Hands up if you’re in marketing and have been probed by the board on why your competitors are ranking more highly than you on Google. Yep. We’ve all been there. And if you’re just getting started with SEO in-house and aren’t yet ready to outsource, getting a hold on SEO can feel daunting.
But theLEAP’s here to help. Did you catch the first part of our podcast on How to unlock the Power of SEO? We were thrilled to have our resident SEO expert, Tim, join us to help demystify the technical world of search engine optimisation. Tim’s been with us for about 12 months now, and we’ve been seeing amazing results with our clients.
Missed it? Don’t sweat it. We’re covering some of the highlights in this article…plus, you’ll find the link to the full episode at the end. Read on to learn how to unlock the power of SEO in your business.
The basics: What’s SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the process of ensuring your website’s visible and indexable in search engines that help search bots understand what your landing pages, and your overall domain, are about.
SEO encompasses a lot of areas though and as an SEO [specialist] you have to wear multiple hats. You have to be proficient in development, content structure, and design. You’ve got to know a lot about user journey and need to understand the psychology of keywords. And you need to know how all those pieces work together to create a more cohesive strategy.
What does SEO done well look like?
Because of all the moving parts needed to build a solid campaign, the best SEO happens when there’s a team of people working on it.
Led by an SEO specialist, you’d ideally have the support of a content writer, a developer, and a designer. The SEO will act as a project manager, aligning with the overall marketing strategy.
For any new SEO journey, start by looking at the website. How is it currently structured? Is it properly indexed? Technical issues like this will lead to a lack of web visits but are normally quick fixes for improving your SEO.
Next, tackle the longer-term strategy. Check out your company’s objectives and what you’re looking to achieve. What key words/terms do you need to rank highly for in support of those goals? Think about your offerings and what people may type into Google when looking for your services. For instance, you might be a recruitment firm wanting to rank highly for the term ‘Engineering recruitment agency.’ Make a list of anything you want to appear for and analyse how your site currently represents those keywords.
Then, taking things a step further, create a keyword map, which is basically a roadmap – the blueprint for the foundation of your website. Set up a spreadsheet and in column A, put all your page titles (i.e. Home Page). Carry out your keyword research and list them in column B. Tim advises choosing between three and five per page.
In the next columns, include stats such as keyword volume and keyword difficulty, and final columns can include meta-titles and meta-descriptions. This kind of document will allow you to clearly see your URLs and the keywords you’d like each to rank for, along with your progress.
Remember though, SEO’s not a quick process. It can take between six months and two years for a business to start seeing substantial results depending on how competitive your market is.
Which tools help with SEO?
Still feeling daunted with the prospect of improving your SEO? Don’t. Rest assured, there’s a whole host of free/low-cost resources to help you along the way. Just make sure you’re using them as a starting point for gaining some top-level data and competitive analysis.
First let’s look at Google Analytics and Search Console. If you’ve got a website, you should have Google Analytics in place (if not, do it today! It’s simple and quick to hook up to your site). It’ll provide you with traffic insights, like which of your webpages are most frequently visited, providing clues that’ll help you improve your SEO.
Google Search Console is another free bit of kit often underutilised. But it’s highly valuable for SEO – it’ll show you what keyword terms people have used to come to your site. Don’t overlook the power of both these free tools from Google in boosting your performance and highlighting technical issues.
Secondly, have you ever thought about the intent behind your traffic’s search? For instance, if you’re in recruitment, have your web visits come from clients or candidates? It can be really helpful to know the intent of people visiting your site and uncovering some of the psychology behind SEO. Again, there are lots of paid platforms to help, but why not try out free resources first?
Don’t overlook the value of your search engine. When you type in a specific keyword, look at the results that are brought up. Read the meta titles and descriptions to find out what’s ranking well.
Also, look at the ‘people ask’ boxes and the search bar ‘auto-complete’ function for a great indicator of what Google has defined as the intent for that keyword. Tim comments “Google has spent billions of dollars developing these features. Use that information they’re giving you for free! It’s a great way to figure out the intent behind the query.”
If you want to sign up for free (or paid versions) of keyword research tools, we recommend Alsoasked.com. And to take things a step further, you may want information on keyword difficulty. We suggest getting the ball rolling with either SEMRush or SERanking, both of which offer limited free searches daily.
How to get the ball rolling with search engine?
Just start with the basics. Make sure you have [Google] Analytics and Search Console set up and look at that data to see what kind of insight you can pull from it. We suggest going to the performance report in Search Console and checking out the search keywords that are driving traffic and impressions to your site. With these foundations in place, start playing with that data and understanding where your opportunities for improvement are.
Also remember to build your keyword map. But don’t duplicate keywords/terms across multiple pages. Google will share out the equity across all those pages targeting. Instead aim for one strong resource per keyword.
Want to know more about how to get started with SEO? Check out theLEAP’s full first episode of our podcast series, “How to Unlock the Power of SEO” here. And look out for part 2, coming very soon.