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SEO Guide Part 1: Optimising Your Site

Getting Started

If you’re new to websites, SEO might seem like a buzzword. It can be thrown around with little explanation and seem to soak up too much money. However, if you’re planning on optimising your site, it’s key to making your website reach its full potential. SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s the process of taking steps to help a website or piece of content rank higher on Google. Basically, it includes using keywords, alt-tags for images, meta descriptions, SEO titles and heading tags. SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how Google estimates precisely how well a website can give the searcher what they’re searching for.

For more on SEO check out our dedicated page here:

Things to know before you start optimising your site

1- Establish some metrics

It’s tempting to optimise your site and leave it at that. Really, we need to be constantly monitoring the results to see what’s working and what’s not. Before beginning any project, we need to establish what the metrics of success will be. 5 possible metrics to use are:

 

  1. Traffic (the numberof people visiting your site)
  2. Conversions – Purchases, Sign-Ups, contacts
  3. Revenue – ads etc.
  4. Search position (where we fall on the google search index)
  5. Links – number of backlinks from other sites (people sharing your content) 

Some very useful tools here are Google Search Console, Google Analytics and ahrefs.com. We’ll go over these tools later in this article.

Google pagespeed insights will tell you what's going wrong on your site and allow you to optimise your site
Google pagespeed insights will tell you what's going wrong on your site

2- Optimising your site speed

A key tool for investigating the speed of your site is Google Page Insights. Pay particular attention to the speed on mobile devices because over 53% of visitors come from their phones. Roughly four decades after the introduction of the first mobile phone, almost every developed country has at least 90 per cent mobile phone penetration. It has become increasingly pervasive and indispensable. These days our devices come with us everywhere, stay in reach almost all the time and do just about everything. They play a central role in our lives so it makes sense put the mobile experience first when developing a website.

The popularity of smartphones has become so clear that mobile internet usage has now surpassed the use of a desktop. This trend continues as smaller devices gain more market share.

To speed up your site, remember a few things:

  1. Use fewer images and keep them small if possible. 
  2. Install an image compression plugin like Smush. 
  3. Use a cache plugin like Auto Optimise or W3 Total Cache. These take steps to minify the code and resources so your site loads faster. 
  4. A speed above 83% is a great score and is likely to push you to the top of the search results. 

Read more about making your website mobile-friendly here

3- Use Google Search Console to optimise your site.

“Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.” It does exactly that. By setting up an account with Google Search Console you can see where your site is going wrong and how it can perform better. You’ll see what search terms are sending visitors to your site and how you can increase them. 

 

If one of your pages is unfriendly for mobile users, Google will email you to let you know. The benefit of following this advice is that Google will reward you by pushing you higher in their own indexing. 

 

The full list of details as highlighted by Google are: 

 

  • Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
  • Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
  • View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
  • Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
  • Show you which sites link to your website.
  • Troubleshoot issues for AMP, mobile usability, and other search features.

For more on how to set up Search Console for your site, check out Google’s guide here

Use Google Anayltics to optimise your site

Next in the Series...

We’ll show you how to conduct keyword research and the benefits. It’s the first step in developing content for your site and a cornerstone of SEO. 

If you have any questions be sure to contact us or book a consultation

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