Decoding the mystery of SEO

Sorry for sounding a bit cryptic with the title of this post, but the truth is that no matter what the experts may tell you, there really isn’t any mystery about SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation, for the uninitiated.  It just feels like there is.

Why?  Well, if you don’t work with websites, all the technology and language surrounding them can feel as though they’ve been beamed in from another galaxy.  I’ve had e-mail approaches from plenty of agencies who tell me excitedly that they can “optimise my website” to reach “millions of followers who are PRIMED and WAITING to buy from you!” – just by making a few simple adjustments.

With so many confident people out there who seem to know all about just how you can magically increase your following and make more money, SEO can feel like a well-kept secret everybody but you understands

For the record, I’m frequently asked if I write “SEO-ready” web content, and whenever I’m asked this question I always try to get to the bottom of what its asker really means by “SEO-ready” web content.  If it’s keyword-stuffing or heavily sales-focused blog posts, then the answer is no.

Instead, I explain that the best ‘SEO’ is simply thinking about what your website users actually want, and then ensuring you give it to them, quickly and easily.

So what does all this actually mean, in terms of increasing followers and boosting business?  Let’s have a look.

Create relevant, regular content

This is job number one.  We’ve all heard the term “people deal with people” after all, and this is just as true online as it is face to face.

A regular, friendly and well-written blog, on or linked to your website, will keep search engines happy (regularly updating it shows your website is live and active), and as long as you choose the right topics for your audience, you’ll keep your visitors happy – if you do it right, they’ll keep on returning for updates!

As you build content, keep an eye on what posts tend to perform best.  How could you make the subjects even more helpful and relevant in future

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Mobile optimisation is another search-engine satisfier, but far more importantly, statistics show that most people are now conducting the bulk of their web searches on their phones.  So make sure your site – and your blog – loads quickly and can be read easily on a smartphone (you can use Google’s free checker here).

Check out the competition

You have to do this.  Everyone in business does, including me (and I hate it!).  The reason you have to do it is to see, realistically, what others out there might be doing better than you.  

Remember, this is all about what your website users want.  What will they get from your competitors that they won’t from you (this could be something as simple as free delivery!).  Ask someone else to check and report back if you need a more impartial view.

Don’t just think “keywords”…

…but “questions”.  A lot of online searches involve people typing full questions into Google and the like, so along with your ideal search keywords, try thinking about the most common questions clients tend to ask.  Then, ensure your web copy and blog posts actually answer them.  

If you’re struggling, simply work back from the ultimate benefits your clients get from using your products or services.  What will they be able to do better; how will your product or service improve their lives?

Link with industry experts

Do this by having something to offer.  Perhaps you could retweet their content, voice an opinion or feature an article they’ve written on your website.  

Link building and guest blogging are well-recognised and popular SEO techniques, as they increase the possibility of people finding you online, but they must be authentic and relevant. 

If in doubt, remember the ultimate question: what do your website users actually want?

I hope this piece has helped demystify the not-actually-very-mysterious world of SEO – and remember, if you’re pressed for time or resources, I can help you create compelling written content!  Simply get in touch for a chat.