When discussing a website project with a client we hear this question more than any other. “Can you get me on page 1 of Google?”. No doubt due to the dozens of emails and phone calls we all receive promising this!
What our client has asked about is their website’s position on a Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Having your website rank on page one of Google or any search engine involves the process of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which consists of optimising your website for search terms that you would like your website to appear on SERPs for. This optimisation relies on research and investment in a long term strategy.
SEO essentially falls into 2 categories; On site SEO and Offsite SEO. Like Shaggy and Scoob, these two will have to work together if the mystery is going to be solved.
Before you even start, you must understand your Target Keywords (specific words or phrases that your audience will type into a search engine). These are what you’ll eventually be building a strategy around and be aiming to rank highly for on SERPs.
Back to Shaggy and Scoob and their business, Mystery Incorporated. They want their website mysteryincorporated.com to be Page 1 on Google… but for which Target Keywords? Without research that identifies what users are looking for and competitors data it’s just guesswork.
They could optimise for any number of search terms;
- “Private Detectives” sure, they may be popular search terms, but Sherlock, Poirot and Magnum have been working on their SEO for years… And actually Mystery Incorporated focuses more on the supernatural so this may not attract relevant traffic
- “Paranormal Investigators” maybe, but Mystery Incorporated specialise specifically in solving crimes so this search term is probably more suited to Mulder & Scully.
- “Ghost Catchers” Venkman, Spengler and the guys have got this corner of the search market covered. Who they gonna call? Not you.
But after some good research;
- “Supernatural Mystery” Zoinks! Not only do these keywords accurately describe your services, they aren’t extremely competitive. It’s realistic to achieve a high Search Engine Ranking for these terms!
This is the process of making sure a websites pages, titles, tags, content and overall structure are optimised. These are some of the most important onsite SEO factors;
- Optimised quality content (this is where your keywords come in!)
- Website Security and Accessibility
- Load Speed
- Mobile Friendliness
- Domain age, URL and Authority
Search Engines send out digital “spiders” to crawl (visit and analyse) every website on the internet. What it discovers determines how it decides which keywords to file a website under and how high up the results pages it’ll be. The spider will be back regularly, looking for new content and changes that can either push it higher, or relegate it into No Man’s Land.
Some of the things that matter most to Search Engines happen away from your website. For example, if you’ve got a lot links pointing to your website pages then Google is going to assume that you’ve got some great, valuable content… Otherwise why would anyone bother linking to it? It’s the reason I’m writing this post now. I’ll post it on our website with the plan being initially to add to our Onsite SEO (fresh quality content) and then;
- It’ll be shared on our Social Media Channels – driving traffic to the page your reading now (see, it works)
- If you’ve found it interesting or relevant you might just decide to share or bookmark it (oh go on)
- Perhaps you’re so engaged, you’re going to read some of our other content (keeping you on our site for longer – a big plus for SEO!)
- If we get a couple of good sites to link to this content, then we might just end up a couple of spots higher for some keywords.
Publishing a post to your blog and sharing is a small part of an off site SEO strategy. Your social media community, creating trust with the best review\rating sites and raising your brand awareness are all important (resulting in searches of your brand terms e.g “Mystery Incorporated”).
We’ll often describe good Search Engine Optimisation as the result of doing everything else right and that’s essentially what it is. Build a solid marketing strategy and plan, make sure you stick to it for the long term and you can reap the rewards. Don’t fall for anyone offering you shortcuts, or guarantees of getting you on “Page 1 of Google”. They can’t. And they’ve got no idea of what your target keywords are.