SEO can be a real minefield to navigate, but there are three simple ways to up your SEO game just be re-assessing your content output.
Search engine optimisation can be a real minefield – and the truth is, not even those industry ‘experts’, ‘gurus’ and ‘ninjas’ really know how to game Google’s algorithm. That’s because, unsurprisingly, Google keeps its cards close to its chest. It doesn’t really want folks playing with their clever algorithms, because the more unscrupulous types will inevitably devalue the results that Google currently delivers. And if it’s not delivering the very best and most relevant results users will – eventually, at least – be tempted to try out competitors.
Having said that, there are three easy tweaks you can make to your content that will assist in your visibility in search engines without resorting to black hat tactics that risk penalising your site (Read: Stop appearing in Google’s search results).
Use more long-tail keywords
As a business, chances are you’ve done some keyword and phrase research. If you’re a Leicester-based IT management firm, then you’re probably going to liberally sprinkle the keyword ‘IT management in Leicester’ through your website content. That’s cool.
But it’s not very creative. In fact, you’re severely limiting those who find your company, since the only people you’re targeting are those who are already actively seeking IT management, which is just a small part of your marketing funnel.
So now what we want to do is target those who may not even realise they require your services. This can be done with long-tail keywords and phrases. You’ve probably seen these on websites: What time is The Apprentice on? Who is Superman’s girlfriend? Why does pineapple go with ham on pizza?
Long-tail keywords are essentially long-form searches that people are actually performing on Google. They don’t have to be questions, either. If you sell training courses, then there’s little hope that you’ll rank for a keyword as broad as… ‘training courses’, but by being specific, by narrowing down what type of training courses – for example, ‘swimming pool health and safety training courses’ – your long-tail keyword stands a much better chance of attracting the right customers.
And one of the best locations to place long-tail keywords and phrases is on…
Relevant blogs that inform
There are two very good reasons for maintaining a company blog. For starters, you can create a dialogue between you and your customers – informing them about your products, services or company achievements; it’s an opportunity to humanise your brand and lift the veil on your business.
But there’s another purpose to company blogs. See, when Google thinks your website is dead, unless it’s getting thousands of hits a day, they’ll stop ranking it in search results. And since companies very rarely change their website content on a regular basis, a blog is the ideal platform to keep your site updated and fresh in the eyes of Google.
The optimal way to do this is to ensure that every blog post you put up has a purpose within your overall marketing strategy and, for search engines, keeping it relevant. Relevancy should be fairly simple – in fact, it will almost happen automatically, since if you’re totally focused on discussing, say, IT management, then related and variant keywords will naturally enter into the copy.
Essentially, a good corporate blog should offer thought-leadership and answer questions your customers (and potential customers) are likely to have. Outside of company updates, then, tips and tricks, FAQs, best practices and tutorials are all part of the content goldmine, and that’s where your long-tail keyword research comes into play. If your research indicates that people are asking Google about the difference between a CRM and a TMS, then your blog is the ideal platform to cover that.
Pro-tip: When adding headings into your blog, to give the words room to breathe, see if you can naturally use a keyword and change the formatting to 'Heading 2' - that way, Google will sit up and take notice of it.
Place keywords into images
This isn’t a licence to Photoshop ‘IT management in Leicester’ across your featured image – not least because Google can’t yet ‘read’ images, although it can make a fair guess. But when you add any image to your site or blog, there are a couple of steps you’ll want to take.
Firstly, rename the image file to reflect your keywords, rather than the default string of numbers and letters that images are invariably saved as.
Next, when uploading the renamed image, you’ll usually be given the option to give it a title, description and alt text. No matter how much of a hurry you’re in to present your beautifully written content piece to the world do not leave these blank.
These fields are essentially freebie keyword placements; an opportunity to up your SEO without stuffing your content with keywords that obstruct the natural writing flow (and really anger the Google Gods).
Pro tip: If you use the same image multiple times across a site, don’t simply update the fields since that can have a detrimental effect. Instead, upload the image again with a fresh file name and all new title, description and alt text.
See, easy, right? A few tweaks to both your existing content and the content you produce in future will give you a search engine boost – and keep Google happy at the same time. By getting into the habit of doing each of these, you stand to yield real benefits for your business.