PR agency offers five tips to help any business improve its SEO
Friday, August 21st, 2015
If You Put Out an SOS When it Comes to SEO, Let our Scottish PR Agency Offer Some Help
IF YOU build it, they will come.
Movie lovers and online hopefuls alike are fond of misquoting this line from the 1989 Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams, which saw a farmer turn one of his fields into a baseball diamond.
In the fledgling days of the internet, the quote was true for those forward-thinking businesses which invested in websites. Simply by building a site they saw a major increase in business.
The problem is that now everybody has a website and simply building a site is not enough to ensure potential customers visit. In fact, it’s become a major chore trying to stay ahead of the opposition in Google results when an internet user searches for the relevant key words.
It’s now so lucrative for businesses to appear at the top of search results that it has spawned an entire
new category of business – known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Like so much else associated with the online and digital world, this sector has its own language and can seem baffling.
The fact that Google’s algorithm (which determines search results) is such a closely guarded secret deepens the sense of mystery and makes SEO seem like a dark art understood by only a chosen few.
As a result, trying to keep up with the ever-evolving word of SEO isn’t just a chore – it is a challenge that can actually leave the average punter feeling stupid. Nobody likes to feel stupid.
But there’s some great news. While you will almost certainly need the services of SEO experts for major projects, there are some basics that can be attended to in a very straight-forward way to improve how your website ranks in search.
At Holyrood PR we work hard to keep up to date on the basics of SEO. Google changes its rules all the time, so no one will ever be 100% sure of what they are really looking for. But the basics are a lot simpler than you may think.
If the aim is to drive more traffic to your website, build your online brand and rank higher on search engines, then here are our simple to follow tips.
- Produce good content
At the simplest level, Google rewards websites which offer good content that is regularly updated.
So what does ‘good’ look like?
This is where companies can offer some extra value to visitors and customers – by being useful, helpful or entertaining.
Many companies suffer by thinking what they do isn’t interesting. One of the most common questions we are asked by potential clients is: “What have we got to say that other people would be interested in?”
The answer is in the problems you solve for your clients or customers.
So, case studies, helpful ‘How To’ guides, entertaining or people-focused Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), ask the expert sessions etc can all yield great content.
Likewise explaining trends and developments in your sectors can also make for very useful and readable articles or posts.
Even if you or your organisation struggles with this this initially, that’s where content specialists like Holyrood PR can help you and your team kick start the process.
Once the creative floodgates are open you’ll be amazed at the content you can produce – and the value it will bring.
Don’t just take our word for it. This post from the highly-rated Search Engine Land explains why “content is king” and the “solid foundation to support all of your other SEO efforts.
- Think of mobile users – and beyond the desktop PC
Chances are that a lot of your website traffic (perhaps even a majority) will be coming via phones and mobile devices, including tablets.
So if your website is still catering only for visitors using desktop computers with big screens, you could be alienating an awful lot of potential customers.
There are few things as annoying as visiting a website on your phone, only for your heart to sink when you realise it is a tiny version of desktop PC version and you will have to pinch and zoom furiously.
Modern website sites should automatically work in different ways depending on what kind of device a visitor is using. These are knowns as “responsive” designs.
Until recently, a responsive site was preferable, rather than essential.
However, Google changed all of that by announcing that it is now ensuring that responsive sites will rank higher in search. The changes in April were so important and far reaching they were dubbed “mobilegeddon” and experts agree that those businesses without mobile-friendly sites are likely to be at a huge disadvantage.
Google even offers a simple tool to check if your site is mobile friendly – https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
The facts are inarguable: more and more people are searching for the products and services they want from their mobile devices.
So, if you want to rank well and reach them, you’ll have to invest in a mobile-friendly, responsive website.
- Build links
It’s difficult to overstate the value and importance of ‘links’ – and a quick history lesson can explain just why backlinks helped Google became the behemoth it is.
Before Google there were other search engines – maybe even names you’ve heard of like Yahoo and Alta Vista. They tried to make sense of booming world of website pages in a variety of ways, including using human curation or by charging companies to appear first.
These ways were inefficient, costly, time-consuming and inaccurate. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the men who invented Google, decided there had to be a better way.
So they looked at the value of links. That meant any mention of a website on another site was considered a vote for that site.
The more links (or votes) a site received, the more relevant, accurate or valuable it was presumed to be. So Google’s legendary algorithm started to use Links as the main signal of relevance – and the web has never looked back since.
Almost 20 years on and those valuable back links are as important as ever – so if you want to rank well in search, you are going to need backlinks.
Again, reputable SEO experts can help you to obtain links on high-quality and relevant websites. If you are keen on finding out more, this guide to the value of links from Search Engine Watch is well worth a read.
But the simple process of creating content that is valuable (and which people will share, bookmark and link to) can be highly successful in attracting and earning links.
As is the process of building relationships with bloggers.
Two more reasons why working with a quality PR agency like Holyrood PR can help more than just your media profile and bring huge value to your website.
- Refine your keywords
Customers searching for your type of products or services will start the entire process in that Google search box.
So your keywords should be as close to possible to the terms your customers are typing in.
Of course, that could mean there are potentially as many keywords and search terms as there are customers – so how do you refine that process?
Trying to make your website rank well for every conceivable search term simply isn’t realistic.
However a little bit of research and common sense can go a long way.
An easy thing to do is to try thinking like a customer – jot down the kind of things you suspect your customers search for. Then involve your staff. And don’t be shy about simply asking your customers themselves.
Of course, just choosing a keyword doesn’t necessarily make it the right keyword.
Happily there are a number of free tools to help you find out which are the most searched for terms in your sector – including both Google Analytic and Google AdWords.
You’ll need to invest some time and patience to develop a reasonable understanding and grasp of keywords. But once you’re up and running you’ll never feel baffled by SEO lingo again.
Of course, you can short-circuit the process by bringing in SEO experts, but even then you’ll feel a lot more confident about the work they are carrying out on your behalf if you’ve done a bit of homework on keywords.
So here is a link to one of the best guides available for researching keywords (from the reputable and trustworthy people at Moz, who use these tips themselves)
Finally, once you know the keywords you want to rank for, it becomes even more importantly to have regularly, updated website content which supports those keywords. So yet another reason to consider working with a quality content-creating machine like Holyrood PR.
- Be genuine
This is the most important point of all.
Trying to get around Google with shortcuts, cheats and quick fixes is a recipe for disaster.
That’s because the foundations of good web search haven’t changed in 20 years – produce good content, offer value and earn backlinks.
However, the attempts to “game the system” change all the time – and Google is on a constant mission to find anyone practicing “black hat SEO” and slap them out of search existence.
Which means this week’s SEO miracle is likely to be next week’s ticket to SEO obscurity.
Spammers, keyword stuffers, clickbaiters and unscrupulous content farmers have all enjoyed short lived success, before Google drops the hammer on them.
Soon enough you will get caught and you will have to deal with the penalties.
If you create genuinely interesting content which engages online audiences you will see the results.
Would you like to work with a PR agency that helps your name appear at the top of Google?
SEO continues to develop year after year and there is no room for businesses to ignore this or to make silly errors.
We can help you learn the key points you need to know and put in place a strong plan to implement them into your digital strategy.
If you would like to stay up to date and avoid the negative ramifications that come from falling behind with the latest SEO trends get in contact with us now.
Get in contact with us now to find out how we can help you improve your SEO ranking. Call us on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the form below and we will get right back to you:
Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.
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