When you are looking to buy something and you are not sure where to go, what do you do? Google it! Being positioned near the top of search results means you are positioned in front of a hungry crowd, ready to buy. That’s the goal for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and unfortunately it’s an industry filled with myths and old information.

Most of us look to the internet to find information about products and services when we are preparing to purchase something new. Some will ask for recommendations on their favourite social media platform, others will go straight to a search engine and do their own research.

Can you influence the recommendations on social media to get your business in front of potential customers? Sure you can – provide a fantastic customer experience, great value and a great product or service and you should attract some recommendations in social media. Can you influence the result in search engines to make sure you appear on the top of the search results? Sure you can – provide a fantastic customer experience online by building a great website, provide great value and a great product or service and you’ll attract the attention of search engines.

Finding your way to the top of search engines can be an extremely valuable marketing tool, if you give the marketplace what they are looking for. They are looking for information and answers and they want it fast. Better yet, they are often looking to buy and are simply research who they will buy from. Search engines are today’s equivalent of a phone directory, enabling anyone to look for, and find, anything they want or need from anywhere in the world. Despite search engines being a very powerful marketing tool, many businesses find it hard to make the most of this technology. Over the years there have been many shonky tactics to cheat your way to the top of search results. Those that got involved were often heavily penalised leading to many claiming “SEO is dead”.

SEO is alive and well, if you do it right! The most important aspect of SEO these days is content. Are you giving your potential customers what they are looking for? In the old days, people would cram keywords into content in an attempt to rank more highly for those phrases. Those days are long gone, it’s now about writing meaningful, compelling and interesting content that fulfils a need in the marketplace. Get your content right and you are half way there. Next, having your web site built in a way that follows best-practice will help your website perform well in search engines. Your website needs to be well put together so it’s fast loading and works well on all devices (including mobiles).

There are many, many aspects of how a website is put together that has an impact on SEO. There’s a range of SEO auditing software that will test a website for some of these issues. Unfortunately most of these software options are not perfect and can produce misleading information. It’s great to use the tools available but then have it reviewed by an expert who can determine the importance and meaning of the results.

There are a number of factors that influence a website’s rankings. I’ve tested many websites myself and found that most websites could be improved by small tweaks that may have a significant impact on its results. Many websites are in an inactive state with search engines. They need to be ‘cleaned up’ so they perform better for humans (User Experience) and search engines. Analysing the most important factors lets you estimate the efficiency of your website optimisation efforts and uncover future optimisation opportunities.

Previously I supplied software generated SEO Reports to prospective customers as a free service. What I found was the reports were too technical and therefore meaningless to the recipient. These days I run the same software over websites that I did previously however I prepare a brief video, highlighting the areas within the website that could be improved from an SEO standpoint. This allows me to show people exactly what I mean and explain it as best I can in easy-to-understand language. I examine the most important structural aspects of a website, its links, pages, page coding and other factors that may influence the website’s rankings in search engines. Once the video is reviewed, I discuss the findings with the potential customer and present options that best suit their needs and budget. The recipient of the video is welcome to action any of the recommendations themselves or even pass it to another web developer but of course we’d love to work with them.

This content was originally published on Omnific Design before we rebranded as Uplift 360.