SEO, also known as search engine optimisation, is perhaps one of those ever so slightly annoying marketing buzzwords (much like ‘algorithms’) that gets tossed around a lot with heavy importance, even though some of us might not be entirely sure what it means or why we need it in our lives. Sound familiar?
The bad news is, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The good news…? It’s actually pretty easy to wrap your head around, and I’m going to make it even easier by explaining to you exactly what SEO is PLUS give you 10 easy ways to improve your SEO without spending a penny.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic that reaches your website through organic search engine results.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritties of how it all works in case techno jargon triggers an onset of cold sweats. But if you are interested in the science behind it, I would recommend googling how it all works and picking one of the articles at the top of the search engine results (because chances are, they know what they’re talking about!)
All I will say, is if you are relying on your potential customers or clients finding you through a search engine like Google, then SEO needs to be high on your marketing priority list. If your potential customers can’t find you, you won’t get their business… simples.
How to improve your SEO…
1. Focus on user experience
The longer visitors spend on your website, the better your SEO will be. Keep this in the forefront of your mind at all times and practice using your website as if you were a visitor. Is it easy to navigate? Can you easily search for items? Is the menu visible? Do the pages load quickly enough? Is the checkout process straightforward? If the answer to any of this is ‘no’ then fix it!
2. Improve the readability of your webpages
Great readability goes hand in hand with a positive user experience. Make sure that your sentences aren’t too complex, your words aren’t too fancy and your paragraphs aren’t too dense. You want to ensure that it is easy for people to digest the information that you are feeding them so that they spend longer on your site and keep coming back for more.
3. Improve the layout of your webpages
If you want your visitors to have a great experience then it’s important to ensure that the layout and format of your webpages is pleasing to the eye as well. Utilise headings, subheadings, bullet points, checklists, high quality images, complementary colours, clean fonts and white space to get your site looking clear and uncluttered.
4. Optimise your images
Images are obviously a fabulous way to keep your visitors engaged and your site looking snazzy. However if your images are large files that slow down your page loading time, visitors might abandon your site which then damages your SEO. Make sure that the files aren’t too big and if they are, resize or compress them. I’d also recommend renaming or captioning your images with keywords as a sneaky way to improve your SEO.
5. Update your website content regularly
If visitors are regularly returning to your site this will also give search engines a big thumbs up that you’re doing something right, which will in turn help your SEO. So make sure your visitors have a good reason to keep coming back by updating your website on a regular basis with high quality content!
Switch up the images that you use on your homepage, if you sell products make sure you have a ‘new arrivals’ section or a ‘product of the week’ section, regularly update your portfolio or case studies, write new blog posts, add seasonal categories, update your ‘about us’ page or ‘services’ pages and ensure your socials are live streaming to your site. Don’t be afraid to prompt your visitors either by including reminders such as – ‘Check in next week to see what’s new!’
6. Start a blog
You probably saw this one coming based on the point above! If you don’t already have a blog on your website, now is a GREAT time to start. Check out a previous article of mine here to find out why your business needs a blog and how it will improve your SEO.
7. Encourage sharing on social media
If other people are sharing your pages and links, this will help generate more traffic to your site and boost your SEO. One easy way of doing this is by ensuring that social share icons are available on each of your pages to facilitate sharing. Another way of doing this is by sharing your own web pages onto your social media accounts and then encouraging your followers to share that link too. I’ve included examples of both of these methods below:
8. Incorporate inbound and outbound links
Inbound links are links that take visitors to another page within your site e.g. ‘click here to learn more about us’ ‘click here to see more products in this range’ ‘click here to see examples of my work’. Outbound links are links that take visitors to a page on a different website or platform e.g. ‘click here to view our sister store’ ‘click here for our YouTube channel’ ‘click here to find us on google maps’ ‘click here to view our client’s website’. As you can see, both inbound and outbound links are easy to incorporate into your site and will do wonders for your SEO.
9. Make sure your site is optimised for mobile use
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that many site visitors are using their mobile devices to view your website. If your site isn’t optimised for mobile use, this will damage your visitors experience and in turn affect your SEO. Pick a new theme from your website provider that is optimised for mobile use, then all that hard work will be done for you.
10. Use keywords and long-tail keywords naturally
In very simple terms, keywords are ideas, topics or subjects that define what your content is all about. They are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines e.g. ‘Bali accommodation’. Long-tail keywords are similar, but typically include more words which narrow down the search to make the findings more specific e.g. ‘luxury Bali all-inclusive hotels’.
Incorporating relevant keywords into your webpages really helps with your SEO, but it’s important to include them naturally rather than saturating your site with them, which will have a negative impact on readability and user experience. As I mentioned before, sneaking these into image titles is a great way of adding more keywords to a page – you can also add them to your webpage slug, excerpt, titles and headings. I recommend installing tools or plugins to your site to help you with this such as Yoast.
So there you have it! 10 easy ways to improve your SEO without spending a penny! As always if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch or comment below.