• Innes McArthur

5 Powerful Tips To Improve Your SEO Right Now!

Five easy steps to direct and increase traffic to your website.

SEO title page

So, you’ve got a website for your business? Maybe your site has been on the web for some time now, or perhaps you’re only just starting out. Regardless of the stage your website is at, you’re here because you want to improve your SEO Marketing.

But what is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation is used by businesses to help increase the number of traffic their website gets, as well as achieving exposure to their target audience.

Improving a brand’s SEO ranking can help them grow immensely through organic visibility on search engine result pages (SERPS). Consider it for a moment, how often do you click on the second, let alone third or fourth, page of Google results? Why would you? The best results are on the first page, and that’s because they also have the best SEO.

But how do you improve your SEO? Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is all very technical and daunting, especially for small businesses starting out. But don’t fret, we’ve created a simple five-point, beginner's guide that will teach you the best tips to improve your Google rankings.

1). Create a Buyer Persona

While good SEO has to be written for search engines like Google, it’s important not to forget that your website and posts also have to be written for your audience.

Before you do absolutely anything, and not even just for SEO purposes, you have to produce a buyer persona. Understand who exactly it is you are trying to sell or appeal to. Consider what it is that they want (and, more importantly, what they are searching online). Create a fictional consumer in your mind, what are they searching on Google?

If you are struggling with this, don’t worry! A great place to start is online groups and Q&A forums, like Facebook and Quora, that relate to your niche or product. Identify the pain points these consumers are expressing online and understand what their needs and wants are.

Read as many posts, questions and discussions as you can. Try and identify recurring words or phrases that seem to be popular with your audience. This will help you get started with step two!

2). Research Keywords

Choose your words, scrabble tiles keywords

Keyword research is absolutely crucial for effective SEO. The ability to understand the words, phrases and terms that consumers are searching for can greatly increase your website’s ranking in search engines like Google.

Übersuggest and Semrush are fantastic tools as they let you see the cost per click (CPC) of each keyword. This information is still useful for businesses looking to grow organically, as you can identify popular keywords based on their cost. The higher the CPC, the greater the competition.

Once you have identified the keywords and phrases popular with your target audience, you can begin considering the kinds of keywords you will adopt. There are three forms of keywords that you can use:

1. Head: Single keywords, these are highly searched keywords but that also means they are incredibly competitive and cost more when using paid advertisements.

Graph comparing the competition to search frequency of SEO keywords

2. Body: These are slightly longer, at around 2-3 words. While searched less than head keywords, they are less competitive.

3. Long-Tail: As you’ve probably guessed, these are phrases with much more description that are searched less but are not as competitive.

While it would be great if we were able to only use head keywords, they are incredibly competitive and, as a result, generate far fewer conversions. It is crucial that you don’t neglect long-tail keywords. After all, 57% of Amazon’s sales are made from long-tail keywords, and they are heavily emphasised by some of the top digital marketers. Ideally, your website copy will have a wide portfolio of these kinds of keywords.

If you’re still struggling to find the best keywords, MozBar is a great Chrome extension that identifies the keywords from other websites’ pages and lets you see the monthly traffic these keywords generate, as well as how competitive they are. This can be a great way to get started, through understanding what other companies have already done for themselves. Which conveniently leads us to tip three!

3). Using Your Competition

SEO site traffic analytics on a laptop

Getting started with your SEO can be the hardest part. Luckily for you, all of the hard work has already been taken care of for you, courtesy of (and get a load of this) … your competitors!

Keeping an eye on competitors can be a great way to identify how businesses in your niche are utilising SEO (and how you can improve on it). Why spend hours upon hours researching keywords when your competitors have already done it? You can get a great insight into the keywords you should be using through identifying what your competitors are using.

There are some great websites and Chrome extensions that allow you to utilise information and keywords from your competitors websites, giving you that edge to go above and beyond them. I’ve already mentioned MozBar, which lets you see the number of monthly traffic specific keywords get, similar to this you can use Keywords Everywhere, which offers a similar service and shows you how many keywords are used on that specific web page.

Keywords everywhere search page example

But it’s not just keyword research that you can pinch from your competitors. Look at their website, their various landing pages and their blogs. Focus on what they’re doing, how their pages look, what their headlines are and how they write and incorporate keywords into their work.

The great thing about SEO is that thousands of other businesses have tried, tested and failed, so you don’t have to. You’re not reinventing the wheel here. Recreate what is already working. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

4). Optimise Your Site

SEO website traffic analytics

Look at you! You’ve got your keywords and a head start, thanks to the generosity of your competitors. Now it’s time to optimise your site’s pages and apply those keywords in persuasive copy and content friendly SEO.

Your first step is to create posts and landing pages that revolve around your keywords. Every article, page and post on your site has to be written for both your audience AND Google. It is vital that you include keywords in the first 100 words of your posts. This is not only for SEO purposes, but also for attracting your readers and reducing ‘bounce rates’ (site visitors who leave your page without completing the desired action you want from them), which can harm your Google ranking.

Using these keywords in your copy means A). your pages are optimised for search engines and attract traffic, and B). the traffic you’re receiving is actually engaged in your content and doesn’t leave after spending less than five seconds on your page. It is also incredibly helpful to include links to other pages and posts on your site that open in new tabs to increase traffic and encourage users to read your other posts.

Every page should include clear social media sharing buttons and a direct call to action (CTA) that encourages your readers to share and engage with your website with friends across various social media and communications platforms.

Social media share buttons on iPad

And because your site, much like yourself, isn’t boring, let's add some lovely images! There are loads of great websites for royalty free images (Unsplash is a favourite of ours here at Fullest Media) for you to use in your posts and web pages. Save the image as JPEG and don’t forget to add some alt text to it.

Relevant images, and the alt text you link to them, means it can also be easier to be found on image-based search engines, such as Google Images. Just another way to stand out from the crowd and get ahead of the competition.

Okay, so your web page is finished, it’s full of persuasive copy, keywords and funky images. Now let’s talk about title tags and meta descriptions … NO don’t you dare close that tab! I promise you that it’s much simpler than you think. In fact, you already know exactly what they are. Title tags are the blue headline of your web page and the meta description the little grey text that gives you an idea about what on earth you’re about to click on.

Search engine result page (SERP) example. Title Tags and meta description

Let’s start with title tags! If you’ve followed earlier advice about creating pages and posts around your keywords, then this will be a breeze. Your title tag should include the keyword(s) related to that specific web page. It is also incredibly helpful to use modifiers like “Best” and “2020”, to show your pages are up-to-date.

But remember, your title tags are limited to 55 characters (about 10 words), so don’t write a long headline that won’t be fully visible on SERP. Make sure the necessary keywords to attract readers you have to make them want to click on your website. Don’t forget your buyer persona! Your title tag has to be a captivating headline and SEO friendly (luckily for you, there are plenty of great SEO headline analysers that give you feedback and tips for improving your title tags).

Meta descriptions work much in the same way. They act as a preview of what that webpage is all about, it works in conjunction with your title tag for improving your SEO and also attracting your target audience.

With meta descriptions you have 160 characters to use (and yes, I encourage you to use as close to that as possible). However, I beg you, DO NOT leave your description as the default first 160 characters of your post, it looks unprofessional and ruins a perfect opportunity to attract traffic to your site. This is a great time to, yes you guessed it, utilise your keywords, as well as highlight the benefits you have over your competitors. Tell viewers why they should click on your page instead of the one underneath you on the results page.

And remember, if you are ever struggling, or in doubt about your title tags or meta descriptions, just have a sneaky peak at what your competitors are using. Could you do it better? (Probably, some of the tags and descriptions I see are shamefully boring).

5). Backlinks

404 page not found laptop error screen

Earlier I mentioned Moz Bar as a useful tool for identifying keywords that your competitors are using in the web copy. Well it goes a step further by also telling you how many ‘backlinks’ individual web pages have. Back/inbound links are simply the number of times that other pages on the internet link back to your website.

Moz Bar domain and page authority example. Inbound and backlinks

Here you can find a list of where these back links are coming from, giving you an understanding of where your competitors are getting additional traffic from. Consider what the original page is, what are they writing about? Can you recreate similar content to try to gain backlinks from similar pages?

Backlinks aren’t only great for generating traffic from the site that linked you, they also help you improve your site’s page and domain authority. Page authority is the predicted success a specific webpage has in ranking well on SERP, the higher the authority, the higher the predicted chance of performing well. It is based on a variety of factors such as the quality and relevancy of the content within that specific web page. Whereas, domain authority is a score that predicts the success of an entire website’s ability to perform and rank strongly on SERP. Regardless, both forms of authority are greatly improved through increasing backlinks to your website and pages.

Getting backlinks isn’t easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. Buzzsumo allows you to search for topics and web domains to see who is linking to them, giving you an idea of the kind of content you should create and post to your own site. Similarly, you can contact writers for blogs or pages with high authority to see if they would be interested in writing about you in an upcoming article (this method can be a grind but, if achieved, can pay off big!).

Your best route is to model content that already generates backlinks, again Buzzsumo can be great for identifying this kind of content. Find which content does well and see how you can put your own spin on it and improve upon it. Maybe the original author missed out some things you think are important, maybe it’s an old post and you can offer a relevant updated version, the possibilities are endless.

Informational or ‘Top Best’ lists tend to be very popular. Something like “5 Powerful Tips to Improve Your SEO Right Now!” (doesn’t that have a lovely ring to it?). These are great because if you’re including and praising businesses in your list, then you’re increasing your chances of them linking back to you. You can both benefit from each other.

When creating content aimed to generate backlinks, it has to make readers want to share it and link back to it on their own site. Consider employing marketing techniques in your copy like ‘AIDA’ and ‘What’s in it For Me?’ (WIIFM) to add an extra incentive for readers to generate backlinks for you.

Bonus Tip

You’re still here!? Since you’ve made it this far so how about a bonus tip, on the house.

So, you’ve learned how to improve your site’s SEO, now it is time to actually assess your success! There are two great ways to measure your SEO performance. The first is Google Analytics (which I highly recommend you link to your website). Here you can measure your sites traffic and see how they reached your specific pages. ‘Organic Search’ is traffic obtained from organic Google SERP appearances. If you have good SEO, this is where you'd see the greatest source of traffic.

Google Analytics data example

Google Analytics also lets you see data regarding your bounce rates, session views and conversion rates. This data is invaluable to helping boost your SEO, as you can scrutinise individual pages on your website to identify which are working well and which are not. If you haven’t linked Google Analytics to your website yet, I cannot recommend enough that you do (plus it’s free, so really you have no excuse not to).

Secondly, Ahrefs is a fantastic tool as it ranks your search position based on your use of keywords and allows you to see the number of backlinks you have achieved (and from where). This data is incredibly useful for understanding how your keywords impact the success of your SEO through visualising your position on SERP. Similarly, being able to monitor your back links can help you identify the importance they have in improving your visibility and online authority.

Both of these tools are incredibly useful for helping you improve the SEO of your business through utilising data in order to understand how you are currently performing and identifying what is helping (or hindering) the success of your SEO. This information is extremely helpful as it allows you to continue improving the quality of your site’s SEO while seeing the real-time impact your constant tweaking of pages and posts has on your website’s rating and authority.

Ahrefs data analytics overview page example

And that's it! You’ve covered the basics of how to improve your SEO. While your website’s traffic won’t increase by rapidly overnight, if you follow these steps and take the time to consider the SEO of your pages, then you are certain to see increases in your traffic and conversions over time.

So, what are you waiting for!? Go get out there and start improving your website’s SEO right now!