us, we are relying on our website being found when someone puts in our personal name, business name or, perhaps, a product or service name, if it is quite unique. We want those people searching for something directly related to us, to find us as quickly as possible. Therefore, this is the next list (or possibly just two keywords, i.e. The Content Consultancy and Kate Llewellyn) that you need to worry about. Whilst ‘we’, ‘I’ and ‘me’ is lovely and informal, don’t forget to look for instances to include your name and business name in your content.
It is vital that you also assess where your keywords (just those few mentioned) actually appear on your website. Remember what the search engine bots can ‘read’ and what they scan as a priority. Then, use this to help you with their placement…not at the expense of good quality content (see point 1)…but sensibly.
Search engine bots prioritise URLs, headings (in order, i.e. H1, H2, H3, H4 etc.) and then main body content. Note also what search engine bots cannot see. Search engine bots cannot scan images, so even though your business name may be in your logo on every page, remember that all the search engine bots sees is an image and, at most, will read its file name and potentially the metadata (that’s off-screen SEO, so i’ll leave it there). Also, be mindful if you are uploading images with text on them, again this can’t be seen by the bots. Finally, as much as video content is wonderful for increasing visit times and engaging your website visitors, again the search engine bots can only get very limited information from the video itself.
3. Consider which long-tail keywords you could rank for
I mentioned above that your business name, personal name and, perhaps, a very unique product or service name are words you are most likely (and should be keen to) rank for in a search result. However, there are lots of longer form search strings that you also have more chance of ranking for. They are also known as long tail key words and they are essentially longer phrases, sentences or, even, full questions, that people do type in to search engines or ask a smart speaker.
You don’t want to rank for these necessarily on your main navigation pages, i.e. Home or About page. However, they are great to consider for a specific blog post or a more detailed product or service page.
One free resource I often use is called Answer the Public, which gives you questions asked on Google related to the keywords you search. It can be very revealing, as well as being great for blog post title and content ideas. Check it out:
4. Don’t forget the role of your social media in your website’s SEO
Backlinks are still a powerful SEO tool. Essentially, a backlink is simply a link to your website from another website (and vice versa). Once upon a time, you could buy backlinks but it was not a very conscientious way to improve SEO. However, a backlink from a reputable source to your website is great. It forces recognition to the Google bots of the fact your website is trustworthy if others are willing to send their traffic to you.
The most powerful backlinks you have at your disposal is your social media, first and foremost. Technically, Google does analyse traffic from social media sites slightly differently but let’s not get too worried about this.
Check your social media profiles to ensure you have clear links to your website. Make sure your LinkedIn profile includes a link to your website and, ideally, also have a Company page for your business, again with a ‘visit the website’ option. Facebook and Twitter business profile pages also let you include your website URL. Consider also having your website on your personal Facebook page, if you are comfortable doing so.
For Instagram, often use third party sites like Linktree to offer a selection of options from the one URL you can include in your Instagram bio – but why not drive people directly to a specially made page on your website? They are really easy and just a series of button. You can see mine here: https://thecontentconsultancy.com/useful-links/
Also, don’t forget that YouTube is fully ‘searchable’ and Google will look specifically for results from YouTube (because it owns it!) to offer as search results. Now, as mentioned above, search engine bots aren’t clever enough to watch video and understand the spoken word in that format (yet!), however it will be scanning the channel titles, video titles and the descriptions so make sure you are filling these in…and in detail.
Finally, although we know most platforms penalise you for giving external links, it is still worth it on a regular basis to help remind your audience of your website and certain pages or resources. After all, the traffic it generates will be beneficial for SEO, even if your ‘reach’ or ‘impressions’ are a little lower than normal.
5. Remember that SEO simply takes times
Ok so this isn’t much of a hack and isn’t something you probably want to hear, but the truth is SEO simply takes time. I have some awful blogs posts from my ‘early days’ which continue to rank better than more recent ones – why? – because they are simply older. They’ve been crawled by the bots more, they’ve been visited more over the longer period and so they simply get traffic and have crept up the search result rankings.
I am sure you have searched for something and found that one of the page 1 results is from 2016! You can assess this and decide it is outdated, but every time someone clicks on it and scans the information (before deciding that perhaps they need something more up-to-date) …Or not! Remember that articles and blog content can be pretty much evergreen content and hence why they are so valuable. This longevity adds to an older pages or posts ‘scores’ for authority and trustworthiness.
I also wanted to mention this as my 5th hack because it is something that can be really depressing when you launch a new business and/or a new website, especially with a brand new domain name/URL. You have to be patient. This fact also reinforces that you want to focus on your customer and what they need, i.e. good content on a quality website which shows off your business in the best way. Again, it is why you should focus on your priority keywords, like your business name and main service or products in headings, and use long tail keywords/questions in blogs to start with. It is also why you should focus on the little extras you can do to help increase traffic from your social media platforms and inviting potential customers to visit directly.
The more visitors you get…the more people explore your website…the more search engine bots will notice you.
Ready to optimise your content?
I am passionate about people helping themselves to create great content, so, I hope the advice in this blog is clear and helpful. However, if you are looking for some support with your website content, whether it is simply a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ offering a thorough review or a full rewrite, then let’s chat .