Can I Do My Own SEO? - We Say Yes, You Can!
By Rebecca Allam – The Business Clinic CIC
On Tuesday 9th July, a group of business owners sat down to discuss the mysterious art of SEO - all keen and eager to find out how we could master such a cryptic puzzle. Luckily we had Cate McNeal to unveil it all for us and like with most magic tricks, it seems easy when you get to peek behind the stage.
It all started with getting more insight into our friend Google. What does it like and dislike and how does it measure the information you put into it? We hear a lot about keywords and how they must be used to communicate to Google what we do and how we do it so the Google God can decide where we deserve to be placed in its infamous ranking. Keywords are the most important part to having the right SEO and the more specific you can be with them, determines how important Google thinks you are. This doesn’t only apply to your written content, but to your images as well (who knew).
To be marked high up in Google’s search results, people often pay for ads - we’ve all seen them in the golden seats at the top of our searches. But in actual fact, 80% of Google users ignore those paid ads and look at those listed directly below, mostly because they feel they are better matched to the item or service they are looking to find. So doing it yourself and raising your own SEO game has never been more important.
This workshop was all about what we can do right now, for free, and for ourselves to ensure our business has a fighting chance on Google (and other such platforms). That’s not to say that there is no point in paying an expert to do your SEO for you. Whilst we can do things on our own to increase our chances and improve our ratings, there does reach a level of technical difficulty that you probably would be better off paying for rather than trying to learn to do it yourself, so please bear that in mind.
A great starting point is to find out your own Google index ranking - you can do this by typing the following into your Google search bar site: followed by the address of your own website without the www. So, The Business Clinic would be site:thebusinessclinic.org
This will show you how many pieces of content Google looks at to decide on the ranking it will give you. The only way to increase this number is to put out more content, but it can’t be just anything.
Keywords and how they work...
The majority of SEO is linked to the keywords you are using within the content you are writing and more importantly, that those keywords are what your clients would use when searching for your products or services. This is where it gets a bit more difficult, because whilst you know and understand your products and services like no one else, you aren’t the one buying them, so very often business owners will use keywords that they think describe their business, but they aren’t what prospective clients are using when they search for you online and therein lies the disconnect.
Let’s break down keywords a little bit so we can understand them better...
There are 3 types of keywords you need to know about...
Header keyword – This is 1 word in the title of your page/article/blog - for example, if you were a stage production company – lighting would be a good one to use
Body keyword – A couple of words used in slightly more detail to describe what you do i.e. commercial lighting
Long-tail keyword – This is about using the words to get to the route of what they are looking for i.e. affordable commercial lighting
Long-tail keywords will resonate more with your ideal clients and what they actually want or need and it is good to use a few of these, but during the process of including keywords in your content, you will need to use a mix of all 3 types to get the best results.
The key is to focus on the quality rather than quantity and the idea is to get 5 people finding you for what you actually do and how you can help them, not find 500 people who are looking for something similar but don’t really need your service.
2 other important factors:
1. Search difficulty – This is referring to how difficult it is for you to rank due to the other competition that is out there (unless you pay a lot of money you are unlikely to rank above).
2. Research – there are 3 things that you need to ask when doing your keyword research:
• Which keywords will your customers use?
• What keywords do you think they will use?
• What questions will they ask when they are looking?
A great tip would be to ask your clients what words they would use to describe your business, products and specific services; what do they think you do?; and how would they describe it if someone asked? These will be very useful when it comes to building up your own SEO and are the descriptions that really matter. You want to build your keywords as other people see you, not necessarily as you see yourself. Even if this means using words we wouldn’t normally use or like to be described as. So speak to your clients! I’m sure they will be more than happy to tell you and help you with your research.
Lastly, Google gears its searches to question related searches. So these will also come in very handy to help you build up key phrases to use in your content and questions to pose as your blog titles – include the answer within your article or you can write an FAQ page on your website featuring all the questions with an answer and links within your website to give more information.
This is just the beginning of your SEO Survival Guide and there is much more you can do for yourself to get you closer to the top spot.
To find out more on SEO control, contact Cate McNeal via www.themcnealmethod.co.uk