Today’s blog is an absolute goldmine of information – my special guest Laura Duncan from The Design Room has been kind enough to share her amazing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) knowledge, broken down into some simple steps! If SEO has been a bit of a mystery to you, you are going to LOVE this blog post. Thank you so much Laura, and over to you!
SEO MADE SIMPLE – A BEGINNERS GUIDE
We’ve all heard it – SEO matters! But what is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation anyway? Search Engine Optimisation consists of various ways for increasing your website’s ranking and discoverability.
Being found by searchers is the goal, especially for those who use big players like Google. The ultimate goal is to be number one or close to the top of Google’s search results when searching for keywords related to your business. The purpose of SEO (in its essence) is to increase the number of quality visitors to your website. Therefore, good to exceptional SEO should help drive growth. Couple that with a well-designed and functional website, your conversion rates should increase too. Sounds easy, right?
There will be many references to Google in this blog because they are the biggest beasts out there. Today we will cover the beginner’s stuff to help you understand the basics to strengthen your SEO and shift a step closer to that number 1 Google ranking.
In this blog, you will learn about:
- Optimal website design tips for SEO that search engines love
- Keywords how its more than one word
- Essential tools – Know more about your website and SEO progress and success
- Power of creating and sharing value-added content
SEO it’s not everyone’s fav topic, including mine, so grab a coffee, stiff drink or bubbles and just start… preferably by reading my article.
As I mentioned in the opening, SEO is made up of various factors with the aim for them all to work together. What are these factors?
Website design with SEO
If you don’t already know, Google can crawl (sounds creepy, I know) or find and discover your website and its content. Therefore, it is essential to consider all the following factors when approaching your SEO plan. Things like ensuring you have valuable and compelling content that is share-worthy and inclusive of keywords is powerful. Position that with a user-friendly experience and exceptional functional web design to strengthen your SEO even more.
A great designer understands the design guidelines that align with visitors expectations to ensure clarity and usability of a website. Go deeper and apply your SEO plan to
- Header/Headline – this is not your title; this is the top of your article. Your searcher will either read it or click elsewhere. There are many formulas but keep it short, 6 to 10 words max. Use creative adjectives and numbers. People will share if it is exciting and educational – such as a relevant ‘How to article.’
PRO TIP: Headline = Trigger word or Number + Creative Adjective + Keyword + Promise
- Images – Google can’t see your images; therefore, describing images helps with relevance. Create your own (use a designer), avoid standard stock (blah), consider dimensions, pick relevant images that support your content.
- Alt Tags – the alt and title attributes of an image are commonly referred to as alt tag or alt text and title tag and help make a site more accessible. The alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page. So if you are using an image as a button to buy product X, the alt text should say: “button to buy product X.” Doing this also caters for visitors with disabilities.
- Fonts – while font does not directly affect your SEO, it can influence how your clients choose to interact with your business; keep it familiar and simple.
- Call to Action – must stand out in colour. Colour has an enormous effect on SEO traffic. Some research states, “colour increases brand recognition by 80 percent.” A brand colour must connect to the audience; otherwise, it will turn people off. Learn more.
- Videos – help engagement, make them educational, fun and unique. Sharing stories builds trust, but most of all, Google owns YouTube! Say what?!
- Site speed compress your images, structure it well and optimise code. Users are known to leave a site after 3 seconds.
- Structure – When you remove colours, fonts, images, graphics, images, and white space, good site design is really about a great structure. Our human brains crave logic and finding items where they are expected and locating what they are searching for. It’s like knowing where your car keys or phone is always – because it makes sense. A good structure site can reduce bounce rates and improve pondering time. Couple it with Site links so users can navigate easily, increase click rate and shorten the conversion lead time. All lead to improved rankings.
Remember SEO is building a foundation to help searchers find you. It is your and the designer’s job to keep your website’s visitors in mind and at the heart of your web design.
Keywords & Search intent
Today, you need to go beyond the primary 1 keyword – typically your branded keyword. An example of this for me would be ‘design.’ The goal of SEO for a homepage is to let Google know the underlying theme and purpose of your site and the type of product/service you are offering.
For example – mine could be Brand website design, brand identity design, graphic design Brisbane, build a brand, professional logo designers etc.
Shifting from a 100% match to broader topics (long tail keywords) makes your content more relevant to the user’s search intent. Focus more on a general topic to which your keyword belongs because this is what your audience/user is actually interested in. I’ve used long tail keywords throughout this blog – can you find them?
PRO TIP: include keywords in your headings as much as possible. If Google gives your Headline / Heading tags more weight, then including long tail keywords will support your ranking in search results.
Power of Sharing and external links
Sharing – it never ends, and the more quality content you share, the more positive impact it will have on your SEO results. What goes around comes around, right? Let’s just make it a good karmic experience 😉.
Having compelling and helpful content within your website, including beneficial keywords within your web design and copywriting, and internal site linking is fantastic. Having share-worthy content which is promoted via social media or other reputable websites and more is even better! Use your connections, reach out to new contacts, share, learn – be social. Remember, the more quality, relevant sites that link to you and your website, the more you will shine in Google.
When your website’s content is educational and serves your customers and clients, your visitors will see and understand the value in your content and business. In a perfect web experience, your value-adding content will lead to more visitors, more visits, and more links to your website. This will trigger Google into knowing you, your business and your website are dependable and authentic.
Without diving into the technicalities, Search Engine Optimisation depends on how ‘real’ visitors engage with and value your content. Food for thought.
Essential tools – the SEO must-haves
We covered off keywords earlier in the blog. Did you know what you see when you search for your business, or your keywords are different from what others see? Google search results are tailored to each unique Google user. It is based on your location, recent searches, or websites you’ve visited. So, next time you search your business, your website may be listed in one position (even if you’re searching under a disguise). But then, when someone else searches, your website could be listed in a different position.
Therefore, I strongly recommend using Google Analytics and Google Search Console. It will allow you to interrogate your organic visits and search engines and truly understand your website ranking when searchers use specific business keywords or phrases. What’s the point of doing all the SEO research and integration if you can’t measure it…am I right?
Check out my favs here:
- Google Search Console: This console helps measure your sites search traffic and performance, highlights issues and helps your site shine in Google search results
- Google My Business: Update your business profile and connect with clients across Google Search and maps.
- Google Analytics: This Will give you unique insights and capabilities to get the most out of your data and reach the right customers.
- Rank Math for WordPress sites: It is a Search Engine Optimisation plugin for WordPress that provides you with built-in suggestions for your content.
- Yoast: Overall – it can help you create high-ranking content.
There are no guarantees or cash backs. It is unrealistic to rely on Google to bring you visitors or conversions. Google and other search engines rules for SEO are constantly changing and evolving. It is more important to build a solid foundation to optimise your website. Work together with your designer to ensure the site is functionally designed, user friendly, and the content is relevant, helpful, and shareworthy. A visitor’s subjective opinion of your website (e.g. I like the design, this looks trustworthy, great content, this page is confusing, etc.) is all that matters when you’re asking them to convert.
Google LOVES well coded and structured, and designed websites. This is how Google makes sense of your site’s information. So, if you are going to DIY, do your SEO research first, because no matter how good your site looks, it’s no good if we can’t find you!
Also, for those who are just starting please, please ensure you have researched your domain name before starting anything (branding, logo design, social media, SEO research, content writing). Why am I throwing this in now? Because I see people crushed when they realise their business name or domain name is unavailable after loads of hard work has already started! Check out these six steps to take.
So now you know there are various factors to be mindful of and multiple methods for strengthening your SEO. Every page of your website should be created with SEO and offering value to your visitors in mind. In the long run, being authentic and sharing valuable, honest, user-friendly, and well-designed content will help your SEO success.
PRO TIP: Prioritise optimising the most important pages of your site first. Start at the homepage and work your way through services, products, and blogs.
By now, you might be on your second coffee or bottom of the bottle. Thanks for sticking with me. I know there is a lot to digest.
Take it one step at a time and if you are still struggling to wrap your brain around SEO and feeling overwhelmed, just call or direct message me on Instagram.
PS: Engage the Professionals!
Web Designers are the bomb – not that I’m biased 😉, and can undoubtedly complement SEO goals with design functionality, user-friendliness and the look and feel. However, there are SEO champions who provide more extensive and comprehensive SEO services. Please know you can always look to hire a professional SEO expert in the future.
ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOG AUTHOR
Laura Duncan is a designer, brand identity specialist, passionate creative and lover of all things business. She and her team at The Design Room have been in business for 15 years. They are devoted to crafting your brand strategically. They are a small business that loves what they do and believe great design can impact the world, no matter how small or large their clients organisation is.
The Design Room partner with the finest copywriters and SEO specialists, ensuring all aspects of their clients businesses shine bright. They pride themselves on being by their clients side and giving them all they need to accomplish their dreams.
Please check out Laura’s website here: thedesignroom.com.au
THANK YOU LAURA!
If you’d like to book a call – get in touch – send me a message on any of my social platforms or book a call at http://bit.ly/Discoverwithjenn
And – I also have a wonderful online community called Like Minded Business Owners which is a fantastic Facebook group of small business owners who have a wealth of knowledge to share – please join if you aren’t already a member and become a part of a wonderful community!
Or you can DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email email@example.com
I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
ABOUT JENN DONOVAN!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.