This is branded content.
SEO is arguably the most important factor in growing your business online, but you may not have heard of it.
Or if you have, someone likely said they would "do SEO for you", and charge you a monthly fee and you probably had no idea what they were doing.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the practice of optimising your online footprint, not just your website.
It is optimised so search engines can find you, understand who and what you are, your products and services, and make sure your content is returned as a search result.
Good SEO, such as what StudioHawk does, increases the organic traffic to your website. This means more people are checking you out, with the possibility of buying what you're offering. This translates to a better bottom line for you!
StudioHawk has won the 2021 Global Search Awards award for the best Large SEO Agency in the world. So when it comes to SEO, they know what they're talking about. They know how to bring more traffic to your website and more dollars to your back pocket.
StudioHawk takes the mystery out of SEO by reporting to you every month and by having the Hawk Academy, where you can learn all you want about SEO, enough to do it yourself if you'd like.
Now here's some tips to help you rank high on the Google search results.
Make sure Google can crawl your site
What does it mean for Google to be crawling your site? Google has robots that scour the internet and look at websites. It collects data about those sites so when someone enters a search query, Google can return to the user the best websites to match their query.
There are ways that you can help Google understand what is on your website. The first is by having a sitemap file and a robots.txt file.
- A sitemap file, either as an XML or HTML file, lists every page and file and video and more, that is on your site, in a file tree format. This allows the crawl bots to see your page structure, and take note of what content is where.
- A robots.txt file tells these crawlers what pages and URLs they can look at and index. Sometimes you may be working on some content or a page, and it's not yet ready to publish, so you'd tell the crawlers to ignore it for now.
These two files make sure that all the relevant pages and content on your website are being indexed by Google. You want to make it as easy as possible for Google to find you and share you with their search results.
Keyword research is key!
Keywords are the words people are typing into Google when they make a query. Where once upon a time we'd maybe type one or two words into a search engine - TYRES, now people are more complex in what they type into Google - Where can I buy tyres? Where can I buy tyres for my sports car? What kind of tyres are best for my 4WD?
You need to know what keywords people are using to find what it is you're selling. And it might not be as simple as one or two words.
There are some free tools out there to do some keyword research. StudioHawk uses SEMrush to do keyword research, and there is a free option that can net you some great results.
When you have done some keyword research and discovered what words you'd like to rank for, check your content to see if you have those words. If not, then create content, with those words in the title, and the first 200 words of your content.
Make sure you focus, not only on the primary keywords but the long-tail keywords as well. Hit as many as you can to get the best bang for your buck.
What is the customer's search intent?
Search intent is all about what it is a user is searching for. If you know what they're looking for, and you can provide the best answers to their intent, you raise your chance of a user clicking on the link to your website.
There are 4 main types of search intent:
- Informational - These are people looking for answers, looking for information about stuff. Perhaps the opening time of a store, the weather for next week. Google knows that people searching for Salsa recipes may be interested in Mexican food, and could suggest restaurants in the local area which deliver Mexican food.
- Navigational - these are people who know a website, or place online they want to find, but don't know the web address. This kind of intent is not valuable for SEO purposes.
- Transactional - This is the intent to buy. People are searching for something to purchase. Targeting this intent can lead to many sales.
- Commercial - This is where people are researching what to buy. They are making comparisons between products and pricing. This is also a good search intent to target.
You can target the specific intent by answering the questions posed by those searches. Provide information, give comparisons between products, and explain why this product or service is the best to buy.
Combine search intent with keywords and you have yourselves a mighty fine SEO recipe.
Eye-catching title tags & meta descriptions
Title tags generate the bolded and different-sized titles you see on a webpage. They have a hierarchy of importance, starting with TITLE, then H1, H2, H3, all the way down to H6.
The TITLE tag is what your page will be called. Having a keyword related to the content on the page in your TITLE is powerful SEO.
The H1 tag is the main heading for your content. Again, keywords in this will show Google what the content is about and help rank your content for search results. Make sure the Title tag and the H1 tag are not identical.
From there you have the H2 all the way down to H6 tags. This helps organise the content in your article in an order which helps Google track your content. These subheadings you're reading the content for now, are each H2 headings. Because they are all aspects of SEO it is important, So you want Google to know this too, hence they're all H2.
Remember to keep the hierarchy in order when it comes to headings. You can only have one H1 tag for your article. H2 tags are the important things you want Google to know. H3 tags nestle beneath H2 tags and support the tag above it.
Meta Descriptions are those one or two sentences that appear beneath the website links when you search in Google. It is a brief description of what's on the website if you choose to click through. This is an excellent place to put a keyword or two, but also remember to write as if a human will read it.
This is kind of like your storefront window. Someone will read the meta-description and decide if what's inside your store, or on your website, is what they want. If it doesn't read well, or doesn't truthfully describe what's on your website, then they won't click through.
What is internal linking?
Internal linking on your website, so a user can be on one page, and then be referred to another page, also helps you with SEO and Google.
The crawl bots will see your content, and if there is an internal link, much like a human user, it will check to see if that link is relevant and backs up the content.
If you have strong content and you're internally linking where appropriate, each page can share Page Authority with each other. This will help raise your content up the search results page.
When linking, you need to consider the anchor text you use. Don't have a simple 'click here', make it obvious and contextual what the click-through is going to be. This not only helps the user, the Google crawl bots like it as well.
Is your site mobile-friendly? How is your website speed?
According to Statista.com, by 2022 19.27million people will be using the internet on a mobile device. You need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Along with being mobile-friendly, you need to make sure your site loads fast. Google will consider both of these factors when ranking your website.
Things you can do to help page load speed include:
- Reduce the file size of images.
- Remove any 3rd party apps or widgets which are not necessary.
- Make sure your host server has good internet speeds.
Write Good Blogs & Have Fresh Content
Blogs are great for helping with SEO. Firstly you can really target keywords and search intent with a blog. And secondly, it is fresh content, and Google loves it when you're posting fresh content.
If you're talking about a big topic, you can cut that blog up into smaller blogs and internally link to them. As mentioned above, this can be great for your SEO and Page Authority.
When writing blog content make sure the TITLE tag is unique for each page.
You also need to make sure your blog section is updated regularly. StudioHawk recommends a minimum of once a month. Twice a month is better. And make it strategic. Writing a blog can be time-consuming, so it needs a purpose. It needs to have keywords and it needs to service your client base and search intent.
Get your Google My Business happening
If your business has a physical location then you need Google my Business. This is where you enter your business details, such as address and contact phone number, hours of opening, and more.
This helps with Local SEO, where someone near your location is searching for what you have. Then your business listing will pop up, a Google Maps segment showing where you are, and a phone number to call. And thanks to most people searching by mobile device, that phone number can be clicked and called quickly and easily.
Backlinks: guest posting and brand mentions for beginners
Backlinks are an off-page, technical SEO practice which you may or may not have heard of before. In its simplest terms, a backlink is a link that is placed on someone else's website, which points back to a specific point on your website.
You want websites with good reputations and which are related to what you're talking about, to backlink from.
You do NOT want backlinks from gambling sites, or link farms that just have thousands of links that you pay for. Google will see these tricks, and penalise you for them.
You can get some good backlinks by guest posting on industry sites, writing articles for them, and linking back to your site. Research your industry web pages, find a gap in the content, or an idea that would make a great article. Write it and then offer it to the website, for a backlink in return.
Brand mentions on social media that link back to your site are another way to get backlinks as well. Helping people out in groups, and linking back to your website to 'find out more' can work here.
Be patient - SEO is a long term game
SEO is a long game but it is a good game. No, you will not start 'winning' the game overnight. Once you start making progress, especially through organic traffic, it tends to snowball.
You need to learn patience, and you need to trust that the process works. StudioHawk has a lot of evidence and a swathe of happy clients who love the work they do and have been reaping the benefits of the long game.
Want to grow your SEO?
StudioHawk is an award winning agency for being the best SEO agency in the world.
"We think it's awesome that some world-renowned people think that," founder and director of StudioHawk Harry Sanders said.
"We're still doing what we're doing - helping customers get people to grow their website through SEO.
"We think that because we love what we do, that helped us win the award.
"It's not just a job, it is a lifestyle.
"Cliché? Then speak to Harry or Lawrence, or any of the staff at StudioHawk, ask them how they can help you and your online business grow and prosper," he said.
Contact StudioHawk on 03 9068 0055 and to start a conversation about making your site awesome so Google loves it, and you love it too.