Digital marketers love their jargon: SEO. SERP. CMS. WYSIWYG.
This is all well and good if you speak “geek” as a second language, but not so great if you’re a time-poor business owner who just wants to increase their website's search engine ranking.
Don’t know your alt tags from your meta tags? Don’t sweat it. You can still do SEO.
We’ve cut through the jargon to explain six simple things you can do to improve your Google ranking right now - just by making basic changes to your website content.
Internal links are hyperlinks that allow users to click through to other pages on your website. They not only help customers navigate to the pages they need, they also allow search engines to better understand your content. Linking to important pages within your website also helps Google understand their value - which can improve their ranking.
Browse your website and look for opportunities to link to other pages. These should be relevant to the content and create a natural link for the reader eg if you’ve created a project page about a specific client project, link it to the relevant service page on your website. This type of internal linking spreads authority and rank throughout your site.
When creating internal links, something called “anchor text” is important. In simple terms, anchor text is the clickable text in the hyperlink. It’s best practice for anchor text to accurately reflect the content on the destination page, and not just be an exercise in keyword stuffing - which is bad SEO. See what I just did there? Anchor text.
Welcome to the digital age, where attention spans are short and… sorry, I forgot what I was trying to say… The key take-home message here is to never overestimate the modern attention span. Lots of people skim read nowadays, so ditch the rambling paragraphs and replace them with well-structured and concise content.
Simple language and short sentences are ideal, making sure that the most important information is at the top of the page. No one likes being hit by a wall of words, so make sure your paragraphs are short and that the text has plenty of room to breathe. Headings, subheadings and bullet points will break up the page, making it easy to skim.
To summarise, well-structured web content has:
Another common mistake is to put our best “expert” voice on when writing website content. I mean, that makes us look perspicacious and prescient, right? Wrong. Making your text clear and easy to read is really important, and it needs to match the reading literacy of the average Australian adult, which is typically at middle high school level.
The secret is not to use complicated words when simpler ones would make do. Readability is a hot topic in the digital marketing world, taking into account factors such as the number of sentences and the length of sentences, as well as the number of syllables and words in a passage of text (that sentence scores terribly, by the way).
Sound confusing? There’s an easy way to work it all out. There are a number of online testing tools where you can upload your text and get a free readability analysis. Some of the most popular are Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog and Coleman Liau; these tools will suggest specific ways to improve your copy - keeping people on your site longer.
Apologies in advance for incoming jargon. Semantic search refers to the way that modern search engines have evolved to look beyond basic keywords to understand what people are looking for through contextual meaning. Keyword stuffing - ie using the word “cigar” six times in the same sentence - has died along with the dodo.
What does this mean for your onsite SEO activities? In short, in means that search engines like Google want you to build more depth and meaning into your website copy. The key is to figure out why someone is searching for content on a particular topic or query, and how you can incorporate those elements into your web copy.
So it all comes back to writing great content that has depth, meaning and answers user needs. Search engines are far more sophisticated these days, and are now capable of using concept matching, synonyms and natural language algorithms to deliver accurate and personalised results. The best web copy answers a problem for the reader.
Meta tags provide data about your page to search engines and website visitors. They are vital for SEO, because they make it easier for search engines to work out what your content is all about. The fields to update your meta title and meta description can be found in your content management system, and these do not appear on your website.
Meta titles are the hyperlinks in blue text which appear at the top of each search engine result. They need to be no more than 50 - 60 characters long and should match the page contents. Make sure to include the important keywords first, and include your brand name if there is room to do so. It should be clear to the reader what the link contains.
Meta descriptions are the short lines of text that show below the meta title in search engine results and summarise the page content. Keep them around 155 characters, be descriptive and use your keywords. If you don’t have time to create descriptions for every single web page, just focus on your homepage and your most popular pages.
Alt text, alt attributes, alt descriptions, alt tags. Po-TAY-to. Po-TAH-to. These are all fancy terms that marketing nerds use to describe the text captions that are given to images online. As a bit of background, these were originally designed to help visually impaired people access page content, using screen readers to describe the images for them.
Turns out that Google uses alt text the same way, because their algorithm cannot “see” images in the same way that we can. Images that have optimised alt text provide greater relevance for search engines, which will help drive more traffic to your site. It’s a small thing, but creating captions for your images can help boost your Google ranking.
Best practice for alt tags is to keep them at 100 characters maximum, briefly describing the image using important keywords. Don’t use the words “image of” or “picture of” - just write a short but specific description of the actual image. Using an example, the photograph below could be captioned “Man wearing beanie on escalator taking photo”.
The beauty of onsite SEO is that it’s so easy to DIY - all you need is access to your website’s CMS (content management system) and a bit of time to spare. And if time is a problem, you can always outsource your SEO to digital marketing experts instead. Improved ranking, more traffic, better leads and higher sales - what’s not to like?
We'd love to work with you to build an SEO strategy that gets results. We’re based in Bendigo and are happy to catch up for a chat over coffee.
Download our SEO services PDF to see the full details of our three most popular packages, including package levels, pricing, and features.
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