For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, time is a scarce commodity. Developing marketing campaigns and learning how to optimise websites will always be pushed aside in favour of more urgent tasks such as invoicing or responding to customer enquiries. Which is exactly why UK2.NET has created this helpful SEO guide. From quick tips you can accomplish in your spare time to helpful tools to get the job done, you will find everything you need to know for successful website SEO here.
How to boost your SEO in an hour or less
As a website owner, you are likely to always be on the lookout for ways to boost your search engine optimisation (SEO). Organic traffic is effectively free attention for your site, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work for it. Luckily there are tools and services that can help boost SEO and drive organic traffic to your website.
What is SEO?
SEO is the method for making sure that your website tallies with the search engines who catalogue search results. Search engines use complex algorithms to ensure that your website is authentic, credible, and trustworthy. If your site meets these expectations, your links will appear higher in search rankings than other, less credible, websites. SEO does not factor into paid searches, only free search queries.
The results from higher search engine rankings are what is referred to as organic traffic. Increased organic traffic leads to more clicks, sales, and a stronger reputation on the internet.
You may be thinking that SEO depends solely on the words you use on your website. However, this is not true. As search engine algorithms become more complex, SEO has grown to include page loading speed, mobile optimisation, meta descriptions, time spent on a page, and a host of other important aspects. It can be hard to know what’s important and what’s not, let alone how to fix any problems that might exist.
Here are a few quick tips that can be accomplished in just a few minutes.
Even if your schedule is booked from morning until night, there are still ways to improve your website SEO. If you ever find yourself on hold to a call centre or waiting for a client to arrive, consider dedicating a few minutes to one of these quick tips for creating a fully SEO website…
10 Quick Tips for Improving Your Website SEO
#1. Google the term “site:yourdomain”.
This displays all Google links to your site. Seeing which pages perform strongly (and which don’t) helps to identify how your brand comes across in search results. It could inspire content or design changes.
#2. Check your site’s authority.
The Open Site Explorer tool is a free platform that indicates how highly regarded a website is in terms of reputation and influence. If your domain/page authority is low, urgent revisions may be required.
#3. Load every page on your website, and see how quickly each one displays.
Search engines now estimate loading times, penalising slow sites. If a particular page takes ages, find out why. It might be down to large images, or unnecessary code.
#4. Upload a social media post.
This can be about anything relevant to your business, from a general comment to a specific enquiry or promotion. Use a couple of industry keywords, and add an inbound hyperlink to your company website.
#5. Think about ideas for a blog.
This should ideally be hosted on your company website, demonstrating the site is regularly updated with original content. Scribble down possible titles, themes or concepts, and let them percolate in the back of your mind.
#6. Prepare a draft email to send to clients, offering your services as a freelance blogger.
Many firms struggle to generate original content for their own sites, so they welcome guest contributions. They’ll mention your business and might even upload a link.
#7. If your site is hosted on WordPress, install Yoast.
This is great for dipping in and out, individually ticking off recommended SEO website improvements. It takes seconds to add an image description, page header, or title tag.
#8. Comment on LinkedIn posts.
Most British adults have a LinkedIn profile, yet its blogging tools are underused. Discuss and debate other people’s posts, hopefully building contacts while publicising your business and driving traffic to your profile.
#9. View one page of your site in Google Analytics.
GA is dauntingly complex, so break it into bite-sized chunks. Examine one page for evidence of low engagement or high abandonment, considering what you can do to improve these stats.
#10. Look at your site’s robots.txt file.
Every site should have a small text file telling search engine crawlers which web pages to view and index. Use a scanning tool like Screaming Frog to ensure you’re not missing valuable SEO website goals.
Just a few of the tips above can work wonders for your SERP (Search Engine Result Page). However, you may be wondering if what works well for Google will translate for other search engines. The answer is… complicated. Let’s have a look below.
Do I Focus On Bing Or Stick With Google Search Engines?
The dominance of Google’s search engine over its competitors has few modern equivalents. It’s hard to think of another company which has achieved a 90% market share in a sector which also contains billion-pound competitor brands. Few firms achieve proprietary eponym status, that being where their product or service name becomes a verb, like Hoover or Jet Ski. And few businesses have ever achieved the brand recognition Google has managed in just 21 years.
Given this success, it’s easy to forget other search engines exist. DuckDuckGo powers the privacy-oriented Tor Browser, while MSN and Yahoo struggle on in the shadow of their ‘90s’ heyday. However, Google’s biggest rival is Microsoft’s Bing. More popular in its homeland than on this side of the Atlantic, the well-funded Bing was used in 6.76 per cent of UK searches last November, according to data from Statista. That may seem surprising, but Bing is the default Windows search engine. It can also be the default engine in the Opera and Firefox browsers.
Searching for a difference
Like Google, Bing has invested heavily in search engine optimisation, or SEO. The precise composition of these algorithms is carefully guarded to prevent unfair manipulation. Even so, we know there are many minor differences between the algorithms used by Google and Microsoft. As an example, Bing’s page indexing focuses on the first 100KB, meaning content prioritisation is more important for optimal ranking results. Bing also adds extra weight to the presence of page titles, meta descriptions, social signals, and multimedia content. Conversely, Google favours recent page updates, inbound/outbound links, and text content.
Given these differences, there’s clearly a case for focusing on Bing SEO as well as Google. Few companies can afford to ignore almost seven per cent of the general public, especially since optimising a website for Bing is free. The only investment required is time unless you also aim to invest in some pay-per-click advertising. In this regard, Bing’s prices tend to be lower than Google’s. And since customers only pay when someone clicks through onto a specified web page, setting a modest daily budget represents a fairly safe investment.
More of the same
Despite the differences outlined two paragraphs ago, Bing and Google operate along with similar principles as search engines. Both are able to recognise fraudulent activities like keyword stuffing, or inbound links from low-quality link farms. Bing is less enthusiastic about recently-launched web domains than Google, but any of the domain suffixes sold by UK2.NET will achieve equivalent ranking scores. The effective use of keywords remains pivotal for achieving a high ranking in Bing, while the disproportionate focus afforded to its rival often makes a high ranking position in Bing easier to accomplish.
Finally, Bing has one crucial advantage over its arch-rival: Cortana and Alexa both use Bing to power their virtual assistant interfaces, with only Siri and Google Assistant powered by Google. Incorporating commonly-asked questions in written form on a website may provide a competitive edge in voice search results – particularly via Alexa’s all-conquering platform.
However, it’s important to remember that Google, as well as other search engines, are not stagnant. Search engine optimisation tactics are fluid and change each year. Search engine algorithms use artificial intelligence to consistently improve the methods used to rank a website. Next in our helpful SEO guide, we discuss recent changes in SEO methods that you should take note of.
Recent Changes in Search Engine Strategy
It’s quite common for companies to launch a new website, and then consider that as a job well done. In reality, the work is only just beginning. Even a brand new website will quickly fall from favour among the search engine giants if it’s not regularly updated. In addition, original content also needs to follow the latest best-practice guidelines when it comes to SEO.
Because Google and Bing don’t publicise the intricacies of their ranking algorithms, much of what follows is educated guesswork. However, a number of SEO changes took effect last year, and further revisions will occur throughout 2020. These are some of the SEO changes every website administrator or marketing manager needs to be aware of…
Audience retention is crucial…
Last year, Google rolled out a revision to its algorithm that monitors how long people spend on the websites they click through to. Lengthy stays imply quality content, boosting future rankings. Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are more important than ever, though click-through rates still remain an important ranking factor. Web content should ideally be tailored to stop people from leaving the site, using internal links and exit pop-ups.
…so don’t mislead people
The flipside of this involves accurate site advertising and meta descriptions – those 25-word summaries of a page’s content. Don’t entice people to visit your site by misleading them or over-promising; clickbait articles are notorious for not delivering the content their headlines suggest. The average dwell time among the first page of Google results is just over three minutes, but flimsy pretexts won’t stand up to scrutiny for that long.
Focus on longer articles
This is a controversial topic since the search engines are seeking authoritative content while audience attention spans dwindle. In-depth features now outrank shorter blog-style articles, and pages with around 2,000 words of content seem to rank highest. However, few people have the time to read through reams of copy. Break up long text with sub-headings and lists, add key takeaways highlighted in bold, and include links to other articles on the same site.
Prioritise the mobile experience
This isn’t a new refrain in articles about SEO changes, but the search engines are now indexing websites based on mobile versions rather than desktop interfaces. Autoplaying video content and Shorthand homepage presentations will create a sluggish and unwelcoming experience for mobile audiences. M.dot websites are completely out of favour now, while small link buttons should be avoided at all costs. Faster-loading pages will usually rank more highly too.
Publish questions – and then answer them
Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa are changing how consumers use search engines, and websites with exact search strings are benefiting. When someone asks “what’s the weather going to be tomorrow”, a weather site whose forecasts appear below that phrase will outperform a site that simply provides Met Office charts and a written summary. Adapting web content for spoken-word queries is likely to be one of the key SEO changes for 2020.
Now that you have the tools and expertise to create a search-friendly website. Get started today at UK2.NET. We have everything you need to become a digital success!