Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, is often thrown into the conversation when discussing digital marketing and website development. But what does it mean? And how complicated is it? In this article, we’ll break down the different SEO types and explain how you can use them to start improving your website ranking. It isn’t as complicated as you may think.
SEO is the practice of increasing your ranking and driving more traffic to your website through Google (or any other search engine). It can be divided into two main categories:
For now, we’ll stick to talking about on-site SEO as this is where you can improve your site quickly, and it’s an excellent place to start. Off-site search engine optimisation is just as important for your Google ranking, but it’s a more time-consuming process and goes a lot deeper than just link-building. Improving your on-site SEO alone will take you a long way towards seeing your content rank higher.
When working on your on-site SEO, the first step is to make sure your content is up to scratch, including the metadata.
So, what exactly is metadata? It’s the information that appears on the search engine page (SERP) – such as the title of your page and the meta description. More precisely, the title is the clickable headline you see above the short description of the page. Here’s how you can optimise these elements:
Crafting a solid page title is an essential skill when you’re working on SEO. Not only to rank for a specific keyword but also since it’s the first thing potential visitors see in the search results. You want to make sure they’re encouraged to click through to your website – the more people do just that, the better your site will rank.
Using a title with the right keywords signals relevance to search engines. The page title needs to be accurate and reflect the content of your page. Rather than having a single word title, such as Home or About Us, aim for something unique and more descriptive.
The meta description is the short description following the page title in the search result; it’s a summary of what people will find on the webpage. The length of the meta description can vary, but if it’s too long Google may shorten it. In general, the recommendation is to keep it between 50-160 characters. But most importantly, it should contain the keyword(s) you want to be found for, however, still being relevant and descriptive.
Keywords are, simply put, the words people type into a search engine to find results. It’s helpful to plan what keywords you want to rank for and build your content around that. So, how do you find and decide which keywords to use?
Start with doing some research on your competition – what are they ranking for? And what are people searching for? Can you produce valuable content around those same keywords without copying what they do? There are plenty of online tools you can use to help you with keyword research. It’s an essential element of SEO, so do give it the time and effort it needs. We can help you get it right, too. Just give our friendly team a call if you need some assistance with keyword research. We’re more than happy to help.
The bottom line is this: all the hard work you’ve put towards SEO in the metadata isn’t worth much unless you produce well-written, valuable, and unique content for your website. Let’s say someone clicks through to your website and is faced with a wall of text that is badly formatted, and they struggle to read? They’re likely to leave pretty quickly. Google knows this, and you will risk the ranking and trustworthiness of your website, which means it devalues. Your goal should be to keep users on your site for as long as possible, and that is something you can achieve with engaging content and the use of internal links.
In the past, when search engines were less advanced, keyword-stuffed content would rank higher. But Google has come a long way since then, and user-friendliness has become most important. Readability weighs more now than fitting as many keywords in as possible.
That doesn’t mean keywords are not necessary anymore. They certainly are. It’s just that the use of those keywords must be relevant, and not stand in the way of an easy read. Always keep in mind that you’re writing for humans, not for search engines. It’s your audience that matters most.
Things you can do to increase readability:
Need help with your SEO, but not sure where to start? We have an SEO training programme that will give you a solid foundation that NZTE’s Regional Business Partner Programme can partially fund. Find out more here. Even if you don’t qualify for funding, our options are affordable and effective.
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