Isn’t SEO Simple?
SEO is Simple, I Could Do-It-Myself
“Isn’t SEO simple?” It’s a question that many people ask when they first start thinking about optimising their website for search engines. And it’s true, on the surface, SEO can seem like a straightforward process that anyone can do themselves. But the reality is that SEO is a complex and multifaceted discipline that requires a great deal of skill and knowledge to do well.
Getting SEO right is important because the benefits of a successful SEO strategy can be enormous. Higher search engine rankings can drive more traffic to your website, increase your visibility and credibility, and ultimately, drive more conversions and revenue. But getting SEO wrong can have the opposite effect, causing your website to be penalised or even de-indexed from search results.
At social:definition, we’ve been ‘doing’ SEO for a long time. We have the experience of many years practice, have read the documentation, tried, tested, and implemented, and we’ve got the results our clients are looking for. The list of elements we’ve provided here is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of the many factors that need to be considered in a comprehensive SEO strategy. So, while you could try to do it yourself, the reality is that getting it right requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and experience.
Of course, the specifics of what is important to consider in SEO will depend on your business and website goals, as well as your industry and competition.
However, to give you an insight, most of these elements should be considered as you plan and execute your SEO strategy.
1. Keyword Research:
Identify relevant and high-value keywords and phrases using keyword research tools:
- Use tools such as SEMrush to find keywords and phrases relevant to your business and industry.
- Analyse search volume, competition, and cost-per-click (CPC) to prioritise keywords.
- Look for long-tail keywords and variations to target more specific search queries.
Prioritise keywords based on relevance, search volume, competition, and commercial intent:
- Focus on keywords that align with the search intent of your target audience and align with your business goals.
- Look for keywords with high search volume and low competition to improve your chances of ranking.
- Prioritise commercial keywords that have a higher likelihood of converting into sales or leads.
Create a keyword map to guide the optimisation of individual pages and target specific keywords:
- Map each keyword to a specific page on your website and ensure that each page targets one or two primary keywords.
- Use related keywords and phrases in the content of each page to improve relevance and context.
2. On-page Optimisation:
Conduct a thorough audit of your website’s existing content and optimise it based on keyword research:
- Use tools such as SEMrush to analyse your website’s existing content and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Optimise existing content based on keyword research, ensuring that each page targets one or two primary keywords.
- Ensure that your website’s URLs are concise, descriptive, and include targeted keywords. Avoid using dynamic URLs or URLs with unnecessary parameters or characters.
Ensure that each page has a unique and descriptive title tag and meta description:
- Use descriptive language that accurately reflects the content of the page and includes the primary keyword.
- Keep title tags under 60 characters and meta descriptions under 160 characters.
Optimise header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to include relevant keywords:
- Use H1 tags for the main headline of the page and use H2 and H3 tags for subheadings and subtopics.
- Include the primary keyword in the H1 tag and related keywords in the H2 and H3 tags.
- Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content and make it easier for both users and search engines to understand the hierarchy of information on your page.
Use internal linking to guide visitors through your website and establish a clear hierarchy of pages:
- Use internal links to guide visitors to related content and to establish a clear hierarchy of pages.
- Use descriptive anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page.
Optimise images and other media using alt tags, descriptive file names, and compressing file sizes:
- Use descriptive file names that accurately describe the content of the image or media file.
- Use alt tags to provide a text description of the image for users with visual impairments.
- Compress images and other media files to improve page load times and reduce the size of the page.
Improve the readability of your content with bullet points, short paragraphs, and relevant subheadings:
- Use bullet points and short paragraphs to break up text and improve readability.
- Use subheadings to separate content into different sections and to guide the reader through the page.
Social media integration:
- Consider integrating social media into your website by adding social media sharing buttons or embedding social media feeds. This can help drive traffic to your website and improve your social media presence.
- If your website includes video content, optimise it for search engines by including relevant keywords in the video title, description, and tags.
3. Technical SEO:
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive:
- Use responsive web design to ensure that your website displays properly on different devices and screen sizes.
- Use mobile-first indexing to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile devices.
Optimise website speed and load times by compressing images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minimising HTTP requests:
- Compress images and other media files to reduce file size and improve page load times.
- Use a CDN to cache content and deliver it from a server closest to the user’s location.
- Minimise HTTP requests by combining and minifying files.
Improve website crawlability and indexability by creating a sitemap, robots.txt file, and using canonical tags:
- Create a sitemap that outlines the structure of your website and makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index.
- Use a robots.txt file to guide search engines to the most important pages on your website and to prevent indexing of irrelevant pages or content.
- Use canonical tags to prevent duplicate content issues and ensure that search engines understand the primary version of a page.
Implement HTTPS encryption to protect user data and boost your search engine ranking:
- Use HTTPS encryption to protect user data and improve the security of your website.
- HTTPS encryption is also a ranking signal for search engines, and using HTTPS can improve your search engine ranking.
Ensure that your website has no broken links or 404 errors:
- Use tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Search Console to identify broken links and 404 errors on your website.
- Fix broken links and 404 errors to ensure that visitors have a positive experience on your website and to prevent search engines from penalising your website.
- Structured data, also known as schema markup, can help search engines understand the content of your website and display it in rich snippets in the search results. Consider adding structured data to your website to help improve your visibility in the search results.
- Site speed is an important ranking factor, so ensure that your website loads quickly by optimising images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minimising HTTP requests.
- With more and more users accessing websites on mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile. This can include using responsive design, optimising images for smaller screens, and making sure that your site is easy to navigate on a mobile device.
Voice search optimisation:
- With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, optimising for voice search is becoming increasingly important. Consider using natural language in your content and targeting long-tail keywords to optimise for voice search.
4. Content Creation:
Create high-quality, engaging, and relevant content that matches the search intent of your target audience:
- Conduct keyword research and use data to guide content creation and optimisation.
- Create content that provides value to your target audience and answers their questions or meets their needs.
Use targeted keywords and phrases in the content to improve search engine visibility and relevance:
- Use keywords and phrases in the title, meta description, header tags, and body content of the page.
- Use related keywords and phrases to provide context and improve relevance.
Use a variety of content formats, including text, images, videos, infographics, and interactive content:
- Use a variety of content formats to keep visitors engaged and to cater to different learning styles.
- Use visuals such as images and videos to break up text and make content more engaging.
Regularly update your website with fresh and relevant content to keep visitors engaged and coming back:
- Update your website with new content regularly to keep visitors engaged and to signal to search engines that your website is active and relevant.
5. Link Building:
Conduct research to identify high-quality and relevant websites that could link back to your website:
- Use tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs to find websites that are relevant to your industry or niche.
- Look for websites with high domain authority and a good reputation to ensure that links are of high quality.
Create high-quality and valuable content that other websites would want to link to:
- Create content that provides value to your target audience and is relevant to your industry or niche.
- Use data, research, or unique insights to make your content more valuable and shareable.
Reach out to other website owners and request backlinks to your content:
- Reach out to website owners or bloggers and request that they link back to your content.
- Use a personalised and professional email template to make a good first impression.
Create a strong internal linking structure to guide visitors and establish the hierarchy of your website:
- Use internal links to guide visitors to relevant content and to establish a clear hierarchy of pages.
- Use descriptive anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the linked page.
6. Local SEO:
Create and optimise your Google My Business listing to ensure that your business shows up in local search results:
- Create a Google My Business listing and provide accurate and complete information about your business, including name, address, phone number, and website.
- Use relevant keywords and phrases in your Google My Business listing to improve search engine visibility.
Use location-specific keywords in your website content and metadata:
- Use location-specific keywords and phrases in the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and body content of your website pages.
- Use relevant location-based modifiers to optimise for local search queries (e.g., “best pizza in West London”).
Use schema markup to ensure that search engines understand the location and relevance of your business:
- Use schema markup to provide structured data about your business, such as your business name, address, phone number, and website.
- Use local business schema markup to provide additional information about your business, such as business hours, ratings, and reviews.
Create location-specific landing pages for different geographic areas or service areas:
- Create landing pages that target specific geographic areas or service areas, such as cities or neighbourhoods.
- Use relevant keywords and phrases in the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and body content of the landing pages.
Encourage positive reviews from customers and respond to reviews in a timely and professional manner:
- Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your Google My Business listing and other review platforms.
- Respond to reviews in a timely and professional manner, addressing any concerns or issues that customers may have.
- Positive reviews can improve your search engine ranking and help build trust with potential customers.
7. User Experience (UX):
Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and intuitive for visitors:
- Use a clear and consistent navigation structure to guide visitors through your website.
- Use breadcrumbs or a site map to help visitors understand the hierarchy of your website.
Optimise your website design and layout to make it visually appealing and easy to read:
- Use a clean and modern design that is visually appealing and easy to read.
- Use a font size and type that is easy to read on different devices and screen sizes.
Optimise page load times and minimise clutter and distractions:
- Optimise your website for fast page load times by minimising the use of large images or media files and using caching and compression.
- Remove clutter and distractions from your website, such as excessive pop-ups or ads, to improve the user experience.
Use clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide visitors towards relevant content or actions:
- Use clear and concise CTAs to guide visitors towards relevant content or actions, such as “Contact Us” or “Buy Now”.
- Use contrasting colours or design elements to make CTAs stand out on the page.
Use analytics data to identify and address pain points in the user experience:
- Use analytics tools to track visitor behaviour and identify pain points in the user experience, such as high bounce rates or low conversion rates.
- Use A/B testing or user testing to identify potential solutions and optimise the user experience.
8. Analytics & Tracking:
Implement a website analytics tool such as Google Analytics to track website traffic, behaviour, and conversions:
- Implement Google Analytics or another website analytics tool to track website metrics such as traffic, behaviour, and conversions.
- Use custom reports and dashboards to track specific metrics and KPIs.
Use analytics data to identify trends and opportunities for improvement:
- Use analytics data to identify trends in website traffic, behaviour, and conversions, and to identify opportunities for improvement.
- Use segmentation or cohort analysis to identify specific user groups or segments that may require additional attention.
Monitor search engine ranking and traffic to identify the impact of SEO efforts:
- Monitor search engine ranking and traffic to identify the impact of SEO efforts on website visibility and relevance.
- Use tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs to monitor search engine ranking and track progress over time.
Conduct regular audits to ensure that your website stays optimised and relevant:
- Conduct regular SEO audits to identify opportunities for improvement and ensure that your website stays optimised and relevant.
- Use tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Search Console to identify technical SEO issues, broken links, or other issues that may impact your search engine ranking.
- Regularly review your website content to ensure that it remains high-quality, relevant, and aligned with your business goals.
9. SEO Specific to E-commerce
- E-commerce websites often have many products, so it’s important to have high-quality and unique product descriptions for each product. Use targeted keywords in the product descriptions to improve their relevance and search engine visibility.
- E-commerce websites also rely heavily on product images. Optimise your product images by compressing them and using descriptive file names and alt tags.
- Encourage user reviews on your e-commerce website. User reviews can improve your search engine ranking and help build trust with potential customers.
- Ensure that your e-commerce website has a clear and easy-to-navigate site architecture. Use clear categories and subcategories to organise your products and ensure that your products are easily accessible through your site’s navigation.
- E-commerce websites often have products with multiple variations, such as different sizes or colours. Ensure that each product variation has a unique URL and targeted keywords in the title and description.
- Use relevant and targeted keywords in your product categories and subcategories. This can help improve your search engine ranking and make it easier for users to find the products they are looking for.
Structured data for products:
- Use structured data to provide search engines with detailed information about your products, such as price, availability, and reviews. This can help improve your search engine visibility and attract more qualified traffic to your website.
- Consider using product feeds to list your products on shopping search engines and comparison websites. This can help improve your visibility and drive more qualified traffic to your website.
10. Other Considerations:
- In addition to optimising your website, consider developing a content marketing strategy to create high-quality content that attracts links and drives traffic to your website.
- User-generated content such as reviews, comments, and forum posts can help improve your search engine ranking and engage visitors on your website.
- In addition to the technical SEO element mentioned earlier, HTTPS encryption can help improve the security of your website and build trust with your visitors.
11. Social Media Optimisation:
- Each social media platform has its own unique requirements and best practices, so it’s important to optimise your content and profile for each platform. This may include things like optimising your images or videos to fit the platform’s specifications, using the appropriate hashtags or keywords, and tailoring your messaging to the specific platform’s audience.
- Just as with SEO, content is key in social media optimisation. To optimise your content, you should focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that provides value to your audience. This may include things like using visuals to make your content more engaging, using hashtags or keywords to improve visibility, and using a clear call-to-action to drive engagement.
- To optimise your social media profile, you should ensure that it is complete and up to date. This may include things like adding a profile picture and cover photo, filling out your bio or description, and including a link to your website or other relevant content.
- Engaging with your audience is a crucial part of social media optimisation. To optimise your engagement, you should respond promptly to comments and messages, participate in relevant conversations, and use social listening tools to monitor and respond to mentions of your brand or products.
Paid social optimisation:
- Paid social media can be a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and driving traffic to your website. To optimise your paid social media campaigns, you should focus on targeting the right audience, using compelling visuals, and messaging, and measuring and optimising your campaigns for maximum ROI.
- The key to social media optimisation is to focus on providing value to your audience while also following best practices for each platform. By doing so, you can improve your visibility, engagement, and ultimately drive more traffic and conversions to your website.
12. Local Search Ads:
Target the right audience:
- Local search ads are most effective when they are targeted to the right audience. Use targeting options like location, demographics, and interests to reach the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
Use targeted keywords:
- Use relevant and targeted keywords in your ad copy to ensure that your ads are displayed to people who are searching for products or services like yours.
Include location-specific information:
- Include location-specific information in your ad copy, such as the city or neighbourhood where your business is located. This can help attract local customers who are searching for businesses in their area.
Use ad extensions:
- Ad extensions, such as call or location extensions, can provide additional information to potential customers and help drive more engagement with your ads.
Use compelling visuals:
- Use eye-catching visuals in your ads, such as high-quality images or videos, to capture people’s attention and make your ads more memorable.
Monitor and optimise:
- Monitor your ad performance regularly and make changes as needed. Use analytics data to identify what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your targeting, ad copy, or visuals to optimise your ads for better performance.
Test different ad variations:
- Test different ad variations to see what works best for your target audience. This could include testing different headlines, ad copy, visuals, or targeting options to see which combination drives the most clicks and conversions.
- The key to optimising local search ads is to target the right audience with relevant and compelling ad copy and visuals, and to monitor and adjust your ads over time to improve their performance.
Have You Got What it Takes?
SEO is a critical component of any online marketing strategy, and it requires careful planning and execution to achieve success. The many elements that we’ve listed here, from keyword research to social media optimisation, technical SEO to content marketing, all play important roles in driving traffic and conversions to your website. However, implementing these elements can be a daunting task, especially for those new to the world of SEO.
That’s why it’s often a good idea to work with experienced professionals who have the knowledge, skill, and experience to create a successful SEO strategy. At social:definition, we’ve been working in the field of SEO for many years, and we’ve helped countless clients achieve their online marketing goals. We understand the complexities of SEO, and we have the tools and expertise needed to help you optimise your website and achieve higher search engine rankings.
So if you’re ready to take your online marketing to the next level, consider working with someone like us (preferably us!) to create a comprehensive SEO strategy that can help drive more traffic and conversions to your website.