What is the SEO Process to optimise websites for higher rankings?
SEO is the process of optimising your website so that it appears more prominently in the Search Engine Results (SERP’s) for the queries that people enter into Google in order to find a service or business.
Below we outline 10 steps that we usually start with on any SEO optimisation plan. It is not a complete list but we have found that these 10 steps, when implemented correctly, greatly improve the clients website positioning in the Search Engine Results. Improvements are usually visible within a matter of weeks – although this depend son the niche as some are more competitive than others.
1. Website Audit
We always begin with analysis of the website and this will pin point any areas that require immediate improvement. A technical audit is one step 1 of the process:
- Does the website have an SSL security certificate?
- Is the website mobile friendly?
- Does it display correctly on all browsers?
- Are the images aligned correctly and have they been reduced in size so as not to slow down your website?
- Have you recently all software plugins and modules on your site?
- Is your site using Google Analytics or another suite and reporting data from all pages?
- Are the contact forms and links working as expected?
- Is the website backed up on a regular basis?
Once the above has been completed we then move to the next step which is an SEO audit of the website. On-page SEO consists of all those factors on your own site that influence your search placement and most experts believe there are approximately 200 factors that are taken into consideration when determining same.
- Does each page on your website have a keyword-optimised title tag and a meta description? Are they the correct length?
- Is text on every page sufficient in word count, helpful, informative, and enhanced with relevant SEO keywords?
- Does the site use an XML sitemap to improve your pages’ indexing and crawl-ability?
- Are your content pages making good use of header tags and linking deep content?
- Does the website have correct description tags, image tags, meta tags?
We are almost done with the website audit – just the off site audit to complete – There are many factors where you have limited, indirect control, so it can be harder to make progress when it comes off-page SEO.
That said there are tools available to help us – Ahrefs, SEM Rush and Majestic all of which can help us gauge how we are performing on Social Media, assist in our link building strategies and removing toxic links where necessary. We also you the same software to fink link opportunities when link building for clients.
2. Competitor Analysis
In order to beat the competition we must first establish what it is they are doing correctly in order to rank – after all they must be doing something right to rank better than us right?
- Do they have more links that us?
- Are their links of a better quality than ours?
- Is their content better?
- What keywords are they using in their content – long-tail or more competitive?
Once we know what it is they are doing we can plan our strategy and do something similar – only better.
3. Content Analysis
How much is too much? Or indeed too little? Pages with more content tend to rank better – however it needs to be interesting, engaging and original. Our goal is to create pages superior to what is ranking for your target keyword.
Again some carefully researched competitor analysis is time well spent. What keywords are they ranking for? Are they using videos or info graphics instead of just text.
4. Keyword Research
It is very worth while spending time compiling a list of keywords. After all we want to match what we have on our web pages with what people are searching for on the search engines. There are numerous software tools available both free and paid for. We use both in order to get the best results and often go with a mixture of competitive and ‘long tail’ keywords.
In following our tried and tested methods of researching keywords we can, with great accuracy, generate list of words and phrases that we know people are actually searching for – we can remove the guesswork from the equation.
5. User Experience (UX)
User experience is the place where design, technology, and intent intersect to facilitate activity on your site.
- Structured layout – the website should be easy to navigate to the section of interest to the visitor – don’t make me think!
- Website Speed – the site should load fast – ideally 2 seconds or less. We have the software to check load times and identify ares that can be improved.
- No spelling or grammar mistakes – creates a bad impression
6. GMB (Google My Business)
Marketing within a specific geographic area is much more effective than blanket-style marketing if your ultimate goal is to target local consumers in your area. With every one in three Google searches having local intent a maps listing is an absolute must. However there are usually only 3 places up for grabs so competition can be fierce.
It is hugely important to complete the listing correctly. Unbelievably 90% of businesses that we encounter have failed to either submit the listing at all or those that have done so haven’t done it properly.
- It is FREE
- Important information displayed about your location, contact details and opening hours
- Displays your Google customer reviews
- Customers can call you directly from the number you display
7. NAP & Citations
The main components of a citation are a company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) and must be consistent across all entries. A citation is when your NAP data displays on directory sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, newspaper articles, blogs posts, etc.
Google collects data about each business. If what they encounter is accurate, the search engine trusts the validity of the data, which is believed to help strengthen the business’ chance of ranking prominently. If previous directory submissions have been made it is a good idea to audit and clean up where required.because if the data that the search engines encounter is inconsistent, this trust can be eroded, thus reducing ranking opportunities. Local search rankings are certainly influenced by whether or not Google finds your business contact information on the web.
8. Blogs / Articles
Having interesting and informative content on your website can help build your brand, increase trust and also encourages engagement with your customers.
Clients often ask ‘Can blogging really help my SEO?‘ and the answer is yes. It presents the opportunity to include a number of relevant long-tail keywords in your article and is a platform for internal linking. The whole premise behind internal linking is to aid website navigation, establish hierarchy, and spread link juice. It is much easier to have an effective internal linking strategy with blogging.
9. Link Building
The holy grail. Possibly one of the most difficult ares of Search Engine Marketing to master. Bottom line – If you want more search engine traffic, link building is a must.
This strategy can be very rewarding if done correctly but in done wrong can cause penalties from Google so tread carefully. Choose your links and aim for relevant, high quality only. The authority of the page linking to you matters more than any other factor. While these links can be difficult to get, they are well worth the extra effort.
There are opportunities where a client has had a mention on the web but no link is in place and these are semi-qualified opportunities to reach out and request a link to support the mention.
10. Customer Reviews
What better way to convert website visitors into clients than display a positive message from previous customers.
These can be displayed on your website in a Testimonial section or encourage customers to leave a review on you GMB (Google My Business) listing. Positive reviews are a most powerful way of informing customers that your service or product is excellent.
If you are looking for SEO services located in Dublin please contact us to discuss.