For any business that’s trying to manage their own Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) there are a number of challenges.
First of all, you need to have a basic understanding of what SEO is and the different strategies which might help you improve your rankings with search engines like Google, for the search terms that your potential customers are using.
Secondly, of all the different improvements you can make to your site that might improve your SEO, how do you know what is going to be the most effective?
Finally, SEO takes time – just speak to any agency or consultant and they will often talk about weeks, months, even years to reach the rarefied air of a position at the top of the search results
As a business owner/manager, your expertise lies in making sure your enterprise runs smoothly and your customers are happy. Sure, there is the need to focus on marketing and growing sales, but even if that is something that receives a lot of your attention, you’re still unlikely to have enough time to run your business and become an expert at Search Engine Optimisation as well.
The good news is that some optimisation strategies for your website can move the needle, in terms of organic traffic and customers, quicker than others – the key is understanding what those strategies are and how you can implement them in a focused and time-effective manner, so you see the benefit of your efforts in days and weeks, rather than months and years. We spoke to Matt Kirkman of Grapefruit Digital’s London SEO Agency, who laid out 5 SEO strategies for businesses to get more organic traffic this month.
Increase Your CTR
Your CTR, or Click Through Rate, is the number of times your listing in the search results is clicked as a percentage of the number of times it is shown. So if one of your webpages is shown 100 times and receives 10 clicks, your CTR is 10% – which wouldn’t be bad at all. But rather than leave it to chance whether your listing is clicked on or not, there are a number of things you can do to influence the searchers choice.
Without improving your rankings, if you can make your search result listing more ‘attractive’ you can get more traffic from the rankings you already have. Craft a bespoke meta-description (which is usually displayed as the long content of your search result) around your main target search terms, one that balances this optimisation with content that ‘sells’ what you’re offering and has a good call to action.
Highlighting your positive reviews by adding the gold stars to your listing that you often see in the search results can be easily done using Schema code. This eye-catching ‘social proof’ can double the chance that the user will click on your listing – especially if you’re the only listing with this attention-grabbing addition.
Customise Your Meta Titles
Something that can impact your rankings as well as your CTR is your meta title – which usually makes up the main heading of your search results listing. For this reason, this is something you probably want to be a bit more cautious about updating, particularly if you already rank well or have optimised your meta title before.
However, if the pages on your site have never had bespoke meta titles created for them, crafting titles that are focused on the keyword terms you want to rank for, but are also eye-catching and appealing to the searcher, can help gain more clicks while you start your climb up the rankings.
If you’re not sure how to optimise your meta title for the best results, a good shortcut is to take a look at the meta titles of the sites that are already ranking for your target keyword and follow a similar format in terms of structure and search terms – and look for any opportunity to improve on what they have.
Optimise Your Page Content
The content on your pages provide the search engines with the information they need to determine what your pages are about, so they can decide what search terms they are likely to be most relevant for and where they should rank for those searches. If the content on your site was written from a purely business perspective, it might not be as optimised for your target keywords as you’d hoped.
The key thing with the optimisation of the content on your pages, or on-page optimisation, is that it’s important to remember that less is more. Years ago pages could rank well by simply repeating the same keywords over and over again, but not any more – in fact, if your page is over-optimised, this could even be one of the reasons why it’s not ranking so well.
Concentrate on creating compelling content that matches the intent of what your target audience is likely to be looking for – another strong signal to the search engines of what your page should rank for – and make sure your optimisation is focused on the areas of the page where it is going to be most effective. These are your headings, particularly your main page heading (usually called the H1 tag) and your subsequent sub-headings (h2 – h6 tags) – optimisation here, focusing on your main keywords and related terms, is what Google pays attention to.
Interlink Your Pages
If optimising the content on your pages is one half of the SEO puzzle, getting the right kind of backlinks to those pages is the other half. Typically this can involve hours of work adding your site to relevant directories or contacting other sites in your market in the hope they will link back to you, and then waiting weeks and months for these links to have an impact – but there is another way.
The chances are that some of the most relevant links you could build to the pages you want to try and rank are links from the other pages on your website. Internal links, where you link from one of your webpages to another, may not have all the power of a backlink from the most prominent sites in your industry, but they do have some benefit and, more importantly, they are much easier to get.
Try searching in Google for site:yourdomain.com “your keyword” (replace yourdomain.com and your keyword with the information for your business) and what you will see is a list of the pages on your site the search engine thinks are the most relevant for that term. The page you are trying to rank and your homepage are usually number 1 and 2, but adding links to the top ranking page from some of the other pages, using terms similar to the target keyword (but not exactly the same – we don’t want to over-optimise), could not only provide a bit of a boost, it also makes it easier for the search engine to crawl, understand, index and rank all the pages on your site.
Look For Quick Wins
If you’re not familiar with Google Search Console (GSC), you really should be. The search engine provides this service free of charge for all website owners, and it gives you a wealth of information, not just about the health and performance of your site, but also where there might be opportunities for you to get more traffic.
You might think you know the best search terms to target for your business, but GSC can tell you what other terms are driving traffic to your site, and to which pages – if you’ve never optimised those pages, or even have them optimised for less-popular search terms, updating your optimisation using some of the strategies we’ve covered could mean more traffic from valuable terms you weren’t previously targeting.
Similarly, if you have pages that are getting a lot of impressions but not many clicks, if you use the strategy for increasing the CTR of these pages you could see an increase in traffic without any change in your rankings. Likewise, if you have pages that are receiving a lot of impressions but have never been optimised and only rank at the top of page 2 or bottom of page 1 of the search results, using all the strategies above might just give them the boost in rankings you need to improve your traffic.
With the understanding of how to quickly make improvements to your pages that can bring more traffic, you can make use of Google Search Console to find the best opportunities to put these strategies to use.
Any one of these strategies could help you increase the amount of organic traffic your site receives, and that increase could be considerable if you implement them all. While these strategies can be effective, they’re no replacement for a focused approach to improving your presence on the Internet, so if you rely on online traffic for your business, you might want to consider getting some expert advice on investing in a long-term strategy to improve your SEO.