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Robert Axford
/ Categories: SEO & Marketing

SEO Guide

SEO doesn't get simpler than this. Make sure you read it.

Understand that Google is there to provide the most accurate, relevant and useful results for the people searching for information. Google goes to great lengths to ensure your website is ranked appropriately against competing websites.

If your business is new and has many existing local competitors, then it is appropriate that Google ranks them higher than your business for equivalent content. Your best chance in such cases is to find topics that those competitors have not covered in their website content and author new content targeting that.

The most important rule about being found on Google: 

The words being searched in Google must exist on your website!

If you want to be found for 'shoelaces Wellington' then those words need to be on your website. Google won't present a loosely-related website until all directly-related websites have been exhausted.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask yourself “If I wanted to find this business, what search terms would I use?” Note down key words or phrases. Be aware that your customers may not use the same terminology as you do. Use layman language in addition to industry or technical terminology. Also consider different words for the same thing - Would you search for ‘vacuum’ or ‘hoover’ or even 'electrolux'?

Check out which terms return your competitors’ websites above yours. The more unique your search is, for example "Wellington ice sculptures", the easier you will be to find. Conversely, the more common the query, such as "Insurance", the harder it will be to get onto the front page on Google.Ask WonderWebs to have a look at the your website and we can have a chat about your best options.

Promote your website

  • Share your web content to social media
    We include social sharing buttons on your web pages, news/blog posts and products. Use these to instantly send your latest content to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Always publish content to your website first and then share it to other sites. This ensures that others will come back to your website to purchase or otherwise engage with you.
     
  • Publish directly to social media
    Certain social media sites such as Instagram or TikTok do not allow you to share content to them. You must instead visit the site and create your posts there. Be sure that you link any posts back to your website.
     
  • Tell people to visit your website
    A website does nothing by itself. Potential customers need to be told to visit your website. They must also be reminded to return again later. This means doing some form of marketing outside of the website; such as Google Ads, a newsletter, or a printed brochure. 
     
  • Become a visible expert in your field
    Answer questions on websites such as Facebook, Linked-in or other discussion forums. Provide expert and helpful commentary on related blogs and forums. Be sure to link back to your website where appropriate. Don't spam other sites with your content.

Review your traffic

Check your website stats to see what pages are the most popular. Look into search words and referrals and see how users found your site. We always set up Google Analytics and often AddThis services for your website. Ask us to gain access to your stats.

Content

  • Format your content cleanly
    Break your content into short paragraphs. Use normal, bold, italics. Use bullets and numbered lists. Use just one Heading 1 on a page, and then increasing instances of headings 2, 3, 4 etc. Do not use variations in colour, font, and font sizes. Never use all-caps.
     
  • State the obvious
    Your homepage should immediately answer the questions: What is this, where is this, is it meant for me and why should I get this? Don’t force people to second-guess your thoughts and don't assume everyone will already know what you do. This is an extremely common attitude when a business owner is asked to describe their business.
     
  • Add new content
    News or blogging is an easy way to add more words to your website for Google to Index. Ask for a blog and write your own entries, or include news feeds from other websites (ask for assistance with this). Add something new every now and then.
     
  • Use sensible filenames
    Use complete words in your image and document filenames. Do not use odd characters such as apostrophes, ampersands and question marks as these will cause broken or faulty links. Use only letters, numbers and hyphens when naming files. Read about good file names here.

Metadata

You can't see meta data on your website, but Google will use it when it creates your listings in its index. WonderWebs has already added a default title and description to your website. You are able to override these for individual pages through the Meta data editor you can find on the Secrets page. If you don't then Google will use your page content instead. If your page content is accurate then you can let Google do the work. We can do this for you if you send us your desired descriptions in an email.

  • Page title 
    Each page can have a unique title of up to about 8 words.
     
  • Keywords 
    These are no longer used by search engines but can be useful for adding mis-spellings without having to write them within the visible page content. Do not insert competitor trademarks!
     
  • Description
    Ideally provide a unique description for each page and if possible, include a call to action. This should be a maximum of about 30 words and again, this content should closely match the content of the page. 

Google Adwords - Recommended if you need a temporary boost.

Paying to have your website placed alongside others for specific keywords allows you to artificially increase your visibility in Google search results. It lets you leap-frog other websites by paying for the privilege. 

Adwords are priced based on what your competitors are prepared to pay for specific popular keywords. The business offering the highest price will have their site listed first. This can be expensive per click depending on how many other businesses also want the same keyword and how high you bid for placement. 

Note that configuring Adwords can be quite complicated for first time users. Visit Google Adwords and It is worth looking at Adword tutorials on YouTube as well to gain an overview of how it works. Ask us for advice and assistance if you are going to use Adwords.

Google Business - Highly Recommended!

You will be familiar with Google Business as the little map that often displays alongside your search results. If you have a bricks and mortar business location, then it is extremely valuable to have a valid listing in this index.

Because Google automatically creates places pages for many businesses it finds by itself, you may find there is already an entry for your business. If there is, then you will also find a link to claim the listing for yourself. After verifying that you own the business, you will be able to edit the listing and provide images and accurate information.

Bing Places for Business - Recommended!

This is the same as Google Business. You can register your business or let it import your business from your Google account. Go to Bing Places for Business now and get started.

Google Reviews - Highly Recommended!

These reviews are displayed as stars along with your website in Google Business and other Google search results. Having a 4 or 5 star average rating looks good and attracts visitors to your website. This article  explains how to get your customers to review your business. Ask for help to get a Reviews button on your website.

Google News Index

This is specifically for legitimate publishers of original news content. You can request to have your website and news pages submitted to the Google News Index and we'll handle this for you. Read more about Google News here.

What about SEO services?

All website owners are bombarded with offers to improve their SEO and resulting search engine ranking. These services generally rely on the fact that uncommon combinations of words, that may or may not relate to your business, can be made to rank much higher than common words. The downside, is that the suggested phrases are typically not highly ranked because people are not actually using them. 

Remember - Traffic does not equal business

The primary goal of an SEO service is to prove to you that they have increased traffic to your website, thus ensuring that you continue to engage their services. However, traffic is not necessarily business, unless you are an SEO service yourself, or you make your revenue off page impressions.

The field of SEO is rife with scams and hype and our advice is to avoid any business that contacts you randomly and offers this service. Ask us for assistance and advice and save your money, or go with advice provided by other trusted sources.

What about web/trade directories?

Web directories can serve two purposes. They can drive legitimate traffic to your website, and/or they can list your website alongside similar sites, and the resulting links may help improve your page rank.

Never pay for a listing in a web directory unless you have ascertained its value. Well-known industry-specific directories may provide value, and some even charge high prices for membership. However there are thousands of worthless directories on the internet, mostly started as someone's dream of making it big online. A worthwhile directory has an advertising budget and you will see their presence on the internet.

You can find out by searching Google for your products or services. If you find that a directory shows up first, then it might be a good directory to be in. Ultimately, the only directory you need to be in is Google.

How does WonderWebs already help improve your SEO?

All WonderWebs websites are built and managed to provide good SEO out of the box. 

  • Legible page URLS
  • Breadcrumb navigation where appropriate
  • Daily site map submission to Google
  • Adjustable site map page priorities
  • Additional site maps for eCommerce and news
  • Robots file blocks irrelevant content and files from Google
  • SEO-friendly content structure
  • All websites registered, verified and tracked with Google Analytics and Search Console
  • Sites also registered and tracked with Bing
  • eCommerce and news templates follow schema.org rules for rich results
  • Responsive templates pass Google's Mobile-friendly test
  • All sites receive Google's mobile-first confirmation
  • Dedicated web and database server for performance
  • Caching, compression and file merging as appropriate
  • Web application speed and availability monitored
  • Social networking functionality provided

Things that can be done or improved with your input

  • Separate title and description for all static pages
  • Custom title and description for dynamic pages (store, blogs etc)
  • Heading tags easily applied in Word Processor
  • Alt tags for images easily applied in Word Processor
  • Regular review of Analytics data
  • Request submission to Google News Index

Things WonderWebs can do as a paid service

  • Review Analytics and Search Console data
  • Review your products and services and those of your competitors
  • Review competitor websites
  • Provide professional content and meta data production
  • Configure and integrate Mailchimp

What else can you do to improve your business?

Marketing marketing marketing!

Marketing is at the centre of all successful businesses and one should not confuse SEO with marketing. Although we build websites for a living here at WonderWebs, we cannot stress enough that a website on its own is hopeless as a marketing channel.

SEO is done on your website. Marketing is done outside of your website, on other sites and in the real world. Marketing is hard work and can be expensive, but it cannot be ignored and cannot be replaced with SEO. 

Marketing may include any or all of these channels:

Online

  • Mailing lists
  • Social media
  • Blogging, vlogging, spreading expertise
  • Adwords, Facebook Ads

Offline

  • Radio, Television
  • Print
  • Sponsorship
  • Expos and fairs
  • Conferences, seminars
  • Cold calling, door to door sales
  • Networking, getting out and meeting people

 

WonderWebs can't help you get out to meet new clients or partners, but we can certainly help you with your mailing list, social media and of course general marketing advice and support.

 

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