You have a beautiful website, a great business and now you want people to find you. How do you get Google to take notice? It is important to get that web copy up to scratch in order to have better SEO ratings. In this post I am sharing some basic SEO tips that have helped me improve my websites.
Publish original content
It is very tempting to copy and paste text from another website if you have found a business online that is offering a similar service. Many people do this. However, apart from the fact that is not good practice (you are basically stealing someone’s else’s copy), Google also does not like this. When the Google machine does its job and crawls across the net looking for new websites and content to rank, it will detect copy that is duplicated from another site. This is not good news if this applies to your website as Google will prevent your site from showing up higher in the search results. The solution? Be original. It is OK to get inspiration from similar sites, but make sure you rewrite the content and put it into your own words. Not just a little bit, but enough to make it read as a completely new article.
Pay attention to readability
What does this mean? Readability is another thing that search engines look for in a website. A well written blog post or web page gets ranked higher. This means it is a good idea to avoid using very long sentences. It it also recommended to write in an active rather that passive way, i.e. “I am sharing some tips today” instead of “Some tips are shared by me today”. Another way to improve readability is to keep the paragraphs concise and separate them with a sub header.
Paragraphs longer than 300 words are not recommended. You can choose to include your keyword in one or more of your sub headers too. It’s common sense really: what would keep your attention when reading web content? Probably a text that has plenty of space, bite-size paragraphs, sentences that are not too long and interesting sub headers to keep you reading. Always read and re-read your copy and try and place yourself in the shoes of your web visitor: is he/she still with me?
Use keywords (and be niche)
What is your blog post, article or web page about? What would people type into Google in order to find it? Testing your keywords or key phrases by typing them into Google is a good idea to see what people are looking for and what kind of pages rank high. If the top pages are all big high street stores or large international companies, then your website will probably not show up using that particular keyword. Try and be more niche, but not too obscure either. Add another word to be more specific and see what comes up instead.
Having a niche makes it easier for people to find you than when you are trying to be too generic. Zoom in on what your business is really about. Use your location, a specific target audience or description of your product/service in your key phrase. When you choose a keyword, make sure to use it in the title and several times in the body of the text. Using Keyword planner is a useful tool in choosing keywords.
Don’t forget your image descriptions
Google not only scans text, it also looks at your images. Don’t forget to give your images descriptions that will help rank your page higher in web searches. Use keywords in the title, the ALT description and even captions to improve your SEO.
Install YOAST on WordPress
If you are on WordPress like me, YOAST is a helpful plugin that highlights any improvements you can make in your web copy. It will give you a green light when your SEO and readability are good, an amber light if it is OK and a red light if it needs some work. It tells you exactly what to do and where the errors are in your content. The plugin is free on WordPress Pro packages.