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5 Simple SEO Steps and Tips to Optimise Your Website

Julia RichardsDecember 2020
5 Simple SEO Steps and Tips to Optimise Your Website

SEO is utterly crucial for the success of your online business. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is required in order to be visible on the major search engines such as Google or Bing.

The subject of SEO can get pretty complex. It is a technical subject, and ever-changing.

Because Search Engines change their algorithms so regularly, it is vital to stay on top of the subject constantly in order to compete effectively with other websites. That’s why Start My business offers a specialist SEO Service in order to assist businesses of all sizes to compete on the web.

In an article titled “How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm”, Moz reported that Google updated its algorithm more than 3,000 times in 2018!

To improve your search engine rankings and increase organic traffic to your website, it’s vital to implement these five easy SEO tips from our specialist SEO consultants in order to optimise your website.

Tip #1. Find Relevant Keywords for Your Product and Services

The very first thing you must do to improve your website’s optimisation is to list all the keywords and queries you would like to be found for.

This is a list of all the keywords and queries which your client might type into a search engine to look for you.

This list can then be used as a “seed keyword list” in specialised keyword tools to come up with other potential keywords and queries for which you could be found.

What is a seed keyword list? This is simply the starting point from which you will gather all your remaining keywords.

It is the “seed” from which the garden of your SEO will grow.

For example, let’s say you’ve done some keyword research and realised that your clients would search for “Flowers for Sale” in order to find you.

If you type this phrase into a keywords tool such as SEMRush, you will be given a wealth of data from which to optimise your website with.

SEMRush

Looking at the screenshot of a SEMRush page above, you will notice that the tool gives you vital tips to improve your website’s SEO as a result of using this keyword phrase.

It tells you:

  • The difficulty in trying to compete for this keyword
  • The volume of search this keyword has
  • Detailed information about the “SERPs” (Search Engine Results Pages) for this keyword
  • Related keywords
  • And numerous other things.

By taking the related keywords, as well as all the other SEO information provided for you here, you will be able to then create a comprehensive list of all the keywords you would like to optimise your website for.

Other keyword tools

SEMRush is quite a sophisticated tool, but it can also be fairly pricey for smaller businesses.

Another excellent tool for SEO Keyword research is Moz Pro. But, again, this tool can also be quite pricey for smaller businesses.

Moz Pro

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) has a built-in keyword tool which is quite popular with many people for keyword research. You need to have a Google Ads account to use it. And the information it provides can be quite limited. But it does have its uses.

Free keyword research tools

UberSuggest by Neil Patel is a keyword tool with both a free and a paid tier. It offers an abundance of information for keyword research.

The free account does have some frustrating limits e.g. how many keywords you can check per day.

Another option is Keyword Tool. This extensive tool allows you to generate keywords for Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and numerous other search engines.

Keyword Tool

Like UberSuggest, the paid version offers more options.

Tip #2: Optimise Your Title Tag and Meta Description, Titles and URL

This is probably one of the most important SEO tips for better search engine rankings.

It is also one of the easiest to implement for people with no web development or design experience.

Let’s discuss the terms:

Title Tag

This is the text which shows on your browser’s tab when it is open. It is also the text which appears on Search Engine Results pages when people type in a search query.

what is a title tag

The title tag needs to be optimised for your keywords.

If you are writing an article about “Cheap, Fresh Flowers” then the ideal title tag should include all three keywords.

It’s also vital to ensure any of your competitors has not used the title. The easiest way to do this is to type the exact title into Google, enclosed by quotation marks, to see if that title appears in the search results.

cheap fresh flowers search engine

Be sure to add the quotation marks to the search query to get the most accurate results.

If you are using a website created by Start My Business, you will be able to edit the title right in the article or page you are creating.

Titles

An article also has internal titles. Each section of your article should be titled correctly, using keywords in each of the subtitles.

Meta Description

The meta description is the text which appears under the title in the search engine results.

It is essential real estate to use when trying to capture your readers’ attention.

The description is a “meta” aspect to the website, which means that it doesn’t utilise text which you can see on the page itself when visiting it. It is text inputted directly into the code of the web page.

Fortunately, when using a website created by Start My Business, you will have the option to edit the meta description directly.

The meta description should not contain too much text — ideally, about 200 characters.

URL

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. In layman’s terms, it is the web address of a page.

For example, the URL of this page is https://www.startmybusiness.com/resources/articles/5-simple-seo-tips-and-steps-to-optimise-your-website

You can see it when you look at the address bar of your browser.

address bar of your browser.

In the system used by Start My Business to create websites, it is possible to directly edit this website address.

This is a pivotal place to use your keywords. Sometimes, search engines show this address directly in the search results and highlight the keywords in the URL.

Try not to make the URL too long, however, and engage in the “black hat” SEO practice of “keyword stuffing”. Instead of helping you, it might lead to a penalty.

Tip #3: Optimise Your Content

Search Engines prefer high-quality content which is useful to the reader.

The key bit of advice here is to write for people, not for search engines.

This is tricky because, in Search Engine Optimisation, one does indeed need to write for Search Engines.

The skill lies in striking a balance between using the right keywords in your website’s copy while at the same time ensuring the content is readable, helpful, and valuable to the reader.

But it goes beyond keywords. Useful content has a few elements which must be present for Search Engines to sit up and pay attention.

Length

Numerous studies have been conducted by major SEO players, trying to identify the ideal length for website content.

Some people agree that content of over 2,500 words, or even 3,000 words, is the only way to improve search engine rankings.

In a well-known article by SEO Guru Neil Patel, he says that a company’s content strategy should be to create the content of over 2,000 words.

content strategy

But, in 2016, SEO Expert Randy Fish disagreed.

SEO Expert Randy Fish disagreed

He describes that content should be useful and valuable to the reader, not necessarily long.

Indeed, as recently as 2020, a study of over 11.8 million Google Search Results by Backlinko found that, whereas content which was longer tended to generate more backlinks, it didn’t necessarily result in a better search engine ranking on its own.

Their study revealed that the average word count of the top 10 Google results was as low as 1,447 words.

backlinko quote

This is why SEO is such a complex subject. A person must always have their finger on the pulse, analysing data from multiple sources to obtain an overall view of what works and what doesn’t.

Either way, no one can argue that, all taken together, better content tends to be on the “longish” side.

How long is “longish”? Well, according to the recent study by backlinko above, it’s at least 1,447 words!

A rule of thumb could be that short content cannot necessarily be as useful as long content which is packed with tips and recommendations.

Freshness

Content should be fresh. It should be applicable to things happening now.

There are two ways to achieve this:

  1. Write content regularly, never missing a deadline to get another blog post up for your website.
  2. Write “evergreen” content.

“Evergreen” content is content which does not necessarily age, or ages slowly.

If you’re going to write an article about search engine trends in 2009, that article will likely be hopelessly outdated by 2020.

Evergreen content would not include a date in it.

The beauty of creating evergreen content is that it can gain in momentum, gathering links and picking up pace as time progresses.

It takes a lot of work to come up with evergreen content which remains “fresh” even as the world changes, but it can reduce your workload in the long term.

Originality

Content must be original. If you are saying what everyone else has already said, Search Engines will have no reason to pick your content over the others’ in the search engine results pages.

In an article by Marieke van de Rakt of Yoast SEO, she says, “Nobody wants to read old news.” She also says that original content is the first thing to focus on when trying to create SEO-friendly website content.

Originality

In order to improve one’s search engines rankings, it is utterly vital to create original content which has not been written before.

This can take quite some thinking, especially if you are in a highly competitive field such as, well, selling flowers.

If you are in a niche market, the problem is ameliorated to a degree. But, even then, the content you create should not be something your competitors have already created.

Some ideas on how to create original content are:

  • Interview people related to your industry and tell their story on your blog.
  • Write about anecdotes at your business. These are almost always guaranteed to be unique.
  • Write about a unique implementation of some business process at your office.

Regularity

Like everything in SEO, this topic is contentious.

Some experts believe that posting regularly is vital; others say the frequency is not that important if the quality is high.

But what does ”regularly” mean? Is it daily, weekly, monthly?

The simple truth of the matter is that you must balance what you can do with what you should do.

If you are busy all day filling orders for your clients, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a blog post out every day.

And, really, what would you write about?

One solution is to hire a content writer to churn out copy for you. In this regard, it’s better to choose an experienced writer; otherwise, you risk having plagiarised content on your site, which could lead to penalties from the Search Engines.

So, work out what you can do and take it from there.

A good rule of thumb is to try and write something original and useful every week.

Tip #4: Optimize your images

Images need to be optimised in order for search engines to understand what they are about.

Although technology has improved, a search engine still requires textual data to understand what a website is about.

Image “alt” tags

Images on a web page have a special element associated with them called an “alt” or “alternative” tag.

Think of the “alt tag” as a label — a tag — sticking out from a box, telling you what’s inside it.

Alt Tag

Alt tags are useful for two reasons:

  1. They describe the image and therefore give the search engine a tip about what it is about.
  2. They assist people who are using screen readers understand what the image is about. This makes your site more accessible.

Barry Schwartz, a well-known SEO expert, noted that Google doesn’t currently use accessibility as a ranking factor in this article on SEO Round Table and that there are no plans to do it in the future.

But on this matter of images, Google has said repeatedly that it looks for alt tags in images to help it understand the page and the image better.

accessibility ranking factor

Image context

Another important factor is the image context. The text which surrounds an image is important because it gives the search engine more information about what that image is about.

Remember: Search engines deal, fundamentally, with text first, and everything else second.

Image sizes

This is a vital point in SEO and recently became a major ranking factor, as the world started browsing the web more and more on mobile phones.

Actually, the ranking factor is specifically page speed, not image size. But images are a crucial element when it comes to speeding up a page’s loading time.

Indeed, in an article on Search Engine Land, Kristine Schachinger notes that optimising images is an area which many companies fail to capitalise on.

Image sizes

Reducing an image’s size can speed up a page’s load-time tremendously.

There are numerous tools available to reduce an image’s size. A simple search will take you to some of the best ones.

If your website was created by the Start My Business team, then image-size-reduction happens automatically when you upload an image to your website.

Tip #5: Don’t forget to link internally

Search Engines try and understand your site’s structure. A key way to do this is to link internally between your content.

When you create a link, make sure the link itself is descriptive of the page it is pointing to.

For example, if you have a page titled “The Best Roses in South London”, make sure you use the phrase “best roses in London” or “best roses in South London” whenever linking to that page from other pages in your website.

This gives the search engine a clue about the target page’s content.

Summary of SEO Optimisation

As you can see, SEO is a big subject. It takes years of experience to do it well, but the key thing is to get started.

Using these five tips above, you can make massive headway in your SEO goals, and get your website optimised and ranking far better than it did before in the major search engines.

About author
Julia Richards
Julia Richards

I am the head content writer at Start My Business with over ten years of experience in copywriting and content research. I specialise in writing topics for SME's, finance and digital marketing.

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