Business Checklist: 8 steps to Search Engine Optimisation success

Posted by Rob Kendal on 15-Sep-2016 13:06:00

Recently, we were introduced to a fantastic infographic by our marketing cousins over at Digital Marketing Philippines. Their really helpful guide to building a stronger search ranking through 8 simple search engine optimisation steps will help business owners gain exposure in search, and will help digital markers add new techniques to their repertoire.

So let's dive in and explore some simple steps for search engine optimisation success.


blog header image for small business checklist - 8 steps to SEO success article

Search Engine Optimisation - it's not only for dark magicians

Most businesses who want to reach new customers through search and promote their content to a new audience turn to some form of SEO to climb those Google ladders. Whether they use an agency 

But success can be patchy. The DIY approach can prove difficult at best and overwhelming the rest of the time. Using third parties, such as a digital marketing agency or freelancer, can hike up the costs and leave some things in the hands of the unknown. 

However, search optimisation doesn't have to be the misunderstood, dark art wielded by the hands of mystical digital marketing wizards that it is believed to be. In fact, most of what makes up a strong SEO campaign happens in two straightforward parts:

  1. On-site optimisation - edits to content, titles, images, meta-tags and other elements on your website
  2. Off-site optimisation - this is promotional activities that drive traffic and links back to your website or landing pages (i.e. social traffic, links from other websites)

Inside both of these parts, is a series of little tasks that add up to an overall increase in your search engine rankings; the more you do, the better!

Even if you're a seasoned business or marketing professional, a good place to start is by refreshing your knowledge from the masters themselves, Google, by reading their starter guide to good search engine optimisation. We've also got a great article on the foundations of good SEO available to take a peek at.

Key take-aways from the infographic

It's an excellent infographic, packed full of helpful info so we'll keep the takeaways brief, but here they are.

Keyword research

This is where it all starts: keyword research. There are some great guides available when it comes to keyword research, but, in essence, when it comes to deciding what to try and rank for, it's best not to aim for something unobtainable or just too difficult. 

For example, trying to rank for 'Nike running shoes' will be tough and take more time and money than trying to target a longer phrase, such as 'Best women's running shoes for long distance'. The latter is more niche and although it probably has fewer searches, it is both less competitive (i.e. easier to rank for) and still addresses the intent of your audience.

On-page SEO & technical points

There are a lot of moving parts to good search optimisation and most of that takes place on the webpage, landing page, or blog article you're hoping to bubble to the top of the search results.

Grab your keywords from the first step and make sure you mention then here and there (don't overdo it!), whilst talking in general about the topic they cover. 

If you've got a solid CMS like WordPress, then you can check out the highly praised Yoast SEO plugin that will help you put out other important information like meta tags and schema mark ups, as well as publishing a thorough sitemap to Google, Bing, etc. to help them navigate your website.

Other, more technical points include:

  • adding an SSL certificate (Google sees this as an important move to a more secure web, so it's worth investing in one sooner than later),
  • making your website mobile friendly,
  • avoiding canonicalisation issues by making your IP address and non-www / www domains redirect to one or the other,
  • speeding up your website via caching, reducing style files and image sizes

Content creation & marketing

Content is arguably the most important thing when it comes to SEO. From the infographic:

 

"The success of your SEO campaign relies heavily on your content, particularly on how you can create content that website visitors love and would be more-than-willing to link to"

We couldn't agree more! By crafting creative content that keeps people coming back for more, sharing and linking to it, and generally promoting your website, blog, etc. you will start to be seen as having more authority and relevance by search engines, and therefore showing up higher than a competitor.

 

A blog is a great way to speak to your ideal clients and we have a series of articles to help you get started. Other great content ideas are white papers, infographics, videos and podcasts.

Social SEO & link building

Whilst Google go back and forth about the importance of social signals and authority on SERPs, what is important is how search can drive both organic traffic and links.

When people come across content worth their time, they often share it on social media or link to it via their own blogs and websites. The more people you can reach via social media, the more likely your natural links and shares will increase, and so will your search rankings.

Analytics

And finally, the tracking and measuring. The key part of any successful marketing strategy is in how you track and measure the effectiveness of the campaign. Whether you use an integrated platform, such as HubSpot, or something like Google Analytics, you should always be on the look out for what's working and what's not.

Without further ado, let's get to the infographic (it's ace, but a big one!).

small business SEO checklist - 8 layman steps for success - infographic(Infographic courtesy of Digital Marketing Philippines)


Content is king!

There's a lot of information to take in here (thanks again to Digital Marketing Philippines for their comprehensive infographic), but don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Start small and try to implement what you can when you can. 

One of the best approaches is to introduce a handful of things to optimise for search into your content workflow, so you can optimise as you create. 

The main thing to remember is that it's the content that's of the utmost importance! By creating better content that engages your audience, your search visibility will naturally increase because it will become more relevant. 

Bottom line? Learn to write better content that your audience want to read and share



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Topics: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Written by Rob Kendal

Rob has enjoyed a rewarding career in technology, from IT infrastructure through to software development, working with clients such as Virgin Holidays and the NHS. He understands the needs, challenges and logistics involved in making technology work for business and how to market it effectively.
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