Become a master of SEO
Google is a fickle power house. Every time Google updates their search algorithms, SEO agencies and those aiming to rank highly in the search engine, must play catch up.
With each passing update Google becomes increasingly accurate, which is great for the end user but requires a well-thought out and tailored approach to SEO for those producing content.
Updated for 2018-2019, this guide will highlight some of the major Do’s and Don’ts of SEO techniques.
DO target long-tail-keywords
Most people don’t search using single words on google. In fact, research suggests that the majority of searches are made using 3 or more words. The take home message is that people are searching using short phrases or fragmented sentences, not single words. This means that long-tail keywords bring more quality traffic to your website in contrast to simple short keywords. Another benefit of long-tail-keywords is that while something like ‘insurance’ may be a very widely searched word and ‘best insurance UK’ has less searches, the second search term is much more specific, and as such, may have better engagement and click through rates from interested parties. This translates to much better conversion rates.
DO produce long-form content and writing
You have two options when it comes to content.
1 pump out as many short articles as you can, and quickly
2 create long, considered content but, due to time, post less frequently
Several years ago, it was the habit of many content producers to create lots of short articles and posts in an attempt to increase website activity and posting frequency. This worked for a while, but well written and thoughtful long-form content has been proven more effective when it comes to engagement, sharing of articles on social media and thus rankings on google. There are two major advantages to longer articles and posts…
1 readers enjoy a well written article with images. Something where they can really see the effort.
2 longer content is a better method for targeting long-tail keywords.
DO analyse keyword metrics before writing
When producing content to target certain keywords it is critical that you take a close look at several metrics before you begin creating.
Key metrics: Search Volume Click Through Rate Difficulty
Here is an example using ‘insurance broker’ from a platform we commonly use: SpyFu
DO think carefully about website linking
When it comes to linking, think carefully about the impression you are trying to make. Linking to other RELEVANT websites and content is an essential part of good SEO. However, randomly place links, too many links, or links to irrelevant content can make readers think your site is a haven for spam and linking to irrelevant or low-authority websites can actively harm your rankings.
The key here is to focus on authoritative and relevant web resources. These resources have a high Domain Rating and visibility. Linking to one of those websites is the best initial strategy for linking-based SEO benefits.
DO optimise your images
This is an area that is always underestimated. Images on your website should, ideally, be small but also high quality. It’s important to bear in mind that lots of images or incredibly high-resolution images can slow down your website and website speed is one of the most important things to consider. A slow website immediately turns people off and they’ll leave in only a few seconds if pages don’t load rapidly. Check your websites speed using this free speed tool.
Key things to think about with your images:
File Name: Name your file something short, descriptive and relevant, not 456XC.jpg
Image Size: Find that balance between a sharp looking image that isn’t too load-demanding
Relevance: Your images and names need to be highly relevant to the overall content.
ALT tag: One of the most important image attributes. ALT tag tells search engines about the topic your image is relevant to. Evidence suggests it is more effective to keep ALT tags short but descriptive.
DO invest in mobile-optimisation
People are now consuming content and media at a staggering rate on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. As such, it would be a massive oversight to not optimise your website for these devices. In fact, google knows how much time is spent on the internet via mobile devices and google looks favourably on well-optimised mobile-friendly websites. To avoid being ignored by Google, make your website as mobile-friendly as possible. Don’t overwhelm your website with ads and try to make it easy for mobile users to navigate.
DO think about local SEO
Local SEO is the bees-knees when it comes to web searches and some businesses and companies survive entirely on services that they offer in a specific local area. 50% of all mobile searches carried out are looking for local solutions!
- Use local keywords
- Prepare high-quality content on your blog
- Point out all contacts that are related to your business
- Get yourself listed on Google My Business and other similar platforms
- Create a localised domain name – e.g. ManchesterInsuranceNetwork
DO create a social media presence
Social media is one of the most powerful (and often free) ways to engage with an audience, have your voice heard, and benefit from the ranking gains that follow. Creating an account on various platforms is not enough. You need to produce highly relevant and authoritative content to entice your readers. If you are producing content regularly and posting on your website or blog, then co-post the same work on social media; it can do wonders for your viewing numbers and does not require oodles of effort on your part.
If you are a business or company, social media, particularly platforms with a hint of professionalism like LinkedIn, are an exquisite tool for sales when used correctly!
DON’T hammer backlinks like a madman
Building up your backlinks is core to good SEO but, as usual, finding a balance is paramount. Don’t build your backlinks blindly, instead be picky about what you will and won’t link to.
- Focus on quality over quantity; look for high domain authority
- Spread obtaining links overtime; loads of link at once sets off a red light to google that you may be link baiting
So, back links aren’t inherently a good thing. In fact, you can actively damage the authority of your website by going after a ton of bad links over a small period of time. Avoid that mistake, take your time trying to obtain those high authority back links to good, relevant websites and resources. Guest blogging and posting on established websites can be a great way to achieve this.
DON’T link externally too much
Google is smart and always getting smarter. Google looks favourably on websites and domains that appear to gain authority and backlinks in a natural and progressive way. Therefore, linking heavily to lots of external websites and buying or just using loads of low-authority backlinks can damage your relevance and authority in the eyes of google, thus reducing your rankings.
Over-linking to external websites can give Google the impression that you are a directory of links, not an actual site that people will want to see.
DON’T keyword stuff!
‘Keyword stuffing’ is when a website contains a list of keywords not relevant to the content of the website or is over saturated with relevant keywords to the point of nonsense.
When Google was but a baby, not the giant data monster is it today, spamming keywords repeatedly could get you to the first page of Google. The algorithms were basic and had limited criteria on which to base page rankings. One, was the frequency at which key words appeared; the idea being that the more the word ‘insurance’ appeared, the more relevant the website would be for someone looking for insurance. This quickly turned out to not be the case. Today, Google actively penalises keyword repetitions or ‘stuffing’ so avoid doing so. Some people now try and tread that thin line between text that still make sense to the reader but is full of repetitive words or phrases.
Another example: imagine an insurance website – avoid doing something like this:
‘Here at insurance website, we’re crazy about insurance. We just love insurance and are experts in insurance. We’re the best people to sell insurance to fit your insurance needs. Never be without insurance with the specialist insurance brokers at insurance website’
Nonsense! Readers hate it just as much as google.
DON’T copy other content
Re-using content that you’ve already written on different pages of your own website is fairly neutral as far as Google is concerned. It won’t help, but you won’t be penalised either (readers might not be too happy however!). Things rapidly change if you copy content from external websites, especially if those websites are high authority and established. You can’t fool Google when it comes to this so don’t try it! Producing original, engaging content is key, along with everything else mentioned here, when it comes to ranking highly. There’s no two ways about. You don’t have to write the content yourself but avoid copying from someone else or you’ll see your rankings drop faster than a lead balloon.
Well there you have it. The main DOs and DON’Ts of SEO that will see you through the end of 2018 and well in 2019. Follow these simple rules to make a real difference to your SEO and google page rankings over time. We hope you enjoyed the read!
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