Before we get started, two questions:
1) What is SEO?
2) Is it really that important?
1) SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the process to ensure internet users can find your site and your site can reach the right internet users for free so...
2) Yes, very!
The world of SEO is huge, a lot is based around the tracking and analysis of performance so you can always be working on something new to improve your site but for now we’ll start with 5 key points.
Know which search engine you’re optimising for
First and foremost it’s important to understand how your website visitors are interacting with your site (this info can be found in your Google Analytics account). Although most people appear to be using Google Chrome these days there are other search engines still running so have a look at whether your web visitors are mostly using Google or Safari, phones or desktops etc. and make sure you’re optimizing your site accordingly. There’s no point spending days making sure your pages are finessed for Firefox tablet users only to discover 95% of your traffic comes from Chrome users on a desktop!
Are as important as they sound. These are the words used in searches that link visitors to sites so firstly you need to understand what your keywords are. What words are people you’re trying to reach using in their searches? What words do your competitors use on their sites? What type of searches come back when you use the keywords that appear on your site at present? A simple way to get started is to search a key term for example ‘theatre’ and see what autofill options and related searches come up. Do any of these terms also apply to your work? If so; include them in your site. Also don’t forget to check things like plurals; perhaps ‘Touring Shows’ gets a lot more attention that ‘Touring Show’.
Google Keyword Planner is a handy free tool.
One you have your keywords it’s about understanding where to use them. Your Meta description (the part of the site that summarises your site to search engines and also users) should feature keywords so that they’re immediately picked up by searches, however, and this applies to any text on your site, be careful not to just create robotic lists of words to appeal to Google, it needs to be read, understood by and appealing to your human visitors too!
In terms of page content, it’s suggested that you should include 3 – 5 keywords per page (if you have too many, maybe create a new page instead of cramming them all into one), generally search engines require 400+ words to fully ‘understand’ a webpage so any with less than this may not rank as highly in a search even if it includes a lot of keywords. Finally, you only need keywords on pages that you want people to find in searches, so if you generally want to attract newcomers to your What’s On page make sure there are plenty of keywords. Often pages like the About Us, Meet the Team, Contact etc don’t need as much optimising as visitors tend to actively search from them once they’re already on your site so put your energy into the pages that will attract browsers.
Search engines can’t ‘see’ your images and will just read the image name in the HTML code which is important to consider if the image is the key piece of info on your page. If the photo of the opening night of your 5* show was called ‘IMG7896’ when it was uploaded, Google will have no idea what it’s a picture of and won’t include it in search results. Calling it ‘MidsummerNightsDream2020OldVicTheareOliviaColeman’ will immediately bring it up in hundreds of searches. Takes a minute or two more when uploading but it’s worth it. Also a handy reminder to add ALT text to every image.
Google and other search engines ‘rate’ websites on a variety of things. One of which is how reliable your site is and one of the main ways it measures this is using backlinks. These are just links to your site included on other websites, kind of like a digital citation (unfortunately this doesn’t currently include social media) - if other people are referring you, your site must be trustworthy and the more references, the more trustworthy you seem. There are a range of tools including Ahrefs, Moz and SEMrush that can help you analysis where your backlinks are and where they could be but it’s also worth looking back on past digital pieces about your company; did the journalist reference your site but not include a link? A quick email to them to update would be really valuable.
And to finish on a short but sweet one; try and keep URLs as clear and relevant as possible for search engines to pick them up. Instead of ‘mobiusindustries.com/post87’ try ‘mobiusindustries.com/blog-post-how-to-improve-your-SEO-rating-quick-tips'
To summarise in a quick checklist:
- Know which search engine you’re targeting
- Research your keywords
- Use keywords on all your searchable web pages
- Title your images correctly
- Know who is mentioning your site and check they’re linking to you
- Keep urls clear and informative
If you’re interested in updating your site and would like to chat to us about SEO first, or you’d just like to tweak your site to make it as efficient as possible do get in touch. We’ve a lot of experience in boosting sites and have the testing tools required to check through how your online presence runs.
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