I know I know. When I mention the three letters SEO, it makes your nipples invert with terror.
I get it. We all know that SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is important. I mean who doesn’t want Google to love our website and push it up to the tippity top of the rankings?
But SEO is for geeks. It’s boring, technical and confusing.
And don’t get me started on those emails from Sanjit in Bangladesh, promising us “Much good number one ranking with the Google.”
Or those expensive SEO consultants, promising the traffic and conversions for top dollar – if you can afford to sell your kidney, well they might be an option.
So, most of us are left putting SEO firmly in the too hard box – and shoving it to the back of our mental cupboard.
But I want to give you some simple SEO tips and strategies that could make a difference to your ranking today.
What is SEO?
SEO is the art of getting your website to the top of the search engine rankings for whatever words or phrases you want to rank for.
So, if you have a site about your mad Doula skills, and you want your site to appear at the top of the Google results every time someone searches for ‘Doula in Melbourne,’ you use SEO to get it there.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which just means optimising and/or tweaking your site, so the search engines like it more.
Why is SEO important?
Around 6 billion searches are made on Google every day. That’s a lot of people searching for stuff. And while you can drive traffic to your website with social media, direct mail and the like, SEO has one important difference: It puts your site in front of people right at the moment they’re ready to buy.
On Facebook, someone might see your cake making video and think, “That’s nice. I must remember that when Tarquin is seven.”
But by the time Tarquin actually is seven, your video is a distant memory.
But if someone searches for ‘hedgehog juggler Sydney,’ you can pretty much bet they want someone who juggles hedgehogs in Sydney.
They want you; they just don’t where you are.
And SEO is what helps them find YOUR site and buy YOUR services.
So, as you can see, SEO is super powerful.
How SEO works
Search engines use three things to make the magic happen;
A bot or crawler: This tireless creature crawls the interwebs looking for content.
An algorithm: This clever piece of code uses about 200 checks to decide how good or bad your site and content are.
An index – The page where the results are displayed.
So, when you type in ‘semi-naked pictures of Aidan Turner’ into Google, they whizz through all their crawled content, find the most relevant pieces and display them in the search results, all in under a microsecond.
If you want to learn more about this check out this video from Google themselves:
Simple SEO fixes
Obviously, there’s a lot more I could explain about SEO, but let’s cut to the chase. I want you to finish this post with a few useful tips up your sleeve.
So here are four simple SEO fixes you can do today.
Make better keyword choices
Think long and hard about the phrases you want to rank for and focus on longer phrases rather than shorter ones.
Trying to rank for ‘carpenter’ will be impossible.
But ranking for ‘friendly carpenter in <your suburb>’ will be far more doable, and the people who search for this will be far keener and more ready to buy.
Write better title tags
The title tag is the blue link that appears in the Search results – it turns purple like Angela’s hair when you’ve clicked on it. It sits at the top of every page of your site. If you’re not sure how to find it or edit it, then speak to whoever built your site. If your site is WordPress, you can install the Yoast plugin to help with this.
It’s likely to be the first piece of content anyone will ever read about you, so make it short, and snappy.
Tips here include:
- Keep it under 65-ish characters including characters
- Put your keyword phrase at the start
- Make it unique to each page – so don’t use the same title tag for all pages.
Write better meta descriptions
The meta description is the couple of lines of text that appears below your blue link in the search results. What you put here won’t increase your chances of ranking, but it will improve your click through rate.
So, make it super compelling and ensure it gives people a real tangible reason for clicking.
Tips here include:
- Keep it under 150 characters including characters
- Include your phone number
- Make it unique to each page – so don’t use the same one for all pages.
Watch your image sizes
One of the main reasons great sites don’t rank well is that they’re slow. Your site needs to load quickly to please both humans and the Google gods – ideally under 5 seconds, but the faster, the better.
A big reason for slow sites is big chubby images.
Reason 1: Wrong dimensions – you’ve uploaded your photos straight from the photographer at 4000×4000 pixels even though they’re only showing in a 400×400 pixel space. Always ensure you use the correct imensions.
Reason 2: Not much file size – complete photographs have large k sizes, which means they take a long time to download to someone’s computer or mobile. Try a tool like www.imgopt.com to reduce the file size before you upload.
Don’t be scared of SEO
The truth is SEO is eminently doable by normal humans. I’ve taught heaps of complete noobs how to grapple the Google beast and achieve great results. One important thing to note here is that you should be careful who you trust. Seeking SEO advice in FB groups is easy, but it doesn’t always provide the most reliable information. Find some sources of truth and stick to them.
And eat the SEO elephant one bite at a time. Even small changes can have big results.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO, consider taking my beginners course – the 10 Day SEO Challenge. It’s a straightforward course that sends you one small achievable SEO task each day and includes expert tactics and valuable tips.