How to get better organic search results

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an important way to help boost your business’s position in Google search results. It’s simple: if your business doesn’t appear on the first page of the results, then it might as well not exist. The higher your company appears in the listings, the better.

So it’s no surprise that a cottage industry has sprung up around SEO.

Don’t fall for old tricks

Search Google for how to optimise your website so it appears first in the search results and you’ll find no shortage of websites that say they can help you beat the system, ensuring your company is always on top. There are companies that guarantee they can get you the top spot; for the right price of course.

In the old days, you could boost your results through a practice called ‘keyword stuffing’. Since those early days, search engine algorithms have become exponentially more sophisticated and keyword stuffing is more likely to be punished than rewarded.

Take a methodical approach

There are five key ways to get your company to the top of the search engine listings and keep it there. 

1. Content

Far and away the most important factor in SEO is your content. If your site offers authentic, well-written, useful content, then search engines such as Google are more likely to rate it highly. This means you need to invest in creating high-quality content that taps into what your audience is most interested in.

The best type of content educates, informs, or entertains your readers. You need to offer actual value to your audience. This often means giving away a small piece of intellectual property as a sample of what your business could do for a potential customer.

The best way to think of it is this: create your site for users, not for search engines. 

2. Links

The sites you link to and that link back to your site can determine how your website performs in organic searches. Included curated content via links and asking other site owners to return the favour can help increase your relevance to search engines.

3. Structure

If your website is complex with information scattered in different places and no logical flow, then search engines will struggle to understand it, reducing the likelihood of a high position in the search results. It’s important to structure your site logically with search engine algorithms in mind. Using a common template can help achieve this.

4. Coding

You should offer a range of types of content, from text and images to videos and infographics. However, to ensure the search engine can ‘see’ your content, pay careful attention to how it’s coded. Some types of content won’t show up at all for search engines, making it look like your page is empty. To see what Google sees, for example, check out its cached version of your site.

Remember that search engines respond best to text and HTML, so provide descriptions of visual elements and transcripts of videos to maximise their impact on your search ratings.

5. Keywords

Remember earlier we said don’t bother with keyword stuffing? That’s true but it doesn’t mean you should throw the concept of keywords out the window. Logically, if you want your audience to find you when they search for a certain term, then you need to include that term on your website, in your meta descriptions, and in your URLs. Think carefully about what keywords to use and do some research. The number of times your keyword appears is irrelevant, as long as it appears once.

Can you do it yourself?

Search engine optimisation isn’t all that complicated and you could do it yourself with a bit of practice and trial-and-error. However, if you work with a marketing or PR agency, they should be able to advise you on ways to ramp up your results. If they’re creating content for your website, they should already have a laser focus on SEO.

For more information on how we help our clients maximise their organic search results every day, contact us.

 

Data denial

Most marketers grapple with data in all its forms every day. 

It’s flooding in from multiple sources in every organisation and it’s not getting easier to work with – in spite of the rise of marketing automation, salesforce automation, customer relationship management and financial management software.   AI and machine learning will add to the noise, generating more data and insights which need to be assessed and used or discarded depending on the context.

If anything, the reliance on these platforms has made data a master rather than a slave – and not a particularly benevolent one. 

The ability to damage brand, disenfranchise customers and lose prospects can be performed at a scale and velocity previously unimagined.  The wrong email to a customer database can be delivered in seconds. 

Not that long ago, in many industries, marketers didn’t need to know more than the basics when it came to data collection, management and use.  Arguably, FMCG has always been the exception where deep diving data streams from retail outlets was critical for carving out categories, driving sales, maintaining profit and informing product development. 

Today, as a marketer if you really can’t pull datasets apart and apply at least rudimentary analysis and management tools, it can be difficult to make a lasting difference in an organisation. 

Yet, in our experience, many marketers do struggle with data.  Keeping it clean and useable, the basic hygiene factors needed to make it useful, can seem unsurmountable when it simply floods into databases unchecked.

So what’s the answer?

Our short paper, Are you in data denial?, offers some practical pointers to get you heading in the right direction or at least baseline your own organisation’s approach to data control and management, particularly in relation to the marketing function. 

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