Ensuring your website is optimised for SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is important. If you need something, for many people Google (or similar) is the first port of call. 93% of all online sessions start with an internet search, so you want to make sure that your business is as close to the top of those results as possible.
SEO isn’t just about putting a few keywords into your content and hoping for the best. It’s something you can do right from the start, and something that should be considered at every stage of your website build. We spoke to Virgin StartUp loan recipient MBJ London, a startup providing tailored website build, design and management, about how to build a website optimised for SEO.
Key points to consider
Target Audience: when creating content on a website, whether that’s website copy or a blog, always keep your target audience in mind. Good quality and relevant content is key for a good SEO strategy. Always ask yourselves if the content you are creating will answer your visitor’s questions.
Mobile Responsiveness: having a mobile-friendly website has become crucial for SEO ranking. Google wants to serve their clients on every device, and will consequently penalise websites that are not mobile-responsive. Since your customers have become more mobile, your website should follow and keep up with this trend.
Backlinks: this is when other websites create a link that refers back to your content. One of the most difficult things in SEO is to create organic backlinks, since most high-ranking websites are hesitant to mention other businesses. We recommend creating your own link-building strategy, and definitely avoid buying any backlinks, as Google will penalise you for this.
Know your keywords
The biggest mistake most startups make is using the wrong keywords on their websites. Search engines base their rankings on the information that is available on a page, and so it is impossible to rank for information that is not there. Often companies do not create the content with the appropriate keywords in mind.
To find the right keywords, the first thing you need to do is understand what your customer is looking for. This means you can then pick the best words to use on your website. To find this you need to do keyword research and find the right balance between difficulty of ranking for these words, and the estimated search volume for them. Common words that get searched often are the hardest to rank for, because there’s so much competition.
The problem is that the best tools are not free to the public, and doing it manually can be time-consuming – it can be worth consulting an SEO expert to see what your options are.
Quick SEO wins
Firstly, always have in mind a keyword you want to rank for on each page of your website, and optimise the pages for those words. Try to mention that keyword in the page title, URL, H1 heading, image alt text and body. Try to make it obvious for Google what your pages are about.
Secondly, images need to be optimised in order to improve your page loading speed, which is also a ranking factor. When you upload an images make sure that the images are web-friendly, scaled to the format you want to use them for, and reduced in size (i.e. MB to KB).
Lastly, think global and act local. A lot of local businesses are not registered with Google My Business, which is a very useful tool offered by Google. Verify your business and submit your information in order to appear for local searches.
Google Search Console is a very powerful tool, and available for free. This is used to monitor and maintain your site’s performance in Google search results. It can also help you understand how Google views your website, so you can optimise it further. Claim your Google Search console (webmaster tools) to benefit from this service.