Harnessing SEO To Increase Business


shutterstock_105731504-[Converted]By Trent Allen.

I am going to take a guess, and that guess is: You know of the company called Google, and, at one point in time, you’ve have used their search engine. No, this is not an article about Google, but more about how Google can drive sales to your business through the art of search engine optimisation (SEO).

What I am going to do is introduce you to some basic, yet incredibly important, areas that, with the help of your web developer for implementation, can help to improve the number of potential customers who visit your website. My tips work, and they are easy to implement.

Keyword Usage

Keywords are fundamental to the search process. All search engines require keywords in order to understand what the page is about. To explain simply, if you are intending to appear in search engines for laptops, you are going to need to ensure the keyword, laptops, is mentioned somewhere on your page.

But be careful. It is this basic understanding that has led to so many people going over the top with keywords, thinking the more they mention the keyword, the better chance they have of ranking for it. Abusing keywords by stuffing them into body text, the URL, the title tag and meta tags will almost always lead to bad news
and penalties.

To avoid that, just ensure you use the keyword in the title tag:

  • at least once at the top of the page
  • at least three times in the body of the page, but not excessively (Never use the keyword for any other reason other than to make the text read well)
  • in the alt tag for at least one image on the page
  •  in the URL.

Title Tags

These little guys are one of the simplest, yet most effective, changes you can make to improve your search engine traffic. In case you don’t know, title tags appear at the top of your internet browser, and are meant to be an accurate and concise description of your page content.

SEO-feature-ABS-#27-image1

 

 

 

What many people will do is place keywords in the title for which they want to rank for. While this is generally true, if those keywords don’t accurately describe your page, then you are doing it wrong and it is considered spam by the search engines. Here are a few basic tips which you should follow:

  • Make it unique. So many websites use the same title tag across multiple pages. Don’t do this. Make sure each page on your website has a unique, key phrase.
  • Place your important and unique keywords to the front. Keywords at the start of the tag are more important than those at the end.
  • Make sure the key phrase accurately describes your page. For example, if you have a page which is about your Melbourne-based, tax consulting services, you may have a title tag such as, ‘Tax Consulting Service Melbourne’.
  • Keep the length of the title tag to no more than 75 characters. This is generally the number of characters that will appear in a search engine results page (SERP).

Bad Content

There was once a saying, ‘content is king’, meaning the more content (pages) your website has, the more traffic you will get. While having lots of good content is still important, having the wrong content will hurt you.

In March 2011, Google rolled out a change to its algorithm called ‘Panda’, which had a big impact on website search traffic, based on the quality of their content. It is no longer enough to add a new page to your website, fill it with keywords you wish to rank for, and hope for the best. If you are going to expect good traffic from Google, you are going to need to write good content. Good content has a number of traits:

  • Users will generally spend a long time on your page (read the contents).
  • Users would be willing to share the page (via social media sites, such as Facebook).
  • Users won’t bounce (land on your page, and then leave your website).

You must have content that is engaging, and that people want to read, because it provides some sort of value. For example, take a page that contains two paragraphs of mediocre text about the office chairs your business sells. Now take that page, add some pictures, maybe a video, some funny comments – this is the page that is more likely to be shared, and the page that Google is more likely to send traffic to.

Rich Snippets

I was at a conference in Seattle last year when I first learned about using structured data mark-up and how it helps search engines understand what your page is about. You see, search engines have an incredibly difficult task delivering accurate results, simply because your definition of what a word means, could be completely different to mine. For example, if I search for ‘good bars in Sydney’, my definition of good bars could mean pool tables and pokie machines, while your definition could be something quite different.

By using structured data mark-up on your website, you can ensure search engines understand more about your page. So, if you happen to run a bar in Sydney, then you could tag your websites pages with mark-up associated with a local venue, letting Google and other search engines know exactly what type of business you are.

See the following example:

SEO-feature-ABS-#27-image2

 

If you have ever wondered why some search results appear with review stars, or other specific information, such as business opening times, you now know how. If search engines (Google in particular) understand more about your page via structured data, then they will insert these Rich Snippets into their listings. Now, let me be clear, Rich Snippets won’t increase your rank in search engines. Rich Snippets will instead:

  • Draw more attention to your organic listings.
  • Increase click-through rates and, therefore, traffic.

Rich Snippets are easy to implement and something I recommend you try. For more information about structured data, and how to implement it, see schema.org.

Once you know what to do, search engine optimisation or SEO is not that hard. Sure, there are many other factors to SEO, such as link building and Page Rank, which is beyond the scope of this article. However, these are the basics which you must get right before any of that other stuff will really work.

I am simply amazed at the number of websites out there, not just in Australia, but across the world, that are not built properly; not for user experience, not for usability and not for search engines.

You would be crazy to not be listed in a printed directory, such as Yellow Pages, that was opened three billion times per day. In my opinion, you are just as crazy if you don’t pay attention to how your website is built for search engines. There are eyeballs up for grabs and, if you don’t get them, you can be sure your competitors will.

Trent Allan is the founder of Ziller, a specialist e-commerce web design and online marketing agency that is based in Surry Hills, Sydney. Trent has over nine-years experience in the e-commerce sector and has developed a passionate team that help build and maintain successful online businesses. Trent can be contacted at trent@ziller.com.au.

 

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