SEO in focus: the do’s and don’ts of website optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO), sometimes referred to as website optimisation or keyword optimisation, is an established component of the digital marketing field. While the strategy is criticised for being slow to take effect, this can often be attributed to corporate impatience and a misunderstanding on how the marketing technique works. Having said this, SEO can have significant, positive long-term effects for your business, if it is executed correctly.

SEO in focus

So, what are some of the things that you need to be aware of when instigating a new SEO project in your digital marketing platform? Well, here are some of the dos and don’ts we’ve compiled to ensure your SEO agency strategies go off without a hitch!

DO post relevant content

One of the foundational pillars of SEO and digital marketing is relevancy. It’s a critical component of Google’s algorithm (which updates continuously), so ascertaining that what you write and post through your website is relevant to your subject matter is instrumental to long-term success. Think of it this way: your blog needs to consist of topics, content and themes that genuinely resonate with your readership, your products and services, and your business’ overall philosophy and business model. This also means that you need to be engaging with new ideas and fresh content, which can be challenging at times. If you’re at a loss, there are plenty of resources you can use to generate new ideas for blogs and updates. Check out what your competition is writing about, or check what is trending on Twitter, as this is usually a reliable gateway into what is topical at the time!

DON’T engage in keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is often a mistake made by SEO marketers when designing new content and building new websites. Sometimes considered to be a form of “spamdexing”, keyword stuffing is a technique in which the content is overloaded with one keyword or multiple keyword phrases in order to alleviate the web page’s ranking as per Google’s algorithm. However, Google’s algorithm will punish websites that attempt to do this, so you’re far better off sticking to the rules and organically working your way up the rankings (even if that takes longer).

As a result, when producing content, we recommend using a team of qualified ghostwriters (outsource if you can’t afford this internally), who can proofread the copy and ascertain that it hasn’t been plagiarised or “keyword stuffed”. Be mindful of similar phrases or potential overlap with other technical terms, which might lead to unintentional keyword stuffing. For example, for the phrase “digital marketing services”, you should only try and use the word “services” when using the keyword, so make sure that word isn’t repeated excessively throughout the piece.

DO make the metadata descriptions accurate

Metadata descriptions refer to the HTML element, which summarises your page’s content. Not sure what the “metadata description” is? You know the content that appears under the headline of each entry. This is to help both users, and more importantly, search engines (which rank your page). Not only should the metadata description be accurate for each page, but it should also include the keyword phrase. When a user searches a specific phrase or topic, the keyword will appear bolded, which can help encourage users to click that link over others.

If you are unable to find the metadata description for a specific site, then right-click the web page link, and then click either “view page source” or “view source”. These descriptions can be up to 275 characters in length, thereby compelling you to communicate your message with urgency and instant appeal. Remember to include the keywords, keep it simple and don’t overload with too many characters!

DON’T ignore negative reviews

For small to medium-sized enterprises (which refers to most private enterprises), ignoring negative reviews can be crippling. Regardless of whether they are true or false, you need to respond to them publicly. If you have a Google reviews page or an internal reviews system attached to your domain, you should be responding to any negative reviews as quickly as possible. In fact, you should also respond to positive comments/reviews as well; however, the response doesn’t need to be as extensive. A simple, yet polite thank you and an encouragement to return/become a loyal member will suffice.

Returning to negative reviews, there is a reason why dealing with them promptly and publicly is crucial. From the perspective of a casual, prospective purchase, a negative review (with no context) could sway that purchaser from choosing you as their provider/seller. Responding to the complaint is your way of giving that issue context, while showing prospective customers that you, as a business, are willing to go above and beyond to improve customer satisfaction. If you believe the review is fake, then follow-up with a few questions, such as “When did you visit us?” and “How can we fix this for you?”.

DO expand your keywords to include synonyms and geography

No matter what industry you work in, keyword synonyms will go a long way in expanding your target market and overall base. For example, if you operate a medical practice in a specific region, you want to make sure you are also targeting surrounding suburbs (since you might have clients from those areas). As a result, make sure your keywords are tailored to neighbouring regions, like “GP in Winston Hills”, “GP in Baulkham Hills” or “GP in Toongabbie”.

In the same vein, it is also essential that you look at ways you diversify your keywords. Using the same example from before, some users might not use the phrase “medical practice” when searching for a GP. They might use “local doctor”, “general practitioner” or a more technical term when searching for medical assistance. These are things you need to be aware of when building your website and enhancing its SEO capabilities.

DON’T ignore the experts

We strongly recommend that you work with a reliable and well-regarded digital marketing firm when it comes to SEO. While there might be an appeal in saving money and internalising your SEO processes, it can and will take a long time to see results. This can be quite frustrating, especially if it is taking up too much time and distracting you from your core business activities.

Consequently, we strongly suggest that you work to reach out to a specialist SEO firm for assistance. You don’t necessarily need to outsource every part of the process to them; however, copywriting and keyword research can take up a lot of time throughout the day. So, at the very least, consider outsourcing these functions to an expert team that has knowledge in your industry and the world of SEO. At the same time, don’t make any assumptions about SEO and how it works – if you want to make a significant change to your project, discuss it with the experts before moving forward!

DO link to high-quality sites

While it might sound counter-intuitive, linking to high-quality sites is a proven method of increasing traffic to your site. For example, linking to high-domain news sources like Forbes, The Huffington Post, or The New York Times can add a sense of credibility, which can be rewarded in higher rankings for your blogs. However, your link must be genuine and relevant to what your content is about; otherwise, the link will look forced and spammy. On the other hand, you should NOT engage in link-sharing with other companies (which is where you link to their site and they link back to yours), as this type of exchange is punishable when detected by the algorithm.

DON’T ignore social media

Another aspect of SEO that you simply can’t overlook is social media. Over the last decade, social media has become an essential component of digital marketing for many reasons. For example, social media can help marketers learn more about their customer base and assist them in posting relevant content that their customers can see instantly. It can also be a space where you can deliver promotional materials in an enjoyable way! Indeed, ignoring social media would be a grave mistake, since most industries have at least some form of a social media presence.

In this way, you must be continually updating profiles, sharing new information about your business and looking at ways to cultivate engagement with your target market. Attempting this via social media is also one of the most cost-effective methods since the establishment costs are basically non-existent – all you’re paying for is the professional service.

DO add images to your content (but not too many!)

Posts that are text-only can still be useful; however, they can be dull and uninviting. While high-quality images will significantly improve the visual aesthetic of your webpage, they have understated SEO value. In terms of aesthetics, ideas can help break up the content into smaller chunks that are ultimately easier to read and comprehend. Like the text, however, these images must be relevant to what you are writing and aren’t merely placed in the body for visual purposes.

On the other hand, images bring a lot of SEO value to webpages. For example, users might be searching for an image relevant to their keyword search, which could lead them to your original image. How does this work? Well, you need to ensure that the “alt tag” to your image includes the keyword and that the film name is relevant to the content and keyword. While these amendments might seem incidental, they can have a significant effect on the SEO value of your website. You don’t need to be a photographer to get great images either, since there are heaps of fantastic domains where you can source free images.

DON’T overlink

Do you know how we said linking to external sites is critical? Well, it still is; however, we should also mention that overlinking to external sites can damage your SEO. How? Well, Google has been penalising some sites for engaging in unnatural outbound links since 2016. In other words, before you decide to link to another external page for SEO purposes, consider a few things: firstly, is it the link relevant, and secondly, will it work where it is being placed? If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions, then consider scrapping the link.

Concurrently, excessive linking can also make the content appear “very spammy” since it is natural to have only a few links per page. Several links per paragraph won’t look great to the average user, and it can also make your content hard to read. If you start overloading your content with links, you might notice bounce rates increasing. The bounce rate refers to how many people (as a percentage) are navigating to your website and leaving without engaging with anything (like drop-down menus or “read more” links). In essence, a high bounce rate means most users are unimpressed with some element of your site (or multiple aspects).

DO work on mobile indexing your pages

How often are people engaging in eCommerce activities and services via their mobile phone? The answer is simple: more and more each year. Ensuring that your webpage is mobile-friendly will encourage users who navigate to your site via their phone. At the same time, Google favours websites that are mobile-friendly, meaning you can increase your relative ranking simply refine your website to be mobile responsive. How can you put this into practice? Well, reach out to technicians and experts in this field, since they can do an audit of your site and work on building in mobile-indexing functionality. Put simply; you want links and buttons that can be easily used when someone is navigating your site on their phone.

DON’T be impatient or rush the process

As a final warning, you must be patient when it comes to coordinating your SEO program. The process might see quick results; however, the convention would suggest that it will take a few weeks, possibly a few months to see measurable results. SEO is focused on generating organic traffic to your website, whereas other options like pay-per-click (PPC) rely on sponsored content or paid advertisements to generate traffic. If you want or need quick results, then SEO isn’t the way to go. However, if you’re willing to respect the process and invest in a reliable, long-term digital marketing technique, then you should definitely consider SEO for your business venture.

Just remember the tips we’ve outlined when convening with professionals and implementing your project!