What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of developing your website and website content in a way that is compatible with the way that search engines function. With 92% of all online searches being powered by Google, when we talk about optimising for search engines, we’re usually referring to Google.
When you search anything on Google, you’re met with a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – page one of many. The top three search results in Google get 52.75% of all clicks and only 9.47% of people click results on the second page, so how do you make sure your content appears on the first page?
Google ‘ranks’ your website based on how trustworthy and relevant it considers your content. It will ‘crawl’ your content to find relevant keywords based on what the person has searched for, consider how long your website has existed, and identify whether other people are using and referring back to your website.
To make sure you stay in Google’s good books, we’ve outlined our top tips for making your website content SEO friendly…
Start with keyword research
Keywords are relevant search terms and phrases people type in when using search engines. This is how you tell Google that you’re ‘relevant’ to what your audience is searching for. But first, how do you know what your audience is searching for?
Consider what your organisation or company offers and put together a list of relevant topics or categories that you want to ‘rank’ for. For example, if you were a conservation charity, you might include;
- Animal conservation
- Environmental impact
- Eco friendly
From here, you can expand on these to include more specific search terms, such as locations, products or services. You can use a keyword search tool, like Ahrefs Keyword Generator or SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool, to help you find related keywords.
- Animal conservation volunteering
- Environmental impact assessment
- Eco friendly gifts
You can use these keywords and related search terms to develop your website copy and show Google that your content is relevant to its users. You can also take advantage of search terms that show high intent but are a little more niche to give yourself a competitive edge.
Work on your existing content
Now you have some relevant keywords, it’s a good time to audit your existing content, and see where it could be improved. Refreshing the content on older pages with your new keywords not only increases your relevance, but it usually prompts Google to revisit the page to ‘index’ the new content (giving you a nice, ‘new content’ boost!)
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that incorporating your new keywords into your website is not a copy-and-paste exercise. Google’s crawlers are incredibly sophisticated, and you can receive a penalty for black hat SEO techniques like ‘keyword stuffing’ by cramming as many keywords onto each page as possible.
Making your website content SEO friendly still requires that your content feels authentic and easy to read. Google rewards content that reads as ‘natural language’, so avoid clunky sentences just to squeeze in a keyword.
Have a blog strategy
Blog content is a huge benefit for SEO, as it’s one of the easiest ways to explore more specific keywords and search terms on your website.
For example, a significant number of searches are phrased as questions. Use your keywords or feedback from your audience to establish what people are asking and what they’re looking for. Online tools such as Answer the Public, allow you to enter your keywords and find relevant queries to build your blog strategy.
- What is animal conservation
- What is the environmental impact of using solar energy
- How to make a house eco friendly
Your blogs should provide value to your audience, they could be educational, entertaining or inspirational, and refer back to your services, products or organisation, where possible.
Use user experience to your advantage
Audience expectations for instant information is higher than ever and your SEO score can be impacted by slow loading times. Every extra second of loading time can cause an 11% drop in page views each time, leading to higher bounce rates and lower conversions.
Once your website has loaded, navigating your website content should be easy. Using heading tags and breaking up text with visuals is a great way to improve your SEO as well as user experience. Not only do heading tags (h1, h2, etc.) make your content easier to read, headings that use keywords also increase your SEO score.
Don't ignore accessibility
When Google ‘crawls’ through your website content, it doesn’t just review your text, it searches the images too.
A lot of marketeers and agencies will tell you that the meta descriptions and alt tags on images are another great way to improve your SEO through keywords. This isn’t wrong, however, it’s important to remember the primary purpose of these descriptions.
Web users using screen readers to navigate the web deserve to experience your website in an accessible, functional way. Adding keywords to your images is a great way to make your website content more SEO friendly, but it should never be at the expense of those who need it. As with your on-page text, be certain it makes sense above all else.
If you need more information on accessible marketing, why not download our free accessibility checklist?
Keep an eye on the future
AI content generators, like ChatGPT and Bard, are creating a lot of buzz right now, with industry leaders asking what content generation will look like in the future. These artificial intelligence chatbots can write content and generate ideas based on the instructions you give.
It might be tempting to give ChatGPT a quick prompt, ask it to write you a 1000-word blog and call it a day, however, while these AI models are incredibly complex, they still have their limitations. AI content generators are fed existing content and programmed to avoid certain topics it may consider ‘harmful’. This has the potential to replicate human bias as with so many AI creations before it. Additionally, researchers at OpenAI are currently looking at how their AI-generated content can be ‘watermarked’ to prove that the content came from ChatGPT, so you can’t pass it off as your own work.
If that’s not enough to put you off, Google currently considers auto-generated content as ‘spam’ and won’t prioritise it in its rankings. This may change with the introduction of Google’s own AI content generator, but this is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on the changing nature of content creation.
For the benefit of your SEO strategy, AI content generators are a great way to determine some relevant topics and keywords and create quick meta descriptions. You should use AI to make your job easier, not replace it.
Making your website content SEO friendly won’t be an instant fix - in fact, it can take a few months before Google starts paying attention - nonetheless, it’s a great way to start improving your rankings and boosting your web traffic.
If you need any support with your SEO strategy, blog writing, or paid search advertising – why not get in touch?
February 10, 2023
August 24, 2023