usinesses from all sectors have been gradually wising up to the benefits of search engine optimisation (SEO) for many years now. Though it was once the dark art of self-titled marketing ‘gurus’, SEO has become much more accessible to the average business marketer. This is great news, as it means that smaller firms with restricted marketing budgets can still make a splash online – as long as they follow best practice of course. And that’s where a lot of companies fall short.
Unfortunately, there’s still lots of conflicting information out there on the web as to how to effectively engineer your web pages for better performance in the major search engines. That’s why we’ve put together this brief but vital guide to optimising your web pages for search. We’ve outlined 5 simple yet effective ways to optimise your page content for added visibility that will eventually lead to better market exposure and more sales.
1) Carryout an honest, no-holds-barred review of the content on your existing website.
It can be difficult to look at your website from a prospective client’s point of view, especially if you were heavily involved inits design and development. But it’s important to take yourself out of your business bubble and think about whether or not your current site (and its content) is meeting your user’s expectations.
For example, if a user lands on your homepage, is it easy for them to navigate to more information on your products or services? Or does your main menu look cluttered and confusing?
Does your content provide them with a clear idea of what your business stands for, or are spelling mistakes and poor grammar preventing them from grasping the concept fully?
You may prefer to call in the professionals at this point. Enlisting the help of an experienced web designer and/or SEO consultant will help you identify gaps in your content – and the overall user experience – that could be turning people off your brand.
2) Research the best keywords for your business.
You may have a good idea of the keywords you should be targeting with your SEO campaign – but the question is, are your clients actually using these key phrases to find businesses like yours?
Follow these three steps to define your keyword targeting plan.
- Firstly, find out if your website is already ranking for any search terms. The easiest way to do this is to use an automated scraping tool such as SEMRush, then cross-reference the information with the data in your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts. You may be surprised by what you find!
- Check out your main competitors’ rankings(again, the same software should be able to give you an idea of what keywords they are ranking for, and which pages on their site are performing particularly well). You may come across search terms that you hadn’t thought of before.
- Finally, put together a list of keywords that you want to target and divide them into logical groups. Then, decide which pages are the most relevant for each keyword set. You can keep track of your keyword plan by using a simple spreadsheet.
3) Implement these targeted keywords throughout your page content.
On page optimisation is both a science and an art – and it can be incredibly time-consuming. There’s a lot to think about when optimising onsite content.You need to make sure that your targeted keywords (and their common variants)are scattered neatly and evenly throughout the text – but you also need to create relevant yet unique meta titles and descriptions for each page, and you need to structure headers and titles in such a way that means the main premise is 100% clear.
On top of all of this, you need to make sure that the content you create fits into your design template and is positioned for maximum impact (and optimum crawlability). To keep things simple, incorporate no more than 6 keywords into each page. And to make your life even easier, ask a professional content developer to do all the tricky bits for you!
4) Develop a supporting content strategy.
Once your main pages have been fully optimised, it’s time to turn your attention to the content that’s elsewhere on the site. ‘Content’ can cover all kinds of media, from white papers and e-books to infographics, videos and image-led case studies. But for many of you, the best place to start will be your blog.
Ask yourself: how can you use your blog content to entice and engage your clients, then encourage them to contact you? What kind of content will be useful to them? And how can you present it in a way that’s entertaining and yet valuable?
Finally, which keywords should you target with each piece of content you produce? If you want to use your content to increase your search rankings, bear in mind that everything you create from here on in should be fully optimised, too.
5) Add a clear call to action to each page.
You’ve defined your keyword strategy, you’ve optimised your content, and you’ve thought about how your blogs and other onsite media are going to support your ongoing search marketing campaign. But have you considered what a conversion looks like to your business? More importantly, have you made it easy for your client to complete that goal? Every page on your website needs to clearly tell the user what to do next, and the call to action you choose will depend on the result you want.
If you want to encourage your audience to call you directly, add your phone number. If you want to capture data, build a three- or four-field contact form into the page so the prospect can enter their name, email address, phone number and perhaps a specific question for your team. Regardless of how you choose to drive your conversions, all call to actions should be displayed clearly above the fold so they are immediately visible – otherwise all your hard work will have gone to waste!
Written by Ben Stanbury
Ben is a branding and naming consultant and the owner of Prosper. He writes regularly for the Prosper blog, on the topic of branding, naming and differentiation for professional service firms. He is a contributor to the Entigrity blog, and has conducted research into the branding and naming trends for accountants and CPAs in the UK and the USA