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10 Ways to use SEO to drive website traffic, sales and branding

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Without SEO, you could struggle to drive the website traffic you need and convert into loyal buyers. The term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be daunting for anybody who has never dipped their toes into the world of search engines and rankings. Despite this, the importance of having a website that drives traffic, brand awareness, and sales for your business in this day and age cannot be underestimated.

SEO is all about improving your website’s ranking for search engines (like Google). Your ranking is the position in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that your website appears in for any given search term (or keyword)

According to a 2019 study of click-through rates (CTR) by position in the Google SERP, websites ranking number 1 had an average CTR of 31.73%, while websites ranking number 2 got 24.71% of clicks, websites ranking number 3 got 18.66%, websites at number 4 got 13.60% and so on. These results also show the massive benefit of ranking at the top of the SERP rather than the bottom where the average CTR is around 3% for positions 8 through 10.

Furthermore, many SEO experts’ favorite quote is that “the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.” With this in mind, we’ll give you 10 simple ways to improve your website’s SEO and thus your sales and branding  – no previous knowledge required!

Analyze the competition

 You already know what your business is about or what you are trying to market online so act as if you were one of your customers/readers and use Google to search for products related to what you will be offering. If you run a law firm search for “law firms” in your area, if you sell bespoke jewelry search for “custom made jewelry”. You know your market better than most other people so act like a customer and search as you think they will.

Now pay attention to what kind of results you get. If your website is ranking number 1 for every search term then your work is done but otherwise, you’ll want to take note of what kind of content the websites that are winning have, what you like and dislike about what they do, and how they structure their title tags and headings (more on this below). You can start by analyzing your competitors and getting ideas for your site but you’ll probably come back to this step as you go along.

 Choose the right keyword family

As any successful businesswoman knows, having a niche is important because it differentiates you from your competitors, keeps your focus targeted, and makes marketing your company simpler. Your website should also have a niche.

The reality is that you will probably not win every search term/keyword that you want to rank for and therefore you’ll need to pick a keyword family that is both winnable and related to your business. When creating pages keep this keyword family in mind and try to only write about topics related to it.

The sports betting industry is one of the most competitive SEO markets in the world and in countries like Australia where more people bet than any other place in the world different websites trying to win sports betting-related keywords target different families of keywords. You’ll find betting site comparators in Australia focussing on niches like “betting sites”, “bookmakers” and even “betting agencies” to improve their chances of winning at least some of these phrases.

Finding the right keyword family can be difficult but use your intuition to judge how people talk about your industry online or use Google’s search suggestions or tools like KWfinder to help you determine what search terms are the most popular and winnable in your niche.

 Find the right domain name

 If you already have a website or a brand, then your domain name should be this. If you don’t already have a domain name then be sure to choose one that fits your keyword family, is not too long, and represents the goals of your website well. Domain names are not big ranking factors but domains that contain your top keywords do help to create trust and may help you to win keywords that are very similar to your domain.

 KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)

 Now that you have your domain, niche, and some information about your competition you’ll need to start filling your website with content. One of the best strategies to win different keywords related to your business is to create different pages and posts that each target specific keywords. It is best practice to only try and win a handful of keywords with each page that you create. Google and users will prefer your website if each page that they enter answers a specific query or fulfills a specific intention.

If you want to win “cheap travel insurance” then give users a list of cheap travel insurance providers and tell them everything they need to know when buying cheap travel insurance but nothing else. Save your homepage for a more general primary keyword like “travel insurance” and your other subpages for other intentions like “pet travel insurance”.

 Target long-tail & short-tail keywords

 If your site is young then it may be hard to win your primary keywords initially. That’s because Google wants to rank the sites that it knows will satisfy searchers and it isn’t sure if it can trust your site yet. One of the best ways to gain Google’s trust is to earn it by winning smaller ‘long-tail keywords’ and providing good user metrics (i.e. people that enter your site don’t click away).

With this in mind, think about creating articles and subpages on your website that target keywords that nobody else is trying to win. Of course, you can still target more competitive keywords on some of your other pages but think of winning these phrases as a longer-term goal. Also, be aware of the URLs and headings that you use on your pages. One way to tell Google what your page is about (and what keywords you are trying to target) is by using your main keyword for each new page in the URL and headings of that page.

Focus on your title tags

 Another way to tell Google and users what your page is about is by using your keywords in your title tag. Ideally, keywords should be at the beginning of your title tag as this is where they have the most strength. Crafting a title tag is a two-part exercise, your title tag is what users see when they do a search and come across your website in the SERP so you also need to treat it like a sales pitch. The more users that click on your title tag, the faster and further you will climb up the SERP rankings.

 Featured snippets are your friends

 You may not know the name for them but if you have ever seen a Google search result where you find the answer to your query without even having to click on a website then you have probably seen a featured snippet. Featured snippets may be in the form of lists, tables, videos, images or text blocks so try to include all of these elements on the pages that you create for a better chance of getting a featured snippet from Google.

Google may also pull your FAQ section, review ratings, or videos from your page and add them to your website’s result for certain searches so pay attention to optimizing your pages to include the sections that Google pulls for featured snippets. Having a featured snippet, FAQ block or any related SERP feature makes your website’s result appear bigger and more trustworthy and can significantly increase the traffic that your page gets.

 Don’t forget about off-page SEO

 Most of the things in this list so far have concerned on-page SEO or the things that you can do to your website to improve its SERP rankings. Search engines also rely on recommendations from other websites when they are ranking your site and these recommendations come in the form of links. In short, when a website links to your website they are telling Google that your site is a trustworthy source of information about a topic related to the anchor text that is used.

Therefore, work on building a solid link profile by making deals and partnerships with other sites in your niche and create great content that other sites will want to link to naturally.

 Update your top pages

 You can use free tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to track your website’s rankings, impressions, and traffic. When you start to see traction on some of your pages, it is a good idea to add content and alter headings and title tags to further optimize your pages for the searches that are getting the most traction.

Don’t be too quick to remove content, because this can negatively affect your SEO, and be very wary about changing URLs as this will effectively create a new page in Google’s mind and you will lose any links you have built to that page.

 Don’t forget about your users

 Finally, don’t forget that while you want to please Google with the way that you build your site, Google’s main goal is to provide searchers with the best content to answer specific search queries. Therefore create focused content that is better than any of your competitors and make your pages and site both user-friendly and fast. Ranking on Google can take time, especially if you are working in a competitive industry, so keep working on it because Google will reward the best websites in time.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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