If you have a business website you’ve heard of SEO – but you’re likely unsure what exactly it involves. Actually, the basic rules of search marketing are very straight-forward and haven’t really changed since Google launched their search engine all those years ago.
I’ve been told I just need to put keywords on my site.
Your page does need to include relevant keyword phrases. But to suggest that’s all you need would be like suggesting your house only needs foundations.
What about if I put them in keyword tag.
In the early, wild west years of the internet search engines did rely on the keyword meta tag to find out what a website was about. The words didn’t even have to appear on the page itself, but could be ‘hidden’ in the page source. This led to obvious abuse and actually prevented search engines from showing relevant results. So they simply stopped using the keyword tag as any indicator whatsoever – it simply doesn’t count.
NB: If you’re currently running Google Ads, the keyword match types have been significantly updated.
I’ve been told I just need links to my website.
It’s true that search engines like Google use links as an indicator of your website’s relevance to – and authority on – any given topic. But not all links are created equal. Similar to the keyword story, marketers found ways to make this work for them that didn’t reflect the value of the website they were promoting. Now, search engines look carefully at the quality of your backlinks. Let’s say I’m a local builder – it would make sense that trades or building materials websites linked to mine. And if those sites were well-established, and had their own authority, even better. A link is like a vote of confidence in your website – but votes from related, high quality websites are worth the most. In fact, one or two high quality backlinks can be worth more than an enormous number of low quality links. Most businesses will naturally have related providers. By focusing on building these networks you’ll be able to identify natural linking opportunities online.
I’m using WordPress and have a plugin that does SEO.
The vast majority of small business websites today are using WordPress. And many of those will have a plugin installed that helps with what’s called “on page” SEO. On page SEO refers to any of the optimisations we make on the website itself ( remember the linking strategies we talked about earlier – that’s off page SEO – it occurs off your website).
There are a range of plugins built to assist with on page optimisation. One of the originals is All in One SEO. But perhaps the most widely used WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast – which is an incredibly useful too, but it’s just that, a tool. Unfortunately, there seems to be an idea out there that simply installing the Yoast plugin will solve your SEO. Which is kind of like a builder turning up to your new home site decked out with a full tool kit – that sits in his ute!
I’ve been told I need keywords in my domain name.
The short answer to this one is, you don’t. You don’t have to look far on the internet to find websites ranking very nicely without keywords in their domain name! There was a time when website marketers would buy up phrase based domains just to try and rank. Maybe it was a factor once – but it is not now. The general rule of thumb with SEO is, if it sounds too easy to be true, it almost certainly is. Search engines work hard to keep their results relevant and of high quality. And after 30 years the all the obvious short cuts have been closed. But there’s a more important point here – keyword based domains can sometimes be penalised. So it’s worth thinking carefully about your domain. If keywords naturally fit in your domain, but if you’re trying to hard, don’t. Many local business naturally have keywords in their business name, and their domain name, like “Port Macquarie Pools”, which is fine. If you’re wondering what domain name is right for your business, get in touch add we’ll guide you through the process.
I’ve been told not to link to other websites.
This myth highlights one of the essential principles of good SEO – create value – and share other’s value. There’s nothing wrong about providing your blog readers, for example, with links to other relevant content. It’s not bad for SEO at all – it’s what the internet is all about. In fact, sharing those sorts of links is another way to show search engines what your website is about.
The bottom line is that there are no short cuts to search engine optimisation – but there are rewards if you’re willing to make a genuine investment which focus on creating connections with more people.