Top 5 SEO Essentials

So you’ve spent ages crafting a brilliant, clear and easy-to-use website for your business, but you’ve got no sales coming through online... just how can you increase your website’s visibility on the internet? Unfortunately it's not as simple as sitting back and waiting for the leads to flow in! Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short, is the process of making your website visible to those using search engines such as Google and Bing to find websites. There are many guides, tips and hints that can be found across the internet detailing the ‘best’ ways to improve your website’s visibility, but sometimes it can be best just to get the basics in place before you go exploring the field and determining what else you can do to drive traffic to your website. Here are Skipton Business Finance’s top 5 SEO essentials to help build the framework of a successful website:

1. Target appropriate keywords

The first step of any SEO strategy involves choosing the keywords you’d like to rank well on Google for. Using the most general or generic keywords could lead to a lot of toil and effort for little result. Such keywords may bring in a lot of irrelevant traffic, whilst competition is likely to be extremely high. Trying to be specific and finding niche keyword phrases relating to the product or services you offer is often the best idea. For example, if you own a bike shop in Skipton, targeting ‘mountain bikes Skipton’ over ‘bikes’ would likely bring in better quality traffic and consequently people who actually might look to buy bikes from your business! Use Google Adwords’ keyword insight tools to get a picture of how many people are searching for each keyword term and tailor your site accordingly around what keywords you’ve chosen to target.

2. Killer content

Having lots of original, insightful, interesting content on your website is the best way to start! Look to write lots of keyword-rich content, using the phrases and words you’ve chosen to target. This way, you’re more likely to rank well when people search for these terms. Spelling mistakes and typos are a big no-no, as these can be off-putting for both readers and for the search engines, which crawl your website to determine how well it is ranked. A blog can be a good platform to ensure your website is regularly updated and has new content every week.

3. Build backlinks

Getting people to link to your website is the quickest way to ensure search engines know your page exists. It’s also a way of others giving you a stamp of approval, showing that they think your content is good and directing the search engine crawlers to your website.

Proactive ways to build quality backlinks include through attracting links on social networks and blogs and submitting your website to local and niche directories. Backlinks can also be built through readable, exciting content. If your content is of interest to web users, they may choose to link to it on their website. A good way to attract positive attention is to write a regular blog and using it to talk about trending topics and news stories. If you can be one of the first websites to write about a breaking news story, it can quickly attract viewers and backlinks!

4. Build your SEO foundations

An aspect webmasters often overlook is the URL and the Meta title and description tags. However, they are building blocks and foundation of your site’s SEO, so spend a little time to get them accurate and in line with the keywords you’ve chosen to target. Although it may be too late to change your domain name now, it is one of the main on-site ranking factors Google uses. If you have your keywords in the URL or in your company’s name, you’ve given yourself a great head start! Your URL structure and site metatags are used by Google to help get an idea of the content of each page and to determine the relevancy of your site to keywords. But they can also aide a user’s viewing experience, as having relevant, appropriate URLs and metatags can encourage users to click through.

5. Image optimisation

Images are often overlooked for SEO optimisation, yet they can prove very handy at driving traffic through image and organic keyword searches. It’s also a very simple SEO method that requires very little time nor effort.

Here’s a simple image optimisation checklist:

  • Ensure that the file names of images include keywords to help Google determine relevancy
  • Use the image alt tag to describe your images using relevant keywords and phrases
  • Make sure imagery matches up to the content to ensure Google doesn’t slap you across the wrist for spamming!

What are your top SEO tips for 2012? Have we missed anything? Please comment below to let us know your opinions.

Knowledge for Small Business and Large Enterprises

At Skipton Business Finance, our business finance facilities, such as our UK-leading factoring and invoice discounting solutions, grow in line with your business.

We are pioneers in not just providing factoring and invoice discounting to businesses up and down the country, but also in helping our clients grow and become better.

That's why we have a dedicated section of our website that focuses on offering free knowledge on a range of topics that you may find helpful for your business.